I was cast as Mya Friend : A serious documentary filmmaker with the heart of a wild artist aiming to create an epic, artistic, poetic film about the world of psychic phenomenon . According to Tom (Tom Newth: Director) my character was inspired by the avant garde film artist Maya Deren.
Maya Deren (April 29, 1917 – October 13, 1961), born Eleanora Derenkowskaia (Russian: Элеоно́ра Деренко́вская), was one of the most important American experimental filmmakers and entrepreneurial promoters of the avant-garde in the 1940s and 1950s. Deren was also a choreographer, dancer, film theorist, poet, lecturer, writer and photographer.
The function of film, Deren believed, like most art forms, was to create an experience; each one of her films would evoke new conclusions, lending her focus to be dynamic and always-evolving. She combined her interests in dance, Haitian Vodou and subjective psychology in a series of surreal, perceptual, black and white short films. Using editing, multiple exposures, jump cutting, superimposition, slow-motion and other camera techniques to her fullest advantage, Deren creates continued motion through discontinued space, while abandoning the established notions of physical space and time, with the ability to turn her vision into a stream of consciousness.
Perhaps one of the most influential experimental films in American cinema was her collaboration with Alexander Hammid on Meshes of the Afternoon (1943). She continued to make several more films of her own, including At Land (1944), A Study in Choreography for Camera (1945), and Ritual in Transfigured Time (1946) – writing, producing, directing, editing, and photographing them with help from only one other person, Hella Heyman, as camerawoman. She also appeared in a few of her films but never credited herself as an actress, downplaying her roles as anonymous figures rather than iconic deities.Another notion I have entertained is that being creative in the realm of nonfiction filmmaking requires a willingness to alter the look of things, to find new ways of seeing by using the considerable resources that exist in the medium of motion pictures.
Maya Deren is recognizable as the woman with the enigmatic expression at the window, silently observing from within. Although her eyes indicate distrust, she is not desperate to escape her domestic space, but she is not entirely comfortable immured behind the glass. This image symbolizes some of Deren’s most significant initiatives in experimental cinema. In this still shot she establishes a silent connection with the eyes, suggesting the possibility for reverie or even hallucination. It foreshadows her experiments with superimposition and the juxtaposition of disparate spaces. It is an image that suggests the most compelling themes of her film work: dreaming, reflection, rhythm, vision, ritual and identity. Like Cindy Sherman’s film stills, this image represents a poignant and hesitant moment, but unlike the photographs, Deren’s still shot belongs within a dynamic, kinetic narrative. Maya Deren, who is one of the earliest and most important practitioners of independent filmmaking in which actuality was the central source of imagery. For Maya Deren, actuality included experience of all kinds, both conscious and unconscious, dream and reality. She emerged from an aesthetic heavily influenced by a contemporary excitement with Surrealism, and she was attracted, inexorably, by the power of psychoanalysis and voudou. Deren’s wide sensibilities included interest in such plastic forms as dance and sculpture; and she excelled in the literary arts.
Maya Deren: The High Priestess of Experimental Cinema sensesofcinema.com
After researching Maya Deren a bit, I found myself connected to her as a female filmmaker and an artist. Within her work she was a risk taker and an unapologetic visionary. Her visions reminded me as to why I have chosen to create in the manner that I do. Having the freedom to experiment and express ideas in the independent forum is where I believe great entertainment begins. Hollywood would have us believe that great entertainment is little more than a product of witty quips, car chases an who look hot on US Weekly. However, the truth of the matter, great expressions begin somewhere organic, unexpected and often accidentally. Rarely in a writer’s room on a studio lot but more likely with a kid in a garage, an 8mm / outdated digital camera found in box full trash & a passionate need to say something to the world.
Inspired and excited, I was ready to film. Let the journey begin…
DIY for the Demented, the REAL WORLD of independent filmmaking. 13 strangers head to the desert to make a horror movie in less than 7 days. See what happens when things stop being silly and start getting crazy…
twist and turns no one could have seen coming…