Lost and Found in Seattle
By Her Aim Is True director, Karen Whitehead
What drives dozens of talented musicians who have had legendary careers fusing rock, blues and folk since the early 1960s to come together in a benefit performance for a little known arts story?
The answer lies in one name and one idea: the name is Jini Dellaccio. The idea was to support my indie film documenting her artistry – as probably the most important rock n roll photographer you have never heard of – but as this film reveals, you should have.
This week, after 3 years of filmmaking with only individual donations, inkind services and passion to fuel the production of Her Aim Is True, my documentary on Jini Dellaccio moved a vital step closer to the finish line, with fundraising efforts in Seattle,Washington State and Washington DC to help our launch costs.
This would not have happened if a middle-aged Jini Dellaccio had not formed such a unique bond with her predominantly teen subjects: the kind of bond that sustains 50 years and motivates everyone to come together to ensure this story reaches wide audiences.
Playing to a packed out crowd at Highway 99 in Seattle, musicans weaved their strong memories of Dellaccio’s ‘avant garde’ photo shoots with passionate renditions of many songs I know for a fact Jini was listening to in her dark room (The French Girl, Dirty Robber, The Witch, Strychnine to name a few!). To witness this so many years on from the original connection Jini made with these bands, was truly magical and reminds me of a fundamental element I explore in the film: Jini Dellaccio was the one person who took them seriously as artists, while so many in her generation dismissed their music. That Dellaccio’s pioneering photography runs parallel with this unique indie music scene is what makes this story so unusual and inspiring.
For everyone that has rallied around the film’s fundraisers in Seattle and Washington DC there was a deep sense that the time is now: now for 96 year old Jini Dellaccio to get the recognition she deserves as a master photographer, and for her voice, along with all these musicians’ – to be heard!
I could have also entitled this blog “community”: this film just would not exist without it: the musicians, the production team, the dedication and determination of the fundraising support team, the early donors and finally – the believers who turned up this week and took a chance that this film deserved their time, and attention. Indie arts projects like this only have a chance because of YOU. Some of you have heard me say this before – there are musicians, there are photographers and there are artists in this world. I can’t play the rock anthem Jini’s subjects gave us- Louie Louie, take iconic photos of musicians dangling in trees, or paint like Matisse for that matter, but I enjoy all these things! As listeners and viewers we are consumers of the arts. But we really also need to be participants along the way, pushing these stories and experiences out into the world for new generations to discover them. With each other we make it happen and what might have been lost is found again.