War of the Worlds (2001)

NY | 2001 | 65 mins | B&W | 16:9

Made in New York within months of 911; WAR OF THE WORLDS 2001 is A Collaborative Experimental Film bringing together 27 New York based filmmakers – from experimental, documentary, and fiction film backgrounds – in a contemporary exploration of New York in the aftermath of 911 and in the midst of the U.S. led ‘War on Terror’.

On Sunday, October 30, 1938 the Orson Welles Theatre group broadcast their theatrical interpretation of H.G. Wells’ ‘The War of the Worlds’. It became one of history’s most notorious simulations, creating nation-wide panic, as listeners, thinking that they were listening to a “real” CBS news broadcast, became panic-stricken at the reports of an alien invasion. A journalist writing in 1938 noted: “All unwittingly, Mr. Orson Welles and the Mercury Theater of the Air …. have demonstrated … the appalling dangers and enormous effectiveness of popular and theatrical demagoguery …”

On Friday, December 7th, 2001 (within 3 months of the 911 attacks on the World Trade Center and in the midst of the U.S. led “War on Terror”) Ocularis distributed small packages to 27 New York based filmmakers. Each package contained one 3 – minute roll of unexposed black and white Super 8 film and a cassette tape containing a 3 – minute audio excerpt from the Orson Welles broadcast. Each filmmaker was given 6 days to shoot the reel as their contemporary visual interpretation of the audio excerpt, in a contemporary New York still reeling from the effects of the 911 attacks and in a society polarized around public opinions on the Bush led “War on Terror”.

In the spirit of the Surrealist’s exquisite corpse approach each filmmaker worked exclusively on their own section without knowing what any of the other filmmakers were working on.

Shot on a shoe-string budget of $450 (raised by contributions of each of the filmmakers) and shot on Super 8 film donated to the project by Kodak, WAR OF THE WORLDS 2001 represents a unique conflation of filmmaking styles and perspectives in a cross-platform fusion and exploration of the medium.

In a completely structural approach the exposed reels were assembled and projected as originally shot in a public presentation at Ocularis’ weekly exhibition forum at Galapagos in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY on Sunday, December 16th, 2001.

WAR OF THE WORLDS 2001 is the result of 27 New York based filmmakers; from experimental, documentary, and fiction film backgrounds; contributing to the project. The shooting styles and approaches in the film range from experimental to documentary to fictionalized scenarios, in a contemporary exploration of representations of the continuing ‘War on Terror’.

An Ocularis Production
In collaboration with a host of NYC based filmmakers

The contributing filmmakers on the project (in order of shooting) are Andy Graydon, Sarah Reynolds, Gegory Baird, Emily Fader, Pedro Mallol, Karyn Riegel, Matt Thompson, Carrie Dashow, Greg Pak, Pegi Vail, Melvin Estrella, Anne Alvergue, Laure Sullivan, Paul Wilson, Bradley Eros, Orpheus Mc Carthy (aka Dónal Ó’Céilleachair), Andrew Lampert, Moira Tierney, Lauren Cornell, Adam Burns, Ian Caskey, Adrian Rieder, Merri Cyr, Jonathan Lees, Marianna Ellenberg, Reynold Reynolds and Carlton Bright.

produced by cristina cacioppo, andrew lampert, dónal ó’céilleachair, karyn riegel

film stock generously provided by kodak

film processing by paclab

post production at postXone

assembly editors eros, o’ceilleachair, lampert

sound mix eros + o’ceilleachair

titles o’ceilleachair + reynolds

special thanx robert elmes + galapagos,  francois boue

digital re-master 2019 benjamin walsh

© an ocularis production 2001