Neighborhood (August 2022)
Our poetry film based on Fiona Tinwei Lam's prescient 2002 poem, "Neighbourhood," and in consultation with the her, is an eerie look at modern life in the suburbs as the world courts disaster. Our film was mostly shot in Austin, TX, as the city was in the middle of a drought, which put the whole metro area in danger of wild fires. and under water and power conservation orders. Austin in July 2022 was heading towards the hottest and driest summer on record, but somehow the Austin suburbs still looked green and “bucolic.” Your city can be in a crisis, but it can be hard to see the truth of that outside your own windows. In that context, the news stories and images of disasters elsewhere in the world that reach our homes via satellites, cable, and the internet become a strangely disconnected spectacle. Our film's soundscape imagines what could be heard inside the blocks of houses we track past, and our film ends inside one of them, created from whole cloth, with the filmmakers watching a barrage of disaster footage as we hear Fiona deliver her prophetic news report in poetic form. It was Fiona's idea to have her reading of the poem emanate from the TV (what a great idea!), and we doubled down, accompanying her reading with footage from another of our films, about climate anxiety.
Text of the poem:
these geometric days
bounded by brushcut grass
lean lopsided into a sky
incised by wire grids
nets for ephemeral
a satellite platter
funnels a particled world
into a cubed glowing
we huddle before it
avid for evidence
of life outside our
Fiona Tinwei LamWriter
Fiona Tinwei LamKey Cast"Narrator"
Jack CochranEditing and sound design
Pamela FalkenbergCinematography and producion design
Fiona Tinwei LamConsultant
Project Type:Experimental, Short, Other
Runtime:4 minutes 12 seconds
Completion Date:August 25, 2022
Country of Origin:United States
Country of Filming:United States
Shooting Format:4K digital video
Ostia Film Festival (English subtitled version screened)Rome
November 29, 2022
Living with Buildings
November 23, 2022
November 30, 2022
Finalist, Award for best video poetry
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 is an occasional contributor to Moving Poems Magazine (http://discussion.movingpoems.com/).
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.
Biography of poet Fiona Tinwei Lam
Fiona Tinwei Lam is a writer, editor, and educator from Vancouver, Canada. She has authored three poetry collections: Intimate Distances (finalist for the City of Vancouver Book Prize), Enter the Chrysanthemum, and Odes & Laments. as well as a children’s book. Her poetry and prose appear in over 40 anthologies, including The Best Canadian Poetry (2010 and 2020 editions). She has co-edited two anthologies of nonfiction and edited The Bright Well: Contemporary Canadian Poetry about Facing Cancer. Her award-winning video poems have been screened at festivals locally and internationally. She was recently named the Poet Laureate of Vancouver. Learn more at www.fionalam.net.
For over seven years, Jack Cochran and Pamela Falkenberg have been making personal films together again under the name Outlier Moving Pictures. They hope their work will prove 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, was nominated for two awards at the 2019 Queens World 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, 2019, 2020, 2021), the Juteback Poetry Film Festival (2017, 2018), the Festival Silencio (2017), the Filmpoem Festival (2017), the 6th CYCLOP Videopoetry Festival (2017), the 6th, 7th, and 8th International Video Poetry Festival (Athens Greece), the Hombres Videopoetry Competitition (2019 2020), and the Zebra Poetry Film Festival (2020, 2021). Their most ambitious film, "Teddy Roosevelt and Fracking," about environmental threats to the wild landscapes of North Dakota, premiered at the 2018 Queens World Film Festival, where it was nominated for three awards and took the award for Best Documentary Short, followed by awards at the Go West Film Festival, the Ozark Foothills Film Festival, and the American Presidents Film and Literary Festival at the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library and Museum. Their most acclaimed film, "The Names of Trees," in collaboration with Lucy English for her Book of Hours project, has screened in more than 40 film festivals in more than 15 countries, has been nominated for awards many times, named a finalist for best poetic film and best short film several times, and won the Lois Weber Pioneer Award at the 2020 Queens World Film Festival, for their complete body of work. Two of their more recent poetry films, "In West Virginia," and "Flag Country," based on poems by Dave Bonta, have screened at the Buffalo International Film Festival, the Small Axe Radical Film Festival, the Newlyn Film Festival, and the North Dakota Human Rights Arts Festival, among others. Pam and Jack recently completed a new triptych with poet Lucy English on climate change, "I Want to Breathe Sweet Air,” which has already received recognition in the US and Internationally. They are currently at work on "Now and Then," an experimental film based on a new collection of Jack's poems; “The Loneliest Road in America” (their first feature together), an experimental road trip/documentary essay about transportation and travel in the American West; and another collaboration with poet Lucy English, about Louisiana’s “Cancer Corridor” and environmental injustice.
.Jack and Pam co-direct the films they make together, and they collaborate fully, even when they divide up the credits. Their poetry films usually start with a poem (often, but not always, one of Jack’s poems), which they think of as analogous to a script. However, when collaborating with Lucy English on “The Shadow” and “The Names of Trees,” the process was more dialectical: some images and sounds came first, then Lucy wrote the poems; the poems inspired more images, and eventually the edited film poems. For us, the exact process depends on the project and remains open to experiment, so our body of work is somewhat disparate and hard to categorize. Some of our eclectic interests include collage, found footage, and repurposing; the film essay and film poetry; image capturing and post-production techniques that reveal what cannot be seen with the eyes alone (e.g., high shutter speeds, moving cameras, infrared photography, green screen and digital layering); the environment, landscapes, and the ways humans mark them; human rights/social justice; and postmodern melodrama.
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?” Pam and Jack both want to make lots of different kinds of films together, but Pam is especially proud to have been the one who suggested that Jack’s poems should come to life as films. They are both delighted that making films of Jack's poems has led to interesting collaborations with other poets and filmmakers.