Burlington resident Alec Julien is a writer, graphic designer, musician and educator; and now he's adding filmmaker to the list. This past winter, Julien took the leap into filmmaking with his experimental film Anonymous.
A mysterious package arrives at the apartment of an anonymous man, leading to a series of premonitions about his life. Incorporating puppetry and dance, Anonymous explores the frustrations of unrealized ambition and the pleasures of strange partnerships and the creative endeavor.
Julien spoke with us about his project.
1. Anonymous is your first film. What made you decided to take the leap into writing and producing a short film?
Interesting story (hopefully). My dad died, and some of the images I had from his dying process were just unforgivingly sticking in my mind, to the point where I knew I had to do something creative to deal with them. So I talked with a local choreographer about having him choreograph a 20-minute dance piece, with original music and video imagery put together by me. In the course of talking about the project, it became clear, that what I really wanted to do was create a film using dancers as the actors. So I got some equipment, and inducted a bunch of people who knew more than I did, and just dove in. I wrote a short script (there's no dialogue), and then just became the coordinator of some people with amazing talents.
2. Talk about some of your influences with this film.
Cinematographically speaking, there aren't a ton of blatant influences here. The director (Seth Jarvis) and I did a lot of talking, of course, and found some still frames from other films that informed some of our lighting choices. But my favorite film genres are B-horror movies and expensive sci-fi flicks, and this film borrows absolutely nothing from those! More than movies, I was influenced by staged dance performances I've seen in recent years -- I wanted to capture the dancers in an interesting, not-filming-with-a-handycam-from-the-back-of-the-auditorium sort of way.
3. This film was made here in Burlington with local talent and crew and with some equipment support from RETN and VCAM. Why is it important to you that it be seen locally on community channels like BTV HD?
First of all, I have to say bravo to everyone who worked on this little film. There's just so much talent in and around Burlington, and there's a constant stream of high-level creativity running through this part of the world. And that's one reason why I'm happy that BTV HD is showing the film -- the more we can show each other what we're up to, the better. Creativity feeds on creativity -- you show me something awesome that you've created, and it'll inspire me to create something. And maybe it'll inspire me to create something with you!
4. What are your plans for Anonymous? Any future films in the works?
I've submitted it to a handful of film festivals. It'd be great if the film got out into the world a bit. But more importantly for me, it's the beginning of a lot more film projects -- it showed me what I can do, what I need to learn more about, and that bigger projects are something that can be pulled off. I've put the call out to all of my creative friends that I've got equipment and interest, and I'm sure something will come of that. Also, if I don't make a B-horror movie in the near future, something has gone very wrong with my life.
Watch Anonymous on Thursday, June 29th at 8pm on BTV HD Channel 216 on the Burlington Telecom cable system. Learn more at the official Anonymous website.