Occasionally, the stars align and a group of people manage to unite to combine their expertise and conceive something that supersedes even their own expectations. Local film “Children of Salt” accomplishes just that.
It’s a serendipitous partnership, to say the least. Caleb Andrew Ward, James Martin and Ethan Sigmon thrive in an open environment which allows the undergraduates to comfortably exchange ideas and endure on-set Nerf gun wars to relieve the tension of heavy subject matter.
Having cultivated a relationship over the span of years spent in UNCW’s film studies department, the three film connoisseurs drew inspiration from the works of French-filmmaker Robert Bresson and John Cassevettes (“Faces”). Their film, “Children of Salt,” chronicles the story of a decaying relationship and beckons the authenticity of going through its demise by allowing actors to focus on improvisation. The trio of filmmakers disregard a traditional script to encourage “actors” Ashleigh Lineberry and Jacob Keohane to react organically to situations they are given.
“We were interested in blurring the line between character and actor,” producer Martin reports. “We have all worked on scripted movies, and we felt like way too often the director tells the actors what they should be saying, and the actors try to be the person the director wants them to be instead of doing or saying what they believe their character would do or say instinctually. By not having a script, actors are forced to put more of their personal experiences into their performance.”
The film also boasts the unique quality of being triptych, meaning that it features projection on three screens. The three screens will show the woman’s perspective, the male’s perspective and then the couple together. The filmmakers hope to capture the subjective nature of one’s own view point in a relationship.
“Often in a drama, the audience is given an omniscient understanding of the events going on, but in life we never have this much awareness,” director Ward notes.
The viewer becomes a voyeur almost into the storyline, which questions and explores the heartbeat of self-discovery—what it is we all really want. “Although this can be frustrating, it makes life exciting,” Ward continues. “Overall, this film is about the tragedy of being human and how seemingly impossible it can be to see past your own subjective condition, even when you are in love.”
Despite being a senior thesis film, “Children of Salt” already has received a lot of praise and support from the Wilmington community. With a sleek production style garnered by the beautiful cinematography captured by Sigmon, it transcends the realm of student work. Folks take notice, too, as “Children of Salt” has been written about in numerous publications such as “Chautauqua,” “Wilma” and “The Seahawk.”
“It has been unbelievable at times,” Sigmon divulges. “We certainly don’t feel entitled to the amount of attention we have received so far, since we are still undergrads. I feel like this has only done good things for our work ethic [on the project].”
By continuing to cultivate their momentum, the filmmakers want to generate similar sentiments on a national scale. Durham, Charlotte, Asheville, Richmond and Atlanta are among sites they hope to screen the installation. With plans to turn the film into a feature in early 2014, they look to take to the festival trail eventually.
In order to make their aspirations a reality, as with all films, funding proves key. By going to the film’s website, one can donate to their project. “Making a movie is not cheap,” the filmmakers unanimously decree.
Wilmingtonians who would like to gain first-hand knowledge of the film can catch a glimpse on Thursday, November 7th. “Children of Salt” will show at The Annex Surf Supply Shop. While the venue exhibits the work of local artists once a week, this will be the first time they’ve showcased video artists. “Children of Salt” will project on three screens as a 15-minute cut, which will run on a loop for the event’s entirety so everyone gets a chance to take in each screen.
“The amount of the visual field the three screens will take up will make it difficult for viewers to take in the entirety of the story in one sitting,” Ward states. “This will encourage them to take a more active role in interpreting the story, as they will have to stitch it together in their minds, instead of it all being presented in one prefabricated piece.”
“Children of Salt”
November 7th, 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.
The Annex Surf Supply Shop
534 Causeway Dr. • (910) 509-2995
Free, donations encouraged