Hello Darcy and thank you for agreeing to this interview!
Before talking about “The Eighth Parallel” (which was awesome!) I want to ask a few questions about you beginning with – what drives you? That is, if you were to put into words the force that pushes you to do what you do and experience what you experience – how would you describe it?
I get a real high from venturing into the unknown. I always love my work the most before I even start it so the excitement and giddiness that I feel when thinking of new projects is what continues to drive me forward.
How did you come to listen to your spirit and know what it is that you were to be doing and how did you then translate what you love into what you do?
Well, I really had no idea what I was doing when I started The Eighth Parallel but the idea of making a movie excited me so much that I kept moving forward despite my occasional doubts. I honestly can’t fathom working a job that I don’t love. It’s never once crossed my mind to not pursue my passions. I’d rather live in my car and starve while doing what I love (thankfully it hasn’t come to that!), than work in a field that I hate without a goal.
Do you ever feel afraid (of failure, of judgment, of not living up to expectations of your own or others, of not knowing what to do – whatever it may be) and, if you do, how do you work through it and stay on your path?
Yeah, all the time. Especially when I’m really passionate about what I’m doing. I just know that is part of working towards something great…the more fear, the more rewarding the outcome when it’s all finished. It’s a lesson I learned through sports. “No guts, no glory” is a cliche term, no doubt, but it is based in truth. When I feel fear I just acknowledge it and move forward, just like any other emotion. It helps to have a good support system of friends too.
Given all that you do – how do you do it well and what keeps you motivated to keep learning?
My biggest personal challenge is turning opportunities down. I’m starting to learn that in order to do something well, you have to simplify and occasionally say “no” to projects that have the potential to be mediocre. I’m never satisfied unless I put 100% into what I do, and with so many balls in the air, that is impossible. However it is that multi-tasking that keeps me interested…so I guess my work process is a double-edged sword! I don’t think I really answered that question now did I? Haha.
Like I said before, I get my kicks out of venturing into the unknown and when you’re learning, you’ll always in the realm of the unknown.
What inspired you to make “The Eighth Parallel”?
The Eighth Parallel was more of a utilitarian affair, actually. It was the thesis project for my MA in Intercultural Communication at Royal Roads University, and once I decided to make a film, I thought that I should stick to a topic that was close to my current profession (a pro mountain biker) to be able to easily (yeah right!) juggle my school and work. Women and sports have always been close to my heart because I attribute my involvement in sports to who I am as a person today. After throwing many weird and wonderful topics against the wall, including one idea that would look at the importance of toilets in different cultures, I decided to study female action sport athletes in Indonesia. Originally I wanted to film female boxers in Afghanistan, but the embassy warned against it. Indonesia was safe enough for me to travel alone for 2 months while shooting the video…and the idea of being able to surf while filming a doc was too much to say no to 🙂
What do you think it was about the stories of the four women in your film that were so compelling and, ultimately, universal?
The women in the film were all very different and that probably has something to do with viewers being able to relate with the characters. The underlying thread coming from all the women was that they faced a challenge and overcame it in order to pursue what they loved. Everyone has experienced that story in some form or another in their life–parental pressures, societal pressures, the list goes on–and I suppose that’s why the women in the film are so relatable and inspiring.
All of the women faced barriers when attempting to enter into sport – have you ever encountered such obstacles? If so, how do you navigate them and advise others to do the same?
Oh yeah! My parents hated me mountain biking and stopped coming to my races as a teenager! Their disapproval, however, is what drove me to succeed. I guess you’d call that teenage angst 😉 Also, mountain biking isn’t a typical sport for a girl to be involved in, at least it wasn’t when I started, so breaking that gender boundary was difficult at times. Those barriers were what fuelled my fire though. Without obstacles, successes are boring. I’d advise others to embrace the challenges and work through them step by step.
As a woman with a physical disability watching “The Eighth Parallel” I found myself thinking: “there are all kinds of ways to be disabled”. The film really shows how some are able to see past “limitation” or “disabling conditions” and embrace possibility. What would you say are some of the best ways to inspire, educate and ignite the spark, the possibility and the life force that exists in all of us?
Wow, that’s a loaded question and one that I don’t really know how to answer because everybody is so different. I think women are inspired by other women (and men) with relatable stories to their own. Even if it’s just an element of universality interwoven into a story, I feel that a good narrative has a lot of power. Other than that, I feel like the first step towards possibility is thinking about it. A lot of people are afraid to daydream and set big, lofty, unrealistic goals. Letting go of that fear is the first step, and creating your own reality in your head is the second. Once you do that, you can take action, but without the mental prep, you’re stunted. At least that’s how I work!
What inspires you?
Everything. Art. People. Plants. Stories. Technology. Fire. Water. I find inspiration in most everything. Sometimes it gets a bit overwhelming.
What is next for you?
Next up for me is spending some time at home and re-grounding myself after several very hectic years of non-stop travel. I have an idea for another production that I’m slowly starting to put into action, however, I’m taking a few months off of strenuous work to re-group before my next adventure 🙂