SHORT FILM / MUSIC VIDEO
Advent is a surrealist anti-narrative short film that explores the trajectory of many characters as their worlds converge in a small New England town. Directed by Hayden Hoyl and scored by electronic musician Mister Lies.
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When the idea for this project began it did not start as a short film, but rather as a concept for 4 music videos which the viewer could build their own story with. The four chapters take place with different actors in different locations and places in time, yet they all still have a common theme and characters that connect them. We wrote the chapters without any particular chronological order, we wanted the viewer to decide the order they preferred. We have seen so may different combinations, some people have found connections that surprise us. The order we chose for the short film was the one that felt right to us.
The film was executed with a crew of four with the entire cast commuting in from NYC on a daily basis. Actors did not have scripts and did not know how their chapter would fit into the over-all story. Most actors didn’t even know that there was a short film or other music videos. We wanted to keep them in their own world, we didn’t even know ourselves how all the pieces would fit together fully during production. They were edited as individual chapters at first. From that point we wrote the 14 minute full story, the way it made sense to us.
The concepts were written in Washington DC, at the Beyond Production House headquarters. Production lasted 9 days in Connecticut.
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Producer: Nico Scandiffio
Director: Hayden Hoyl
Line Producer: Sieger Dixon
DP: Patrick Hanover
AC: Sean Dahlberg
I’ve always been intrigued by “choose your own” adventures and that concept played huge role in the development of this film. Advent is an anti-narrative film, allowing for an infinite amount of interpretation while laying a solid foundation that grounds each one. The concept proved to be a difficult hurdle for me and my team. From day one I knew that I had to make absolutely sure that everyone was on the same page practically, tonally, and in tune with not only my vision, but the film’s vision as a whole.
First and foremost I wanted to create something that viewers can feel. I find that there is a fine balance been the atmosphere and tone of the film, the emotions it aims to incite in viewers, and the theoretical groundwork that justifies it. With such an abstract project, my greatest fear was that this “vision quest” of sorts would result in some aimless groping about in the dark, ending in complete disaster before everyone showed up to set on day one. To my pleasant surprise, I found that each member of our team had found their own interpretation of the concept that directly complemented the abstract nature of this “choose your own” anti-narrative. As a team we built a language that everyone could understand and draw meaning through.
The collaborative process became incredibly concrete, with everyone on the same page and working in rare form. Pat [DP] knew exactly where I wanted camera on almost every take. Mika, my gaffer, perfectly orchestrated the exact lighting setups that we had discussed in pre-production, but his open experimentation was absolutely gorgeous and totally in sync with the film’s aesthetic. The scoring process with Mister Lies was flawless, he had expressed interest in the film after seeing an early rough and he was absolutely correct when he articulated that he knew how the film needed to sound in order to match the vision of the entire project. I believe that this individual interpretation - turned language is what resulted in such a magnificent film.
The process of creating Advent inspired me to find my own meaning in something that I had originally written to fragment cohesion. Through inspiration from Holderlin’s stunningly visual poetry that articulates isolation from the self, to the futility of Camus’ absurd hero, I have fabricated my own letter for Advent. I invite the viewer to look deep within the film’s ebb and flow of emotional cascades so that they too can search for their own interpretation and join in the film’s dialogue.