In recent news: Silent Film Legend F.W. Murnau’s head has been stolen. Not cool, satanists. I have a soft spot for Murnau. Nosferatu provided the horrific backdrop to a particularly debaucherous evening of my adolescence filled with existential questioning and, on a lighter note, Sunrise is one of my favourite films of all times.
In 2011, I had the unique opportunity of spending 3 months in Kassel, Germany as part of an artist’s residency. The idea behind the residency was to produce a work that was somehow about the city. In researching Kassel, I was excited to learn that one of its most famous inhabitants was Murnau who spent some formative years in the city between 1892 and 1907. Known as a daydreamer, a young F.W. apparently passed much of his time exploring his surroundings on foot. I decided to do the same, wandering around Kassel absorbing the sights and sounds that might have inspired a budding filmmaker with big dreams and big nightmares. The resulting piece was Traum_a.
With Murnau on my mind this week, I decided to revisit some of the footage I shot while in Kassel and create the first in a series of audiovisual city postcards. These short pieces will follow a haiku format comprised of 3 phrases (5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables), but, self-imposed formal restrictions aside, are just an audiovisual snapshot of a place I’ve had the pleasure of exploring with eyes and ears.
Today I got to see the final version of The Little Prince film at a special screening for the Montreal crew. It was the moment we had all been waiting for, and working for. Our fearless leader, director Mark Osborne, gave a heartfelt thank you to us for accompanying him on what was both an exciting and arduous journey to realize this passion project. As the first images appeared onscreen I was holding back tears I wasn’t expecting to happen until much later in the film. Sitting in the dark with the rest of the team, illuminated by something beautiful we had made together; it was a proud moment.
Illusions at the gorgeous Koerner Hall in Toronto.
Great to finally see our Illusions project come alive onstage.
After a red eye, a missed connection and a nearly severed finger, I staggered my way through the winding streets of Lisbon just in time for the screening of Derby & Groma at the Temps d’Images festival. This tired Canadian appreciated the warm welcome Portugal.
Playing with toys and shooting shadows for Illusions with collaborator Corinne Merrell.
What can you do with a white room, a camera and a six pack of beer? You can have a lot of fun making a music video for people you love. Malcolm Fraser and Stacey DeWolfe, aka The World Provider had all the right moves that night and Yannick Grandmont was the perfect party helper.
Today was my last day of work on the feature film production of The Little Prince. At this desk for the past year I have been surrounded by chaos, hijinks, and so much incredible talent. They say it takes a village to raise a child and I now know that it takes a community of designers, builders, sculptors, animators, shooters, producers, and many more to bring an iconic character to life on screen. The stop-motion team, helmed by mastermind Jamie Caliri, was an extraordinary bunch of people who, with limitless amounts of skill and determination, achieved this goal with aplomb and artistry. I will miss this family; it was an unforgettable experience, helping raise this little prince.
Sometimes my films have adventures without me. Timbre screened at Liverpool Cathedral’s Lady Chapel with a live score by musician Jonathan Hering in a special A/N/D Festival event programmed by the Manchester collective Video Jam.
Electronic Voice Phenomenon is the alleged communication by spirits through electronic devices. When I was asked to contribute a piece to the Pop Montreal special event called Voices From Beyond: The EVP Project, curated by Kier-La Janisse, I spent more than a few hours down the internet rabbit hole of documented EVP cases. I love the one about the apparatus called the Spiricom where the spirit of a deceased physics professor transmits verbal instructions on how to improve the apparatus but then sidetracks into a conversation about carrots and sauerkraut.
For my piece, I decided to do something with an old radio I own which I always thought had some kind of extra-ordinary connection to the past. I discovered the model was from 1949 and imagined it had the power to somehow tap into that year, transmitting fragmented bits of audio-visual feedback from a conversation between two ill-fated lovers. The installation looked something like this:
And the film, with the grace of my go-to source for archival footage, archive.org, went something like this: