Static winter forms melt in sunlight.
Directed by Dan Browne
(Canada, 2017, 2 min.)
This experimental documentary takes an unblinking look at California landscapes bearing the scars of wars fought elsewhere. Serene forest groves and opaque Silicon Valley windows provide the visual framework for an assumption-challenging essay film inspired by Rebecca Solnit’s radical historical geographies and the political cinema of Travis Wilkerson. The film’s minimalist visual style features locked-down landscape cinematography and on-screen text, provoking a new way of revealing the costs of war as they are found in the very flesh of California.
Directed by Duane Peterson
(USA, 2018, 10 min.)
Directed by Margaret Brown (Be Here To Love Me, The Order of Myths, The Great Invisible), the film explores the rich natural and human diversity of the Los Angeles River with a delicate, poetic touch. The short documentary is a moving and beautiful portrait of one of the great and unknown anomalies of Los Angeles — a river that was covered in concrete and is slowly being brought back to life. To make the film, Brown and her co-director, Jeff Peixoto, explored the river on foot over the course of a full year.
(USA, 2019, 18 min.)
This short film explores the miraculous genesis of animal life. In great microscopic detail, we see the “making of” an Alpine newt in its transparent egg, from fertilization to hatching. The first stages of embryonic development are roughly the same for all animals, including humans. In the film, we can observe a universal process that is normally invisible: the very beginning of an animal’s life. A single cell is transformed into a complete, complex living organism with a beating heart and running bloodstream. The salamander (Ichthyosaura alpestris) embryo was followed very closely in a combination of time-lapse photography and film. All stages of embryogenesis can be seen in this film: cleavage, gastrulation, neurulation, and organogenesis. Time was condensed from about three weeks to six minutes.
Directed by Jan van IJken
(Netherlands, 2018, 6 min.)
This film opens with the viewer awakening as if inside a restless dream, transformed into a strange vermin. The camera assumes the perspective of an insect burrowing through the dark crumbling underground, kindred to the community of beetles swarming under the idyllic green facade of the lawn in the famous opening sequence of David Lynch’s Blue Velvet.
Directed by Nikki Schuster
(Austria, 2018, 7 min.)
This poetic and evocative visual study takes the viewer on a journey into the world of pigeon flying high above the bustling and crowded streets of Old Delhi.
Directed by Eva Weber
(UK, 2017, 5 min.)
A fanciful stop-motion film about Egyptian geese from prehistoric times through the present day.
Directed by Peter Böving
(Germany, 2018, 10 min.)
Humans have finally succeeded in destroying the planet. As the last people board the ship to Mars, the earth breathes a sigh of relief and the boundless resilience of nature springs into action!
Directed by Ellen Osborne
(USA, 2018, 4 min.)
This film is a unique collaboration with millions of wild ants. Focusing on four supposedly unique human traits — language, ritual, war, and art — the narrative aims to blur the boundaries between culture and nature. In four chapters, Leafcutters accentuates the ingenuity of these miniature yet mighty civilizations that inhabit the neotropical rainforest. In “We Rule,” the ants carry language that is in keeping with their dominant status in the forest. “The Chosen” is a ritualistic procession, like a Balinese festival or pagan rite, where the ants bring flowers to lay at the feet of their idol. In “War,” two colonies of the same species are locked in a merciless battle. The video ends on a high note with “Antworks.” Who is to say ants are indifferent to the aesthetics of the leaves they carefully select, cut and carry home?
Directed by Catherine Chalmers
(Costa Rica/Panama, 2019, 18 min.)
A post-screening discussion will follow