Filmmaker Statement

During the post-production stages of Take it From Me, I was enrolled in my first year of graduate film school at Columbia University. Thanks to a flexible editor and a Final Cut Pro set-up in my apartment near school, I was able to finish post-production of Take it From Me without missing too many classes. Doing both simultaneously was an incredibly intense, albeit exhausting, learning experience. After listening to a lecture about 'film grammar' I would run home, plop down next to my editor, and apply to my own film what I had just learned ten minutes earlier.

Next semester, however, I am looking forward to being able to slow down a bit and delve more deeply into the film school experience. My plan is to placate the constant flow of ideas I have for the next documentary and be a more focused film school student instead. I also plan to revel in the oncoming, somewhat less hectic, phase of filmmaking: distribution. One of the things that sustained my dedication to the production of Take it From Me was the strong belief that Americans were going to want to hear, and appreciate, stories about the human impact of welfare reform policies. That conviction was the ticking clock that helped motivate my efforts for three years, so I am extremely excited to be finally sharing Take it From Me with a national audience.

Future projects, whether they be in narrative or documentary form, will be social issue related. I am firmly committed to making films that grapple with race, class and gender related issues because of my activist background and concern for disenfranchised populations both locally and globally. In my mind, films can be the grandest and most powerful form of communication so I wield my camera as if it were a weapon against injustice. Making a documentary is an extremely fulfilling, exciting process of discovery for a person intensely curious about a given social issue. You immerse yourself in a world so that you can gain true insight and understanding, and then you share what you've learned with an audience in a beautiful and compelling form."

--Emily Abt, Director