Private Project

Overwhelming Majority

Overwhelming Majority is an experimental documentary short dealing with issues of loneliness, alienation, and social anxiety. A young woman recounts a suicide attempt, muses on the nature of connectedness, and ultimately yearns for understanding.

  • Joseph Irvin
  • Norma VanBuskirk
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Experimental, Short, Student
  • Runtime:
    10 minutes 46 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    April 29, 2016
  • Production Budget:
    1,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    35mm, Super8
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
    Black & White
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • UCCS Short Film Festival
    Colorado Springs, CO
    United States
    May 1, 2016
    World Premiere
    Best Experimental Film
  • Peak Film Forum Presents: Show Us Your Shorts
    Colorado Springs, CO
    United States
    July 13, 2016
  • Blissfest333
    Littleton, CO
    United States
    August 13, 2016
    Best Experimental Film, Best Documentary Short (nomination)
  • Southern Colorado Film Festival
    Alamosa, CO
    United States
    October 14, 2016
  • Durango Independent Film Festival
    Durango, CO
    United States
    March 3, 2017
  • Wales International Documentary Festival
    United Kingdom
    April 7, 2017
    International Premiere
  • Peak Frequency Music Festival
    Colorado Springs, CO
    United States
    April 15, 2017
  • Colorado Short Circuit
    Colorado Springs, CO
    United States
    April 22, 2017
  • Carmarthen Bay Film Festival
    United Kingdom
    May 9, 2017
  • Wales International Film Festival
    United Kingdom
    September 8, 2017
    Best Experimental film (nomination)
  • London International Documentary Festival
    United Kingdom
    November 25, 2017
    English Premiere
Director Biography - Joseph Irvin

Joseph Irvin is an Ohio native who studied music composition under Marc Ainger at The Ohio State University and under Jane Rigler at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs. He has released a folk music album, given or performed in many concerts of acoustic and electroacoustic music, and scored several films. In the past few years he has begun composing images as well as music--Overwhelming Majority is his newest work. A photographer on occasion, he recently completed his first exhibition, in his current city of Colorado Springs.

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Director Statement

I'm a composer, not a filmmaker. At least that's what I keep saying, and the conceit of this work is that it is Music, not just in what we hear, but what we see, how we look. Rather than a film, this is a composition using images and editing as much as it uses spoken and pitched sound.

Overwhelming Majority was inspired by a much shorter piece I made a year ago which dealt with my own experiences and emotions being alone in a crowd. Winning a grant from my university, I expanded the theme and sought out other people and their perspectives on isolation, alienation, and social anxiety. What came out of it is a very personal project, and while the Voice that speaks didn't originate from my mouth, it says everything I've wanted to say and more: thoughts I haven't had the courage to communicate myself. When we can't speak, there are alternative means of crying out. I didn't allow anyone to collaborate with me; not only to keep it personal, but also in a symbolic act of shouldering the weight that so many people needlessly carry alone.

Starting with a cinema vérité style and inspired primarily by the work of Chris Marker and William Klein, I approached a lot of the work in the aesthetic of street photography, even in the use of motion picture cameras. I had no idea of what to make, only those words again: alienation, isolation, social anxiety. I spent months going to places I didn't frequent, spent much time in crowded situations with people I didn't know, and spent hours talking with people about subjects I'd rather not have discussed. In editing, the Voice came first, after which I discovered a rhythm to the way the images worked together. Images and shots are recapitulated here and there, as returning motifs. The score is performed on synthesizer by myself and helps unify the three movements of the images into a cohesive whole.

I'm still surprised with what Overwhelming Majority became. I hope it will be an intense and intensely moving experience, and that you emerge more mindful of the world as well as the people in it. Reach out to someone.