Film brings art and motherhood together

Work, motherhood, art, change, and friendship.

These are the themes in Mary Trunk's documentary "Lost in Living," which showed the lives of four women and their daily ups and downs as mothers, artists, daughters, and friends. Between work, family and change, they are "lost in living."

On May 9, Trunk screened her documentary, which she directed and produced with Ma and Pa Films, at Santa Monica College.

Trunk filmed for over seven years, witnessing the women's struggles and successes to balance their responsibilities toward their families with their passions for art.

“[As a mother], you are always pulled into different directions — motherhood, art," she said. "And within those, there are all these other choices. There is the friendship, and the work, and the change, and all these different themes that make things [go] in different directions. And when you become a mother, you often don't get to choose."

Over the years, Trunk has heard different stories of bad marriages, best friends and regretful mother-daughter relationships. But they all share one similarity- art as an outlet to offset their daily duties.

Trunk's own life as a mother and artist inspired her to start this seven-year-long project. Like her other films, the documentary was prompted by the struggles she went through and that helped her to discover and express her thoughts, she said.

When Trunk moved to Los Angeles with her one-year-old daughter, she said she "felt lost in the toddler life of taking care of a child."

"I had to kind of jump-start my creative urges," said Trunk.

Trunk said that she did not only use the movie as a way to express her creativity, but also as a means to tell stories that needed to be heard, but are not always told.

The different paths that these four women take and the decisions that they make are not supposed to serve as guidelines or directions for other women, Trunk said.

"It is about a situation and the people," she said. "It is not an argument or a statement on what you should do. The voices of women and mothers are super important in this film. It's about story."

Trunk developed compassion for her subjects by filming, observing and listening to them for more than half a decade. As a result, her subjects developed trust in her, she said.

“You learn compassion more than anything because when you make a film where you are really listening to people and not engaging in conversation so much, you have to accept them for who they are," Trunk said. "And in doing that, you are learning about people what you normally wouldn't learn about. They are going to divulge and trust you in a way they wouldn't otherwise. And that's a real gift.”

The honesty and frankness in the stories of the four women in the film seemed to give some female viewers a sense of affinity and encouraged them to share their thoughts.

"What I appreciate the most is the honesty and transparency of the movie," said Elsa Mora, artist and mother of two children. "That's why I think it's extremely relevant to everybody. Suddenly I realize that probably every single mother in the world is going through the same time but we don' about our frustration because we feel embarrassed. I am part of a huge thing. I am connected to something else and it makes me feel good.”

Maize Connolly, another artist and mother who attended the screening, could relate to the subjects in the movie.

“This was probably the most relevant to my own life movie that I could have seen right now," Connolly said. "It's about the things that I am doing, which are balancing being a mother and an artist. I'm taking away a feeling of community with other people experiencing what I've been experiencing. But I haven't been sharing as much. Now I'm thinking I should.”