Despair and the Salt Air

"Despair and the Salt Air" highlights the beautiful and haunting work of artist James Groleau, focusing on his work in the medium known as mezzotint, an engraving technique developed in the seventeenth century. The film covers time he spent in war-torn Guatemala, which inspired a series of colored-pencil drawings and a book, and delves into his discovery of the mezzotint and eventual mastery of the process. James is the recipient of a number of awards and fellowships, including a MacDowell Colony Fellowship in 2001. His mezzotints are included in the collections of the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, the Portland Museum of Art, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Oakland Museum of California, and Belgium's National Museum of Fine Art. "Despair and the Salt Air" was shot, directed, and edited by the artist's brother, Rick Groleau, a Boston-based multimedia producer. James and Rick were born in Lewiston, Maine, and grew up nearby in Livermore Falls.

  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Short
  • Runtime:
    15 minutes 17 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    January 22, 2014
  • Production Budget:
    0 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Emerge Film Festival
    Lewiston, Maine
    United States
    May 24, 2014
  • Sanford International Film Festival
    United States
    April 26, 2014
    World Premiere
Director Biography

Rick Groleau is a multimedia producer who has spent most of his career working at WGBH (Bostons' public television station), where he worked as a writer, web producer, project manager, and editor (of content, not film or video). He has written, storyboarded, and produced over 100 interactive features for Nova, the American Experience, This Old House, and Mystery.

Although Rick studied film and television production at Emerson College in the 1980s, it wasn't until about six years ago that he began to work, in earnest, on video/film production. He submitted his first film to a festival in 2013. The film, a short called New England Surfing Excursion, which is about a father and son who surf 10 beaches in four states in five days -- was an official selection of the Maine Outdoor Film Festival. Since then, two other films have been shown at eight festivals and have several nominations and one "Best Maine Film" award.

In 2015 Rick wrote his first screenplay -- a short called "The Old Yard." That script won Best Screenplay in the Massachusetts Independent Film Festival's screenplay competition. It is also an official selection at the 2016 Boston International Film Festival. Another short he wrote the same year, called "Flag War," is a finalist at the 2016 Sanford International Film Festival.

Web-related projects that Rick has been involved with have received following recognition: Webby Award winner in Science category (Wyss Institute, 2012); Webby Award finalist in Education category (NOVA Online, 2001); Webby Award finalist in Education category (A Science Odyssey, 2000); Webby Award Honoree (Children's Research website, 2006); Peabody Award (NOVA Online's Elegant Universe -- program and website -- 2003); and 32 USA Today Hot Picks (way back when they did that!).

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