FILM: ROCK BOTTOM RISER (35mm)

2021 / documentary / 1hr 10min /
written by Fern Silva / directed by Fern Silva /
country: U.S.A. / language: English /

Starting Saturday, March 12th // Thrice A Day!!! //
Last Day’s Sunday, March 13th


“From the earliest Polynesian voyagers who navigated by starlight to the discovery of habitable planets by astronomers, Rock Bottom Riser examines the all-encompassing encounters of a world at sea. As lava continues to flow from the earth’s core on the island of Hawaii – posing an imminent danger – a crisis mounts. Astronomers plan to build the world’s largest telescope on Hawaii’s most sacred and revered mountain, Mauna Kea. Referencing Hawaiian creation chants, the arrival of Christian missionaries, and the observatory’s ability to capture the origins of the universe, Rock Bottom Riser looks through a lens onto the influence of settler colonialism, the search for intelligent life, and the exploration of new worlds as we peer into our own planet’s existence.
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For over a decade, my art practice has been focused on 16mm filmmaking. I shoot and edit my films in order to engage directly with the environments I cover and the politics surrounding them. Rather than focusing on a single perspective, my films examine the influence of industry on culture and ecology while referencing their various depictions throughout cinema history. They are drawn to subjects that defy national identity while considering methods and strategies associated with established genres and documentary modes, incorporating mythology, phenomena, and historical accounts. Rock Bottom Riser is my first feature and began with my interest in Mauna Kea land preservation, its cultural impact, and the resiliency that has kept it from further desecration. Mauna Kea is a symbol of resistance.

From the earliest voyagers who navigated by starlight to the discovery of habitable planets by astronomers, Rock Bottom Riser examines the all-encompassing encounters of an island world at sea. As lava continues to flow from the earth’s core on the island of Hawaii—posing an imminent danger—a crisis mounts. Astronomers plan to build the world’s largest telescope on Hawaii’s most sacred and revered mountain, Mauna Kea. Based on ancient Polynesian navigation, the arrival of Christian missionaries, and the observatory’s ability to capture the origins of the universe, Rock Bottom Riser surveys the influence of settler colonialism, the search for intelligent life, and the discovery of new worlds as we peer into our own planet’s existence. —Fern Silva”
(source: Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival)


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