The Cost of Living (July 2016, 21:53)

Inspired by Polaroid stills and short poems by Jack Cochran, "The Cost of Living" is the first film produced by Jack and recently reconnected filmmaking partner Pamela Falkenberg. "Cost" is an experimental personal film mashup that ranges from everyday situations and individual biography (such as meeting a girlfriend's parents for the first time, finding a used condom on the front curb, or overhearing a conversation in a coffee shop) to modern problems and cultural challenges (such as the place of love in hookup culture, using new vocabularies as insulation against harsh post 9/11 realities, or finding beauty in a broken world). Found footage, animation, special effects, and a collage of audio sources combine with live action footage in ways perhaps not possible before the ubiquity of the internet and the affordability of high quality HD video equipment. While having something in common with the personal documentary, the experimental collage, the biographical narrative, and the essay film, Cost is comfortable as an outlier, a freewheeling melange whose quirky visual style resists any single genre or category. While each segment of the film begins with a single still image and Jack's reading of his written words, that starting point could lead to Balinese-style puppets sporting road sign filled thought bubbles ... or to a Chevy Astro van commercial as a bizarre message from the grim reaper. However, the working methods of filmmakers, poets, and musicians such as Chris Marker, Sarah Polley, Terence Nance, Leonard Cohen, and Neko Case provide some touchstones and context for Pam and Jack's working methods.

Three line synopsis:
Cost is a personal film mashup that ranges from everyday situations and individual biography (meeting a girlfriend's parents for the first time or finding a used condom on the front curb) to modern problems (the place of love in hookup culture or finding beauty in a broken world).

  • Pamela Falkenberg
    Open Territory (co-director with Dan Curry)
  • Jack Cochran
    Viento Nocturno (Night Wind) (director), Babe's and Ricky's Inn (cinematographer), Paris (cinematographer)
  • Jack Cochran
  • Pamela Falkenberg
  • Jack Cochran
    Editing and sound design
  • Pamela Falkenberg
    Art direction
  • Pam Falkenberg
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Experimental, Short
  • Genres:
    Experimental, Essay, Personal Documentary, Poetry film
  • Runtime:
    21 minutes 53 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    July 9, 2016
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • West Virginia FILMmakers Festival
    Sutton, WV
    United States
    October 1, 2016
    North American premiere
    Best Experimental Film
  • Buffalo International Film Festival
    Buffalo, NY
    United States
    October 8, 2016
    New York Premiere
  • Cornwall Film Festival
    Cornwall, England
    United Kingdom
    November 12, 2016
    UK premiere
  • Sioux City International Film Festival
    Sioux City, IA
    United States
    April 2, 2017
    Midwest premiere
    Screened in the "Best of the Midwest" group
  • Jim Thorpe Independent Film Festival
    Jim Thorpe, PA
    United States
    June 10, 2017
    PA premiere
    Nominated for best experimental film and special achievement
  • Small Axe @ Tolpuddle Radical Film Festival
    Tolpuddle, Dorset
    United Kingdom
    November 19, 2018
  • Queen's World Film Festival
    Queens, NY
    United States
    March 31, 2019
    New York Premiere
    Official selection, nominated for Best Documentary Short and Best Cinematography Documentary Short
  • Denver Underground Film Festival
    Denver, CO
    United States
    March 22, 2019
    Southwest premiere
    Official selection
Director Biography - Pamela Falkenberg, Jack Cochran

Pam's bio:

Pam is an independent filmmaker who received her PhD from the University of Iowa and taught at Northern Illinois University, St.Mary's College, and the University of Notre Dame. She directed the largest student film society in the US while she was at the University of Iowa, and also ran films series for the Snite Museum of Art in South Bend, IN. Her experimental film with Dan Curry, Open Territory, received an individual filmmaker grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as grants from the Center for New Television and the Indiana Arts Council. OT screened at the Pacific Film Archives, as well at numerous film festivals, including the AFI Video Festival, and was nominated for a regional Emmy. Her other films include museum installations, scholarly/academic hybrid works shown at film conferences, and a documentary commissioned by the Peace Institute at the University of Notre Dame. She wants to make lots of different kinds of films with Jack, but she is especially proud to have been the one who suggested that Jack's poems should be made into films.

Jack's bio:

Jack is an independent filmmaker who has produced, directed, or shot a variety of experimental and personal projects. As a DP he has extensive experience shooting commercials, independent features, and documentaries. His varied commercial client list includes BMW, Ford, Nissan, Fujifilm, Iomega, Corum Watches, and Forte Hotels. His features and documentaries have shown at the Sundance, Raindance, Telluride, Tribeca, Edinburgh, Chicago, Houston, and Taos film Festivals, winning several honors. His commercials and documentaries have won Silver Lions from Cannes, a BAFTA (British Academy Award), Peabody Awards, and Cable Aces. Some notable credits: Director of Photography on Brian Griffin's Claustrofoamia, Cinematography for Antony Thomas’ Tank Man, Director/Cinematographer of Viento Nocturno, and Cinematographer of Ramin Niami’s feature film Paris. Jack was trained at the University of Iowa Creative Writers Workshop as well as the University of Iowa film studies program. He has written poetry all his life, but he never knew what to do with it until he shared his notebooks with Pam, who said, "You're a filmmaker -- shouldn't your poems be films?"

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

Jack Cochran and Pamela Falkenberg are making personal films together again under the name Outlier Moving Pictures. They hope their new films will be worthy of the name -- avoiding the usual patterns and approaching their subject matter from the margins (which sounds better than saying that as filmmakers they're oddballs and cranks). Pam and Jack met in graduate school and made films together when they were young. Jack went on to become a professional cinematographer working out of LA and London, while Pam stayed in the Midwest, where she was a college professor and independent filmmaker before dropping out to work in visual display. Their first film together, "The Cost of Living," based on some of Jack's short poems, was accepted by several film festivals, including the Queens World Film Festival (2019), the Buffalo International Film Festival, the Denver Underground Film Festival, and the Cornwall Film Festival; was nominated for two awards at the 2017 Jim Thorpe Film Festival; and took the award for best experimental film at the 2016 WV FILMmakers Festival. Other short poetry films have screened at the Ò Bhéal Poetry Film Festival (2016, 2018), the Juteback Poetry Film Festival (2017, 2018), the Festival Silencio (2017) , the Filmpoem Festival (2017), the 6th CYCLOP Videopoetry Festival (2017), the 6th and 7th International Video Poetry Festival (Athens Greece, 2018), the Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival (2018), the REELpoetry Festival (2019), and the Newlyn Film Festival (2019). Recently completed is an experimental documentary essay about the North Dakota landscape and Teddy Roosevelt, "Teddy Roosevelt and Fracking," which showed out-of-competition as a work-in-progress at the WV FILMmakers Fest in October 2017 and premiered at the Queens World Film Festival in March 2018, where it was nominated for three awards (Best Cinematography, Best Director, and Best Documentary Short), taking the award for Best Documentary Short. "Teddy" has also screened at the 2018 Ekofilm Festival in Poland, the 2018 Buffalo International Film Festival, the 2018 Go West Film Festival, and the American Presidents Film and Literary Festival at the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Museum and Library in October 2018, where it was nominated for two judges awards and won the Audience Choice Award. Along with that, a series of shorts about photo opportunities and roadside attractions in Texas (the first installment of which, "Prada Marfa," premiered in the True Texas Travel category at the Thin Line Festival in April 2018), and some brief experimental romantic comedies based on Craigslist's Missed Connections, a compilation version of which, "Missed Connections Anthology," premiered at the Austin Spotlight Festival in April 2018, and screened for the second time at the KinoDrome Festival in Cleveland, OH in September 2018. Their other most recent poetry films are collaborations, with Dave Bonta on "In West Virginia," from his book, "Failed State," and with Lucy English on "The Shadow," and "The Names of Trees," for her Book of Hours project ( Their most recent and upcoming festival appearances include Carmarthen Bay in Wales, the Ozark Foothills Film Fest, the Lisbon Film Rendezvous, the Riga Digital Forum, Small Axe @Tolpuddle, Mister Vorky, DEA, and All Together Now.