On Sunday, August 14 at about 1:30pm EDT, the Independent Lens Facebook page passed a pretty notable milestone. At about that time, 30-year-old Christina Pettit of New York City clicked “Like” and became our 100,000th fan. Wow! We checked out her Facebook profile, which reveals her religious views (“I’m into reason”); indicates she is a fan of The Black Keys and The Meat Puppets (among many others); notes she loves the films Harold and Maude and Buffalo ’66 (among many, many, many others); and betrays the fact that she is given to quoting Charles Bukowski (“Some people never go crazy; what truly horrible lives they must live.”) We just had to know more.
Thank you and welcome, Christina! Tell us about who you are. Start with the basics …
Hi! I’m Christina; I grew up in Upstate New York, about two hours north of New York City in a small town called Hopewell Junction. It’s near the Hudson River, close to Beacon and Cold Spring, neighboring towns which people tend to know a bit more. I grew up on a dead-end street and my family shared the house with my grandparents, who lived upstairs. We had a huge yard where we grew summer vegetables, a pool, and our very own water well — very different from the New York City life that I know and love now! I have an older sister who now lives in California and works on a vineyard in Sonoma County.
What kind of a kid were you?
Well, I was an avid reader and ballerina from approximately age 6 until I ditched my pointe shoes at age 13 for Converses and a skateboard! I became more interested in music — I started attending local hardcore and punk shows in the NY and CT regions and watching cult ’90s alternative films like Reality Bites and Singles. Singles probably changed my life in that weird, coming-of-age, “music defines all” way.
I knew I wanted to do something with entertainment [when I grew up] — music, movies, or TV, I just wasn’t sure what. I think for a while I wanted to be a writer or a teacher because I was a really, really good speller and a lot of people just … aren’t!
What was your favorite book and/or movie when you were a kid?
Freckle Juice — it’s a tiny book, but I loved it and would read it over and over again. I also loved Catcher in the Rye and The Diary of Anne Frank — I remember reading that in school and bugging my mom to make potato pancakes at home. My favorite movie as a kid was The Breakfast Club — I can still recite most of the entire movie.
School: Did you love it or hate it? Where did you go to college, and what did you study?
Oh, I was not a fan of high school, really — I was more interested in hanging out with my friends, going on road trips around upstate NY, and going to shows. I did, however, enjoy college more — I went to Purchase College (a State University of New York school) and studied Media, Society, and the Arts. I took classes in sociology, feminist studies, and media studies.
What do you do now for work and for fun?
I’m the Marketing Manager at The Village Voice in New York City — in addition to managing social media and marketing initiatives, I produce a food-tasting event, a free indie rock music festival, a theater event and more! A lot of my job is reflected in what I do for fun — it’s debatable whether or not I currently hold a Master’s degree in “Where to Find the Best Ice Cream in New York City.” I love to go out to eat, go exploring around the city and take pictures, and I still go to a lot of shows. I live with my boyfriend, who’s a musician; and a very cute and very hilarious little chihuahua.
Tell us about where you live, too. What do you love about your neighborhood?
We live in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and it’s an ongoing love/hate relationship. It’s an exciting place to live because there are so many young, creative people there but it’s a little overwhelming sometimes — people seriously walk around here with things like Huey Lewis and the News t-shirts and it’s hard to tell if it’s ironic or not. It’s like living in a town of people who never really grow up.
Who plays you in a movie about your life? Who co-stars? What’s the film’s title?
I’d say either Christina Ricci, Winona Ryder, or Thora Birch — all of them seemed to have captured a Christina Pettit-esque personality trait in one film or another. Co-stars would include Bill Murray, John Cusack, Zooey Deschanel, Vincent Gallo, and Anjelica Huston. The film title would be Rewind.
Obviously, you’re on Facebook. Do you consider yourself a digital native, or do you go analog more?
I guess I am a digital native, yes, but I don’t have the thing where you can tape TV shows when you’re not home or anything — that’s weird!
Name your favorite television show (other than, of course, Independent Lens). Why?
Oh, I’d say I’m a sucker for many HBO original series, especially Six Feet Under. Any show that has some curious sociological depth to it mixed with humor and beautiful cinematography gets me every time.
What’s the best film you’ve seen in the past two years? Why?
I actually really loved Micmacs by Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Amelie, Delicatessen). It was such a beautiful film with unusual and captivating characters that made a life out of found objects and garbage. It was the type of film that transcended common consumerist dependencies on material items and really pulled you into a different world. Plus, it was French and that seems to make everything beautiful!
What do you think about the state of public and/or community media right now? Is it important?
I think it’s very important, yes. The state of public media is certainly struggling to maintain its place as the objective and educational news source, in competition with more commercial news sources that skew their coverage based on ratings. It’s important for people to realize the impact of public and community media and how lucky we are to have access to it and our collective, social responsibility to support it.
If you had to pick a favorite Independent Lens documentary, which would it be?
I absolutely loved Thunder in Guyana — it was such a brilliant and unique story of love, ambition, and politics.
Is there a cause that particularly resonates with you right now?
I’m quite interested in food issues such as sustainable and organic agriculture. There’s such a strong movement right now in the right direction and I think film and media has had such a strong influence on enlightening so many otherwise oblivious Americans to discovering the truth behind the food they eat every day without question.
Do you have a favorite quote that sums up your personal philosophy?
Well, I am a big Bill Hicks fan and I’ve always loved one skit of his where he said, “Life is only a dream and we are the imagination of ourselves.”