When I started Catch-all one of my intentions was to share short films by artists who I felt had something unique and important to say. I haven’t posted any such work in a long time, and I think Wearing the Big Heart by Tony Carter-Hill is a great place to start again.
Carter-Hill’s film captures the Los Angeles Women’s March, showcasing the march’s complex mood while revealing remarkably intimate moments within an intense and massive public event. That day meant something very special to me, and I appreciate how Wearing the Big Heart paints the historic Women’s March with such vibrant images and sounds. Carter-Hill’s work is abstract, dynamic, rhythmic, and truly compelling.
I was able to ask Tony about what that day meant to him. Here’s a bit of what he had to say:
“As people began to walk with their banners held erect and in these colorful costumes, I became more inspired about filming. I thought about reproducing a feeling rather than a narrative, while keeping in mind consciousness and place, national identity, humanistic tendencies, and gesture. Downtown is a personal and private space to many, and I kept that in mind too while collecting images and sound.
I’d never been to a public demonstration before, I’d seen small ones in my hometown – a small group picketing outside of a school addressing local matters – but nothing related to national politics. In the past we’ve seen images of protest in documentary films, like in the cinétracts. These were short montages that were directed by French filmmakers who photographed the civil unrest throughout Paris, France in 1968. They went to the strikes and occupations of the leftist-political movement and simply documented what they saw.
I was guided by them to represent this moment in history on film. I worked on the edit, and the music had been composed by Kevin Robinson. He and his crew developed several sketches very soon after the montage was complete. I wanted the sequence and soundtrack to reflect my experience that day – at first there was particular eagerness and sense of purpose, mixed with spontaneity, and then once the speeches ended the atmosphere was saddening and confusing, I felt alone again. So many had lost their agency. Maybe reality set in, but I didn’t think it would so suddenly, so quietly. People walked around without a sense of direction until they tired and decided to return to their homes. ‘Is this the hardest punch we can throw?’ I wondered.”