In West Virginia

Dave Bonta's Haibun poem about an unexpected car breakdown in a small town, "In West Virginia," the second poem in his recent book, "Failed State," is the inspiration for Jack Cochran and Pamela Falkenberg's film poem, which finds arresting audio and visual correspondences among landscapes taken over by strip malls, strip mines, and strips of highways.

Text of the poem by Dave Bonta:

In West Virginia

Strip. Lay down your overburden, bare your black seam of heat where the shovels can reach it. Let groundwater tease your acids from the rock.

Strip: stripe of highway-side gas stations and inconvenience stores, chain restaurants, big box retailers and motels, each marooned on its own island of tarmac. Nobody calls this home, not even the natives.

Strip: supposedly comic, unmoving pictures starring the same faces, day after day. We grimace at the punchlines: Neighborhood Grill and Bar, says the Applebee’s sign. Oh, do let’s take a stroll ’round the Village Square!

With our car in the shop we navigate the strip on foot, automatic jaywalkers. The smell of fryer grease mingles with exhaust. Under one streetlight, we step carefully around the corpses of three starlings. Not for them this Mattress World, this Furniture City.

singing in the body
shop waiting room
Jesus loves her

  • Pamela Falkenberg
    Director
  • Jack Cochran
    Director
  • Dave Bonta
    Writer
  • Pamela Falkenberg
    Producer
  • Jack Cochran
    Editor/sound design
  • Pamela Falkenberg
    Cinematography
  • Pamela Falkenberg
    Production design
  • Film Type:
    Experimental
  • Runtime:
    3 minutes 27 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    January 11, 2019
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Film Language:
    English
  • Shooting Format:
    4K digital video
  • Aspect Ratio:
    16:9
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    No
  • Student Project:
    No
  • Newlyn International Film Festival
    Bristol
    United Kingdom
    April 6, 2019
    World Premiere
    Official selection
  • Small Axe Competition @Tolpuddle Radical Film Festival
    Tolpuddle, Dorset
    United Kingdom
    July 19, 2019
    Dorset Premiere
    Finalist
  • Lisbon Film Rendezvous
    Lisbon
    Portugal
    October 4, 2019
    Portuguese Premiere
    Official selection, finalist
  • Buffalo International Film Festival
    Buffalo, NY
    United States
    October 13, 2019
    North American Premiere
    Official selection
  • Ó Bhéal Poetry-Film Competition
    Cork
    Ireland
    October 12, 2019
    Irish Premiere
    Official selection, competition short list
  • Green Screen Environmental Film Festival

    Trinidad and Tobago
    November 5, 2019
    Caribbean 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.

Pam 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.

Jack 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

About Outlier Moving Pictures:

Jack Cochran and Pam 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, screened at several film festivals, including the Buffalo International Film Festival and the Cornwall Film Festival, and took the award for best experimental film at the WV FILMmakers Festival in 2016. Other short poetry films have screened at the Ò Bhéal Poetry Film Festival (2016), the Juteback Poetry Film Festival (2017, 2018), the Festival Silencio (2017) , the Filmpoem Festival (2017), the 6th CYCLOP Videopoetry Festival (2017), and the 6th and 7th International Video Poetry Festival (Athens Greece, Jan. and Dec. 2018). Recently completed is a new film 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 2017 and premiered at the Queens World Film Festival in March 2018. 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, the compilation version of which screened at the Austin Spotlight Film Festival and the Kinodrome Festival in 2018. Just prior to "In West Virginia" were two poetry film collaborations with Lucy English,"The Shadow," and "The Names of Trees," for her Book of Hours project (http://thebookofhours.org/). In March 2019, their first film, "The Cost of Living," again takes the spotlight with a prestigious screening at the 2019 Queens World Festival in Queens, NY.

Then, who knows?