I'm always writing on this blog about artists who make work that doesn't necessarily get big audiences but nonetheless deserves our attention. or mine at least, because their creations are so original or effective or engaging etc. Sanjiban Sellew is one of them.
He's been making short films for many years and I discovered them through my older kids. My son is friends with Sanjiban's twin brother John, and my daughter used to sell little DVDs of his films in a shop she had for awhile in Massachusetts, where she sold only items made by people who lived within a certain radius of her store, I think it was twenty miles.
I fell in love with his films not only because they were unique and funny and personal and entertaining but so incredibly local and totally disregarding of anyone else's standards or impact, dependent only on the filmmakers intentions and accidents. You can find some on YouTube here.
I've also written a lot on the blog about my brain surgery and my recovery from that. Then I found out recently that Sanjiban has terminal brain cancer. But in his usual fashion, he's turned this tragic reality into an opportunity, to learn how to focus on the present moment and to express what it feels like to be him in these circumstances. His brother John has done some short films of Sanjiban facing this ultimate challenge, including one surprisingly funny one at Sanjiban's own grave site.
But the one below is the most moving and enlightening for me. The camera he is talking to and the man holding it is his twin John. But it feels to me like he's talking directly to all of us about what it means to be alive in the face of fatal adversity.