Interview with Filmmaker Thryn Saxon (SODDEN GROUND)

SODDEN GROUND played to rave reviews at the March 2021 Dance & Music Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

– My mom and I were in the beginning stages of creating a new live performance piece together which is about endangered ecological landscapes, family ties, the aging body and a legacy of responsibility to our environment. In the midst of this early process we were invited to submit a dance film to the South Miami Dade Cultural Arts Center and we decided to use the research we were playing with in the studio to jump into film. The last time we were caught on screen together was almost 20 years ago in our dear friend Miana Jun’s work.

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this short?

– The turn around time for this particular work was incredibly short, from start to finish we made it in 1 week. It was an exciting challenge and we are both very proud of the work we made but agree that with more time we would have taken more time with certain shots and possibly made it longer. It was certainly an exercise in trusting first instincts.

3. How would you describe your short film in two words!?

– Elemental Generational

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

– The tides! We were at the mercy of the 8′ tides that rule that inlet in South Thomaston, ME. It was a phenomenal force that forced us into intentional listening of nature and her rhythms. It also restricted out film-able hours which influenced the speed at which we had to create this film. It resulted in a beautiful and necessarily patient relationship with the earth.

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

– I think as artists we are always scrutinizing our work and challenging ourselves not to settle, to keep digging. That voice is motivating but can also be intensely critical so it was a joy to hear such incredible feedback from those who watched. Thinking about our work through their eyes was not only uplifting but reaffirming that we did make something really special. Hearing the feedback allowed me to turn off my self-critic and just enjoy the earnest impact the film had on people.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

6. How did you come up with the idea for this short film?

– My mom and I were already in the early stages of talking about age, environmental responsibility, endangered ecological landscapes and our relationship as mother and daughter. These are aspects of our current live-performance work premiering in May that we thought could also live a second life in a short dance film. We knew the location we wanted to shoot on we knew we didn’t have a lot of time so we dove head first into translating some of our conversations into choreography for film. We started with 2 days of site research to get a feel for what the land was saying to us and then we took that information into the studio and began to adapt choreography.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?

– Miracle on 34th Street , we would watch it every Christmas.

9. What song have you listened to the most times in your life?

– I don’t know for sure but it would have to be from The Beatles, Tom Petty or Joni Mitchel.

10. What is next for you? A new film?

– My mom and I are getting ready to perform a new work outside at the Perez Art Museum in May. I am also working on another short dance film on my own.


By matthewtoffolo

Filmmaker and sports fan. CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival

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