Notes on the Film

28 / 06 / 2023

Some thoughts about the film:
In some ways, this film is entirely what I imagined I would make and also completely different. In the end, I decided that the presence of the crows would be audio and in Aini’s words. It kind of tallied with my experience of looking for crows to film them. This project has very much NOT been about getting National Geographic grade photos and film of crows, but rather gathering impressions. The act of looking for crows has been much more important than seeing them.

On the forest footage that doesn’t include the overlay, I have added a colour gradiant. The idea of this was to simulate the vision of crows in that they see more colours than we do. They have cones in their eyes that are sensitive on the ultra violet range. Of course this is very difficult to simulate, and the extra colours most likely come in the form of patterns on feathers and leaves and flowers, but this extra boost of strange colour others the footage in a pleasing way. I also changed the rate of the film to give an idea of the crows’ minds moving faster than ours.

When I first heard Aini’s reply to the interview, I found it so delightful. All of the interviews were beautiful, but there was a completeness and a narrative quality to Aini’s answers in particular that worked very well on its own. Also, I take great pleasure from listening to her voice and cadence. Although my first idea had been to make a montage of clips from the interview with multiple voices, this, I felt, worked better.

The inclusion of the footage of me making the costume also felt very important to bring in the concept of transformation and embodiment of the concept of the crow into the film. Again, this contrasts with actual crows. Knotting and plaiting and sorting through the pieces of fabric felt like a strong physical sensation during much of this project and it was something that I wanted to include in the film. I feel this bringing in of my own body and creative actions really acts as a proxy for the real crows and draws a line between the unknowable crow and the crow of the imagination. 

All in all, as a short communication, I feel the film works well, though I am not convinced always by the aesthetics. A full film work would, of course, have more stages of editing.

PS - thank-you to Aini Väätti for her generosity, first in responding to the crow questionnaire, and secondly in allowing me to use her responses with this film. Kiitos, Aini!