The Passage of Time… Permanence does not exist in the way we expect it to. The only thing that is permanent is evolution. As things evolve some of the elements remain, some are altered and some disappear leaving only a hint of what used to be. In urban settings this evolution creates a collage. A collage created by many artists unknowingly. Both artists and elements working independently yet creating a work of art collaboratively. This work of art will never be complete, however, it is always perfect in it’s constant state of evolution. — Burton Machen
THE STORY DEVELOPMENT
29 Palms, CA is an artistic/ conceptual/ visual/ filmic collaboration between several artists from different artistic backgrounds: writers, actors, musicians, directors, visual artists, and others, and will culminate in a full-length feature film.
The project is being developed continuously by all parties involved. This mainly pertains to the script and storyline, as well as character development, and background. A general story outline exists. Along these lines the characters are living within their stories, expressions, images taken of them etc. The characters add to the stories change their directions. The characters are influencing and feeding off each other. The project, a "long-term improvisation", continuously growing and developing in an organic fashion.
The development is taken place online. For this reason Stefanie Schneider is creating the website: www.twentyninepalms.ca. Radha Mitchell has started writing the script. She and Stefanie Schneider are in charge of keeping things flowing and in line with the general story idea and structure.
The site also covers the production side of the project: the how, when and who. A published schedule regarding all production steps will keep each participant up to date. The film will not be shot at once, but rather step-by-step over a period of time, whenever a scene has been developed and is ready for production.
Stefanie and Radha have already invited contributors and asked them to submit stories, scenes, monologues, thoughts, ideas, emails, poems, background stories of the characters involved, music, films, etc. to the 29 Palms, CA online forum, which is part of the website. This takes place under the categories "contributions", "scenes", and "characters". The concept of uploading ideas directly will keep the script alive and in motion at all times until the final edit of the film is completed.
All of the contributors write and act as the character, as which they have been casted, and which they bring to life. All entries will be read and considered, and then either used as a background story to the character, which will be displayed on the website and in various other venues (see below), or edited into the script or into the edit of the movie by Stefanie Schneider within the before mentioned online forum. This enables each contributor/ character to constantly witness the development of the script, story and film.
Each character has his or her own character page on the website and writes a fictitious or semi-fictitious diary on it in order to reveal the background story of the character. Pieces from this diary might be edited into the script as well. It can also happen that a scene has been written and shot, but meanwhile, because of biographical influences displayed in the diary, the character's life has moved on and changed. In that case the scene is cut out of the script, but might still be used standing on its own as a sub chapter or part of the background story of the character.
The website itself is an entity of its own. Because there is no set time limit for the development of all the parts involved, it will take at least three years to finish the film (writing, photography shoots / filming, editing etc.). Scenes are being written and shot, stories are being told, life is changing. Thus the website becomes the reflection of a period of time, of changes within and around us.
Parts of the project will be taken out as "chapters" or "episodes" and presented in galleries and public art spaces, as well as in theatres and film festivals. Books containing artwork, script pieces, story parts, poetry etc. will be published. And of course there could be even more: the limited edition actress doll OXANA, the SORAYA the princess doll, ALEX, the motel owner's wife doll, etc.
The development of the project becomes the project itself. The grand finale is the full-length feature film.
THE TECHNICAL CONCEPT
The film will be shot mostly on Polaroid film stock, which then will be edited and partly animated. Some scenes will be jumpy, intercut with short pieces of super-8 material. To see the usually static characters in real time movement all of a sudden is quite stunning. Other scenes of edited Polaroid stock are very smooth due to animation being applied. Sometimes a still image will appear while the characters talk from the off. Most conversations for the radio show will be filmed on 16 mm in a rough documentary style. But then, all of a sudden the roll of film is empty, the image disappears, the screen flickers, then goes black. The characters keep on talking, as we hear the sound of the end of the film hitting the film case. The audience is taken back to feel like the viewers of an old super-8 family movie.