“Hidden Life”: A Cinematic Exploration of Code-switching, Cultural Humility, and the Hidden Layers Beneath Simple Stories
The city of Houston, with its everlasting summer warmth, serves as the backdrop for the cinepoem, “Hidden Life”. A poetic film that explores profound topics like code-switching, cultural humility, and the veiled intricacies beneath seemingly straightforward narratives. Chap Edmonson, the filmmaker behind this beautiful and thought-provoking piece, delves deep into the essence of the project, its inspirations, and its significance.
Behind the Scenes with Filmmaker Chap Edmonson
An exclusive Q/A session with the winner of Cinematic Poetry
1. Inspiration behind the creation of “Hidden Life”
Chap Edmonson recalls how the film sprouted as part of a creative endeavor between Aurora Picture Show and Public Poetry. Partnering with the talented poet Elina Petrova, the duo discovered shared cultural parallels despite hailing from contrasting global backgrounds. Their shared passion and distinct stories became the bedrock of “Hidden Life.”
2. A Harmonious Collaboration
For Edmonson and Petrova, the heart of this project was trust. Their synergy was fueled by a shared artistic vision and a commitment to respecting each other’s individual narratives. Through virtual meetings and shared poems, the film took shape around Petrova’s beautiful words.
3. Visual Depiction of Code-switching
Edmonson was determined to make the audience feel the tension, the beauty, and the chaos of living between two worlds. Using visuals like the inverted grocery store, he captured the constant adjustments and adaptations one has to make while code-switching.
4. Revealing Hidden Complexities
“Hidden Life” uses visuals, soundscapes, and transitions to capture intimate stories that lie beneath the surface. It merges the stories of Houston with those of a distant nation, creating a rich, multi-dimensional narrative.
5. Juxtaposition of Perspectives
Using Petrova’s poetic brilliance as a starting point, Edmonson crafted a story that portrayed both their unique and shared experiences. The film became a canvas, reflecting the shared experiences and perspectives of two diverse souls.
6. Translating Written Words into Visual Poetry
For Edmonson, creating the visuals wasn’t about a literal interpretation of the poem, but rather about capturing its essence and feelings. Exhibitions by renowned artists played a foundational role in the creation of the cinepoem.
7. Capturing Emotions and Migration Stories
Honesty was paramount. Elina’s personal stories and truths became the compass, guiding the film to convey raw, powerful emotions.
8. Hidden Lives and Visual Symbolism
Using sounds and cinematic techniques, Edmonson portrayed the “hidden” side of Houston, reflecting layers of existence that often remain unnoticed.
9. Overcoming Challenges
Time constraints and finding the perfect ending proved challenging. But the final piece came together beautifully, inspired by the works of acclaimed filmmaker Tarkovsky.
10. The Message of “Hidden Life”
Edmonson hopes viewers will appreciate the hidden beauty in everyday life, finding moments of reflection and connection in the ordinary.
11. Future Horizons
Having relished the non-linear, experimental essence of “Hidden Life”, Edmonson is eager to further explore identities through such cinematic expressions in his future endeavors.