Our guest blogger today, Mary Fishman, is the producer-director of the documentary Band of Sisters, her first film. Prior to becoming a filmmaker, Mary was an architect and urban planner. Born in Chicago, she was taught by Springfield Dominicans in elementary school and the Sisters of Mercy in high school. She graduated from the University of Notre Dame with degrees in architecture and French, and then got her master’s in urban planning at UCLA. Mary is an Associate Member of the Sisters of Mercy.
The deep freeze right after New Year’s gave many of us the opportunity to stay in and hunker down almost like bears in hibernation. But rather than sleeping for three days (which might have been nice) I spent some time thinking about my life on the road with Band of Sisters – my documentary film about U.S. Catholic sisters and their work for social justice – since its world premiere in Chicago in September 2012. (Editor’s note: the story of the making of the film will be told in the February issue of St. Anthony Messenger.)
Here are a couple of things that stand out:
1. The motherhouses. Directors get all sorts of perks – free popcorn! – but I feel especially lucky to have been invited to stay in the convents where we have had screenings. What a treat it is to see these unique buildings and their artwork, read in the library, walk the grounds, etc. The best perk is having meals and talking with the sisters who live there.
2. The audiences. I have traveled to 26 out of about 60 cities the film has screened in, so that I can speak with the audience after the screening. It’s so much fun meeting people and seeing their enthusiasm. I love hearing people laugh at all the jokes in the movie, and find that the laugh meter goes higher the more nuns there are in the audience. Often I’m joined for the Q&A by a sister featured in the film, or by a local sister, which is such a gift for me and the audience.
My spiritual director, Sister of Mercy Mary Ruth Broz, gives the best words of wisdom, and one of them is to savor the wonderful adventures and people the film keeps bringing into my life. How I appreciate that the deepest cold of winter gave me the incentive to do just that.
Mary Fishman will be in New York City for the opening weekend of Band of Sisters at the Cinema Village in Manhattan, which runs January 17-23. http://bandofsistersmovie.com/node/161