In August 2009, I experienced the devastating power that uncontrolled water can have as it destroyed homes and tossed lives into turmoil during the Silver Creek, New York flood. For the duration of the disaster, the basic need for clean drinking water was one of the most pressing requirements of residents.
"The Lake Series" uses the dichotomy of water as a foundation for four separate videos that explore elements of the human condition. Water can be intimate or expansive, life giving or life destroying. It is eternal, ephemeral, and in a constant state of change. The series uses each of the four elements, earth, wind, fire, and water as foundations for each video.
Each work’s title is meant to be open-ended and completely malleable for the viewer while expressing a specific human characteristic that provides a starting point for consideration. Steadfast is the first in the series.
Shot on a bitterly cold winter day when the wind was gusting to 60 MPH and chunks of ice the size of small cars were rolling and advancing on the frozen build-up of the shore. As I watched the waves crash against the cliffs 30 feet in the air I saw the house on the far side of the bay. It seemed to be standing its ground as the waves crashed upon it. This mere 30 seconds of useable steady footage became Steadfast.
Audio is an essential part of the experience of Steadfast as the imagery changes relatively little during the duration of the film. Fast forwarding will most likely mean you miss the full effect.
The films are intended to be viewed in a theater with alternative versions sans titles and credits designed for looping in a gallery setting.
"Reveries from Cistae memoria" is a meditation on the loss of loved ones, innocence, and memory. From the very beginning the film was conceived as a multi-layered film containing more to the "story" than what is immediately apparent on first viewing. The film uses stop-motion animation to explore the subjective and oneiric journeys through fragmented and reconstructed memories. Within the film the use of Linnaean classifications describe the steps of memory creation, transformation and storage. The film weaves the true-life letters and stories of my grandparents with fabricated and recalled memories and images to impress on the viewer the frustration and sublime beauty of fractured memory. The look of the film was inspired mainly by wunderkabinettes and pre-cinema optical toys which were used as metaphors for the storage and playback of the memories.
The film has now played at a number of festivals and has won awards from Black Maria, Athens, Humboldt and Vision Festivals.
Water can be intimate or expansive. It can give and destroy life. It is eternal, ephemeral, and in a constant state of change. 'Removed' is an open-ended meditation that asks the viewers to reflect on what it means to be removed. The imagery of a harbor dredging is slowed down and manipulated, effectively removing the original imagery and replacing it with a new experience that is romanticized and brutal.
This version is meant for theatrical screenings. Another version is designed for looping in a gallery setting.
Soulmaker asks what if those that influence our destiny are themselves trapped by destiny. What if they could change the course of their own lives? It is a slowly unfolding journey and discovery of what it means to be caught in the liminal state and needing to take the next step. The film stars Robert Johnson in his acting debut as an isolated and lonely soulmaker laboring in his daily routine until he finds the key that awakens his desire for a new life. Upon a threshold of change he sets out to discover his potential, but first he must quietly escape from this life to the next.
Soulmaker was my first narrative film as well as my first 16mm. All major aspects of the film were executed by myself including script, direction, cinematography, production design, editing and sound design.