I encountered Braden King through his 1998 film Dutch Habor. I loved how firmly it positioned itself in the world of "Art" and dug how he didn’t allow it to be pigeonholed, touring it with The Boxhead Ensemble, re-creating a live event in the process. I have been even more impressed by how his new excursion
s into transmedia have informed his process. Braden brings us into a more intimate relationship with the subject of his film – all before showing us the finished work. Industry-ites often remark that transmedia is the sole domain of genre work but Braden shows that is far from the case. Here, he tell us all a little more about it:
My current feature film, HERE, a landscape-obsessed road movie romance starring Ben Foster and Lubna Azabal, evolved slowly and steadily out of the many years of work I’ve been doing with film, photography and music. I didn’t wake up one day with a fully formed idea for a road movie about a modern-day cartographer; I slowly and obsessively followed a series of breadcrumbs that led me to this story and the location in which it was shot (Armenia) over a very long period of time. So while the film was not consciously designed to be a "multi-platform motion picture," various extensions of the project have grown up around it organically as I’ve worked through the processes of writing, developing, directing and (now) editing the film.
These extensions have included books and gallery and museum exhibitions of my location scout photographs, on-going experiments with Google Earth "tours" of the main characters’ route and the development of an iPhone app that will allow the user to explore HERE’s story and themes through an immersive multimedia experience that will incorporate GPS and map-based features.
Currently, the multi-platform elements of HERE with the most public profile include a live film and music performance / deconstruction called HERE [ THE STORY SLEEPS ], which seeks to examine what the dreams of this feature film might look and feel like, and [ POSTCARDS FROM HERE ], a series of short, impressionistic video pieces by project documentarian Ava Berkofsky designed to give the viewer a taste of the travel, landscapes, experiences and moods encountered while producing the first American feature film ever shot in Armenia.
A sold-out, three-screen prototype of HERE [ THE STORY SLEEPS ] was mounted at the Museum of Modern Art in April with live soundtrack accompaniment by composer Michael Krassner and the Boxhead Ensemble (the same collaborators are scoring the feature film; recordings from this event will very likely make their way into the movie). We continued work on this facet of the project during a week-long residency at Mass MoCA in June and plan to tour it internationally in 2011 under the management of our partners at Pomegranate Arts. Ideally, HERE [ THE STORY SLEEPS ] and HERE [ THE FEATURE FILM ] will wind around each other like a helix next year, engaging and unifying separate audiences in the worlds of independent film, performing arts and music.
[ POSTCARDS FROM HERE ] lives on a dedicated YouTube channel, the film’s website, and will be integrated into the aforementioned iPhone app. [ POSTCARDS ] is a lyrical take on an intense creative journey through an extremely unique culture and landscape. The project is not expressly about the making of HERE [ THE FEATURE FILM ], but a more universal meditation on "following the breadcrumbs" and the moving and poetic culture clashes encountered when undertaking such an international independent film at this particular moment in time. As such, it speaks directly to the themes of HERE [ THE FEATURE FILM ], but from a different angle of approach.
All of these offshoots have have deeply nourished and influenced each other. Because of that, they feel intrinsic (to me, at least) as opposed to tacked-on. I’ve recently realized that HERE is not really a film with various offshoots supporting it - it’s simply one big, multi-platform project that wouldn’t feel complete to me without these additional explorations.
It’s been exhausting at times - but it’s been equally exhilarating. By being able to move so fluidly through so many facets of HERE, I’ve been able to explore narrative and the moving image in ways that will continue to resonate over years and projects to come.
New Yorker coverage of the MoMA show: http://bit.ly/cQbgDC