This project began under the dictatorship of very simple terms: we wanted to make a western. Attracted by the genre and the stylistic elements contained in it, we set out to create another addition to the already overpopulated school of six-shooter cinema. However, as things began to take shape, I found that my project was staging a coup against the conventions under which I had created it. Suddenly, the story was rebelling against the regime of its creator!
Maya had evolved from an archetypal heroine—the western equivalent of Sarah Connor or Ellen Ripley—into a far more human and meaningful protagonist. How intimidating for a writer to be suddenly confronted by a realistic character when realism was not their intent! But like most creative endeavors, the intimidating should be embraced, not resisted, and as Maya and the other characters changed I was force to as well. Now, the project has become more meaningful than anything I have previously aspired to.
Though she has no children of her own, Maya is motherhood incarnate and Gem of the West is a celebration of that motherhood - a celebration of all of our mothers. Storytelling defines my life; it is the foundation of my writing, my directing, and my day-to-day conversations. Everything I do, I do because I thrive on stories. And I owe this (as most of us owe everything) to my mother, who would put me to bed and regale me with tales of Quacker, the talking duck and his friend, The Prince. Mothers are the goddesses of our lives; they teach us and protect us and care for us with a primal intensity that can't be matched or imitated.
It is impossible to fully show the mothers of the world the gratitude and appreciation that they deserve, but I hope that I can start with this film. Since my realization that this project had become bigger in scope than expected, it has become my desire - and my self-appointed duty - to pay tribute to maternalism.
After all: where would any of us be without our mothers?