Gary Winick’s birthday is today. He died in 2011. Gary was the reason I returned to film making. I had decided to write fiction, because I couldn’t get any money for my films and I didn’t want to make the kind of films that I could get money for. I couldn’t stand to wait for permission to tell stories, waste my life waiting for that permission, and fiction was a way of continuing, so I had kind of shrugged and walked away–but only after a couple of very bad experiences in the film business. And one day Gary, who knew Angela, my first film, very well, called and asked me if I had anything that could be made for 250,000 dollars. He had set up Indigent, a company working through Bravo, making low budget movies with experienced filmmakers. All the heads of department owned a piece of the film. I told him I had some stories I could adapt. I had The Ballad of Jack and Rose (then called Rose and the Snake) as well but I wasn’t giving that precious story to the kind of nightmare production I envisioned we would have at that price. He read some of the stories and suggested we do three and we link them through the voice over. I wrote the script in two months. I kept asking him about this and that, things I wanted to do. He said, “You don’t understand. You can make the movie. You don’t need to ask me anything.” I mean, I had to have recognizable people in it, but not stars. But the script–the script was not constrained. I was free. That was such an amazing gift. We (My producer, Lemore Syvan, was very much responsible) went on to make the film in 16 days. When Gary and I went to Sundance, we both won prizes: his film, “Tadpole”, won best director, and “Personal Velocity” won best cinematography and the Grand Jury Prize. Without Gary I don’t know if I would ever have made another film;it was the success of Personal Velocity that allowed me to make The Ballad of Jack and Rose, and then I was back in the game. He had such generosity, such insight. He was able to extend his creativity to other people, to feel nourished by the success of his colleagues. He was a rare spirit. Happy Birthday, Gary.