A combination of portraiture and vérité, mixed with a poetically impressionistic voice over, Alan Spearman’s As I Am is one of the most powerful documentary shorts we’ve featured here on DN. Alan joins us to discuss straddling the line between journalist and filmmaker and how Werner Herzog advice to ‘meet the glory’ has positively impacted his work.
As I Am (2012)
Chris Dean’s heart stopped when he was two. He died but he came back. When Chris was five, his father was murdered, riddled by more than 20 bullets in a gang shootout. At age 18, Chris gained national attention when he introduced President Barack Obama at his high school graduation. Chris is an observer and philosopher who has always had a few things to say about life from his vantage point in South Memphis. He and Emmy-Award winning filmmaker Alan Spearman walked the neighborhood for eight weeks observing and recording what became the script of As I Am. This film floats through this remarkable young man’s landscape, revealing the lives that have shaped his world. Poetic and powerful imagery, captured by Spearman and cinematographer Mark Adams, combines with the young philosopher’s trenchant observations about life.
I’ve always heard ‘if you make something good it just gets out’, but I think this is the first time I’ve ever experienced it directly.