This year, United States Artist Ziporyn Fellows Lin Hixson and Matthew Goulish, founders of Every house has a door, NFP, in parallel with their dance-theater projects, produced the company’s first film, a 25-minute 16 mm. feature written and directed by independent filmmaker Melika Bass. Waking Things tells the story of the induction of one young pupil into a mysterious, secluded family of part-human part-animal artisans. With filming completed in June, the project now needs $11,000 to complete post-production in time for the premier screenings in New York and Chicago in January, 2011.
Waking Things depicts a nomadic community of skilled laborers, sequestered in an abandoned mansion in a primeval forest. Through a series of ornate, medieval rituals, they receive one innocent member into their circle, and this strange new presence causes the ejection of a now fully-grown disciple back into the forest. The tale unfolds in a textured landscape of sensuous, detailed visuals and intricate sound design. The four lead performances strike a careful, theatrical balance between human and animal. This moody, atmospheric, and highly original film looks into a world of equal parts gothic dread, physical comedy, and allegory on contemporary xenophobia.
Lin Hixson and Matthew Goulish began Every house has a door, NFP in 2008, with the mission of creating carefully crafted works in various disciplines that support young and international artists. The production of this first film project accomplishes both of those objectives. Melika Bass, the film’s writer, director, and editor (as well as the videographer for the Every house has a door performance works), is an emerging director with a growing reputation for her unique cinematic visions, and her creation of visceral, immersive worlds on film. She is the recipient of a 2008 Artadia Award and a Media Arts Fellowship from the Illinois Arts Council. Her last film, Songs from the Shed, garnered the Best Cinematography award at the Ann Arbor Film Festival and is screening throughout the US in 2010-11 with the festival’s tour program; the festival’s prize of film stock contributed to the making of Waking Things. Waking Things features the same cast as the first Every house has a door dance-theater performance Let us think of these things always. Let us speak of them never. including Matthew Goulish and Stephen Fiehn from Chicago, and Selma Banich and Mislav Cavajda, from Croatia. The film, conceived as a parallel universe parable in relation to that performance, attempts to extend the work of Every house has a door into new directions, while expanding the bounds of contemporary experimental narrative film.