I was born on October 10th and I decided in early January, 2020 that I would document the year, knowing as little as any of us did about what would unfold. I thought of it as a curious hook, 10/10 in 2020, but by the end of March, the pandemic pushed me to make a larger and, at the same time, a smaller film. My wife, my family, and the living room couch dominated daily life, and that’s where I pointed my camera. Covid-19, living in a bubble, election anxiety, and true love became the story lines. To reference an old British notion, MY 2020 is a kitchen sink, a movie genre where the story is told by looking at ordinary domestic situations, and in my film that includes a scene with myself, a coffee maker, and an actual kitchen sink. I have always been fascinated with the everyday, and I hope MY 2020 resonates with some of the feelings you may have experienced in your 2020.
"the whole thing is about trust,
it's like a huge trust exercise"
Peter Odabashian has worked in film for over 45 years. He was a sound editor on over 17 feature films from REDS to Carlito’s Way and he's edited more than 22 documentaries. In 1984, he won a Golden Reel Award for best feature sound editing for the film Places In The Heart. In 1987, he cut his first feature-length documentary, The Beat Generation, an official selection of the Berlin Film Festival. From 1988 to 1992 he edited five films for producer Irv Drasnin that were broadcast on Frontline, Nova, and American Experience on PBS. He worked with Andy Kolker and Louis Alvarez for the first time in 1996 on the Peabody and Columbia-DuPont winning documentary, Vote for Me, and won a national editing Emmy for his efforts. In 1997, he cut America in the 40’s, the first non-fiction musical documentary, for Tom Spain and in 1998 he returned to The Center for New American Media to work on four more documentaries, MOMS, People Like Us, Sex: Female, and Small Ball.
Peter became a producer/director in 2004 and went on to share credits with Andy and Louis on The Anti-Americans and You Got To Swing. In 2013 he completed Getting Back To Abnormal with them and Paul Stekler, and that film became an official selection of SXSW and was featured on the PBS series, POV.
Old Friends was Peter’s first solo effort after 40 years of collaborative filmmaking, and it had a joyous premiere at DOC NYC in 2015. He followed that with Somewhere To Be which also opened at DOC NYC and went on to play at film festivals and theaters all over the country. His new film, MY 2020, is a personal chronicle of what turned out to be a difficult, surprising, and memorable year.
I've often been asked, all these years, to write a biographical statement, to explain who I am - one of those linear statements no one likes to read: I was born here, moved there, travelled inbetween. The way we talk about ourselves so rarely tells the reader much: those rational details - my height, my weight, number of husbands, number of children, everybody's names. The titles of my published stories, published poems (God Is A Tree, Breakfast With Allen Ginsberg), my novel about Nazareth, No Charge For Looking, the next, Book Doctor, which took a long time to write. Here's what I can tell you, that you might like to know. I love to write, and always have: the way words fall onto a page, out from some mysterious place. I love stories, especially stories from strangers: the tall foreign woman next to you on a plane who tells you every single detail she can about her life, then vanishes at the Cleveland airport, leaving you her story forever.
What's often most interesting about all of us is what we do not say.
Esther Cohen, executive producer