About the Film
One late afternoon I was riding the ferry boat home to San Francisco from Mare Island, where I had been taking photos, when by chance I met photographer Arthur Tress. Although Arthur's name sounded familiar I didn't realize who he was until I texted my wife who had studied photography in college. "You're with *the* Arthur Tress??" she exclaimed, already a big fan of his work. In fact, we had several of Arthur's books on our shelves at home.
Thus was born the kernel of an idea to make a short documentary, perhaps 10 minutes long, showing Arthur taking pictures on Mare Island. 3 years later that short film has blossomed into a feature length character study of a strange and fascinating man who takes strange and fascinating photographs.
My interests in people, dreams, the solitude of creative endeavors, strange and disturbing image-making, surrealism, and fantasy are shared by Arthur and reflected in his work. It was this overlap of interests that gave me the motivation to begin this project and see where it would take me. Of course it required the co-operation of Arthur Tress, who, to his credit, agreed to go along with the plan. In his words "...it's a good idea, but only if you finish it." Words to live by.
The movie as a project grew organically as I earned Arthur's trust, and he slowly gave me more access in to his work, mind, and life. After showing him a few early rough-cut scenes he saw that I was truthfully capturing the way he worked and perhaps saw the film as an opportunity to tell more of his story. Little did I know the day we met that I would be in for 3 year long series of adventures with him.
Ever since I was in middle school making super-8 movies with my friends I dreamed that one day I would be able to make a feature length movie "on my own." Of course no film is made without the help of others, but in this case I did as much as I could myself, including camera, sound, and editing. It takes an abundance of naivete to embark on a project of this scope without much money and little spare time, but by staying in the moment and not letting little things like a global pandemic stop me, I ran my first movie making marathon. The finish line seems to be in sight.
While making this film I was beholden only to myself and to my subject, and thus had the luxury of working on my own terms; I could make a multitude of minor mistakes and experiments with little penalty. This project became my unrealized graduate film school experience, some 30 odd years after my undergraduate film degree. I feel more confident as a film-maker now and am looking forward to making a different set of mistakes, or happy accidents, on my next project.