22 October, 2010
by Sandy Mandelberger, North American Editor
SPARK OF BEING, a found footage film by celebrated avant-garde filmmaker Bill Morrison, is making its World Premiere this week at the AMERICAN FILM FESTIVAL(AFF), the first film event in Eastern Europe solely devoted to the works of contemporary and classic American cinema. Like his earlier film DECASIA (2002), Morrison uses disparate found footage extracts and a dynamic score to create a unique film experience that communicate many different layers of resonance and meaning.
While the earlier film was a kind of symphony of decomposition, SPARK OF BEING offers a nostalgic treatise on the nature of creation. The starting point is the story of Dr. Frankenstein and his monster, to note the 100 year anniversary of the first silent film adaptation of the famed Mary Shelly novel. Here, Morrison presents his take on the classic tale, using striking visual imagery to delineate the monster’s unique position between decay and living flesh. Morrison follows in the good doctor’s footsteps by digging up rotting film fragments and making them whole again, bringing new life to the deteriorated celluloid. In this process, the images take on a life of their own…..changing colors, creating bulges and crumples, pulsating with their own organic life, set to an electro-jazz rhythm score by Dave Douglas. The film has been presented with live musical accompaniment at museums, mediatheques, concert halls and music clubs, but this is the first time that it is being presented solely as a film in a film festival environment.
Morrison began his career as a designer of visualization for some of New York’s most adventurous avant-garde theaters. His series of short films since 1990, including such celebrated works of the avant-garde as THE NIGHT HIGHWAY, THE FILM OF HER, TRINITY and THE MESMERIST have won awards at film festivals in Berlin, Mumbai and Rio de Janeiro. His feature debut, the celebrated DECASIA in 2002, has been hailed as one of the most important experimental films of the last decade. SPARK OF BEING has its world premiere debut as part of The Cutting Edge section of visually adventurous films that include such other titles as DOUBLE TIDE (Sharon Lockhart), NY EXPORT: OPUS JAZZ (Henry Joost and Jody Lee Lipes), OPEN (Jae Yuzna) and THE OWLS (Cheryl Dunye). For a complete list of films and events at the inaugural American Film Festival, visit: www.americanfilmfestival.pl