The New York Times calls director Kestrin Pantera “a force” in her craft to keep her vow to “awesomeness” alongside her shift to motherhood.
I’ve known Kestrin to blur the boundaries of nerdy, reliably hilarious, witty, inventive, disciplined, talented, vibrant, ambitious and unabashedly justice-oriented since the days of high school.
For many of us, regardless of which end of the spectrum of these adjectives we fall upon, once we start pondering becoming parents, the question “can creativity and ambition thrive after the shift to parenthood?” rumbles through us to stir up real uncertainty. Kestrin capsized this questioning process by actually creating an epic work of art as a form of genuinely grappling with this question. She wrote and directed a feature film to explore it exhaustively. The film is, in essence, a life goal met with one of the most serious methods of decision making I’ve witnessed:
Kestrin proves that constant creation, lively creation, is the only real way to stave off anxiety about the potential loss of creativity after parenthood.
For years, I recognized Kestrin as a thoughtleader with her early newsletter (the first online newsletter I had been delivered in the early 2000s) declaring her vision for a radical, yet practical future through her K-Panifesto. In the newsletters she set out to live a phenomenal life without apology. In an era where grunge was the way of the land and dystopic visions of the future painted the landscape of generation X, this manifesto was radical. It gave credence to a necessary declaration that life is not a monolith, and is indeed full of fascinations. Being inventive is a good way to locate it.
The glory is all in being your greatest, “funnest” self, rather than retreating in doubt.
Digging through my archives, I can share with you a glimpse of what makes it an inevitable act for me to invite Kestrin to join us in live discussion as we host the european premiere of her first film, the drama/comedy “Let’s Ruin It With Babies” as our second Birth to Birth Talk.
The Kestrin Pantera K-Panifesto: The Universe Always Conspires To Help You [circa 2001]
* We are victims of good.
* Don’t worry! Follow the gut. Anything is possible.
* Be an open book. Or the mystery man.
* Establish, build, and maintain relationships with wise-soul-geniuses: Admire, Help, and Inspire.
* Rock and work hard, joyfully challenging creativity. Laugh as much as possible.
* Make others feel good about themselves during and after interactions – with sincerity. Leave lasting positive impressions. Be Compassionate.
* Utilize all resources effectively, hilariously, and respectfully. Think Bigger.
* Stay focused on self-improvement. Have “the patience”.
* Take criticism from those respected, admired, and trusted: maximize the positives.
* LISTEN. Ask Questions. Be present and honest with every person encountered.
* Avoid Negative Paranoid’s (aka “Toolboxes”) who excessively worry, complain, and criticize. They happen. Don’t let ’em get to you. (NEVER BE ONE).
* Participate in creating successful joyous brilliant projects that make the world a better place.
* Never let someone else’s freakout destroy your peace of mind.
* Take time out to be alone and quiet every day. “Rockstars wear pajamas too.”
* Only two things are certain in this world: Everything changes. You get what you give.
* Speak in your stupidest voice/accent daily. It’s funner.
Surrender the critical voice ceaselessly picking away at joy. Surrender the grip of power demanding too much of nothing. Let go of fear and control.
Embrace beauty. Celebrate freedom, love, creativity and the goodness we all have.
To reserve your seat to seriously and humorously discuss the existential question: “Is life after babies ruined?” We will all be at the gorgeous Il Kino Cinema in Berlin (Nansenstrasse/Maybachufer) on Saturday, September 26 at 6pm with director’s talk following the film.