One of the gifts we give our family for Christmas each year is a movie.
My daughter, Amy Kikita studied film for years and is brilliant when it comes to movie-making and film-editing.
The process is neither quick nor easy. We spend hours, days, and weeks listening to music and looking at pictures and watching video footage of old home movies.
Once we have determined what songs we will use, we then look for photos and choose film clips which then have to be scanned or captured or otherwise uploaded into Final Cut Pro.
We spend most of the year planning and thinking and brainstorming for what to include in The Christmas Video. It's always great if there's a wedding (which happily there was this year) so that we have lots of footage of our family together and dancing and having fun. (Thanks, Michael & Kimberly!)
Sometime in October we finalize what video clips we're using and then schedule time on our calendars for her to come over a few hours each night from November on.
Inevitably, we will get a last minute inspiration and sometimes throw out hours of work only to come up with something better.
We work from a list to make sure that every single member of our big, fat Cuban family shows up at least once. Sometimes one person gets more screen time one year than another does. That seems to work itself out in the long run.
We laugh. We cry. We argue. We high-five. It has become an intense labor of love and a wonderful family-glue type of tradition.
There are some clips that we use every year.
We mix it up with scenes from Thanksgiving 2007 all the way back to Christmas on the farm in Cuba when we were all so very young. We remember those loved ones we've lost and we celebrate the additions to the family.
I love that we captured my dad (who rarely smiled) smiling on camera. I cry every time. It's the last shot on this piece from last year's Christmas Video.
(I can't publish this year's video because it hasn't been viewed yet by the family. We'll all watch that one together as part of our NocheBuena celebration, but that's not important right now.)
So, without further ado....
"Be excellent to each other."
~ Bill and Ted