From: George Fuller

Date: Mon, 29 May 2006 15:43:11 -0400

Subject: Will Hindle

Thanks for your offer to contribute recollections of Will.  Long about 1970, he turned my perception of things - everything really - on its ear.  I was a 3rd year journalism student at the University of Alabama.  Long hair, torn jeans, American flag patches.  Outwardly, a portrait of revolution and unconventional thought.  Inwardly?  Well, those thoughts were as staid and conventional as you'd expect from a sheltered Southern boy.  Even so, I thought I had things pretty much all figured out.  Then, my photography professor brought Will Hindle to town.  He showed a bunch of films.  Watersmith was among them.  It was my first experience with experimental films.  And I was knocked out.  At the end of an amazing evening, Will invited any of us up to his retreat in woods outside Blountsville, Alabama, a little north of Birmingham.  He said he'd be up there just hanging out with some students and working on films.  I was enraptured.  I took him up on it.  I drove up to his place one Saturday morning.  There were a few students just, as he said they'd be, hanging around.  And there was Will.  As gracious and welcoming a person as I could have wanted.  He said, let's go for a walk in the woods.  And we did.  For how long I swear I can't remember cause I became completely and delightfully lost in observations of life, the art of filmmaking, the folly of the Vietnam War and lord knows what else.  What struck me was that this guy was as engaging as his films.  I hung on every word like a baby clinging to his mother's breast.  I know that sounds dumb but I can't think of a better way to describe the feeling.  I felt nurtured.  I never wanted to let go.  But I did, of course.  I thanked him lamely. (How do you really thank somebody for changing the way you look at things?)  And headed back down the road to Tuscaloosa a different person.  A person who started questioning everything.  Who suddenly began asking himself, maybe there's another way to look at this or think about this. It was pretty profound for me.  I never saw Will again.  Or any of his films.  But years later, about 1994, I was in San Francisco overseeing some television commercials I'd written for Publix Super Markets.  During a break, I started chatting with the sound man.  To my complete astonishment, it turned out he'd been a student of Will's at USF during the late 70s and his experiences had been similar to mine.  As we compared notes, I found myself trying to imagine how many young lives this wonderful man must have impacted.

George Fuller




Last revised: June 06, 2006.