Private Project


One, a woman driven to the point of psychosis by plastic pollution, escapes from the known world into The Labyrinth, where she encounters a pure, perfect environment that is nevertheless filled with invisible obstacles and threats, as well as supernatural creatures.

  • Sylvia Toy St. Louis
  • Project Type:
    Animation, Experimental, Short, Other
  • Genres:
    Silent film, Mid-length fiction, Arthouse
  • Runtime:
    40 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    July 26, 2021
  • Production Budget:
    1,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director - Sylvia Toy St. Louis
Director Statement

For 2 or 3 years in my early 20s, beginning after my closest friend and running buddy got married and moved to Delaware, I frequently drove alone in the countryside outside Lincoln, Nebraska. I experienced months-long episodes of bipolar depression between ages 19-27. The driving was self-medication because the farther I drove from evidence of humans other than road signs, the calmer I felt inside.

The farther I drove along the rolling country roads (that’s right, it’s not flat like tourists say it is), the less extraneous I felt, the more I felt like I belonged in the world like everybody else. After a few years of these periodic wanderings, the countryside was part of my own inner landscape, a place that I could go for peace without going anywhere.

Flash forward to the 1990s when my in-laws bought a summer house in Cold Creek, Nevada north of Las Vegas. By the 2000s, my husband and went to Nevada every summer. And after I bought my first video cameras, I was out every morning before dawn waiting with my camera for the elk to come back from the creek to return up the mountain for the day. It was a long wait – about 4 years – before I finally saw elk in the morning. In the meantime, I explored the desert, following ground-dwelling birds, rabbits, lizards. I was on foot, not able to go miles away from the village like I could have done in my old Rambler. But in those days, I didn't have to go very far to lose sight of the village and humans.

I wish I could remember the first time I had the sudden awareness of being surrounded by the very loud sound of the desert, loud because of so many very busy living things. Loud because I am the only human in sight and the desert doesn't care. Despite my camera, I am not a tourist anymore. I am part of the landscape. Birds ignore me, but a few rabbits and elk stop what they are doing to make eye contact.

I have watched Monte Hellman's and Jack Nicholson's movie, THE SHOOTING, close to 30 times. THE SHOOTING makes the desert seem a sinister place. It's fantastic, really, that a place so barren and mostly void even of shadows could be sinister. That's not the way I feel about the desert, but I am still fascinated with the movie. I think it's because like me in the country and the desert, the characters become part of the landscape. They are not tourists.

Development videos for THE LABYRINTH can be viewed in this YouTube playlist: