When I gave birth to my baby I felt like I had been made clean. I understood quite physically the idea of being re-created within one lifetime. The weeks after, I cautiously returned to the world with new eyes, I saw people for the first time, strange familiar things walking in groups to the u-bahn, I heard each noise separately on my skin. Humans seemed pinker and more human than I remembered them, life more delicate, dirtier, stronger. I watched my baby's ear blossom out from its folded self. I gave milk. I made love.
After a few months, I should return to school. I am a student at the dffb, translated, the German film and television school of berlin. I came to Germany in part because I wanted to go to this school. My favorite director, Bela Tarr, who only a few people in America had ever heard of, he teaches at this school and I thought this must mean something very good. So I applied and was accepted and began to study two years ago. Sometimes it was disappointing and sometimes it was fantastic, as higher education tends to be. But nothing in those two years prepared me for the meeting I had with the school administration a few weeks after school began, now last week, by the time you read this, longer ago. I came in, they asked me, how was my baby. I said he was good. I said he was very good. They told me, that's nice. Good. Then they told me they thought it would be in my best interest to drop out of school. They said, as evidenced by a small home video of mine which won an award at a film festival, I most certainly would work better by myself than in an academy. They were facing pressure from the senate, new cuts to the cultural budget, new cuts to the budget of the school, and they could not afford to keep students who would not fit into a professional environment after graduation, a place, they frankly told me, where they could not see me.
At first I was optimistic. I was sure it was due to some sort of misunderstanding. I offered to show them a new film I had finished before taking maternity leave and to send in my next script. I talked about some ideas I had for distribution of student work in the US. I talked about what the school meant to me. I talked about what my work meant to me. I explained how I could graduate with the rest of my class despite having a child. After talking for a while, I was politely interrupted to be told again in no uncertain terms that in their opinion I no longer had any business at the school and that they had made a mistake to accept me in the first place. It became clear that they do not care what I feel or what the quality of my films might be, a decision has been made in my three month absence and at the latest when the maternity leave is officially over, that decision will go into effect. So I am working out what to do next, if I should stay in the country, how to keep a residence permit, how to make the films I still want to make, and hoping for the minor miracle that would have them change their minds.