Somewhere in the middle of “A Toast to Poverty,” the program takes a random detour from the ostensible topic, wandering through a slightly off-kilter Easter Sunday party before eventually finding its way back to the serious matter of poverty. It seems random and bizarre, and it transforms the show from a diatribe about social inequities into a celebration of life.
You may wonder where I found the inspiration for this bold editing decision.
The truth is that it was a strategy born of desperation. Midway through editing this show, I misplaced one of the tapes. We were on a tight production schedule, so I grabbed the nearest interesting stuff I could find and put it in the program, even though it didn't make any sense.
By the time my next scheduled edit session rolled around, I had found the missing tape, so I was able to get the program back on track, and it seemed to me that the weird shift of focus was more of a strength than a weakness. Add some weird effects and references to LSD, and the whole thing started to seem downright psychedelic.
The Indiana Film and Video Society seemed to like it too. “A Toast to Poverty” won both Best of Show and Best of Category awards in the 1993 Indiana Film and Video Competition.