Red Lights: VideoTonePoems™ Suite II

A moving-poem mash-up on urban life, freeway culture, and city streets. Imagery focuses on LA freeways, cargo containers, shopping and all the excess of human material desires. Ends with a factoid on the Great Pacific Garbage Dump: one end-point to the waste of the material world.

  • Payson R. Stevens
  • Payson R. Stevens
  • Gunjan Sharma
  • Project Type:
    Experimental, Short
  • Genres:
    Urban, Environment, Excess
  • Runtime:
    3 minutes 16 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    January 4, 2016
  • Production Budget:
    2,500 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Payson R. Stevens

Stevens has had two parallel tracks in his professional career: one in the field of science/science communication; the other in art, design, and film/video. Stevens helped pioneer the field of interactive multimedia starting in 1987 and received the Presidential Design Award for Excellence from Bill Clinton (1994). Since 2003 he has lived half the year in a remote Indian Himalayan Kullu Valley where he has been an advisor to the Great Himalayan National Park (GHNP_ on conservation and rural community issues (2000-2014), and makes short documentaries on the region. He helped spearhead GHNPs successful UNESCO World Heritage status (2014) for six years. His earlier film awards include a CINE Golden Eagle and a New York Film Festival Silver Medal. In 2014 Stevens began developing experimental VideoTonePoems—mash-ups with themed messages on Nature, Spirit, and the human condition (Afflicted Messages). VTPs have been official selections in Film Festivals and poetry video reviews in the USA and abroad.

VideoTonePoems-I: 2014 available on Amazon:

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Director Statement

In October 2013, a trip to the spectacular Ajanta and Ellora ancient spiritual/religious caves in the state of Maharastra, India catalyzed a new integration of my creative expression through video, poetry, photography, and music. I call this work Video Tone Poems™ (VTPs). A tone poem is classically defined as a piece of orchestral music, usually in one movement, on a descriptive or rhapsodic theme.

I believe the VideoTonePoems™ may be a new auteur genre, using all the visual, poetic, and musical tools and technologies to express a unified vision of one individual's expression in multiple creative arts. Of course, living in the isolation of Behta Pani/Flowing Waters (our Himalayan retreat), I may be deluded or perhaps watching my shadow reflecting on my studio walls…while Plato laughs.

My two first pieces, Ajanta: Small Universe and Ellora: Living Myths, The Hindu Caves, were completed in January 2014. During the summer of 2014, I worked on 12 more and published the DVD: VideoTonePoems™ Suite I-2014. The second DVD, VideoTonePoems™ Suite II-2016, was published in February or 2016. The VTPs focus on three Message categories: (1) Spiritual Messages, reflecting on universal spiritual concepts, with some being strongly influenced by Indian spiritual ideas and cultural sites, (2) Natural Messages, portraying my experience of Nature, the issues of global climate change, and often depict the pristine environment of our home in the Himalayas, and (3) Afflicted Messages, which are meditations on the human condition, the environment, and technology, all interacting in this, The Age of Anthropocene (described as the global impacts of human behavior which include climate change, species invasion and extinction, etc.).

I have drawn on the tone poem musical form and expanded it into a conceptual and meditative collage that hopes to stop/engage the viewer in the roar of our 24/7 lives… and in that brief moment allow a connection to the higher wisdoms emanating from Spirit and Nature and how that mirrors our existential challenges.

Both DVD, each with 15 VTPs, are available on

VTPs Official Selections include:
• New York City Independent Film Festival: 2016
• Delhi International Film Festival: 2015
• 5th Sadho Poetry Film Festival: 2015
• Direct Short and Documentary Film Festival
• Atticus Review, October 2015
• Reviewed June 2015, on: