The Huntington library, botanical gardens and art galleries in Pasadena is a really unique place. I was asked by the institute to create an engaging historical documentary for them, to be played in their new orientation gallery. Kate Lain and Karina White at The Huntington had seen my films ‘There it is – take it’ and ‘Empire State Project’ and thought I’d be up for this challenge. I’m so glad they asked, because this was one my favorite projects I’ve put together – ever. One of the best things about it was the research process I got to experience at the library itself. The place is insane with ancient books, historical images, photos, brochures, postcards, newspapers – it was like being a detective in the cleanest curio shop in the world!
The film was designed to be projected in the little gallery built for it at The Huntington. It plays on a loop at the museum. I approached it like an art installation in some ways. Many many school groups visit The Huntington, (kids) and a lot of retirees from all over Southern California (older folks) – these are two of my favorite demographics, who it turns out tend to like the films and videos I make.
Dan Martinico edited this dense project with me. I couldn’t imagine making this sort of thing without his help and expertise. Noah Smith, Keith Fenter, and Gina Napolitan helped out on all the animation. Shawn Lockie is the perfect narrator. She brought a sophistication and wit to a story that really could have turned out stuffy and boring. We first collaborated on ‘Empire State Project’ a few years ago. Jordan Katz came through in putting together the music. Finding the rights for all the Debussy and Saint-Seans pieces, and recording two original pieces with a group of Los Angeles musicians. Not only are all of these people crazy talented, but they’re great friends of mine who understood my vision for this. They helped me out with so much patience, support, and know how.
Theoretically, this film will be looping for visitors at The Huntington for many years! How weird is that?
Thanks to Susan, Kate, Karina and everyone at The Huntington for trusting me to helm this project.