There is a change in the air. It permeates everything. Our attitudes, our choices, our relationships, politics and the entertainment industry. The consciousness of what is being brought to the spotlight of the world stage is of a higher vibration than ever before as the desire for true freedom and a life that we dreamed of living, rather than a compromised existence based upon following the status quo, is ever present and increasing by the day. There has never been a time when more people are questioning themselves from the inside out; going to yoga to stretch their physical bodies beyond their limits, attending spiritual meditation classes to increase their awareness of themselves beyond their every day hologram, reading books on self-improvement, supporting political causes for world peace and the end to faulty institutions/governments, becoming conscious about their relationship to the earth, leaving jobs and relationships they hate and risking life and limb to finally create the life of their true dreams.
It was always an interesting balance for me from a filmmaker’s perspective between creating a film about things which make people feel good : something that would be easily accepted and therefore popular, and focusing the spotlight on the deeper incongruencies, which still affect our world and culture today. My intention was and is to contribute in a positive way to a world conversation and rising consciousness that is emerging; one that seeks to find solution, compassion, fairness, integrity and ultimately the co-creation of a better world.
‘The Perfect Boy’ film is not by any stretch of the imagination a walk in the park film. What it does do is highlight the main ‘cog’ in the wheel, which needs restructuring before a new and positive vision of a world without racism or any other peaceful co-existence can manifest. That ‘cog’ as I humbly see it, is a deeper look at the content of the images within our fairy-tales, advertising, television and film media, and thinking consciously about a change in ‘diet’ in these areas. The supply and demand for images which support a peaceful world without bigotry is more present than ever before. But first, the old images need to be acknowledged for what they are, in order for new conscious choices to be made. So ultimately, I decided to make a film that would look at some of the worst and most bigoted concepts and dismantle them as untruths. As many have said before, the monster in the closet is only scary and powerful when you don’t open the closet and realize there was never one in there.
Whilst, I am not naive enough to think a short film can change such established institutions, my heart-felt hope is that the film shows the audience’s who do see it a new way to view their own consciousness and the fears they were taught to have, so that they may have an opportunity to reconsider their validity.
The journey of ‘The Perfect Boy’ takes you from the world of the imagination where a fear is implanted by an external source in a moment of vulnerability, leading to fear based choices until an ‘aerial perspective’ is revealed, in which, all the pieces once deconstructed; reveal the source fear as a delusion. All fear; racism, sexism, elitism etc. are in fact only the result of repetitious cycles of negative programming rooted within our constant exposure to the same cultural story-telling and idealized depictions of humanity being broadcast all around us. Once this can be seen, there is an amazing opportunity to use this awareness to reject/delete these fears and programs and consciously replace them with healthier beliefs, which allow for one to live a life consciously created.
We simply cannot even begin to create for example, ‘world peace’ or even ‘inner-peace’, without addressing the fears which we have absorbed from childhood, still remaining within ourselves and replacing them with new information, which shows us a new perspective and therefore new possibilities from which to create. Without consciously choosing which ideas you want to accept as true or not, one can never live their own authentic life. You simply become a product of your environment like the orphans within the film; minions to the ideas of somebody else, who often do not serve you. This level of unconscious living leads us to make or allow choices to be made for us, which are not in our integrity. When we take the time to consider every idea presented to us within the frame of our own individual choice and volition, we are able to begin to really create the life of our authentic dreams, rather than simply becoming empty and open vessels for external paradigms passed on through generations; never checked at the gate.
My goal is to share this new awareness that I learnt the hard way, in an effort to support an easier path for others. If our life is to be our own, the first place we have to look at is at our own beliefs, as it is our beliefs, which define the life that we are living. Frank Sinatra sang it well when he crooned, “I did it my way”. It is my personal belief that there is nothing more joyful or valuable in the world, than owning and expressing yourself as who you really are as independent from the desires, projected values and expectations of others. My world vision is one in which humanity takes back their personal power, has the courage to make the unconscious conscious and begins to truly create their world as individuals under the sole influence of themselves and no one else. It is only then that one’s life can truly begin. I hold the hope that everyone who see’s this small film, will think twice about giving their power away to anyone and move forth in creating their own world vision.
Since the execution of Troy Davis on the 21st of September, a new consciousness is sweeping through the world calling for a new way forward and an end to capital punishment in America and throughout the world. Could humanity be at a major turning point in history, not seen since Martin Luther King dreamt his dream to end racial segregation and ultimately won? Looking around the streets of New York today, it seems like unthinkable fiction that there were ever publicly endorsed laws passed segregating blacks and whites in America.
History has shown that this is exactly how the pattern of social change operates. With every atrocity and miscarriage of justice humanity has enacted; there comes a tipping point where our denial of the injustice of such issues become so unbearable, that we are driven to our knees to become active in effecting change. In all instances, from the fall of the Berlin Wall, the resignation of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt to even the fall of Nazi Germany, the Trojan horse that ended the unspeakable was represented by the everyday people who stood in their integrity to take action and speak up for what they knew was right and humane despite popular indifference or fear of public dissension for the status quo. It is quite perfect that the current event, which has opened up such a grand opportunity for change has been sparked by a man named, ‘Troy’, who was the horse inside the prison with the potential to break down the faulty US criminal system. As it was in the story of ‘Trojan horse’, which entered the city of Troy filled with men intent on ending the war (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trojan_Horse), the success of the plan lies firmly in the co-operation of the people who carry him through. In the case of Troy Davis, those people are all of us.
All leaders, politicians and public authorities have no power without the consensus of the people they govern. Without popular support, they are like an actor on a stage without an audience. The power of their messages and laws exist within the exchange between messenger and audience alone. Just as once popular shows on Broadway lose business when people no longer go to see their shows and other smaller productions gain momentum with vocal and popular support, political realities and moral principles come and go depending on the swing of the audience.
If there is to be lasting change, it must happen through regular people choosing to stand collectively in their integrity, united in co-creating and nurturing a seed for a new reality by publicly voicing their support for something new. In another words, it is through the active and public support of what we want to create, which magnetically draws to itself a momentum, which can shift our collective experience. On the most fundamental level, it is ultimately all about an energy and momentum behind a vision, that inspires people to move beyond the boundaries of comfort to actively create a new way of being.
All major social shifts happened as a result of regular people willing to speak the truth when it was uncomfortable and act on it from a place of not anger but love of human life and integrity. Martin Luther King now stands as one of our greatest examples of this level of courage. Many ask what one person can really do to change the world and use this as an excuse to sit back and do nothing. Every person who did not just ask but answered the call to activate change from a place of truth without taking no for an answer succeeded and we all walk upon a better earth because of it.
With the wonders of social media, it has never been easier for anyone with access to a CPU to show their support for the things they love and believe in. The gift that is Facebook has allowed the organization of protests and rallies in Egypt, which lead to the downfall of a dictator. We are indeed living in extraordinary times in which, any person or vision can go from zero to hero with one popular youtube clip or viral facebook page. The possibilities and technologies for supporting positive social change have never been so bright. The more people choose to see and activate these opportunities, the more miracles of social change gain momentum and move from a space of the ideal to the real. If we all contribute our bit of courage in speaking up in the ways, which are true to ourselves, every voice adds to a global choir which sounds not just through our world, but transforms the past into a lesson learnt and mastered, clearing the path for a radiant future.
I look forward to the day that phrases like, ‘Death Penalty’ and ‘Capital Punishment’ seem so distant from everything our laws and values represent, that we all look back and wonder how we ever allowed it to happen in the first place. It’s only a matter of time as the actions of regular people all around the world intent on transforming Troy Davis’s tragedy into a victory by ending the Death Penalty once and for all, reflect a spiritual maturity, which understands on a fundamental level that what happens to one of us ultimately happens to us all. We are indeed all Troy Davis.
Here is the letter that Troy Davis wrote to all his supporters and activists willing to support the end to the death penalty:
I want to thank all of you for your efforts and dedication to Human Rights and Human Kindness, in the past year I have experienced such emotion, joy, sadness and never ending faith. It is because of all of you that I am alive today, as I look at my sister Martina I am marveled by the love she has for me and of course I worry about her and her health, but as she tells me she is the eldest and she will not back down from this fight to save my life and prove to the world that I am innocent of this terrible crime.
As I look at my mail from across the globe, from places I have never ever dreamed I would know about and people speaking languages and expressing cultures and religions I could only hope to one day see first hand. I am humbled by the emotion that fills my heart with overwhelming, overflowing Joy. I can’t even explain the insurgence of emotion I feel when I try to express the strength I draw from you all, it compounds my faith and it shows me yet again that this is not a case about the death penalty, this is not a case about Troy Davis, this is a case about Justice and the Human Spirit to see Justice prevail.
I cannot answer all of your letters but I do read them all, I cannot see you all but I can imagine your faces, I cannot hear you speak but your letters take me to the far reaches of the world, I cannot touch you physically but I feel your warmth everyday I exist.
So Thank you and remember I am in a place where execution can only destroy your physical form but because of my faith in God, my family and all of you I have been spiritually free for some time and no matter what happens in the days, weeks to come, this Movement to end the death penalty, to seek true justice, to expose a system that fails to protect the innocent must be accelerated. There are so many more Troy Davis’. This fight to end the death penalty is not won or lost through me but through our strength to move forward and save every innocent person in captivity around the globe. We need to dismantle this Unjust system city by city, state by state and country by country.
I can’t wait to Stand with you, no matter if that is in physical or spiritual form, I will one day be announcing,
” I AM TROY DAVIS, and I AM FREE!”
Never Stop Fighting for Justice and We will Win!
There are many opportunities to join several movements to end the death penalty in America. No matter where you live, your contribution and voice makes a difference. Visit any of these opportunities, which may appeal to your integrity and spend 5 minutes to contribute to make our world a better place:
National Coalition to End the Death Penalty
We hear the sounds of a female child crying and in imminent danger from an unseen stranger in the dark. As she screams with his final approach, a door slams.
A 5 year old girl is missing. Her mother, Marie, drinks alcohol in the kitchen and is now drunk. Bob, her absent husband, whom she suspects is having an affair, returns home to find her throwing emotionally wrought accusations and insults at him. As they argue, Marie admits to Bob, she doesn’t know where their daughter is. At that moment, their argument is interrupted by a television news report about a monster serial rapist on a killing spree in their area. The criminal is described as a black man and the description of the latest victim, is identical to their daughters. As this news report is heard, a classic fairytale plays within the noise of their television screen, of a little white girl being manipulated by two dark and evil twins.
Meanwhile, we enter the fantasy world of, ‘The Perfect boy society’ in which, a black man is humiliated before an audience of masked orphans, as he sings in the voice of a white woman. He is subsequently hanged and wheeled off the stage like a toy.
Within the darkness, The Orator, an enigmatic child, enters like a God from a paradise at the back of the stage. He dazzles the crowd with his presence and claims to have, “Tamed the black devil!”. He makes a thrilling promise; that he will bring light to the darkness, in the form of a great Mother.
Bewitching the orphan crowd with his mysterious charisma, the Orator manipulates them to act on their fear of the dark, which leads to the murder of one of their own.
The Perfect boy film, interweaves three realities; Bob and Marie’s search for their daughter, the ongoing crime in the dark and the Perfect Boy fantasy, of a society attempting to rid their world of darkness.
Only the Perfect boy fantasy is told with pictures. The remainder of the story is represented in only black screen, sound and white subtitles.
Throughout the film, the audience is lead to assume and buy into the hysteria and drama of the rumor and the myth of the ‘black monster’. In the end we realize, that the myth of the ‘black monster’ is of their and our own imagination.
The ‘moral’ or message of the story is that the darkness we assume to be there, whether taking form in public acts of racism or a private domestic quarrel; is always in fact, a reflection of an inner fear, that creates assumptions in dark, which often have nothing to do with the truth.
My intention is to demonstrate through this film, how brilliantly an influential medium such as cinema like the mind convinces us of realities, which have no basis in the light of truth. Through this awareness, I hope that audiences will unconsciously come to a more critical view of the “realities” they readily absorb and believe without question.
What part of what we believe is true and what part of what we believe is simply fear and assumptions, made so powerfully within the darkness of the mind or the cinema theatre?
The fact that film exists is no less than a miracle. On less than a quarter of the budget required, with next to no prior experience in film, The Perfect Boy was both the birth of my first film project, a constant conflict between night-mare vs. miracle and possibly one of my greatest personal journey’s of spiritual growth to date.
The easiest thing a first time director can do is to quietly feel unsure of themselves. The hardest thing is to do is to feel unsure and follow your at times, bizarre intuitive judgments against all voices of reason, guided by a mysterious current, despite surmounting fears. I never intended consciously to become a film director. I was an installation artist quite happy to be an eccentric working independently and privately, within the space of abstract and static forms of creative expression.
The Perfect Boy film was born unexpectedly after I found an image in my mind that wanted to move. It depicted an old school hall, filled with masked children chanting and crying before a magical boy. Unable to ignore this uncanny world, I began to write down descriptions of its enigmatic scenes on bits of card and create a visual composition out of them; more like music than a script.
What interested me at the time was what caused people like Hitler, or any other charismatic Orator in history to hold so much influence over a mass consciousness. What was the psycho- spiritual dynamic that had caused millions people to give away their personal power to someone or something supposedly greater than themselves, to only later realize that they were lead down the garden path, miles away from their integrity and dreams, once hoped to be manifest through an external ideal?
At the time the script was being written, Australia was experiencing race riots in Cronulla and I wondered how the world was really any different to what it was since the 1930’s. I kept asking myself, what is the underlying human instinct that to this day has the force to move us to perform violent acts we later denounce… acts our mother’s certainly never imagined we would do, as they brought us into the world filled with hope. This was the birth of the concept of, The Perfect Boy; a metaphor for a cultural ideal that has never been personified, but that men and women have died for since the beginning of humankind.
The abstract and dyslexic script that followed did not by any stretch of the imagination, adhere to any of the rules of dramatic story-telling. Instead, it took form as a sort of strange dark fairy-tale reminiscent of, ‘The Lord of the Flies’ by William Golding, with an intriguing premise enough to whet the curiosity of a listener, and as a result, seduced not only myself but about 100 creatives from all over the world, to participate in what at times could only be described as a project born of audacious hope, tettering on the same blind faith I sought to demystify.
Presented suddenly with what can only be described as a magnetic rope in the dark, I grabbed onto it and followed it inch by inch, not knowing whether my instincts were going to elevate or hang me by the time I got to the other end of it.
I chose possibly the most ambitious short film project known to mankind. The script required a lead child to act like Hitler, 45 children in masks and costumes, a dove, a surrealist theatrical setting, 150 thousand dollars worth of special effects … to be achieved with a less than healthy $AU40k TOTAL film budget administered by a first time filmmaker at its head (luckily supported by experienced emerging filmmakers like Producer, Anna Cridland and many other incredible filmmakers without whom the film would not exist).
However, not phased by this in large thanks to my complete ignorance of film-making and against all odds, the high profile creatives within the film and theatre industries who came on board the project voluntarily, and after every possible disaster occurred and was overcome in the process, the impossible was achieved and the film was shot.
Upon viewing the rushes, the film though beautiful, was not what I had imagined. The sound of hallelujah was still a distant cry, yet, I knew still that there was the film I wanted in there…I just had to get it out. I decided I needed a break to get some objectivity, although most people around me told me to give up as I worked day and night to work with the footage after the shoot.
Soon after, one of my closest friend’s committed suicide, I found out I had undiagnosed Grave’s disease, which explained my constant coma throughout the production of the film (Very happy to be now in remission after some transformational spiritual work) and I moved to New York to study the art of film-making. It was in my apartment in Brooklyn, that I unexpectedly got the inspiration to go back to the film. I began to hear an incessant argument between Laura Linney and another American actor about the loss of their child. I kept imagining what my friend’s parents would have said to each other after they found out their only child had chosen to die. Instead of seeing pictures, I just saw text and heard the sound of their argument rampage in the dark.
Somehow, I knew these stories were one and the same. It didn’t make sense from the outside but what the film required compositionally, was a reality outside the frame of the fantasy, to ‘give the sky earth to walk upon’. I began to interweave these two stories connecting them by a thread that I personally understood, and that was the mystery of my friend who disappeared from sight like a child in a cupboard, hiding from a nonsensical adult world. The Perfect Boy would now become her story and carry the message of forgiveness and peace on a much deeper level.
I began to realize, there was no difference between the domestic wars of personal life, which delude us into losing what is most important to us; from a black and white place of righteousness, and the cultural wars in which we create anything but the ideals we claim to fight for; abandoned by our commitment to separation instead of common ground.
At this point, I took to Final Cut Pro in my room making notes on every shot of the 16 hours worth of footage. Without much knowledge of editing, I constructed a rough paper cut based on the new concept and for three weeks got up at 3pm, edited through the night with manual in hand until 5am; during the most quiet time in New York city. To my surprise, the rough cut was accomplished and I was now on the search for a US post-crew.
The short of it is, with the genius of Kevin Palmer our editor in Chelsea, John Mangia our head of VFX who worked for Sony in the day and the project at night for 6 months + during copious hours on Green Lantern (!!!), the final cut was made with the assistance of 7 other VFX crew over skype, located in different countries all over the world. This is not to mention the brilliant talent of Basil Hogios who co-created the most incredible music for the work and Jim Rieder in Ohio, who did our brilliant sound design resulting from copious email exchanges. Through a truly cross-cultural collaboration, we were on our way and I was finally emancipated from my quiet fear that my instincts were pure madness. And that was my lesson and the message of, The Perfect Boy for me: to stay true to my own instincts over the crowd and know that it was perception and intent that had power, not popular opinion.
Artistically, it is and was my intention that, The Perfect Boy’ film would highlight the power of repeatedly broadcast ideals in influencing our beliefs and why it is so important that we diversify the images and concepts we broadcast through film, advertising and television media, to end the inference that certain races or archetypes are more valuable; ‘good’ or ‘evil’ than others.
It is my personal opinion that the power of cultural programming through film, television, news media and advertising cannot be underestimated and until the images broadcast reflect something closer to the diversity of humanity, the cycle of racial vilification will continue. The irony is of course that, all forms of extremist belief, began and were built upon the well-marketed and repeatedly broadcast fictitious myths, as old and reflective of the fairy-tales we continue to tell children today.
It is my deepest hope that the conceptual messages within the film, will cause even a slight shift in the audiences perception of the nature of fear, which fuels both internal and external conflict and to consider its fictitious origins born in the dark space of the mind. Fear has been well described as ‘Fantasized Experience Appearing Real’. In essence, that is what all conflict is. If peace is the goal, conflict is the fantasized solution appearing real, which moves us away from the goal under the delusional premise, that peace is created through its polar opposite: war.
The wisdom within, The Perfect Boy is simple: what we believe is what we experience. Within the light and dark; concepts spark within the blank space of the mind, a place where our individual realities are built, not necessary based in fact but which have the power to be transformed into reality.
In acknowledging this, great transformation is possible through the self-awareness that we choose our reality and that our prejudices and judgments are choices, not facts. With this understanding, we are empowered to consciously believe more wisely and know that who we are and what we become, is our choice, not simply our fate.
I am personally so grateful to Australia and the USA, that this film was able to be made. It was humbling to realize what amazing talent, generosity and heart felt passion for film and humanitarian issues exist within the heart of our film industry. The Perfect Boy’ was created on this premise of personal responsibility, belief, determination, perseverance and love. It is my very first attempt at making a film and I’m looking forward to developing my experience further. Myself and my incredible creative team, look forward to sharing this energy of miracles, through our little project on the international film circuit.
by Amy L Tam