The Names of Trees (Italian subtitles)
Images of decay and regeneration photographed using a video camera whose sensor has been modified for infrared photography create a post apocalyptic, strangely alluring, but disconnected world. A mesmerizing series of largely deserted rural and urban landscapes concretizes the bittersweet memories of a lost love in Pamela Falkenberg and Jack Cochran's film of Lucy English's poem, "The Names of Trees," part of her Book of Hours film project, whose collected poems have now been published in book form (https://burningeye.bigcartel.com/product/the-book-of-hours-by-lucy-english). Accepted by more than thirty festivals in fifteen different countries, and nominated for best visual poem and best experimental film several times, including by the BAFTA qualifying Wales International Film Festival, Outlier's most widely celebrated film is surprisingly uplifting, hauntingly beautiful, and deeply mysterious.
Text of the poem by Lucy English:
The Names of Trees
In the park this evening there was low sun on blossom.
Prunus trees and whitebeam. Parkland trees.
Pink and white blossom against dark twigs
and pale leaves of ornamental chestnuts.
Clouds after rain, with a pinkish tinge.
A soft grey light. A man with a black and white dog.
A slice of sun at the base of the clouds.
I don’t know why I walked back from work that way,
I usually go past the shops but I was later tonight.
It wasn’t dark and this is a safe place.
Dear Rich, I know you would laugh,
at my suburban house in a tree lined road.
My teaching job. A partner older than me.
With you it was as if each moment dazzled.
We were always moving, never settled.
That day I walked to your last place.
The greyhound bus stopped near the store.
I walked past the car lot, and the factory block,
and down your street, a tree lined street,
and the leaves were just out. Pale leaves,
and evening sun. Low light on bricks.
I didn’t know the names of the trees.
It was your country. I didn’t know the names of trees.
John C CochranDirector
Project Type:Experimental, Short
Genres:Film poem, Video poem
Runtime:4 minutes 28 seconds
Completion Date:June 15, 2018
Country of Origin:United States
Country of Filming:United States
Shooting Format:4K digital video
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.
For the past five 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), the Juteback Poetry Film Festival (2017, 2018), the Festival Silencio (2017), the Filmpoem Festival (2017), the 6th CYCLOP Videopoetry Festival (2017), and the 6th, 7th, and 8th International Video Poetry Festival (Athens Greece). 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 recent poetry films, "In West Virginia," and "Flag Country," based on poems by Dave Bonta, have already 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. Pam and Jack are currently working on a new untitled triptych with Lucy English on climate change; "Now and Then," an experimental film based on a new collection of Jack's poems; and their first feature together, an experimental documentary essay about the loneliest road in America.
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); 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.