Lana Wilson I think there are many similarities in making a documentary about Taylor Swift A documentary about psychics. “We all want to be understood. It's so easy to observe people and judge them by looking at them, but to really witness someone is something special.” miss americana says the filmmaker. “As a filmmaker, that's often what I have to do.” Watch her inspiring new film look into my eyeswill premiere at the Sundance Film Festival next week, and it's easy to see that connection unfolding. Wilson makes films with extraordinary intimacy, carving out a cinematic path of self-actualization. How natural, then, that she would turn to the world of psychic powers as her next subject.
look into my eyesThe project, which has been in the works for more than seven years, marks an exciting step for Wilson to look at the community as a whole. Created as a unique portrait of modern New York, this documentary bounces from apartment to apartment and park bench to park bench, focusing its camera on a group of people desperately searching for answers about themselves. Masu. Both clients want to connect with what they have lost. And psychics struggle with loneliness and sadness. As Wilson tracks his seven unique and exacting psychics across the city, he explains why they're suited for the job and how their personal experiences inform their approach to reading. Gain interesting insight into who their influence is and what their lives are specifically like. The final shot is both a literal representation of the film's title and a heartbreaking demonstration of the power of small human connections.
Does this movie provide some answers to whether psychics really have a connection to the other side? Wilson explained in a wide-ranging interview. vanity fairthat question is completely beside the point.
Vanity Fair: What made you decide to make this film? Where did it start?
Lana Wilson: long time no see. Actually, I've never worked on a film for this long. The idea came to Trump the day after he was elected in 2016. It was the morning after the election, and I was working as a TV writer, so I was waiting for my ride back to the city. Around 8 a.m. I was feeling so devastated, heartbroken and sad. I noticed this sign at the strip mall where I was standing. It said, “$5 psychic reading.” I went inside without thinking. I had never been to a haunted place before. When the curtains were drawn, the room was empty. There was only a table and two chairs, but no one was there. I sat down and immediately felt very emotional. I felt like I was looking in a mirror at my own despair at that time. And it was so powerful. And then this woman came in and read aloud to me. She was very pleasant and kind. She doesn't remember what she said, but she remembers feeling better afterward, even though it was brief. And I paid her $5.
As I was leaving, she asked me, “What do you do for a living?” And I said, “I'm a documentary filmmaker.” She said, “Oh, what are you making a movie about?” And I said: “The main character, a punk rocker turned Zen monk, tries to convince suicidal people to stay alive, but he's completing a story that, in a sense, destroys him.” “It's like my life.” “What?” I thought. And she said, “Well, you wouldn't believe that people who come here have situations like this. People are at a real crossroads in their lives.” That was a lightbulb moment for me. . I never thought a psychic would do something like that. I had no idea how serious and profound it was.
You follow the lives of a group of psychics. How did you build that network?
When the pandemic started, I started thinking that now might be the time to make the supernatural movie I've had in the back of my mind for so long. It was coming from this very powerful place in New York during the pandemic. Of course it was a scary place to be, but it quickly became a great place because the people were really there for each other. It was truly incredible. It occurred to me that perhaps psychic business is on the rise and there is definitely less uncertainty about the future than there has ever been. During the pandemic, I started seeing a psychic. We met over 100 psychics. [production] group. In the end, there may have been a total of 4 people, 5 people total, being measured.
We started with the idea that this might be over-the-counter spiritualism, but we were quickly drawn to people doing these longer sessions that sit at the intersection of psychotherapy. I loved the long and deep sessions. The short one felt like someone reading a weather forecast. I loved that it could be done in an hour and a half. At first, I thought it might just be a kaleidoscopic session of humanity in New York during a pandemic. However, as I learned more about psychics, I became more and more interested. I learned about their own origin stories about being psychics. It often began when they became a client of a psychic and their life changed in some way. I realized that they had a lot of common experiences of loss and loneliness, and I wanted more of it. that in the movie. It became a collective story of seven such psychics. There are a lot more psychics in this movie than I initially expected.
In the edit, you can see how their perspectives and experiences influence these sessions, and perhaps how they understand the people they work with.