THE SCULPTOR'S WIFE: A LOVE STORY IN DOCUMENTATION, 25min., USA
Directed by Traci L Slatton
On September 13th, 2024, in the heart of Washington, DC—Pershing Square—a colossal tribute in classic sculpture will be revealed. The National World War I Memorial honors the courageous souls who sacrificed their lives in the name of the United States during the Great War. Master Sculptor Sabin Howard is creating a breathtaking tableau entitled "A Soldier's Journey"" which features 38 larger-than-life figures and brings to life the essence of the war. The sculptural relief measures 58 feet long and 10 feet high.
Get to know the filmmaker:
1. What motivated you to make this film?
Three things motivated me to make The Sculptor's Wife. 1, I wanted to share with the world a behind-the-scenes look at Sabin sculpting a National Memorial, and the intimate pressures an endeavor like this places on the family. Sabin's project is unfolding on the world stage. It's intense. 2, I aspire to let the world know that classical figurative sculpture isn't an archeological art. Figurative sculpture done to the level of Renaissance masters is alive and kicking! Sabin is doing it. And 3, I am building my street cred for making the feature-length documentary "Heroic: Sabin Howard Sculpts the National WWI Memorial."
2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?
That's a complex question. I've been collecting footage of Sabin's journey since 2017, knowing I would make a feature-length documentary about his epic struggle. In 2021 I started considering making a short documentary, and by fall of 2022 I got serious about the short.
3. How would you describe your film in two words!?
Love - Art.
4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
My biggest obstacle in completing this film was my self-doubt. I am a novelist by trade but I am inexperienced as a filmmaker. So I did a lot of soul searching as to whether I could tell a story visually, in a way that is compelling for the audience.
5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?
I was surprised and happy! I work behind-the-scenes in my husband's studio, running his shop and managing the project. I worked on the film mostly alone. Some people have seen it but not many, and it's wonderful to get feedback and to remember, Oh, yeah, I'm making art for people, too! What fun!!
6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?
I knew when I was 6 years old that I wanted to write novels. Making films has come later, as I've come to understand the importance of film as a medium for story-telling. I took Robert McKee's class way back in the day, so it's been a few decades that I've been marching toward filmmaking.
7. What film have you seen the most in your life?
The Terminator. It's a perfect movie. This is a complicated essay on how perfect it is. The first Terminator. Every detail coheres perfectly: the name of the bar "Tech Noir" where Linda Hamilton waits for the police; the message on the answering machine: ".....Machines have feelings too"; every detail. And it obeys unity of time, place, and action. Really a great film. "I'll be back."
8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?
Would it be possible to have a coordinated online premiere time so I could watch in realtime as an audience was? That would be fun.
9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?
FilmFreeway has been great. It's very convenient and organized and a real time saver.
10. What is your favorite meal?
Lobster, chocolate, and Prosecco.
11. What is next for you? A new film?
Yes! I'm working on shorter films I call "studio shorts." I've also started the assembly edit for the feature-length documentary "Heroic: Sabin Howard Sculpts the National WWI Memorial." I'm hoping to release it in the fall of 2024.