Radical Acts | Late Style (working title)

: Documentary Feature
GENRE: Documentary
STATUS: Development


Vivid exploration of late-career creativity: painters, poets, musicians, filmmakers. How does a lifetime of experience, thought and experimentation inspire directions taken by older artists?


Throughout history artists have done fascinating work late in life: work their younger selves could never have imagined. Poems, paintings, sculptures, novels, films – each born of wisdom gained throughout a lifetime of daily work. This film will look at Late Style, and the profound collaboration between creativity and time.


As a documentary filmmaker, I pursue my films as a way of discovering, understanding and giving voice to unfamiliar corners of the world that I see or sense. I’m drawn to non-narrative work around subjects that are often uncontemplated or outside typical categories, however rich in ideas and metaphor. I feel naturally drawn to find comparisons and connections between the unseen and the universal, using the small and the quotidian as a bridge to tell a universal story. The undertaking of the film itself becomes the pursuit of its central fascination. Using the power of cinema to connect and captivate people, as well as all the tools of digital editing, this film will bring to life the works and personalities of its artists. We’ll take rich audio journeys into musical moments and voices of the past, examine close details on paintings and sculptures, approach digital typesetting of poetry as playfully as Godard’s titling, explore the ways architecture can be experienced cinematically, create vast montages of artists' work that speaks to the ever-quickening passage of time. In contrasting stillness, the film will also present carefully created portraits of these artists and their vital processes: the intimacy, the missteps, the discoveries, the hours spent thinking, the time that produces the work. What does the idea of Late Style mean to them? Personal conversations in artist studios, workshops, museums, libraries will situate the film in locations where the work is done. An interrotron setup or Eye-Direct will be used for eye contact in the artist interviews. The sights, sounds, rhythms and silences of the creative process will be intricately captured. The interiority and subjectivity of the artists will be explored in editing styles that translate cinematically each artist’s deep personal and creative experience; put together, alluding to the grand nature of centuries of extraordinary artists. The ideas behind this film project fascinate me endlessly, and have for as long as i can remember: creativity, process, time, identity, the outsider voice of the artist, relationships with our younger selves. The research to date has been rich, joyful and inspiring. And the prospect of engaging in dialogue with global artists about their creative practices feels both central to my creative interests and like a passing of essential knowledge.


Vanessa Gould - Director & Producer
VANESSA GOULD is a filmmaker and editor based in New York City. Her most recent film OBIT, a feature-length documentary about The New York Times obituaries and their writer-reporters, world-premiered at Tribeca Film Festival. It was released theatrically nationwide by Kino Lorber, followed by exclusive streaming on Amazon Prime. OBIT was named “one of the best films of the year” by Entertainment Weekly, and received notable reviews from the LA Times, New York Times, TIME Magazine, NPR, Vogue, BBC, The Economist and others.   Gould's previous film Between the Folds premiered on PBS’s Independent Lens and received a Peabody Award. Between the Folds has been translated into ten languages and broadcast in dozens of countries around the world. It screened at more than fifty international film festivals and was recognized with numerous audience and jury awards. For television, she produced and shot for Showtime's Emmy®-winning Years of Living Dangerously, a documentary series about climate change executive produced by James Cameron, Jerry Weintraub, and Arnold Schwarzenegger. She was a featured presenter at the EG conference in Monterey, California, and has served on the jury for the News & Documentary Emmy® Awards, as well as on numerous festival juries.


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