On Friday, May 3, 2019, actor Lance Gross (Star, Tyler Perry’s House of Payne) hosted a red carpet and screening event for Tribeca X Award winner, History of Memory. The directors, Sarah Klein, and Tom Mason, also attended the event along with their subjects from the documentary.
The film, presented by Redglass Pictures and the Garage by HP Inc., joins together the stories of families whose lives were changed by the preservation of old photographs. It is divided into four deeply moving chapters: “At First Sight,” “A Secret Album,” “It’s a Boy,” and “China Lost and Found.” Each segment demonstrates the power in cherishing memories by preserving photos.
We spoke with the host, Lance Gross, and the two directors, Sarah Klein and Tom Mason about their involvement with the project:
The Knockturnal: What’s been the most exciting thing about showing the film in NYC?
Lance Gross: “It’s everything. I love New York. I’ve been wanting to come to Tribeca Film Festival for years so to be here is amazing. I’m humbled, I’m honored, I’m excited, you know it’s such a great marriage between HP and photography in this film. And as a photographer myself, this film really touched me. It moved me. And I’m always a big supporter of projects that can do that so I’m having fun. I’m happy to be here.”
Tom Mason: “It’s exciting walking into the room and [finding all of] our film subjects here, which I think is the most exciting thing to us. They’re people who gave us days of their time and trusted us to tell their stories. And the last time we saw all of them, we had just finished shooting and we were like, it’s gonna be great, I promise, and they were like, ok. And here they are and that’s a great [thing].”
Sarah Klein: “And these are short films so the idea that our Singh couple is hanging out with our mom and son from Florida is bazaar. It’s great when you get one set of subjects to come but to have kind of everyone in the room meet each other, that’s the whole thing for me.”
Tom Mason: “We make films that most people watch on their phones or on their computers. It’s really special for us to get to be in a room full of people watching our films. In the field that we work in, that’s pretty rare. And so that’s a real gift.”
The Knockturnal: What were some of the responses from your audience?
Sarah Klein: “We did a Sundance screening and then we showed one of the pieces online. In general, there’s a gush of warmth and emotion. We’ve had nothing but positive responses, of course, nobody would tell us if they didn’t like it.”
Tom Mason: “And I think that people are surprised at how much they feel when they watch it. The fact that HP is behind it, people might have their guard up a little bit. They might not expect that it’s going to be a film that will move them and be meaningful.”
Sarah Klein: “…Yeah be authentic. The woman from HP that brought us on is a creative at heart. And for her, she saw an opportunity to tell a story; she was looking for that. She said, ‘I’m apart of this company that has printers and they print photographs–there’s stories there.’ She wasn’t like, how can I sell more printers? She was like, what kind of stories can I tell that come out of this? And then we were given this mission.”
The Knockturnal: What segment of the film touched you the most?
Lance Gross: “Each chapter was moving for me. The first chapter, I won’t tell you what it is, but I think that one really moved me and I was impressed by it.”
The Knockturnal: What projects do you have coming up that you can share with us?
Lance Gross: “I’m currently working on Star, hopefully we get our season 4 pick up, also appearing on MacGyver on CBS, and I have a project called Too Old To Die Young starring myself and Miles Teller, and that’s for Amazon.”
Cinedigm will distribute HP’s The History of Memory films through its dedicated documentary channel Docurama this summer.