Anastasia’s participation with Crossroads Collaborative began in the summer of 2012. She worked with the Kore Press Grrls Literary Activism workshop; her experiences have undoubtedly offered her opportunities in which she can help people have access to filmmaking and other media practices—especially those who have been historically and systematically excluded.
Anastasia’s involvement began while she at the University of Arizona. She recently graduated in 2013 with a double major in Gender and Women’s Studies and Film and Television Studies. It was at that time when Jamie A. Lee encouraged her to be apart of upcoming summer workshop that was centered on devising and filming a documentary that focused on representations of youth in Tucson. She was granted a unique opportunity to both witness and enact the seemingly erudite ideologies that she really only knew how to pontificate at the time. Jamie A. Lee is a social justice filmmaker, archivist, activist, and doctoral candidate at the University of Arizona. She remembers Anastasia’s involvement well: “Anastasia brought her deeply theoretical perspective to every one of her encounters. In our work together, we collaborated with a number of youth organizations throughout Tucson and on the Tohono O'Odham Nation. Not only did she learn more about connecting theory to practice, but I think that she built on her balance and footing through working with her peers in new ways to consider even our own ongoing conversations about our media production processes and practices.”
Anastasia has since left Tucson and pursued her film interest in Phoenix, but she has very fond memories of Tucson. Anastasia says that Tucson, “is a location where daily confrontations of power based on such systemic identity markers as race, class, sexuality, gender, and more erupt into dualistic renderings of ‘dominator/other’ or ‘good/bad’”. She says that is has taken her several years—and will take her several more—to develop a conscious vocabulary that can most honestly convey that knowledge and feeling.
Anastasia says that by collaborating with Crossroads Collaborative, she was not only provided moments to put theory into practice, but she was given the opportunity to confront her commitment when it came to applying radical thinking to her own actions. Specifically, these experiences challenged her to confront how her white middle class identity perpetuated the systems she— in theory, wanted to help dismantle. By interacting with fellow collaborators and interviewing youth from Wingspan, the Tucson Youth Poetry Slam team, and the Tohono O’odham Nation, she could no longer escape the fantasy that she could enact change if she did not at first learn how to become comfortable with the uncomfortable.
Anastasia hopes that her continued involvement with these projects and similar ones will offer numerous opportunities where she can assist in realizing what it means to help more people have access to filmmaking and other media practices; especially those who have been historically and systematically excluded. Ultimately, her time with Crossroads Collaborative galvanized her to value the importance of not only collaboration, but to embrace the uncomfortable in a way that is constructive and fundamentally transformative.
Today, Anastasia is working on several projects: One important opportunity that has been realized due to the Crossroads Collaborative and Kore Press summer workshops is her continued work with Jamie Lee specifically her doctoral project with the Arizona Queer Archives. She has also become associated with a local organization in Phoenix: Sailbear Labs. Run by filmmakers Bob and Jessica Marquis, one of its core projects is offering free film workshops to Middle and High School students in collaboration with the Phoenix Film Festival.