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Thursday, March 17, 2016

Treating Film Like Music in Malick-Produced Award-Winning Impressionist Portrait 'The Seer'

"Terrence Malick told me: Don't approach editing literally. It's not just a chronological order of facts. Think of it as a piece of music.”

Laura Dunn's documentary The Seer, which just won the SXSW Special Jury Recognition for Visual Design, follows modern Tobacco farmers and their difficulties in the changing agrarian landscape — all framed through the eyes of beloved American novelist and activist Wendell Berry. Not wishing to appear on camera, Berry's poetic voice drives the film through cinematic landscapes of rural Kentucky as it's evolved since the rapid mechanization of farm life.

Dunn, whose collaborators on the film include Terrence Malick and Robert Redford, creates a unique, slow-building rhythm in her impressionistic portrait. No Film School sat down with Dunn at SXSW 2016 to talk about shooting the tobacco harvest, the painterly qualities of the Alexa, and editing in the middle of the night after her children are fast asleep.

"People either know Wendell Berry and he's the most important writer in their lives, or they've never heard of him."

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from No Film School

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