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RADICAL ACTS // LATE STYLE

Throughout history artists have done fascinating work late in life: work their younger selves could never have imagined. Poems, paintings, sculptures, novels, films – all born of the wisdom gained throughout a lifetime of thought and experience.

 

This film will take a never-before-seen look at Late Work through curious and intimate conversations with artists about the profound collaboration between creativity and time.

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THE FILM

Drawing on present day interviews as well as archival material of notable past creative individuals, the film will present intimate cinematic portraits of artists and their unique creative processes. Conversations will focus foremost on the work and insights that arrive uniquely late in life: the discoveries, questions, failures, truths, epiphanies.

 

Serving as a kind of cinematic oral history, filming will be done in artist studios, workshops, and at writing desks – locations where the work is done. The creative process will be intricately explored: the sights, sounds, settings, rhythms, feelings; together, creating an unprecedented and rich look at the mysteries of human creativity by those who have been doing it longest.

THE HISTORY

For innumerable reasons, many artists don’t reach old age. Those who do, however – especially those who have been working their entire lives – are in a unique and rare position. They have a lifetime of thought and discoveries to draw upon. They have amassed immense wisdom through the experimentation, interrogation and provocation of their work. They are free from a need to establish or prove themselves.

 

They may be wrestling with the existential, and perhaps spiritual, complexities that emerge as one grows older. And they are practiced in the art of expression, translating their experiences powerfully through their chosen medium. Imagine if we listened more to what they have to say.

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ARTISTIC APPROACH

For years, without making the connection, I have been drawn to late career work. Often, it has singular qualities: a maturity, a wisdom, a boldness, a directness that suggest an approach towards deeper powers of creativity.

As I began reading everything I could find on Late Style, I found that no one - no film, no book, no series - has ever looked expansively at Late Style across creative genres, instead focusing on either an artist, or a group of similar artists. By investigating this idea across all creative mediums, I feel the film has the opportunity to view creativity - and creative lives - in a new way, as told by those who have lived creatively the longest.

I feel deeply passionate about using a cinematic language to give voice to the experiences of older artists. In making this film, I want to shine a light on their work and insights in a way that elevates and distinguishes the idea of Late Style, and the inestimable contributions of elders in our society.

My past work as a documentary filmmaker has prioritized the exploration of ideas and themes through the observation of process. Between The Folds profiled ten artists and scientists working in origami, each portrait a deep study of how they work and think. In time, it becomes a meditation on the indescribable and mysterious intersections of art and science. In OBIT, I captured a day in the life of the New York Times obituary writers and a dozen of their subjects; and as it develops, it becomes a film about life and memory.

Neither film had an easily communicable plot in advance. I was cautioned that both seemed insurmountable, too large and sprawling to be condensed into a succinct film. Wrestling with these cinematic challenges of reduction while charting an elegant path through a sequence of ideas has always been an intuitive and exhilarating part of the process for me. That process of radical reduction usually comes with profound and metaphoric outcomes.

SAMPLE REEL

Exploration of a film idea made from readily available images, clips and pages from my books

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