Imagining Deep Time

(working title, film in development)
Experimental fiction - 50 min. - filming planned for 2022
baljenac island.jpg
f3xyhv7jq3nbnc4ov0c1.jpg

Synopsis (May 2021)

 

On a remote island, a lone scientist/guardian is studying signs of ancient life and previous habitants. He/she is one in a chain of multiple guardians that have lived on the island. Each guardian has written down their experiences in a notebook, that the next person reads. These notebooks describe daily life on the island, encounters with nature and wildlife, thoughts about the implications of their discoveries.

 

In the film there are 4 characters succeeding each other. While reading about their predecessors, their experiences seem to blend together. The thought 'are we being good ancestors' becomes prominent (both referring to the caretaking of the island as well as the earth).

(...) At some point, each of the lone guardians witness the arrival of a small group of people to the island. They seem traumatised and speak a strange language. (...) somehow the guardian understands they are refugees from the future. 

Themes:

Time perception, longtermism, (climate-) anxiety, geology, (future-) fossils, deep time

If an understanding of deep time or geological time opens up our minds to the history of the earth, how can we use this mindset to imagine a deep future?

What remains of us after (hundreds of) thousands of years? What type of fossils will we leave behind?

If the Earth were to be conscious in some way, how would it perceive us? What does that say about time perspectives?

How can we cultivate a new relationship with time, broadening our time horizons?

How can we learn to feel empathy for future generations?

How can long term thinking be encouraged?

How can we learn to break free from our culture's obsession with the present, with limitless growth? What role does our imagination play in this?

Is it even possible to come close to experiencing deep time? Does anyone really feel his/her mind 'growing giddy by looking so far into the abyss of time'?

How could you describe pre-traumatic stress (for instance in relation to climate breakdown)? Does it have a use? Is it paralysing or does it stimulate action?

What do 'new' discoveries in quantum physics tell us about our perception of the world? Does that have implications for the way we think about our imagination?

If we would be confronted with refugees from our (distant) future, how would we treat them? Would we still be able to communicate with the same language?

Locations:

Scottish islands, coastline

Mars, as the prospect of a possible future that awaits our Earth.

...

 

Production:

 

Aim of the film is distribution through international filmfestivals, video-on-demand platforms, local screenings at events with related subjects...

 

May - Aug 2021: interviews / script writing

Sep - Dec 2021: script writing / visiting locations Scotland

Jan - Jun 2022: first shooting period

About director:

I've been composing instrumental music from a young age. Finished film school in 2009. Working mostly as a videographer. Spent years learning to cope with anxiety which has had a strong influence on my work. In my films I try to convey an experience to the audience and so they often deviate from a classical narrative. Philosophical sources of inspirations regarding this project: Nicolaus Steno, James Hutton, Soren Kierkegaard, Maurice-Merleau Ponty...

Exposure

short fiction, 2019password = expo2018

Decision Pending

experimental documentary, 2014

Strangers

short fiction, 2009

A group of people gather at a reception. The occasion of the event remains unclear.

Everyone attempts to act appropriately. Waiting for something to happen in silence, anticipation gradually turns into anxiety.

An alienating observation of politicians going through (or stuck in) the daily routines of decision making. 

 

An impression of national politics in Belgium's capital Brussels, Decision Pending observes its subjects during committee meetings and plenary sessions. Focusing on the appearance rather than the political content of these meetings, everyone seems to be under the spell of difficult decisions that have to be made. 

 

In anticipation of these decisions, a sensation of disquiet is spreading like a virus through streets and corridors, finding its way to the epicentre of politics. There it finally dissolves into a collective enchantment, directed by the hand gestures of politicians at the stage.

"A man is captured in a surreal world. He works nightshifts in a fish factory and explores its uncanny surroundings at dawn. A corpse he finds in the fields further dazzles his already mixed up thoughts. His relation to the deceased is unclear. Strangers is an exploration of a mind in an in-between reality. The shots which are put together in a hypnotizing way serve more as impressions than as carriers of a story." (Cinestud Filmfestival Amsterdam 2010)