Lift-Off Online 2020
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
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.
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.
Here is a review of the film:
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.
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