In this intimate, vérité portrait, shot over nearly a decade, Christopher “Quest” Rainey and his wife Christine’a, “Ma Quest,” allow us into the creative sanctuary that is their home and neighborhood recording studio in North Philadelphia. Over the years, the family evolves as everyday life brings a mixture of joy and unexpected crisis. Set against the backdrop of a country in turmoil, the film depicts a family whose journey is a profound testament to love, healing, and hope.
This film started off as a chance encounter while I was teaching a photography class a few blocks away from the Raineys’ studio. It is a reflection of a relationship and mirrors the friendship that I have developed with them over the last ten years. That friendship is the most precious thing to me—the film and all that comes from it is a bonus. I learned about Quest’s balancing of the studio and the paper delivery route and related to the juggle of the passion project and the day job. We began a photo essay that would convey that dynamic. I quickly realized that the essential story was not the studio and the paper route, but the family and their community. I also began to realize the limits of still photography and wanted to find another medium that would better reflect the complexity and points of view of my subjects. This led to my first documentary film.
Director’s Statement: Jonathan Olshefski