The Great Basin! Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Desert, 15min., USA
Directed by Eric Weeks
The Great Basin! Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Desert is a film, book and print project that addresses climate change, the severe drought in the Western United States, gun culture, the military’s use of the basin and range of Nevada for atomic testing, cultural stereotypes, my own personal history, and my experiences in this mostly remote area. In the 15 minute short film I am creating complex collages of my still and motion captures made in Nevada with appropriated short clips from Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, recent weather footage, The Lone Ranger, as well as John Wayne’s and other historic films, cartoons, and many other cultural artifacts, in order to speak to the place and its significance.
Get to know the filmmaker:
In early 2022, I applied to a unique residency through the Montello Foundation (https://www.montellofoundation.org/) in Montello, Nevada. The residency is designed for one person to spend two weeks completely off of the grid in the basin and range of northeast Nevada. I was fortunate to be awarded a residency for that summer. While there I captured moving and still images, and did a deep research dive about the area. Two out of the twenty plus books that I read while there were instrumental in my conceptualization of my film The Great Basin! Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Desert. They were Rebecca Solnit’s Savage Dreams and John McPhee’s Basin and Range. While there in that peaceful and contemplative environment, I realized how so much of the human activity that has taken place in Nevada has affected my experience. Climate change, gun culture, atomic testing, cultural stereotypes, and my childhood came bubbling up for me, and I needed to make my film. I understood that I couldn’t tell this story with my images of the basin and range alone, so when I returned to New York City after the residency, I began to appropriate clips from classic films, TV commercials, cartoons, etc.
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