ABOUT THE FILM
A poetic kaleidoscopic meditation on the irrepressible awe of being, "reverence" is a selection from Cinema Divina, M's ongoing series of genre-fluid films (short, autobiographic, poetic, psalm-like, essayistic) created through contemplative practice.
“reverence” is a reincarnation of one of my first contemplative films originally composed in the early/mid-aughts when a retreat center invited me to create a piece about reverence—a topic (a word) I’d thought little about. I lived then along the coast of Washington State between the edge of the Pacific Ocean and Willapa Bay. Living on that sandbar less than a mile wide brought me deep into the natural world for the first time in my adult life and as I began to reflect on the idea of reverence, I realized I was experiencing a feral everyday sacredness. This coincided with the deepening of friendships, the death of a close friend, and my mother’s failing health. The voiceover for “reverence” is issued from contemplative writing about the juxtaposition of those and other extreme personal events. All this was before phone cameras, and I’d begun experimenting with shooting low-fidelity video with a point-and-shoot Canon PowerShot G3. I was in mad love with the easy and spontaneous cinematic access that the camera gave me to everyday life. Add to that love wild inspiration from an immersive video art installation in NYC I spent time with at The MoMA—Pipilotti Rist’s Ever Is Over All, a 4-minute feminist feat lusciously rendered through consumer-grade video cameras with all their imperfections made lavishly surreal.
I recently screened the 2008 “reverence” at a retreat center and in the process began seeing the formal possibilities of visually moving through time, slowly, from the original 4:3 aspect ratio to 16:9, evoking a kind of kaleidoscopic infinity—from a personal to a collective reverence. I also imagined hearing a soundscape that didn’t exist before. It felt like an invitation to remake “reverence” and offer it to the world beyond retreat centers.
About the Director
Working at the intersections of reckoning and resiliency, queerness and film, and contemplative, creative, and social art practices, M is the author of The Illuminated Space: A Personal Theory and Contemplative Practice of Media Art (Winner of the 2020 Nautilus Book Award Gold Medal for Creativity & Innovation, The 3rd Thing, 2020); and creator of Cinema Divina—evocative short films made through and for contemplative practice. M’s films have been featured on PBS and in galleries, spirituality centers, theaters, and festivals worldwide. Their text and media art pieces have been published in or at The Fourth Genre, Blackbird, Ninth Letter, TriQuarterly, Rolling Stone, and elsewhere. They’ve received The Evergreen State College Faculty Foundation Grant, The Arch & Bruce Brown Foundation Grant, Artist Trust Grants for Artist Projects, and multiple Washington State Artist Trust Media Arts Fellowships. M’s work has screened most recently in Albuquerque's Experiments in Cinema, LA’s Film and Video Poetry Symposium, London’s MircoActs, the Nature and Culture Film Festival in Copenhagen, the Midwest Video Poetry Fest in Madison, and at the International Video Poetry Festival in Athens, Greece. They are currently co-curating the forthcoming Good Symptom, a serial anthology of time-based disturbances (The 3rd Thing, 2023).