Ritualized Filmmaking

Although every film is unique in story, and process, they are all ultimately connected by methods that were put in place by our filmmaking forefathers. Yet, what makes filmmaking as an art, and medium so exciting is that it is contradictory in nature: it is constantly at odds with the formulas used to create it. Filmmaking is a ritualized process that also begs for rebelliousness, because the films that break the mold are typically the ones that succeed.

The beauty of ritual is that something superficially repetitive in nature can also foster transformation. Perpetuated by her unaddressed desire to rebuild from within, Clio's unabashed dedication to her need to build and make this monument, reminded me of the reason why I got into filmmaking. Creating something from scratch, and then slowly building upon that idea/notion until it reaches its intended form, has an immeasurable healing quality. Even better though, when one has the opportunity to share that experience with others.

Ritual, as it applies to OF DUST, means not only partaking in each step of the historically ritualized filmmaking process, but it also asks that both cast and crew be involved in the process of Clio's ritualistic monument making behavior, and to make a contribution to the heartbeat of this film: a seemingly solitary act then becomes a communal one. Just as Alex mirrors Clio’s ritual in an attempt to link two seemingly disparate lives and break her silence, our cast and crew have become further bound, and humbled in the process of building it.  

We find rituals to be particularly calming, mainly because we find safety in their ability to guide us to the next step. At the same time, rituals have the ability to surprise, scare and even amaze us because they can never fully be in our control. With these breaks, or natural lapses in our ability to predict all outcomes, rituals can lead to an exciting moment of self discovery, or moments of pure filmmaking. Ritual, if understood and accepted in all its forms, is in essence, pure filmmaking.

And so it snowballs: my thought process in conjunction with a film that we are drawing closer to each day. Whether one can personally relate to Clio's plight, or relate in general to the mind and body numbing pain of losing those you love, OF DUST is a film for everyone, because Clio's journey isn't unlike our own. Unabashed, unwavering, and necessary to the human condition, her ritual, no matter how stripped down, and our rituals, remain the foundation on which lives are built and rebuilt. And the starting place for which pure filmmaking has the potential to emanate. 

- Alexa Ammon (Producer)

@alexaammon