Kim Smith: We’ve been friends now for at least ten years, when I helped you with the interior design of your home.
Lyda Kuth: I had heard about you—you had been in the film business early on as a set designer, and then you turned interior designer. As soon as we met, I felt we had a shared sensibility, which made working together such a pleasure. I remember you encouraging me to use a fabric for a couch that I was afraid would be too “busy” for my taste. But you encouraged me to be bold, and you were absolutely right.
KS: When I saw Love and Other Anxieties in Somerville, I thought it was so beautiful and heartfelt. You speak about your marriage with Kent in such an open way. Everybody who is married asks the kind of questions you ask. It’s a story that everyone can relate to, certainly anyone who is married or in a long-term relationship.
LK: The film is intended to be provocative, and perhaps allow people to voice some things that don’t often get voiced.
KS: I love that your film has examined marriage so intently, by examining yourself, but in such a way that feels universal. One of these themes is wondering what life will be like after the kids leave home. Is anticipating the empty nest part of why you made Love and Other Anxieties?
LK: Yes, but what’s funny about that, this was largely unconscious at the outset. Over the course of making the film, which took five years from start to finish, it became blatantly obvious. I realize that one of the things I hope audience members take home is that there is a “second life” that starts to happen after your kids leave home, and it can be equally as rich.
KS: Seeing your daughter Lily on screen, getting ready for prom, reminded me so much of what it felt like for me, when my daughter Olivia was a senior and I was telling her how wonderful college would be but thinking, “Oh my god, she’s leaving and what will our family unit feel like with one is person missing? We’ll never be a whole family again.”
LK: Did any of your anxieties about this turn out to be true?
KS: I haven’t told this to many people, but at the same time that Olivia left for college, there was a massive Monarch migration through Gloucester– something that only happens every ten to twelve years. I was amazingly transported out of myself and began writing about and photographing the butterflies, which then led to my learning how to film as well.
LK: Isn’t it interesting how the title of your book, “Oh Garden of Fresh Possibilities!” alludes to fresh beginnings and reflects what lay behind the creative work we each took on, in one way or another? I wasn’t consciously aware that the imminent departure of my only child was motivating me. And yet some part of myself was preparing me for this transition. It’s reassuring to know there is something at work, mapping the next step, at a deeper level than my “ruminations,” which are generally circular in nature!
KM: The other aspect of your life, which also finds its way into your film, is your long time role as director of the LEF Foundation, based in Cambridge. When we met, you had already been introduced to Gloucester and the Cape Ann community through having supported artists including Henry Ferrini and Dana Salvo.
LK: Yes, and what stands out for me is having the photographer Dana Salvo introduce me to the wonderful, rich tradition of the Feast of St. Jospeh, and being invited into people’s homes to see their alters and to be part of their tradition. I’ll never forget it.
KS: Yes, it is an extraordinary experience. And Henry Ferrini’s father was the poet laureate of Gloucester; and now Henry, in addition to making films–which is what LEF supported–has co-founded something right in my neighborhood, the Gloucester Writers Center.
KS: Do you foresee having chatting time after the screening at Cape Ann Community Cinema?
LK: Absolutely. The Cape Ann Cinema is just the right kind of place to screen my film– an intimate and somewhat informal setting that allows for conversation. I’m really looking forward to it!
Tickets include dinner and a screening of the movie with director Lyda Kuth. Love and Other Anxieties at the Cape Ann Community Cinema on Monday July 23, at 7:30 pm, 21 Main Street, Gloucester.