Facing West

A cinematic setting of poems by Walt Whitman that span his whole life's work, commemorating his bicentennial year. Features the poet's Long Island native "personator" Darrel Blaine Ford, manifesting and reciting "Song of Myself," "There Was a Child Went Forth," "Give Me the Splendid Silent Sun" and "Facing West From California's Shores." Filmed at the poet's birthplace, the Long Island shore, Manhattan, and where West meets East.

  • H. Paul Moon
    Samuel Barber: Absolute Beauty, The Passion of Scrooge, Quartet for the End of Time
  • Walt Whitman
  • Darrel Blaine Ford
    Key Cast
    "Walt Whitman"
  • Adalie Morales
    Key Cast
  • Frank Horvat
  • Mivos Quartet
  • Project Type:
    Experimental, Short
  • Genres:
  • Runtime:
    9 minutes 23 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    February 1, 2020
  • Production Budget:
    0 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital 6K
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Walt Whitman Birthplace
    Huntington Station, New York
    United States
    October 22, 2020
    World Premiere
  • Reading FilmFEST
    Reading, Pennsylvania
    United States
    October 10, 2020
    Pennsylvania Premiere
    Official Selection
Director Biography - H. Paul Moon

H. Paul Moon (zenviolence.com) is a filmmaker, professor and attorney whose works include short and feature-length documentaries, featured and awarded at nearly two hundred film festivals worldwide. He teaches editing at Docs In Progress and George Mason University, and manages a network of online communities at focuspulling.com and docofilm.com that keep pace with new camera technologies and documentary news. Works include "Sitka: A Piano Documentary" (sitkadoc.com) about the craftsmanship of Steinway pianos, and "Quartet for the End of Time" (quatuor.xyz) about Olivier Messiaen’s transcendent WWII composition. Moon's first feature, an acclaimed and award-winning documentary about the life and music of American composer Samuel Barber (samuelbarberfilm.com), premiered on PBS, and he is currently finishing another documentary feature about Western poetry (westdocumentary.com). His ongoing centenary multimedia works on poet Walt Whitman are featured at whitmanonfilm.com.  Moon's latest film is an operatic adaptation of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" (scroogeopera.com), awarded "Critic's Choice" by Opera News as a "thoroughly enjoyable film version, insightfully conceived and directed" with "first-rate and remarkably illustrative storytelling."

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Director Statement

This film was created at the Walt Whitman Birthplace on Long Island, New York, and proceeds to the nearby south shore where the poet had spent much of his early life. Then it races through New York City before "Facing West from California's Shores," with original footage from the Far East and beyond. The Manhattan sequence of this film was captured in revolutionary 6K resolution, and the music was generously provided by composer Frank Horvat, performed by Mivos Quartet, with additional improvisation by Tyler J. Borden and Agustin Grasso.