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Short documentary exploring power of art premieres Nov. 7 in Richland

Local filmmaker Davin Diaz, right, and local painter Cameron Mills pose for a photo at the Uptown Theatre in Richland. Diaz’s documentary about Mills and his artistic process will premiere at the Uptown Theater on Nov. 7.
Local filmmaker Davin Diaz, right, and local painter Cameron Mills pose for a photo at the Uptown Theatre in Richland. Diaz’s documentary about Mills and his artistic process will premiere at the Uptown Theater on Nov. 7. Tri-City Herald

Davin Diaz wanted to make a film exploring the creative process of an acclaimed local painter, as well as the public’s interaction with the work.

His new short documentary, Faceless Fields of Colour, which premieres Nov. 7 in Richland, does just that — following the artist Cameron Mills and his creation and exhibition of a series of contemporary paintings.

But the roughly 25-minute film also became a work of art in itself.

Creative, avant garde, touching on emotions, connection.

“Cameron has a wonderful quote in the movie, which is, if you can make a connection with someone’s conscious and subconscious, you can change the world,” said Diaz, 38, of West Richland. “That’s the message of the movie — it really is just simply the power of art.”

The premiere event starts at 7 p.m. at The Uptown Theatre with an art exhibit and reception.

The screening starts at 8 p.m.

Diaz, a Mid-Columbia Libraries official and owner of DrewBoy Creative, got the idea for the documentary a few years ago.

“I had started asking myself those big, deep questions, like, ‘What am I going to do with my life?’ I had the rational thought of, ‘I’m going to make documentaries,’ ” he said with a laugh.

Diaz wanted to start with a subject he knew and loved: art.

He approached Mills, 30, of Richland, whose work has been exhibited around the Northwest.

In a 14-hour session, Mills painted a series of seven pieces. Jalynn-Marie “Bird” Gutierrez, 10, the daughter of close friends and an artist herself, collaborated.

The work — expressionist paintings featuring people, birds, other animals — was displayed for a month at The Art Center at Washington State University Tri-Cities.

The paintings hung without titles, and visitors were asked to name them, to write three- to five-sentence stories about them, and to describe in a word or two how each made them feel.

Hundreds of varied and unique responses poured in. Diaz said he was amazed at the creativity.

Some are woven into the film, along with interviews with Mills and exhibit visitors.

Mills, who’s also a musician and worked on the soundtrack, has seen the documentary and said he’s pleased with how it turned out.

In his eyes, art is a force — inspiring feelings, evoking memories, bringing connection and even change.

“Empathy is the key. If you can cause people to see something from somebody else’s point of view, you can change the way they think about something. And if you can change the way they think about something, you can change the way they do things,” he said. “But it’s through empathy.”

Some work featured in the film will be displayed at the theater, along with some new work by Mills — including a tapestry he’s creating in response to the fatal police shooting in Pasco earlier this year of Antonio Zambrano-Montes — plus work by his young artist friend Bird.

Diaz’s own paintings also will be on display.

In making the documentary, he personally witnessed art’s transformative power.

“I look back now and I can see that I was searching for my own identity as an artist,” he said. “I had been working on art since I was 16, but I’d never exhibited publicly. Working with Cameron and watching his process gave me courage.”

Tickets are $10 in advance or $12 the day of the event. College students get a $2 discount. Tickets are available in advance at www.facelessfieldsofcolour.bpt.me.

Hedges Family Estate will be on hand, and wine proceeds will go to Mid-Columbia arts groups and nonprofits.

All documentary attendees also will get free admission to a belly dance show at 9 p.m at Emerald of Siam in Richland.

Sara Schilling: 509-582-1529; sschilling@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @SaraTCHerald

IF YOU GO

What: Premiere of the short documentary Faceless Fields of Colour.

When: 7 p.m. Nov. 7.

Where: Uptown Theatre, 1300 Jadwin Ave., Richland.

Cost: Tickets are $10 in advance or $12 the day of the event. College students get a $2 discount. Tickets are available in advance at www.facelessfieldsofcolour.bpt.me.

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