A photographer steadies a Polaroid camera and composes a shot of the sky, flanked by tree branches. Later, a woman wakes from a nightmare. Jenny Haniver takes its title from a cryptid totem sold for centuries at the docks of Antwerp: a Jenny Haniver or jeune d’anvers (young girl of Antwerp) is a disfigured ray or skate carcass, carved to resemble an angel, a devil, a dragon. A series of ten filmed portraits are subject to all manner of alteration. By this they compose the hull of a ship wrecked on rocks sung by sirens. To mirror its namesake, the film’s plastic properties have been carved, lacerated, bleached, otherwise stressed, reshaped to transform reality into the fantastic and unknowable.
This film was produced with the support of the Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto as part of its 2012 Production Support granting program. Thanks to Emmalyne Laurin, Karl Reinsalu, Noé Rodriguez, Renata Mohamed, Ben Donoghue, Chris Kennedy, and Cameron Moneo.
Making this film was an informal education in the plastic alteration of the film plane. The strategies displayed here were gleaned from discussions, correspondences, readings, and workshops over the past several years, through which it bears the influence of R. Bruce Elder, Izabella Pruska-Oldenhof, Philip Hoffman, and Richard Tuohy; and is also the result of experimentation and improvisation with those processes.
My invaluable peer in this pursuit, Eva Kolcze, has mastered aspects of the artful deterioration and disfigurement of celluloid that I have only begun to learn, and throughout the development of this film, she was my advisor and collaborator, spending many hours working alongside me in the darkroom. Her good and wise company has made this film possible.
01/26/17 - Cinematheque quebecois, Montreal, QC, Canada
02/17/16 - Brown University, Providence, RI, USA
11/02/15 - Independent Visions, Regina, SK, Canada
10/24/15 - Iris Collective, Vancouver, BC, Canada
10/21/15 - MassArt Film Society, Boston, MA, USA
10/17/15 - Surface Treatments workshop, Mono No Aware, Gowanus Darkroom, Brooklyn, NY, USA
08/29/15 - Altered States, Coastal Currents Film Festival, Hastings, UK
04/12/15 - Crossroads, San Francisco Cinematheque, San Francisco, California, USA