I did a bit of traveling last week – a few days in Austin for a meeting of leaders in the architectural community and then on to Salt Lake City for some quality friend time and the Sundance Film Festival. While this work and play seem unrelated on the surface, it was interesting to see the overlap and the similarities between architects and filmmakers who, in the most basic sense, want to leave the world better than they found it. Architects are interested in addressing client desires and challenges through practical, sustainable and beautiful design. Filmmakers are interested in sparking conversations through relatable, compelling and beautiful stories.
My favorite beautiful experience from the week had to be Dope, a comedy/crime drama/love letter to 90’s hip hop (yes, the music is as good as you’d imagine). The movie was funny and poignant, and you so badly want everything to work out for the trio of high school seniors who bring the story to life. What was more exciting than the story, however, was the energy in the small Park City theater. This was the world premiere and the writer/director, cast and their friends and family had all shown up for the debut. As the lights came down and the title screen showed up, there was cheering from the large reserved section in the back. That cheering and the loud, appreciative laughs for the first joke (the first of many well-executed and timely jokes), invited the rest of us to enjoy this experience as a group. It was an endearing and inspiring movie that took advantage of having the audience on its side to ask some big questions about race and our expectations of people in our society. Those big questions brought uncomfortable silence, cheers and a few tears. It was an incredible experience to share all that with everyone in the theater, including those who brought the story to life.
I’m so grateful to have been a part of that audience, at that theater in that moment in time, and I hope many more people will have the opportunity to experience Dope. In the meantime, I’m looking forward to more beauty, however it may appear.