Behold the Earth is a feature-length musical documentary that inquires into America's divorce from nature, built out of conversations with leading biologists and evangelical Christians, and directed by David Conover. Filmmakers' blog is below.
Filmmaking is a dance between the FIRE and the SMOKE. Out in the world, the fire burns. It is the filmmaker’s duty and craft to organize and convey the smoke (and mirrors) of that fire to others in a compelling and beautiful way. Here are the pieces of this film organized for the independent filmmaker and media enthusiast.
Torrential rainfall. A rising river. Time passing amidst the drive for survival and direction at the water’s edge. Below, a timelapse created by cinematographer Hunter Snyder. He has joined our visual study of the surrounding landscape. Here, we visit the nearby Ducktrap River in the last days before snowfall on the coast of Maine. Melody is Dirk’s evocative banjo from WATERBOUND (see previous blog entry).
We are fortunate enough to have recent graduate Eleanor Conover (no relation) working with us this summer, and applying her artist’s eye and work ethic to generating new timelapse sequences from the surrounding landscapes… and now also adding to this blog. This morning we recorded sunrise over Penobscot Bay from nearby Beech Hill.
Eleanor is getting to know this hill pretty well, having made several trips now to record time lapsing. The hill is also a location where my crew shot with musician Tim Eriksen and friends for BEHOLD THE EARTH. Her observations…
“We had an Edna St. Vincent Millay type morning on Beech Hill, shooting a timelapse of the sunrise. The bay was flat due to the air from the northwest, and as the sun rose and banked right, the reflection looked almost like the water does when the moon rises in the early night.
I keep returning to the islands, anchored stoically in the landscape. From above, you don’t encounter them face-to-face, but their articulated treetops that stretch across the view is, I think, at the heart of a dramatic encounter with the entire bay. The wind turbines that stretch from their foundations on Vinalhaven granite are the newest—and tallest—break in the horizontal composition. They interact with the natural environment in their own way, picking up the rhythm of the wind, and ceding their macbook white color to the oranges of the sunrise, later silhouetted with the pine trees against a pale, daytime horizon.”
DC NOTE: In 1917 Edna St Vincent Milay published a collection of poetry which included the poem Renascence. The first 16 lines are below. She penned this after hiking up another hill nearby in Camden, Maine.
All I could see from where I stood
Was three long mountains and a wood;
I turned and looked the other way,
And saw three islands in a bay.
So with my eyes I traced the line
Of the horizon, thin and fine,
Straight around till I was come
Back to where I’d started from;
And all I saw from where I stood
Was three long mountains and a wood.
Over these things I could not see:
These were the things that bounded me;
And I could touch them with my hand,
Almost, I thought, from where I stand.
And all at once things seemed so small
My breath came short, and scarce at all.
My son, on the other hand, awakes the next morning and marvels at the movement of light and small fish within shallow water.
An arresting and spectacular moment of light on the ocean, south of Cuba. This was captured the other day while working on a separate production. Certain land and seascapes can really make a person feel diminutive. Further to the north the oil finally stops blasting out of the sea floor, which demonstrates the complete opposite experience, how many persons together can have such a massive impact.
Today a letter arrived from a viewer of our series Sunrise Earth, written and sent by a young man age 7 from Greensboro NC. I wonder what motivated this note. A theory for Stonehenge? A spirit? Trapped by whom? The art critic Bernard Berenson might call this “the natural genius of childhood and ‘the spirit of place.’ … but probably not, since it was an experience mediated through a screen. Far better for this young viewer to be physically at a place. I wonder where he plays in Greensboro?
But the note did recall this unusual place and the morning we spent there. We had rented Stonehenge, so that we could record and convey these stones without the crowds… and only with the breaking sun and clouds and the small birds called jackdaws that live within the cracks of the stones. Maybe the young viewer -or his cat- noticed the birds?
Stone is an incredible medium. When I stop making movies, I’d like to carve letters into stone, then narrowcast them into the back woods.