MIFS: Where did the idea for the film come from?
As friends and artists, we knew we wanted an opportunity to work together on a still-photography based documentary film project. We were looking for something vibrant and energizing to capture as a first project together. Megan had been a long time fan of a Madison, WI based community art project, Procession of the Species. The Procession artists team with a local environmental non-profit, Friends of Starkweather Creek, annually to celebrate the summer solstice with a celebration that features giant puppets, a community inspired biodiversity parade, local music, fire dancing and general revelry. We were drawn to the beauty, community participation and deeper meaning (to many) of this summer Solstice Solstice Festival. We wanted to photograph and edit the film in a manner that would capture the raw energy of this event and also give film audiences the feeling of being vicarious participants themselves.
MIFS: How much did the project change from concept to final edit?
The project was originally meant to be a sketch, but grew into a 17 minute film as the participants were interviewed and the subject matter became more dense and fascinating.
MIFS: Where there any challenges during production?
Our post production process was far more challenging than production. We knew we were taking an unconventional approach to this film from the start. Rather than shooting video exclusively, we focused on still photography and still photography animation sequences. Selecting each individual image, editing the photography sequences and seamlessly integrating that footage with the video footage, proved to be incredibly time consuming.
MIFS: With the film completed, what has been the most rewarding thing about the whole experience?
Sharing the film with the Solstice Festival community was very rewarding. We were able to collaborate on a wonderful gallery show featuring video art and print images from the film alongside puppets from the festival at the Overture Center for the Arts in Madison. We premiered the film at the opening reception and the marching band featured in the film joined us to play before the screening. The audience of hundreds of people from the Solstice Festival and local community attended the event and we were thrilled to hear from so many audience members that the film achieved our goal of capturing the unique energy and special experience that so many have at this Festival.
SOLSTICE screens on Nov 10th as part of the 14th Annual Milwaukee Short Film Festival at 3:15pm in the Lubar Auditorium, MAM.