Charles Frank Talks About My Baby You'll Be

Spiritual Cinema Circle


Was it sparked by a specific incident or event?

For whatever reason, I have absolutely no recollection of my mother recording home videos growing up. So I was shocked when my she called me one day saying how frustrated she was with the astronomical quote she received for getting all our home videos transferred onto a hard drive.

I remember being taken aback and saying... “wait, what home videos?” And then I promptly offered to do it myself.

At that point I didn’t know I wanted to make a film, I just knew I wanted to try and close the gaps in my memory. To reflect on who I was, and who I am.

I watched every clip, end to end. I cried, I laughed, and then I wondered, "what happened? Why aren't we as connected as we used to be?" That's when I started exploring my unopened voicemails. I wanted to try and figure out how things changed, and why it happened.

As a message from one person to another it’s kind of a unique film. Does the fact that it uses archival materials make it a documentary? How do you characterize it?

Hmm that's an interesting question. The archival material is all real, but the present day footage is somewhere in between - it was technically all set up, but it was based on what my average day looks like. Honestly, the most important thing to me is that the ideas are communicated, and that it creates some kind of emotional response. To me it feels “true” to real life, so I'd consider it a documentary but I am certain open to it being characterized as something else.

Since it’s mostly/all archival material, how did you go about gathering it? Was any of it especially challenging to find and use? (How old was the oldest phone message, and how on earth did you unearth it?)

The story of how I came across all the material is outlined above, but again I think the bizarre and emotional part for me was seeing moments from my past that I don't remember happening. Back then, my whole family seemed to function much more as a team than we do now (largely due to our proximity). We all stay in touch, but we lead very independent lives. So it was very challenging for me to see how different our relationships used to be - especially that of my Mother and I. The voicemails were all recent, so realizing she was trying so hard to stay connected with me despite my neglect tore me apart.

Have you made other films like it? Have you seen other films like it?

I haven't made other films like it. I mean generally speaking, I do like making films that are in some way personal, but never this personal haha! I recently saw a very similar film called Say Something Intelligent. It is also comprised of home video, but it takes a much more lighthearted approach. Definitely made me want to look back and pick out some funnier moments from my past!

How have audiences reacted to the film?

It's been a mixed bag - there are thousands upon thousands of comments very upset with my lack of communication with my Mom. But there have also have been thousands of others very moved by my acknowledgment of the problem, and commitment to making a change. To me, I'm just glad it sparked so much conversation. I think there's validity to both sides of the argument.

Lastly, what did your mother think of the film? Other family members?

My Mother's reaction was about as Motherly as you can imagine - she felt I was being too hard on myself. She said, "but Charles, you're there for me in so many ways you can't imagine... so what if you missed a few calls." Truly a testament to her unconditional love.

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