Most importantly, I want to give a very special thank you to Bernie Caja. Thank you you for coming to San Francisco and participating in the documentary film.
Early on I made a promise to Jerome’s family to include them in on ALL things Jerome. Recently, when I was back in Ohio and having a meal with Jerome’s mother, I asked her to come on out and see her son’s work in the Tiny Bubbles exhibition that is on display until August 26th at the SFAC Gallery.
I said — “Bernie, there are 50 pieces of your son’s art on display in San Francisco right now,” — and with a devilish glint in my eye I also said — “Now… there are 5 or 6 pieces that I know are not your cup of tea, BUT there are 45 other pieces you would absolutely love to see! If you want, buy a ticket to come out. I will take care of the rest and get you back to the airport safe and sound.”
I thought this 83-year-old Catholic grandmother from Cleveland would probably not take me up on my offer. She responded, “That is very kind of you, thank you,” and the conversation moved on. Well boy-oh-boy was I wrong about that! Five days later I received an email from Bernie saying she would love to come to San Francisco. I was thrilled that she took me up on my offer and completely terrified of filming her.
Her willingness to come out started an avalanche that moved everything forward. I quickly assembled my crew, I called in all the favors I possibly could, and I started planning the shoot. This was the moment when I knew I was in full swing of production. Everything prior to this point felt like development.
And on top of Bernie's visit, Anna van der Meulen, the executor of Jerome’s estate and dear friend from Cleveland, also said she was coming out for the celebration. This onslaught of Cleveland love and support was completely intoxicating and humbling — thank you Anna!
Last Monday we interviewed Bernie & Anna in conversation about Jerome, his work, and his upbringing. In addition we captured the full day’s events, including Bernie & Anna en route to the gallery, their initial reaction upon seeing the show, and finally the two of them at the party meeting Jerome’s friends and loved ones.
The filming and the event went far beyond my expectations. More than 100 people attended, many of whom also brought artwork from their private collections to share with the public and with Bernie & Anna. The documentary footage we got is absolutely golden — THANK YOU!
We will now be crafting a film excerpt with this new material, and I cannot wait to update you on all of that in the near future.
Thank you ALL for your love, support & help:
by Anthony Cianciolo