The Attitude of Eachother

Process of an essay

Posted in Uncategorized by Michael Atallah on August 16, 2012

I am currently in the deep Northern Woods of New York State – The Adirondacks – shooting a film essay loosely titled “The vanguard of Americana”. Here are some photos along with my intent on this mad project.

Summer, 2012
The Vanguard of Americana:
Here we are, 2012. The United States faces a time of flushed-out identity and the final link to the past century is slowly fading out into the dark corners of our memories. The bridge generation is growing into their 30s, the new wave born right into the internet and the baby boomers slowly pushing
into AARP vernacular. In this filmmakers opinion, there is a gap that must be filled when it comes to the importance of future history. The topic of this account: Americana Culture and the age old flight to the woods for catharsis. A celebrated event among American families dating back to the 19th century. As to the facts behind this cultural movement, it’s hard to rely on hard singular
facts; the reasons are abstract and impossible to quantify in one simple story. There are many stories, many reasons: health, family bonding, tuburculosis, deer hunting, wealth, poverty, opportunity,
escape, status etc. etc. An interesting variable to keep in mind is the blend of European atavism combined with Native American culture and tradition: through fact and fiction dating back to the early settlers, today we have the results of those early movements to this continent. In this film essay I aim to shed light on the mixture between the old and new with respects to wilderness recreation, for there is something deeper in a seemingly simple activity. There was certainly a time when recreation was non existent and survival the fundamental. I want to give viewers of this film essay an opportunity acknowledge the evolution into modern day America amidst the burgeoning technological revolution blending with old Americana traditions. What better place to establish the backdrop of such a concept: The Adirondacks. In the perspective of this film, the aim is to gather stories from people who have spent their lives here; those who embody stories of the past before their lifetime.
The focal point of this project is Old Forge, where I am a guest filmmaker and friend documenting the Happy Landing camp, also known as the Yellow Lighthouse on the Pond.
I am specific about American culture in this regard for many reasons. Catharsis in the wilderness is a global act without question: again, the mixture of indigenous and European prowess and customs. However, in the case of the United States in the 20th century – Post-modern era – recreation from urbanization holds as a template for the world process. Consider the communication of these figures in recent history:
Norman Rockwell
The big 4: Huntington, Stanford, Hopkins, Crocker
Post WW-2
The Moon landing
Stanley Kubric
New York City Aristocracy and Bourgeoisie
Artistic flaneurs
Bluegrass and Country Western Music
Aaron Copland
Station wagons
And many other variables rendered too abstract to platonify.
Essentially, the philosophy behind this project and aesthetic approach is to capture how the past and future are cross fertilized through contemporary authors. As a contemporary film author, I find it my responsibility to participate in this vanguard to educate and preserve what would otherwise go lost in the chamber of untold-stories.


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