Meet Co-producer Patrick Lile

Patrick Lile is the Associate Producer of Unbroken Glass. Patrick, who is also finishing up his MFA in Documentary Film at Columbia College Chicago (where he is also an adjunct faculty member), was the Outreach Coordinator for The Interrupters, and most recently assisted in the post-production of Life Itself, the soon-to-be released Kartemquin documentary on Roger Ebert.

How did you first get involved with Unbroken Glass?

I was working on The Interrupters as the Outreach Coordinator, when Dinesh approached me about coming on board as a producer. We had known each other for a while – Dinesh actually sat in on my Kartemquin internship interview – and I’d helped out on the project a few times doing various ‘odds and ends’ jobs. But Dinesh had seen what I was doing on The Interrupters, and felt that my experiences building outreach and connecting with the right communities for that film could translate over to Unbroken Glass, and really help take it to the next level.

What was it about Unbroken Glass that made you want to become a part of the project?

It’s important that you believe in a project, and in the case of Unbroken Glass, its themes really spoke to me. Although it’s about mental health in immigrant populations, which is a very dire and relevant social issue, universally it’s about ‘family’. It’s about the ways in which the scars and experiences of the parents reverberate through generations, and how the children, whether emotionally or physically, carry on what happened. Every family, every person, has things in the closet that don’t get talked about. The most important thing our film can do is to empower people to talk about those things, not hide them.

How do you approach producing and doing outreach?

I started running marathons sometime between when I graduated from undergrad and went back to get my masters. The lessons I learned from training for those races is how I frame my approach to documentary filmmaking. You start small – 4 or 5 miles here and there – but it’s those little runs that end up becoming the building blocks for accomplishing something greater. You start with one grant, then another; you find an outreach partner, edit together a group of scenes that you can really be proud of. With every mile marker that you pass, you build momentum and confidence. The legs will get tired, and when they do, you regroup, catch your breath, and start focusing on those small milestones again.

So where are you at with Unbroken Glass?

We’ve run our first half marathon, so we’ve hit the 13-mile point. We’ve teamed up with some fantastic future outreach partners and acquired some grants, and although 13 miles is great, it’s never been our goal. You have to have a vision for the end, that goal for the 26th mile. We have some wonderful milestones coming up as we move into 2014, like Drinks in Progress, and having a rough cut done by the end of the year. But we will continue with our grant writing (both big and small); we will continue to reach out to a variety of outreach partners, and really try to maximize the potential impact our film can have in raising awareness of issues of mental health. It’s a long process, but in a few years we will be able to look back on what we were able to accomplish with Unbroken Glass, and say we were able to succeed because we took so many correct steps early on, and took it one-mile marker at a time.