Interview with Filmmaker Amy Kaczur (MESSAGES FROM THE MARSH)

MESSAGES FROM THE MARSH – PARTS 1-3, 3min., USA, Experimental
Directed by Amy Kaczur
Messages from the Marsh, 2021 to current, is an immersive experience with multiple video projections, sound art, and mapping. The project focuses on marsh locations on the east coast, and the work is developed via site-specific research, video documentation, and in-person engagement. Videos depict marsh spaces inhabited, spaces transformed, and spaces potentially lost.

Amy Kaczur – Messages from the Marsh – parts 1-3

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

2018 the idea came, 2020-2021 shooting/editing, 2022 editing audio.

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

Morbid beauty

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

COVID times, access to public spaces during the lockdown, delivery delays for equipment, New England weather!

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

Grateful for the reactions, and the time people took to review it. We often work in a void. It was good to have knowledgeable feedback on some of the techniques used, and hear what the experience was like to see it, that it really brought the viewer in. It confirmed that some of my editing choices hit the right spot. Also, grateful that the audio was recognized. It was mixed from well over 20 sources, and it actually helped me to go deeper in the film. A few times I listened to it all day, and it was hypnotic.

Watch the Audience Feedback Video:

6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?

In March of 2018 three nor’easter winter storms hit the south shore of Boston where I was living. There was flooding, hurricane force winds, downed trees, coastal towns flooded with slushy storm surge. We lost power for 3 days; some areas were out for 5 days. I had lived in the Boston area for 21 years, moved to LA for 16 then back. Coming back east in 2016, a lot has happed with climate change since then. The storms are stronger, and the coastline floods more often, and deeper. The seasons have shifted. I went out and saw the town flooded with people in boats in the middle of the street, trying to get around. This prompted me to find out more of what’s happening in the neighboring town of Scituate, the disappearance of land and homes, and the rising sea level. The marshes are the barriers and the ecosystems that protect land and water, filter pollutants, absorb carbon dioxide, create important migration habitat. The whole east coast is at risk (along with the rest of the world) and I saw it happening right in my own back yard, so to speak. Massachusetts is working aggressively to save its coast and be Climate Ready.

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

Wizard of Oz! hahaha.

8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?

The different elements that you are offering is fantastic! Having an online presence, having multiple ways for the work to be seen and having a voice is important. Being able to discuss the making of the work, behind the scenes, the content issues, and impact are important to the process. Coming out of COVID, we’ve learned to navigate ways to get the work seen online, and now we’re back IRL, albeit smaller gatherings. I think hybrid film festivals are here to stay, as well as ways to virtually meet other makers.

9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?

So far, good!

10. What is your favorite meal?

Soup – I’m a soup addict and it’s my favorite thing to cook. Other than soup, next favorite is Chicken Paprikas and dumplings. I’m half Hungarian, and our favorite family meals were what we called “Sunday” soup. A Hungarian chicken soup with a secret twist. Never gets old.

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

Working on parts 4-6, and beyond, and getting involved in coastline conservation groups. I’m working on more videos, prints, audio, and mapping to get ready for a one-person installation show in April of 2024.


By matthewtoffolo

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

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