The Giving Sky

Grammy-nominated composer Zhou Tian (nominated for the 2018 GRAMMY Award for Best Contemporary Classical Composition) offered his piece "The Drizzling Rain at the Plum Season" to filmmakers for interpretation in 2019. "The Giving Sky" represents the interpretation by Alexandria Searls, an award winning experimental filmmaker and film educator. "The Giving Sky" portrays the Rivanna River in Charlottesville, Virginia on the verge of spring. The river receives both rain and snow from the giving sky; the shadow of a great blue heron passes over the water. The heron is a long-held symbol of good fortune in Chinese culture, and it bridges the music and the visuals, linking Virginia to China with its symbolism. Zhou Tian was born in Hangzhou, China in 1981 and came to the United States in 2001. "The Drizzling Rain in the Plum Season" is part of a five movement suite called "Broken Ink," which premiered in 2017 with the Princeton Symphony Orchestra.

  • Alexandria Searls
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Experimental, Short
  • Runtime:
    6 minutes 20 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    March 8, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    1,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
    1920 x 1080
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Audio Shoot Unsigned International Music Video & Film Festival
    July 6, 2019
    World Premiere
    Official Selection
  • Rails to Reels Film Festival
    Meridian, Mississippi
    United States
    Official Selection
  • Santa Fe Film Festival
    Santa Fe, New Mexico
    United States
    Official Selection
Director Biography - Alexandria Searls

Alexandria Searls makes short films that have shown in a variety of festivals, including the International Film Festival Rotterdam and the Feminist Border Arts Film Festival. She is working on a series of short films called "The Rivanna River Diaries," which chronicle her interactions with the river in her hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia. She is Executive Director of the Lewis & Clark Exploratory Center, which brings the spirit of discovery to visitors and introduces them to the Rivanna River. She has taught filmmaking at the University of Virginia and currently teaches video workshops to children and to adults at the Exploratory Center. She has had collaborations with musicians as a photographer, photographing for the Charlottesville Symphony and doing a variety of CD and poster photographs for rock bands, including Ben Folds Five.

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Director Statement

Thank you to the Allentown Symphony Orchestra and to Zhou Tian for this very exciting and wonderful opportunity.