Wes

Debrief: Free Solo

I’ll keep this one brief: my favorite part about Free Solo was how it brought documentary ethics into the film. It’s really neat to see those sorts of conversations happening on screen rather than off. I feel like documentary ethics are so essential to the medium and it’s great that a notable film has that component at the heart of its story. As documentary filmmakers, we need to respect our

Debrief: 12 Rules for Life – A Dangerous Mythology of Patriarchy

Wary of Jordan Peterson’s online fans, particularly the misogynistic Men’s Rights Activists that seem to follow him to every corner of Reddit, I wanted to read the book that catapulted Peterson to the public eye and have a better understanding of what I was up against here. If you can get past Jordan Peterson’s lofty and sexist prose, 12 Rules for Life contains some very practical advice for eager young

Artist Reel

With the launch of a new decade, I recently took a moment to look back on my work over the last ten years and organize all of my films into one place. It was a special experience seeing the first LEGO animations I ever made being in the same folder as some of my recent documentary or narrative projects. This reel isn’t a decade long retrospective, but it is the

Christian Mystic Navel-Gaze: Centering Prayer for 30 Days

“Be still and know that I am God.”[1] I tried centering prayer for a month, and may have gotten it totally wrong. Centering prayer doesn’t look like much. I sit down, usually in my desk chair, but whatever’s around will do. And that’s it. I just sit there in silence – sometimes for five minutes, sometimes for ten minutes. I tried doing it as I fell asleep in bed, but

Learning to Write Parables

After listening to a conversation between Rob Bell and Peter Rollins about parables (it’s a fantastic podcast if you have forty minutes to spare). Peter Rollins shows off his impressive database of parables from all over the world and even shares some of his own. What surprises me, however, is that even though I’ve heard parables all my life, I’ve never taken a critical lens to the form. Their narrative

Transcendental Style (cont’d)

If you are curious about this subject, please view my previous introduction and video essay to Transcendental style in film. My journey to understanding transcendental style began a few years ago, when I became fascinated with Richard Linkater’s films and the idleness of his storytelling. The meandering quality of Slacker’s cinematography felt like a meandering eye – a soul – me. It was around this time that I was introduced

Film Review: RBG

Ruth lost her mother, Celia Ginsberg, at age seventeen. However, she never stopped following her mother’s advice: “Always be a lady and always be independent.” 68 years later, Ruth Bader Ginsberg is still fighting for sex equality. Those words carried Ruth through Harvard Law, where she met her husband Mitch. Mitch is characterized as a loud, gregarious type; the complete counter to Ruth’s stoic, no-small-talk presence. Throughout Ruth’s career, Mitch

The Cloud of Unknowing – May 2019 Reflection

A Trappist monastery in Spencer, Massachusetts and spiritual seekers in the city of Boston, offer a visual and observational exploration of contemplation, Christian mysticism and the quest for God. Anthony and I hope The Cloud of Unknowing resonates with spiritual seekers — theist and atheist alike. This film was a spiritual journey for us and we hope at the very least it can raise a question: What if there’s more

A Snowy Day At Spencer Abbey

Spencer Abbey holds a very special a place in my heart. Much of the filming for The Cloud of Unknowing was done there, and the monks of Spencer have had a significant impact on me. This visual reflection comes from my first visit to Spencer. It was a cold March day in 2017. Snow idly drifted by. Anthony Farenwald and I brought a Bolex and shot some motion picture film

Valentine // Blue Valentine Chronologically

A recut version of Derek Cianfrance’s Blue Valentine, excluding the present “blue” scenes, leaving only the love-filled flashbacks. I loved the inter-cut storytelling in Blue Valentine, but I often wondered if the origin story would stand as strongly on its own, as it does within the context of the full film. At any rate, it was a lil experiment that I thought some folks may find interest in.