Under the Whale

Lift-Off Online 2020 Director: James C Martin Writer: James C Martin and Herman Melville Producer: James C Martin/lucille Goeres/Beau Gage Fund Country of Origin: United States Synopsis: Under the Whale (a Dance/Docu/Drama about Climate Change, Youth and Anger) [11 minutes]…

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Lift-Off Online 2020

Director: James C Martin
Writer: James C Martin and Herman Melville
Producer: James C Martin/lucille Goeres/Beau Gage Fund

Country of Origin: United States

Synopsis:
Under the Whale (a Dance/Docu/Drama about Climate Change, Youth and Anger) [11 minutes]
2019 Grand Jury Award for Experimental Documentary–American Filmatic Arts
Nominated for best director and best experimental documentary–2020 Oregon Documentary film Festival

Under the Whale features the making of a dance/play performance piece about climate change on on public high school age students in Queens, New York and Manhattan.

While rehearsing and filming, the shooting in Parkland, Florida took place. As the student movement fought for gun control, my young dancers transformed their piece into a diatribe against adults’ nefarious neglect and denial of climate change. The piece started out to be about climate change, but it became much more.

My personal reasons for making the film entwine with those of committed young people delivering their message under the whale of the crisis.

More then just an archive of the rehearsals and performance, its layering of documentary and narrative elements presents an alternative model for realizing moving and persuasive politically driven art.

An Official Selection at the Chelsea Film Festival in New York City, the film received appreciation and admiration from other film makers and attendees.

Here is a review of the film:

LIGHT FRAME

Under the Whale [James C. Martin, USA, 2019]

October 2, 2019 by Charlie Greep

Under the Whale is a behind the scenes documentary of a dance/play performed by teenage students in New York and directed by James C. Martin. It is primarily about climate change and the effect it will have on the younger generation but other injustices are explored through the piece as well.

It is a topical and very timely film but perhaps what is most remarkable about Under the Whale is its anger. It is angry in the way the best of political art tends to be. It showcases the anger of today’s youth and it is also angry on behalf of them, above all it is angry at the ignorance and arrogance of older generations that allow climate change to continue and barrel towards catastrophe. It is refreshing for a film dealing with this sort of serious subject matter to not pull its punches.

Although Under the Whale uses the structure of a documentary it also blends genres by incorporating elements of narrative. This includes pollution imagery as well as a running mystery about a friend’s last words that resolves in an understated but quite beautiful way.

‘Under the Whale’ is a political piece that is always focused on the likely victims of climate change.

FRAME LIGHT is a film organization dedicated to popularizing the medium of short film, with particular focus on supporting independent filmmakers from around the world.

Documentary, Experimental, Short, Other –

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