Please note that the introductory video is just a sampling of stills and shorts that inspired the look of "The Magnificent Pigtail Shadow" and is not representative of the final film.
The Magnificent Pigtail Shadow is a film concept distilled from years of my collected writings and euphoric delusions on the topic of bliss. In 2006, after the death of four close family members in rapid succession, I came to the dark realization that the true nature of our universe is to get in the way. Beauty has become subversion. This theme has found a home in my: drawing, painting, collage, writing, music, photography, and most recently, film work.
Admitting a desire for contentment, bliss and peace seems to induce blushing and embarrassment in most people these days, while CGI violence and destruction has become an acceptable norm. I am soothed by the idea of revolting against this ruthless universe and by relentlessly documenting one that is completely devoid of death and decay. If it's not benevolent and it's not built to induce pleasure, don’t build it.
Make no mistake, the tone of the film is not sardonic. Just a few jabs of sarcasm at the expense of the universe. The narrative picks fun at uncontrollable forces and the base behaviors of mankind, while the slow-paced images demonstrate what I perceive as pleasure and comfort. It is a film about the “imagined paradises” we place in our futures to comfort ourselves in the present, an attempt to build the sensation of these fictional paradises, a visual sketchbook of stills, animations, film and swirling prose roaming through the natural United States. While the narrator goes on to feel ashamed of this need for paradise, the imagery illustrates that very fantasy. Mankind, outside of the actors, will be avoided, no towns, automobiles, machines etc will be shown or even hinted at. Not even their residue will remain. This could be a world, or at least an America, before Columbus.
Those of you who know my work might be wondering if my art will be included in the project. Yes, I am using several animations that I created with hand drawn originals imported into Adobe After Effects. I believe these will supplement the euphoric and hallucinatory sensations that I am striving for.
Additionally, a lion’s-share of the actor’s thoughts are presented as narration entwined with a lush soundtrack that I wrote, engineered and mixed with my group Atlantic Drone. I am currently casting for actors from within the Oneida and Onondaga tribes.
I’ve been working on The Magnificent Pigtail Shadow for the past three years using borrowed equipment. Using a borrowed camera, I began shooting in the northern Adirondack region. Using a borrowed wav recorder, I have been able to accumulate ambient sound and narration interpretations in the field.
As you can imagine, borrowing equipment has become tedious and stifling, which is why I have come to you.
With your pledges I will purchase my own HD camera. The CANON VIXIA HV40 HD camcorder sells for as high as $964.00, but I have found it on sale for as low as $650. I have used the same model this past winter and have become quite comfortable with it. Its picture quality is superb and I have learned to trick it with my self-designed filters and lens attachments to give me what I need and to allow improvisation in the interpretation of a scene; an approach I use both in my music and art.
I will also purchase a Zoom H2 Wav field recorder.
I will supply EVERYTHING else with the sweat of my brow.
I am able to ask for such a modest amount because I have the luxury of full, free access to a recording studio and I will be editing, scoring, inserting animations and creating the accompanying graphics myself.
I have already put, literally, hundreds of hours into this film and will gladly continue to spend hundreds more.
I will profit ONLY in the satisfaction of finishing my film. Any and all funds above my goal would be used ONLY and ENTIRELY for this film. Additional funds would enable me to:
Extend my time in the field and on location shoots
Help cover expenses for actors (I am looking for volunteers but I will be providing food and travel expenses when needed and this would help).
Help cover expenses for volunteer crew (one or two people at most)
Here is a selection of pieces of my work in film, paint, collage, ink and digital that apply to the inspirations for the visual and narrative approach to the film as well as images of the rewards for helping me to complete The Magnificent Pigtail Shadow with your pledges.
Original images created by Steven Cerio used as his inspiration for the visual and narrative approach to the film:
- (45 days)