This is lovely and heartbreaking all at once. Warning: you will probably have a few tears running down your face by the end.
Jason Woods has been a dear friend of mine for about five years. He’s sort of “a man of the street” and at the time, I was going through a hard time in my life. No one could get into my personal space and Jason sort of invaded it and sort of showed me a part of life that I never understood. Even though he doesn’t like it, I call him the “Mother Teresa of Long Beach” because this guy helps all the marginalized and forgotten people of the world but has nothing for himself. I sort of fell in love with him as a character and started shooting him and his friends. We released a little thing called Five Hours with Woody about two or three years ago and that sort of exploded. Since then we’ve been shooting Jason’s life and several other lives he’s connected to for a larger body of work called Eight Lives.
One night Jason called me and said that he was putting Oden down. I was familiar with the dog—he was sort of his counterpart in a lot of ways. Jason would literally put up in his house and then take care of the heroin or speed addicts that were trying to kick their drug addiction. He told me they were going to put the dog down and I said, “Jay, I don’t know what else to do besides come in with cameras and continue to shoot this thing and just see what happens.” The cameramen [Luke Korver and Matt Taylor] and everyone else that I brought into that environment were profoundly affected by everything that transpired that day. I went home that night and edited it together in four hours and had a very cathartic release. After I bawled my eyes out, I just said, “Screw it, I’m just going to throw this up on Vimeo and see if there will be any conversation or dialogue.” I wanted to get a sense of whether or not this was an amazing story or just some crazy dude that I’m in love with.