With "The Next Step," North Adams filmmakers Joe Aidonidis and Augusta Rose launch an odyssey that will span boundaries that are geographical, technological, financial, and deeply personal.
"The Next Step" Not to Be Taken Lightly
The focus of their lens is the determination of a young woman scheduled to travel to Australia this Spring to undergo a procedure not approved in the United States to regain more of the mobility she had before the loss of both her legs above the knee as a teenager.
That young woman, Clara Gardner, is a close friend of the filmmakers, a fact that adds a personal dimension to the project that facilitates the storytelling in some ways. On the other hand, Augusta knew her before a drunk driver cost Clara lost both her legs in 2008—there's no use even in pretending that objectivity is a remote possibility. When one of your best friends becomes the raw material for your art, emotional dynamics may shift in unexpected ways.
Additionally, Augusta and Joe are a couple. The intensity of working on any large project as a small team can place a burden on non-romantic partnerships. During shooting "The Next Step," the two filmmakers will traverse oceans together in pursuit of their work. Then, and during the editing process, time, money, and space are all likely to get tight at times. What relationship safety mechanisms have they put in place to deal with the potential strain?
An epic tale (and the talent to tell it) just part of the recipe for a powerful film
As they travel to Australia with Clara to chronicle her experience receiving the costly procedure known as osseointegration, Aidonidis and Rose will have a level of access unusual for most documentarians. Whether or not they'll be able to convert the powerful story into a feature film over the next year depends in part on funding.
Joe and Augusta have launched a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter to help finance the project. More than half of their immediate goal reached quickly, the couple must still look ahead to the crushing expense of all that goes into a movie after the footage has all been captured. That tale will unfold both on the film's Kickstarter page and its Facebook page, where "The Next Step" is already receiving encouragement and praise from supporters. The two forms of support combined might just be what the project needs to see the journey all the way through to the end.
About Joe Aidonidis and Augusta Rose
Joe Aidonidis is a videographer specializing in capturing live performance, biographic and educational materials for non-profits, and visual art. He co-directs 'Common Folk', an artist collective based in North Adams, MA that empowers communities to use art as a catalyst for change. His mission is to educate others about humanitarian subjects and artistic causes. He is also one of the musical duo that makes up Anonymous Animal. In addition to having a presence on YouTube as a musician on the Anonymous Animal page, he and his partner, Barney, host another YouTube page where they share info about the techniques and trade-craft they rely on to make their transformative sounds—Anonymous Animal 2. Joe also highlights some of the great experiences created by the Common Folk Artist Collective on their YouTube page. You should definitely check out their Facebook page as well.
Augusta Rose has produced documentaries about women’s health, land preservation, mindfulness, and humanitarian causes. She is founder of Be Your Creature, a movement dedicated to fostering creativity in women through transformative portraiture. A good piece by Jenn Smith about the movement in the Berkshire Eagle on 03/23/16. She currently resides in North Adams, MA and works throughout New England and the Pacific Northwest.