Since the beginning, every person that heard my pitch for A Marvelous Era, when it was only a brief proposal for a class assignment, were energized and intrigued about the idea as much as I; a genre that practically raised me. Always having it in mind that I would do this film, I didn’t want to rush it. The biggest factor was finding the right people who were as passionate as I was about the subject matter. Not too long ago, I was chatting with my good friend and fellow filmmaker, Ashim Ahuja, and told him I wanted to shoot a feature in 2012. Once I pitched it to him, he fell in love with the idea. Although, both of us are typically narrative filmmakers, this was a film where we made an exception to do a documentary knowing exactly what we’re going for, what we need to do, and how we’re going to tackle it.
Ashim referred me to Mark Sandhoff, my director of cinematography, who has been on the same page with me since day one. We fed off each other's ideas and knew we'd work well together on this project. His work is outstanding and works fast and efficiently with the Mark II.
After we assembled a solid team, time has flown by. Before we know it we’re going to be shooting this marvel. Making a feature film at twenty-three will be exciting, and knowing that I have the best possible crew accompanying me, I know good things are bound to happen. Not to mention the wonderful musicians we’ll get to meet and hear stories from in the process.
One of my first memories is being on stage with a Big Band, standing on a chair, singing “Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini” to a packed ballroom of many dancing and giggling folks to my four-year-old self. Man, I was nervous, but once I started to sing I felt at ease to the welcoming crowd.
For about ten more years, I’d go to “The Bash” where mostly Union musicians would come play a free gig from noon till midnight. My job was to help the musicians get set up, and in exchange I had the privilege to listen to all different types of Jazz, Swing, Bluegrass, and Big Band. It never got old and it was always something to look forward to every year. As time went on, the Bash ended because they sold fewer tickets each year and lost money. When this event ended, a part of me died, as I was saddened that the era had come to a close.
Making A Marvelous Era is my obligation to, not only my family who introduced me to this genre, but also every generation who didn’t get to experience it. I was fortunate enough to experience the very tail end of this era, and it will be fulfilling to enlighten a diverse group of people.