Thursday, May 15, 2014

Lisa Stock's "The Buried Moon"

The Buried Moon (Self portrait) by Lisa Stock: InByTheEye
(See larger version HERE)
Mythic filmmaker and fairy tale friend Lisa Stock has once again found a new expression to explore hers - and our - connection with fairy tales and the universal themes and questions they hold.

The new image is actually a very unusual, and beautiful, self-portrait, inspired by the fairy tale The Buried Moon.

From Lisa's filmmaker blog (for InByTheEye):
A big thank you to Lisa (Lisa Derrick of Fire Dog Lake) for sharing this (fairy tale, The Buried Moon) with me. I was so moved by the mutual admiration between humans and the moon.  It’s also one of those stories where you can see yourself in every character: days when you’re the mischievous crawler who wants to hiss at any thought of vibrancy; or perhaps your light has been diminished, and you feel like you’re sinking in the muck; but there too are humans, that part of us that goes out and faces our fears to regain our light.  Therefore I decided to make this image a self-portrait (that’s me inside the moon).
Read more about her inspiration and the process of creating the image HERE.

A few weeks back, Lisa was interviewed at Fire Dog Lake about her filmmaking, her journey to becoming a filmmaker, her work, current projects and her love of myth and fairy tale. I've been aiming to transcribe the portion of the Q&A in which Lisa discusses fairy tales but it's taken me a while to get all the notes and comments in order (it was conducted in a comment-and-reply-to-comment fashion so multiple threads were being discussed simultaneously at some points!). I've finally managed to finish putting together the sections discussing fairy tales, to coincide with her releasing a new fairy tale image we can enjoy and reflect on.
Here's Lisa Stock on fairy tales (and her work using fairy tales) excerpted from the interview at Fire Dog Lake:

You directed a Neil Gaiman play–that’s pretty rad! Tell us a bit about that… (we're getting to your films, honest!)
“Snow, Glass, Apples” was a great experience. I was working with a group to raise money for the East Atlanta community association. I contacted Neil to see if I could adapt the short story. It’s done as a radio play – but I did my own adaptation. I’ve always really loved that story and the way it unfolds. The narrative structure is so interesting. He said Yes! And I directed it as an immersive theater experience. The audience literally walked into the market where the play took place. BUT… my favorite part about the play – was my forest chorus. I created a traditional Greek classic chorus using dancers who had branches in their hands – and they would guide the audience and sometimes interact with the characters. I loved them!
Neil Gaiman's "Snow, Glass, Apples"
with the Forest Chorus and Victoria Hay as The Queen poisoning the apple
We also tricked the audience a bit. We drew them in close in the beginning as the princess was walking among the trees and then the huntsman cuts her heart out right there in the very beginning in front of all of them. Blood everywhere – it was so gross. But we had fun.
Created for Snow, Glass, Apples
by Jen Parrish of Parrish Relics
Wow! Theater should surprise and excite.
You live/create in place where the veil between world is very thin (you contributed to a book about mythical origins of favorite foods). Did you read a lot of fairy tales as a child (I did, and I see most things that go in my life on a few different story tellling levels).
Yes – Primal Picnics! Great book and it comes with recipes from each of the authors. What I like about that book and its tie to food – is that food is so important in so many fairy tales. It’s the breath of life, food, sun, earth.

The little girl who trod on loaf…one of the creepiest stories ever!
I read a lot of fairy tales – I also read a lot of things with fun language, Dr. Suess, Shel Silverstein. When it came to fairy tales – I more wanted to see paintings and the pictures, I was very visual. Then I’d make up my own stories to with the pictures. My parents put big pictures on my walls as a child – animals and trees, and I’d lie in bed at night and just make up stories in my head until I fell to sleep. (After they had read me a story or two)- I still do that just on a bigger scale now.
So re Persephone (which Lisa recently finished filming a web series on) –I have a version in my head that I think is true–that humans got lazy with the endless sun and harvest and stopped worshipping the Olympians, and in despair turned to the Titan Hekate, who had been given to Hades as his bride. She came up a plan to make Demeter weep–and more importantly ne which allow her to go above ground for part of the year.
And Persephone thought hades with his black steeds and smoke was kinda hot (like a rock star on his Harley), so she wasn’t exactly “kidnapped” she ran off with the bad boy who promised her gems and and a kingdom…
I like it!
Several years ago – I had the amazing opportunity to see Clarissa Pinkola Estes give a talk on Little Red Riding Hood and she traced it’s origins back to the myth of Persephone. Amazing!
The same idea though – Red was in charge of her own fate in the earliest versions of the tale.
It was important to me that my Persephone make her own decision by the end of the series. She’s a very different person from episode 1 to episode 8.
I just started watching it! Can’t wait to see all 8! Wow…I hadn’t thought of that (Persephone being traced back to Red).
Let me know your thoughts!
Production photo from Persephone
One of my favorite stories is from Andrew Lang’s More English Fairy Tales: "The Buried Moon".
The creatures who live in the swamp capture the moon and bury her so they can do their mischief. It’s very scary for mankind, but luckily the wise woman tells them to look for a cross, a candle and a coffin…they see the moons hair flickering (candle), the rock covering her (coffin), and the vines used to bind her hand (cross) and set her free..
Oh – that sounds beautiful. Haven’t read that one. (adding to nook list) Have you read Calvino’s Cosmic Comics? Not a fairy tale, but the first story is a larger than life look at the moon.
Every once in a while I just like to have a project where I have no deadlines and no expectations and can go out with my camera and see what the landscape brings, and then take it home, put the footage in my edit system and see what happens. I often come away with something I’ll use in a larger project.
I used PERSPEHONE to do a lot of experimenting, visually, but also emotionally as well. I wanted her to grow just a bit in each episode. Discover something new about her world and herself. How did her world, reveal something more about herself?
I think some feminists are gonna show up brandishing torches and pitchforks when I say this, but i do feel a difference in the directorial styles of women and men filmmakers, even going back to Ida Lupino and Leni Riefenstahl.
Triptych Heart (experimental film inspired by Maya Deren)
I agree. I think men and women have different ways of looking at the world. But above that – it’s the unique eye of the woman – whether me, or Sophia Coppola, or Julie Taymor. A BIG influence on me is Maya Deren.

Here is a favorite quote from Maya Deren:
“Cameras do not make films; film-makers make films. Improve your films not by adding more equipment and personnel but by using what you have to its fullest capacity. The most important part of your equipment is yourself: your mobile body, your imaginative mind, and your freedom to use both. Make sure you do use them.” – MD
I hope though – that a woman would not be afraid to film the world as she sees it – because she feels it has to appeal to a certain demographic. I don’t really believe in those categories. There are audiences for all kinds of films.
One of the things I like about social media (is) I can see your work where I might not otherwise, say 10 years ago, have had the chance. It’s a great thrill to know that you can put your film up online and reach someone half way across the world. But more important to me, is that I can go out onto the web and find someone who is creating art that rally inspires me.
Connie Toebe's work for Through the Cobweb Forest
I collaborate a lot with Connie Toebe, a 3D artist in Chicago. We created an online allegory called “Through the Cobweb Forest” ( – it tells the story of a woman name Helena who gets shipwrecked on a mysterious island and finds her independence along the way. It’s interactive too – you can zap ships with lighting and make ghosts appear.
Wow! Wow!!
Cobweb Forest was taught to students at the University of Malaysia as an example of contextual storytelling. Again – absolutely thrilled and honored that it was being seen across the world. :)
Official 2014 In Production/Teaser Poster
That is astounding, how miraculous technology can be!
How far along is Tatiana, and can you tell us about it?

TITANIA – yes! We are in development on that film. It’s inspired by the fairy tale of the Armless Maiden. Titania (from Shakespeare’s fairy queen in Midsummer) has been exiled to an unfamiliar town and is missing her wings. It’s a story of healing and endurance. This one is very personal for me, as I find it has imitated my own life over the past few years. Another story of a woman coming up from her own “Underworld”.
We’re hoping to go into principle photography on TITANIA in the Fall. This is the biggest project I’ve ever worked on.
Making Titania - behind the scenes
Lisa Derrick discusses more of Lisa's filmmaking with her LLC, InBytheEye, and they go behind the scenes of her latest amazing short film HELL. They also talk about why Lisa recommends FilmAnnex for filmmakers and how it has helped her. 

I recommend going and reading the whole interview HERE (you will need to scroll down to the comment section to read the exchanges).

A special and personal thank you Lisa, for continuing to create new work with fairy tales. You show people how relevant these stories are and why we need to keep them all in circulation.

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