NY film festival screening new short film by Photo/Video Chair Eric Weeks

“epistrophy,” a digital film by Photography & Video Department Chair Eric Weeks, is an Official Selection of the NewFilmmakers New York 2020 Film Festival, and will be live-streamed on Facebook Wednesday, Aug. 26.

The NewFilmmakers Short Film Program, Films on Art and Art on Film, will begin at 7:15 pm and Weeks’s 17-minute short film is one of five scheduled to be screened that evening.

What’s the significance of the title?

EW: The title is a reference to Thelonious Monk’s song “Epistrophy.” It references the literary meaning of “epistrophe” (the repetition of a word at the end of successive clauses or sentences).

(Note: Here’s a 1966 film capture of Monk performing “Epistrophy” in Poland).

What was the process?

EW: I shot the film over a period of two years, finishing the edit this past February, right before COVID hit. I would head out with my Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera (I own an older version of this) and a lightweight portable tripod. I have tricked out the camera with a specific adapter and lens to create what is known as Digital Super 16. The capture looks like Super 16 film rather than digital capture. It is softer, with less hard edges. It is really beautiful when projected, and very dimensional like analog capture. 

The camera setup doesn’t look like a video camera. Rather, it looks like a small camera with a long telephoto lens. So most people had no idea that the angle of view is actually very wide!!! I would set up the camera and start filming to see what happened to pass by the lens. I walked and shot all over Manhattan, from the Financial District to 125th St. The (16-minute 40-second) film is culled from many hours of footage.

Is it a new format?

EW: My first film, “The Wind Dies The Sun Sets,” is a collaboration with Joshua Reiman, made in 2016. Shooting and editing this film is how I learned the video techniques I now use, and how I became enamored with the short film format. This film was in the last PCA&D Faculty Biennial, and is scheduled to exhibit in the Vault Gallery at the Susquehanna Art Museum April 28 – June 20, 2021.

Here is my brief synopsis ofepistrophy”:

“‘epistrophy’ follows the patterns of pedestrians in New York City, when the streets still teemed with inhabitants. Small balletic dramas play out as people rush from home to work and back. Although the scenes are spontaneous, some of the narratives seem almost as if they were scripted. These true vignettes of urban life are stories of struggle, perseverance, and pleasure.

Watch the trailer for “epistrophy” here