Audrey Simes & Milan Valko in the "Domestic Duet"
"Where the cold wind blows..."
Interview with Writer/Director Elliott Geolat
Congratulations! Why did you make your film?
“In the Pines” is a traditional American folk song that is believed to have emerged from Appalachia in the 1800s. It has been passed down through the decades by many musicians of different genres with varying lyrical interpretations. These lyrics, which are as mysterious as the origins of the song, inspired me as both a choreographer and filmmaker, to create my own interpretation. Through the medium of cinema, I strove to develop the characters and tell their story with dance. However, I did not attempt to showcase the choreography, but rather pay homage to the song by creating a unique juxtaposition between two forms of language - words and movement.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
This film plunges audiences into the murky, tumultuous atmosphere of a troubled marriage with dramatic dance sequences that explore the characters’ angst and passion.
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
In the Pines tells a very simple story, but it also embodies a number of universal themes and emotions - love and betrayal, control and vulnerability, obsession and infidelity. Moreover, as a character study, this film makes it difficult not to empathize with the protagonist and his wife, even in their darkest moments.
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development and production?
The film, having no dialog, never had a real script. Nonetheless, the story was streamlined over the course of the production to prevent its pathos from being bogged down by an over complicated plot.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
After a warm reception at the St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase, In the Pines was subsequently invited to screen again in the St. Louis International Film Festival. It was, also, shown at Parallel Chords, an art show presented by the St. Louis Arts Alliance at the Mad Art Gallery. Along with the rest of the cast and crew, I have received a lot of compliments, and many have expressed interest in my future projects. The film seems to be very accessible to most audiences, something I pride myself in as an artist.
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
Some viewers, though approving of the film, were shocked by the abusive elements. While it was never a goal to necessarily disturb or provoke audiences, I was, however, striving for realism in the depiction of a failing marriage.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
I am hoping to build and diversify the audience of In the Pines and bring attention to my future films.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
Both journalistic coverage and film festival exposure could perpetuate the success of this film and help facilitate future productions. As I grow as an artist, my goals continue to evolve. Most notably, I am aiming to shift from directing shorts to feature-length films, and support from producers and investors would be extremely beneficial.
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
With In the Pines, like many of my projects, I hope to expose human nature. I am drawn to amoral, or “grey,” characters, whom I find more interesting and infinitely more revealing than heroes or villains. It is my personal belief that we, as people, cannot improve ourselves or society until we fully accept and address our fundamental innate flaws.
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
When we chase people, aren't we really just running them away? When it comes to relationships, how much do we manifest our own fears?
Would you like to add anything else?
For more information about In the Pines, please visit the official Facebook page - @inthepinesfilm.
What are the key creatives you are developing or working on now?
I am currently in production for a narrative dance film titled Ashlock. It is a tragic tale that is based on the life and death of my great-great-grandfather who was a miner in the historic Old Lead Belt of Missouri. It will feature numerous new musical recordings and two works of choreography, a female solo and a miners' dance for an all-male ensemble. For this project, I am again working closely with Christopher Gibbs, the cinematographer of In the Pines and an expert at filming dance. With a release planned for this summer, Ashlock will be a dance film like no other.
Interview: January 2017
We Are Moving Stories embraces new voices in drama, documentary, animation, TV, web series and music video. If you have just made a film - we'd love to hear from you. Or if you know a filmmaker - can you recommend us? More info: Carmela
In the Pines
"Where the cold wind blows..."
Director: Elliott Geolat
Producers: Audrey Simes & Elliott Geolat
Writer: Elliott Geolat
About the writer, director and producer:
ELLIOTT GEOLAT is a dancer with the Saint Louis Ballet, a filmmaker and a choreographer. He has made five dance films that have all been screened in film festivals and art shows.
Key cast: Milan Valko & Audrey Simes
Looking for (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists): film festival directors and journalists
Where can I see it in the next month?
Los Angeles Dance Film Festival