Accrue mythic histories of violence, martyrdom, atomic breakthrough, failed utopias, vigilante justice, telekinesis, expulsion. Let them comprise a suite of Midwestern parables.


Political poetic cinema.


Distrust the reification of a single historical point of view.


Events leave scars on the fabric of experience, and the scars are what stories come from. The scars ARE the stories. Story can take form outside of language. An earthen mound, the erasure of a tornado, a trail, a culvert - these forms contain narratives, intentional and not. Think how many decisions (State, engineering, design, regulatory) are inscribed in the height of a curb.


Look for historical writing beyond language. Try to show more than speak.


Question cinema’s innate facility to serve as evidence.


Making a film about historical events is making a film about today. It is always a combination of the two, with the gap between the past and the present is the primary agent. This is why history needs continually to be revisited, renamed, recounted, interrogated, doubted, reassessed, reenacted…


Reenactment as ritualization.

The importance of ritualizing events as a way to remember, re-live and redefine them.


Liturgical cinematic forms. Not sermons

Question what morality catalyzes.


What can belief teach us about nationhood?

where has the legacy of seeking religious freedom left us?

How to make a film that considers the relationship between progress and morality?

The film should both portray and provoke belief and doubt.


A series of regional narratives that each in their way question the role doubt, technology and mysticism play in social ideology.


The local is the deepest political


Locations as ‘thin places’.

Where boundaries are permeable, or unstable

b/w rational & supernatural, past & present, story & index, ineffable & tangible


Times when the hair stands up on the back of your neck

But also the times when you’re absorbed elsewhere


Offer alternate ways that cinema might use / deploy time. Let each parable be an experience block that we can move around later in our memory of the cinematic experience.


Product, instead of sum.


Again, as with some prior films, the ontology of violence, confluences of logic and the supernatural, histories embedded in landscape… but this time more bluntly from the perspective of faith.


What is an ecological cinema?


Watch for how habits of culture produce and echo each other.


William James cautioned ‘mysticism’ and ‘mystical’ are “used as terms of reproach, levied at any opinion we regard as vague or vast or sentimental, and without a base in either fact or logic”. Believe in feelings. They are as innately human and intelligent as logic.    



Deborah Stratman