Interview with ANTH II filmmaker Alice Venessa Bever

In last year’s ANTH I, Alice interpreted E.A. Robinsons’s poem “Richard Cory” through the use of footage shot in airports and train stations in Italy and the United States. This year, for ANTHOLOGY II, she’s interpreting Emily Dickinson’s “There’s a certain slant of light…” We caught Alice in the midst of a whirlwind of international travel–she’s currently working on her ongoing project1979 piece in Europe– to ask her a few questions. Scroll down to see her Robinson piece from last year and to read her interview–and join us at 8 PM at the Creative Alliance on Thursday, August 2nd (free admission!).

Alice’s film from last year, “From Sole to Crown”:

||8: Who are you?

AVB: I am Alice Venessa Bever and because of a crazy opportunity I had presented to me in February 2011, I started to learn how to make short films, something that is now a budding (think: absolutely beginner) hobby that I love. When I am not doing that I am traveling with my site-specific pop-up theater extravaganza, project1979, that travels this crazy globe collecting stories about the 30-something generation. ( I am a director, actor (sometimes), writer, and educator. I sing often and laugh loudly.

||8: Where are you from originally (where were you born) and where do you live now?

AVB: : I was born in California and live in…well, for the past few years I have spent most of my time in Jackson Hole, Wyoming or sometimes Chicago or Naples, Italy. Now my home is wherever I lay my head while traveling.

||8: How did you get started making films? What was your first piece?

AVB: I suppose I already answered that in the intro. My first piece was with Parallel Octave: From Sole to Crown. Since then I have been producing short films for project1979 and for a short web series for Dishing Magazine.

||8: What are some of your influences? Alternatively–who are a few other people working right now, not limited to film, whose work you’re interested in?

AVB: I am very influenced by poetry-Rilke, EE Cummings and Montale as of late-which makes the work with both Anthologies a nice fit. I get excited by music, Chopin, David Byrne and Radiohead. Most recently I have been inspired in the last three months by the young artists I have met making great work in spite of/despite incredible hurdles such as immigration, disease, poverty, heartbreak. I am in awe of those who are able to create in the midst of sincere challenge.

||8: Describe the concept for your forthcoming ANTHOLOGY II piece, based on Emily Dickinson’s “There’s a certain slant of light…” What will the film look like–what’s the general idea?

AVB: I have been fascinated by winter since living in Wyoming. More specifically, I like how–even in the extreme cold and weather that can be deadly– life continues. I also wanted to document the seemingly imperceptible changes in a season that appears to be isolating, desolate, immobile. I began to shoot while on my commute to work (walking, bus, car) with a focus on the relationship that nature had with man. In four months, I was able to see the difference in the angles of the light and enjoyed the many layers of winter that transpired during that time. And wasn’t this perfect for Dickinson’s “There’s a certain slant of light-winter afternoons”?

||8: Process. What kind of equipment/techniques are you using? What has the process of shooting and editing been like so far? Have there been any unexpected challenges, or any changes in your original idea since you started?

AVB: I have a lofty idea that one day I will eventually make things easier on myself, be methodical, balanced and timely in my approach to my artistic endeavors. However, at the moment, I work best in beginning a project like starting a collage, collecting found images, creating, cutting, manipulating, rearranging, observing until it feels right or until I am forced to walk away due to a deadline. I really enjoy it-it’s like a puzzle, a game, a challenge but I never feel like it is finished. In this particular process I decided to challenge myself with learning the effects that my new editing software featured. I thought this was a perfect opportunity to try something new and then be able to apply that knowledge to future films. I had to understand how they functioned, how to best use them and then I used a trial-and-error approach to how it could fit with the integrity of the poem.

||8: Is there anything else you’re working on right now that you want to mention?

AVB: While my primary focus is project1979, I am also performing in a 20’s Vaudeville show called Variete’: Can’t Help It. I am also working on becoming a better guitar player and hope that if I hint around enough for my upcoming birthday (July 31st) I can eventually have my own and stop bugging people to play theirs.

Check out Alice’s new film this year on August 2nd at the Creative Alliance; and check out project1979 at the project blog or Facebook. We’ll post interviews with each of the returning filmmakers every week between now and the screening.

ANTHOLOGY II, the second annual Parallel Octave short film compilation, will screen on Thursday, August 2nd at the Creative Alliance in Baltimore. Free admission! Drinks at 7:30 PM, screening at 8:00 PM. And look! There’s a trailer!

One response to “Interview with ANTH II filmmaker Alice Venessa Bever

  1. Pingback: Interviews with ANTHOLOGY II filmmakers | Auteur 101

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