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Production Journal

Charley Trujillo and Sonya Rhee talk about their shared directing duties, their distinctive contributions, and the benefits of collaboration.

POV: We often work with films made by partners, a situation which has its own special nuances. In your case, your partnership was long-distance and inter-generational. Can you talk about how it started and how you were able to create a good working relationship?

Sonya Rhee: It started when I wrote Charley a letter after I read his book. I have no idea what he must have thought but he called me and soon after I flew over to meet him. Despite our differences (inter-generational, cultural, gender) we share many of the same values. We both believe that humor is the solution to most problems and we especially believed in the importance of this story. I think because we had such faith in this film it translated quite easily into faith in one another.

Charley Trujillo: As with any working relationship it takes time to adjust to one another. As long as the relationship is based on mutual respect everything will work out — which it did. However, our differences in age, gender, and ethnicity proved to be exceedingly beneficial in producing our documentary. Sonya was able to point out certain things that I thought were clear. For example, she would ask our subjects questions that I would never even think to ask. When she interviewed my mom she asked questions that were gender sensitive. In essence what helped was that she is a member of an "out" group and I am a member of the "in" group, and this combination was synthesized to enhance the documentary.





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