I’ve been thinking a lot lately about why creating is important to me. For me, creating has become both a painful and rewarding experience. When I’m asked why I do what I do, or how I got to where I am or why creating is important to me, I struggle to articulate the answer. Creating has always just been a part of me just as my hands and heart are. I’ve been creating and performing since I was 4 years-old; painting classes, dance classes, piano classes and drama clubs. Owning a video camera turned into writing groups, workshops, parts in staged plays, auditions and eventually my own film sets. As I’ve gotten older and given more thought to why I am driven to what I do, I believe at lot of it is personal – it’s just who I am – but I also believe creating is important because it helps to create a more empathetic society. Creation for me is an outlet to provide audiences with a different perspective and to show how others view the world.
The film I am currently promoting, a short memoir, titled AMYDEE, plays into this. This idea of understanding ourselves and taking what we know back into the world. AMYDEE is about a woman who, after suffering a violent assault on the front steps to her home, realizes she is depressed and not living her life to the fullest. She then reclaims her power through the sport of boxing and we watch her grow and become more aware of who she is as she trains for her first amateur boxing match. My name is Amy DePaola and I am the writer, director, editor and star of this piece.
This film is based entirely on true events from my own life. I am that woman who was assaulted, and who, through boxing, picked myself up afterward. Because of it, I am more empowered than I ever was before. AMYDEE is my way of owning the narrative of what happened to me and re-writing it to fit the positive ending I wanted to find out of that situation. I did this through the making of the film, yes, but I also did this through the act of training. What you see on screen is part fiction, part reality. I joke sometimes that it is performance art but, my recovery was happening on camera and continued through editing.
For audiences, the film plays like fiction but most of the filming was observational documentary also known as verite. My team and I utilized verite filmmaking both aesthetically and in practice to bring the training and fight to the fictional Amy’s story. Making the film was one of the most painful (literally, I was getting hit in the face) and rewarding experiences of my life. It’s something I will likely not replicate.
I am very passionate about inspiring others to find the good in bad times and to feel empowered by their own pursuits. This is the message of the film and my intention is that it reaches people that need it, in particular women and others who are in recovery from anything - addiction, trauma, illness, whatever they’re holding on to.
AMYDEE is currently coming to the near end of its festival life and we are actively looking for distribution partners, either a short film distribution outlet or a publisher whose mission aligns with the film. I am developing the story into a feature where we will pick up after we last saw Amy in the ring. I am doing this because, in my pursuit of feeling confident and comfortable, I have realized that recovery, like life, is cyclical.