By Jesseca Ynez Simmons
Using only excerpts from her poetry, Emerald Ice takes the viewer on a journey of the imagination to explore Diane Wakoski’s fearless meditation on intimacy and mortality. Starting from Diane’s kitchen table, director Jesseca Simmons’ cinematic curation drops the audience in the middle of a California orange grove that leads to momentary glimpses of the expansive worlds existing inside this beloved American poet, in hopes to give more credence to our own multitudes.
“Beautiful words and images come together to make this visual poem on Diane Wakoski a stirring experience.” ~Bill Bukowski
There is this place we all have experienced intimately: when what we know in truth and what we feel in truth are in conflict. This place is where my cinematic epicenter resides. Rather than only believing in what we can see, my work attempts to evoke poetic truths which subvert and challenge the complacency of treating non-fiction as unarguable fact. In trying to explore a poet’s imagination, as opposed to her biography, I have used the term “docufantasy” to describe my most recent project Emerald Ice. Although it may seem more fictional than traditional nonfiction, I hope the term will act to bring down barriers between the two categories. By letting the explicit factual and the fantasy graze on the same plane, it is possible to gain something more than if they were treated separately. The reality of the outside world and the reality of our interior spaces are equally true, even if one cannot be readily seen. Discovering new galaxies occurs when we have faith in what we cannot see and in the magic residing just beyond our threshold of articulation. Truth was first found in fantasy before fact; all that ever existed came not with sight, but imagination.
Emerald Ice is narrated by Diane Wakoski, providing the audience the opportunity to assume the side of the reader as facts of the author’s life weave through enigmatic and fractured stories. Utilizing this approach gives Diane a sort of agency. Whether it is a documentary, narrative or docufantasy, like any good film (and any poem), it is up for the viewer to decide what is true to them.