Faces of the Community: Diane Quon
Diane is a former CF student who is knee-deep in the local film scene. She's most recently attached to In The Game, a documentary that dissects the social discriminations and difficulties that the girls on Kelly High School's soccer team face. We caught up with her to ask about the amazing success the film has found since its local release, as well as her future projects.
If we gave you an elephant, what would you do with it?
First of all, thanks for interviewing me! If I had my own elephant, I’d use its trunk whenever I needed a lift! Whether it’s reaching high shelves or watching parades - it's tough being short!
You leapt right into filmmaking, no holds barred, any advice for someone hoping to do the same?
Take as many different classes as you can. You’ll be amazed how much of what you learn will be utilized right away whether you are working on your own film or someone else’s film. For instance, my first class was Final Cut Pro X and I had to use my limited (and I mean limited!) skills right away to edit clips to send to my Kickstarter editor.
Get to know your classmates and teachers. My doc teacher, Julie Englander, hooked me up with the Kartemquin folks which is how I got the job of working on the doc, In The Game. Julie is also an advisor on my own doc - I’m so grateful! I met some wonderful classmates, too, and we continue to support each other.
If you’re able to work on the film of an experienced filmmaker, do it - even if it means you working for cheap and working odd hours. It’s a great way to learn, prove yourself, and hopefully get future jobs!
If you’ve always wanted to make your own film, at some point you have to stop thinking about it and just do it! It's scary, but I keep reminding myself, that just trying is already a win. Luckily I have a great support group of family and friends.
Is there a piece of film equipment you have on your wish-list? We're looking for suggestions for our Co-Op!
I would love to own a really nice camera that's VERY, VERY easy to use (for the technologically challenged!). I took a one day interview workshop at Chi-Film and the teacher had a nifty little camera that caught my eye.
You've been involved with the incredibly documentary In the Game, following the girls' soccer team at Chicago's Kelly High School, and the trials/discrimination these girls face day-to-day. Can you tell us more about the project, and where your passion for it comes from?
I’m still involved with In The Game as the outreach coordinator and it’s been a great experience! In The Game is a 2015 documentary directed by Peabody award-winner Maria Finitzo and produced by Kartemquin Films. The film follows the girls’ soccer team at Kelly High School to show the very real obstacles that low-income students face in trying to go to college. The school is over 80% Hispanic and the girls face an uneven playing field - very little support, problems at home, discrimination, poverty. Thanks to the dedicated mentoring of their coach, however, the girls never give up hope in their quest for higher education and, most importantly, success in life.
I feel passionate about the film because 1) it gives a voice to a group that often goes unheard. Everyone should have the opportunity to a quality education and my hope is that the film will encourage conversation which may even lead to change. I have gotten to know the 3 young ladies featured in the movie. Due to financial hardships, all three had to drop out of college, but I’m happy to say all three returned to college this semester! 2) I also love that the movie uses soccer as a metaphor for life. I’m a huge soccer fan and I think sports can be a powerful tool in speaking to youth. 3) I have come to really admire the director, Maria Finitzo, and producer, Mary Morrissette. They are talented and committed to helping others - and that inspires me.
Is there a dream project in the back of your mind that you're waiting to bring to life?
I would love to make a documentary about the making of a musical. When I was young, my dream was to dance on Broadway, but I was too shy and most of all, I didn’t have any talent - ha! Now that I’m old, making a movie would be the next best thing to being on the actual stage.
Name one moment from a film you saw recently that really resonated with you.
I just saw the movie Joy. In many ways I relate to the main character: trying to re-invent myself and asking people to believe in me. The moment that resonated with me was when Joy's first invention - her mop - is being sold on HSN for the first time. The person selling the mop on TV totally blows it - he doesn't know how to make the mop work and so not one mop sells. Joy is devastated - she has no control over this failure and feels so helpless - and yet she doesn't give up. I have felt that loss of control in my life, and I'm trying my best not to give up.
Finally, what is your favorite Chicago restaurant, theatre, and/or bookstore?
My parents used to own a small Chinese restaurant in Chicago and my mom is the best cook in the world. So…when I want to eat some really good food I go to my parents’ house in Skokie. No restaurant can compare!
Visit the website for In The Game to catch upcoming screenings and support its three subjects, Alicia, Maria, and Elizabeth!