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Hallucinations World Premieres at the 2022 United States Super 8 Film and Digital Video Festival


By Al Nigrin

originally published: 02/16/2022

Hallucinations World Premieres at the 2022 United States Super 8 Film and Digital Video Festival

Hallucinations
, directed by M. Wild, is a very trippy sci fi feature where aliens descend in crystal spaceships to make contact with humans through guitar amp distortion and glowing animal skulls. This film will be getting its World Premiere on Saturday, February 19, 2022 as part of the 2022 United States Super 8 Film + DV Festival.

Here is my interview with Hallucinations Director M. Wild:

Nigrin:  Your film is an amazing trip. What made you want to make it?

Wild: The film began sometime in 2017 when I encountered what appeared to be three witches at the Trader Joe’s on LaBrea and 3rd (in Los Angeles). Mid-20s, dressed oddly but similar to each other, yet different than anyone else. One of them was in a black polyester jacket, an oversize terrycloth Marlboro patch on back. All in long skirts with sandals over socks. Long spooky black hair, red or black lipstick, heavy eye makeup, there to get a bottle of red wine. MOONX was the label of wine selected. They waited in line at checkout together, casting glances from another world. I went home and wrote. Screenplay titled: MoonX, an adaptation based on their energy. This script never got shot, but development continued. I wrote three or four more screenplays (Magic KX, Yarrow Owls, Illusionscape) which all seemed to share similar qualities: massive ensemble networks of characters splattered across many interwoven plot lines which sometimes had no plot, began or ended suddenly, began at the ending, or weren’t even narrative at all, but rather presented pleasant tall tales, recipes, songs, dances, speeches, or interviews. But none of them were getting off the ground yet. I arrived at the eventual screenplay after being exposed to theory on rhizomes, deterritorialization, and minor literatures in D+G (discovered via Chantal Akerman) and saw Dušan Makavejev’s W.R.: Mysteries of the Organism. I then watched all his films, including Sweet Movie. I also rapidly skimmed basically everything by Wilhelm Reich - sort of the Tesla of psychology, and still considered a mad scientist in the states. However in Europe his thinking is given careful consideration in D+G, Baudrillard, while his experiments with orgones, aliens, and weather patterns are at least tolerated. Gradually, I became invested with a question: by what mechanism do we continue to desire our own repression? And how does the unknown persist, despite certainty? Hallucinations is a puzzle for audiences to figure out and assemble.

Nigrin:  How were you able to assemble such a great cast for your film? How and where did you find them?



 
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Wild: I discovered everybody basically off the Breakdown, which is like the same casting database that Hollywood uses. So everyone was a professional actor. Some of them were what was once called “non-professional” actors, which just meant they weren’t trained actors. Instead they were writers, dancers, runway models, or just people who wanted to be in a movie. But they all came to the film through the maximally pro casting pipeline. Nobody had to audition, I just knew. I’ve probably logged more hours watching films in non-English language than most stateside directors, so I’m used to seeing actors who I’ve never seen before in a movie, and getting to know them by seeing them over and over in other films (e.g. Léaud, Erland Josephson). That kind of viewing made me look for what made them stars, what made them be the subject of a film, what quality, or energy. So I was looking for that energy in everyone for this film. That basic quality. Something universal, and global, yet expressive of the local and the zeitgeist.

Nigrin:  The soundtrack is very special. Tell us how it was assembled.

Wild: I scored the film on a Deep Mind 12, and the Richard Max press conference was done on a Casio. Most the soundtrack comes from songs I recorded with my band Mountainhood, mostly on 4- track cassette tapes - which adds another layer of analog density to the film.

Nigrin:  Talk about the terrific special effects you created.

Wild:  I spent many years researching the wet techniques deployed by Doug Trumbull, and the practical special effects (and philosophical rants) of Phil Tippett. I wanted there to be some real organic element to nearly all the effects, and I wanted to approximate the feel of optical compositing on film prints, so some of the effects were to feel very collage-y and tactile. Other stuff, like the deep space photography, was done on large plates of glass, or inside cloud tanks.

Nigrin:  It was nice to see Super 8 used in your film. Why did you decide to add this format?

Wild: I wanted to mix various media to create a sort of panopticon of gazes, but inverted. So instead of everyone feeling watched, it feels like there’s a lot of different ways of watching. I used Super8 to do that, interspersed among clean 4K footage shot on a digital camera. The 4K was like Lacan’s field of The Real (whatever is actually happening) and the Super8 was like another level of reality (the reality we all agree is reality), with occasional inversions of these two poles of experience.



 
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Nigrin:  Are there any memorable stories while you made this film or any other info about your film you would like to relay to us?

Wild: Yeah, tons of spooky stuff went down for sure. For example, we used a large paper lantern with a blacklight inside to light scenes, and during production hundreds of moths of all sizes and patterns seemed to follow it. They would form a swirling column beneath the blacklight all night, and they danced through dusty beams of rainbows made by prisms in my office. That was what the shoot felt like for me. Earlier on, I was location scouting at the top of Laurel Canyon and happened to be there during the monarch butterfly migration. There were thousands of monarchs everywhere that day in the Hollywood hills. By the time we shot there the next day - they had all but vanished. But you can still catch a few of them floating through the film, if you look close. Stoney Point, the site where we filmed the alien landing, was a massively spooky location that I discovered literally by driving around. I saw it from like a mile away, from the highway. Mega weird energy is emanating off this location. For kicks, I searched up an alien sightings database to find out if there had ever been any paranormal events at that latitude and longitude. Yup, only a few years prior, aliens had been sighted above Stoney Point - and on the same date we were scheduled to shoot there.

Hallucinations will be playing Online for 24 hours on Saturday- February 19, 2022 as part of the 2022 United States Super 8 Film + DV Festival. For more information and to buy tickets go to this link.  

 Hallucinations World Premieres at the 2022 United States Super 8 Film and Digital Video Festival



Albert Gabriel Nigrin is an award-winning experimental media artist whose work has been screened on all five continents. He is also a Cinema Studies Lecturer at Rutgers University, and the Executive Director/Curator of the Rutgers Film Co-op/New Jersey Media Arts Center, Inc.

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