Orland Nutt makes short films that are intended to “transport the viewer to somewhere no one else can take them.” Drawing inspiration from poets, dancers, TV personalities, and other experimental filmmakers, Nutt creates something new and wonderfully bizarre.
For this week’s Tin House Reels, we’re happy to share Nutt’s short I am Into Your Fire, which is a collaboration with actress Amanda Riley and composer Matt Marble. Riffing off part III of the poem “Aisles of Eden” by James Broughton, a mountain woman tells of her passionate love, while diving through and igniting what Nutt calls a “psychedelic mountainscape.”
On using poems as the backbone of his shorts, Nutt says, "A great poem doesn’t really need a video made from it. When I choose to make a video from a poem, it’s because I think there is something there that I can strongly relate to and because I think I can add a new spin on it, offering a new meaning or interpretation. I don't want to change the meaning of the poems I work with, but to change the context, and the world that they reflect upon.”
“I tried to take a very lusty love poem that sounds very intimate and intense, and set it up as a wild woman’s call into a desolate landscape,” he says. “I tried to create a persona that is unfamiliar, a little bit frightening, and yet exciting and intriguing, a kind of gleeful mountain witch."
To create the ethereal landscape that serves as the film's backdrop, Nutt combined live footage shot in the Colombia Gorge with After Effects-altered desert landscapes, the likes of which call to mind the surreal set design of early Star Trek episodes.
Riley’s performance, which incredibly pulls off the melding of a mountainscape and heroine, was inspired by various beastly women in films like The Profound Desire of the Gods by Shohei Imamura and Under the Blossoming Cherry Trees by Masahiro Shinoda.
Through these disparate influences, Nutt has created a video filled with the kind of majestic intensity one often associates with a shaman. And like those fabled mediums, Nutt has tapped into that sacred space between the visible world and an invisible spirit world, albeit with a knowing wink.