Mysteries in the Woods features a series of interconnected stories about young children around the world discovering similar mysterious objects in disparate natural environments. The film includes an ever-expanding (as we are still in production) range of diverse cultures and languages, resulting in unexpected and wondrous correlations between the imaginative lives of children at play all over the world. We have made an effort to follow the children’s direction as much as possible. But in order to remain visually consistent and to facilitate the connections between otherwise-unrelated scenes, we have provided costumes that vary in hue by scene, as well as an array of seeds and natural objects that all the children discover.
Little Creatures Films makes movies about children’s spontaneous interaction with one another, with the goal of facilitating and enhancing imaginative play. The Mysteries project was set in motion by the combined needs we saw—of providing more beautiful media for children, and of ultimately redirecting children’s gaze away from the media, back outside. Rather than simply produce a story with more flashy characters and colors, we hoped to spark children’s play to take on more complexity and depth, and to infuse children’s media with a needed dose of abstraction and poetry. Five years into the project, Mysteries clearly fuses the worlds of art, media, early childhood and nature, and is poised to become a vital artifact of children’s media and historic research.
The Mysteries story has developed over eight scenes shot in NYC (3), Connecticut, Georgia, Switzerland, Japan and Vancouver. The story currently includes these scenes: two sisters in Switzerland discover many seeds that they play with and bury. Four siblings playing in Brooklyn find a similar collection of seeds; a pinecone turns golden. Children in the Georgia woods find golden pinecones and a seed orb, which are later also discovered by two girls on a Staten Island beach and two brothers in a Connecticut forest. Two sisters in Japan observe a brown seedpod turn golden. This golden pod then washes up on the shore in Vancouver, where two sisters find it. As children all over the world discover similar natural objects and create their own stories about them, a cohesive dream-like journey develops. The film is open-ended enough that young viewers can approach it as a starting point, and then make up and act out elements of their own evolving mystery.