When Poetry Becomes Experimental Films
(Inspiration for My Latest Short Film Palpitations of Dust)
My latest experimental short film Palpitations of Dust is based on five surrealist poems representing the continuous and infinite patterns of waking life and dreams. Due to the lyrical, expressive nature of my poetry, my films are elusive and experimental. The visual aspect of my film format actually makes the poems simpler, yet much more interesting. This way, the screenplay becomes an artistic interpretation of the verses themselves. The juxtaposition of these two art media forms creates another dimension of perception.
In filmmaking, I like to stay true to the intrinsic aesthetics (inner voice) of my poems and sidestep influence from conventional film measures. For instance, my films do not necessarily have storylines— beginnings, middles, and ends—as with linear films. They consist simply of visibilities and extensions that the audience can truly feel. The team at my production company, Saffron Splash Media, works seamlessly to achieve this with each of our projects.
I believe we are at the forefront of something grand and iconic. Making poetry and experimental films has inspired me to continuously strive to be a better writer, which to me, is the most useful skill to have as an artist. People are seeking films that really speak to them, not only consciously, but subconsciously and rudimentarily. Saffron Splash Media’s participation in the community provides a personal, one-on-one film viewing experience that art consumers are becoming more and more drawn to. Our short films, Palpitations of Dust and Indelible Winter, have been positively reviewed by audiences.
On Set with Saffron Splash Media
The collaborative efforts by the cast and crew at Saffron Splash Media made producing Palpitations of Dust a joyous and inspiring experience. Our crew is very small, and we had limited time to shoot. The team’s eagerness and excitement allowed principal photography to be an organic process.
I utilized key objects for visual reference and art direction when shooting Palpitations of Dust. A Rothko painting, a radio, and one of the walls on set stood out in deep red. To keep things fluid, we chose red dresses for the protagonists in this poem-section of the film. After that, everything fell together quite neatly. In another scene, I had Tatiana, the female lead, walk anxiously next to a purple couch. I matched her dress to the room’s furniture and design so her physical presence would blend in as much possible. This made her anxious demeanor more apparent.
The drone shots on the Pacific Coast Highway were challenging to shoot. I was with Dean, our cinematographer, who was following Eric, our male lead and art director, in a car with a drone. Tatiana was on the phone telling us when they would be pulling out from an intersection. We filmed on the weekend on a busy section of the highway. It was tough to get a shot without any cars following close behind—it took us over a dozen takes!
The most challenging task of filming Palpitations of Dust was to create scenes that not only interpreted, but also transcended, the poems. Even though I wrote the poetry myself and had a vague idea about how it would look, poems can be interpreted in a thousand different ways. For example, in the scene where Eric and Tatiana are standing back-to-back and struggling to find their true home, I did not have the location figured out until we were on-site. When we found a treehouse like the one mentioned in the poem, I had an idea. We would turn the treehouse into a dreamhouse that would represent a nightmarish void. It worked brilliantly. In this scene, the two art media components (poetry and film) challenged one another and conversed with each other’s form. This was the climactic moment I hoped to achieve in making a poetry film.
What’s Next for Saffron Splash Media
I would like to create a TV mini-series in a similar style of Alfred Hitchcock Presents based solely on my poems, but with a surrealistic take. I want my poetry to be interpreted in a different light so that a broader audience can identify with our projects. Ultimately, I would love to continue recreating my poetry films so that they never lose their intrinsic stance.
I hope that one day, instead of consuming so many mindless commercials, our lives can be filled with distinctive experimental films inspired by different types of art media. As art consumers, our wellbeing should be nourished daily by intuitive perceptions instead of constant news and information we do not really need. Saffron Splash Media is focused on contributing more art media to the world through experimental art films and inspirational media.
Palpitations of Dust is available for streaming on iTunes and Amazon.
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