pop up till death
29 PALMS, CA is a feature film / art piece that explores and chronicles the dreams and fantasies of a group of individuals who live in a trailer community in the Californian desert.
The world depicted in the film is inspired by the photographs of German artist Stefanie Schneider in that it combines the notions of reality and fantasy and explores the resonance of both within a desert landscape and a transient culture. The characters depicted in the film, (an actress, a singer, a DJ, a motel owner and his wife, an US army soldier, a mystic, a princess, a recluse, a movie ticket seller, two hitchhikers, a doctor, a director, etc.), are to be played by both actors and non-actors. The story is constructed through the interpretation of real life communications (i.e. phone calls, emails, conversations) that have taken place as the individuals depicted in the story try to make sense of events that have occurred in real life. In this sense the story is, in part, a biography and social commentary, and the characters are the exaggerated alter egos of the individuals who play them.
The structure of the plot is fairly simple. An actress works as a telemarketer is inspired by a singer who is new to town and is featured on the local radio station. The radio station runs a program for lonely hearts and a charismatic DJ uses the show to reveal the hopes and dreams of the towns "hottest women". One night a panicked German female caller captivates the community with a painful story about a sexy "Smoke Jumper" (a mysterious and super real alpha male). Everybody in town is listening to the program and nobody is quite sure what to say.
Life in general continues and we witness and explore the various interactions. The actress meets the singer and they become famous. The US Army soldier dies on his way to battle. The foreign princess discovers that the jewels she has come to sell are fake ones. The motel owner's wife has an affair with the pool boys and so on. All the while, the community is united by their loyalty to the Lonely Hearts Radio Show and through the disturbing revelations of the German woman and the details of her sordid affair. The stories she tells are explored through the imaginations of the listeners and through the memories of the teller. The smoke jumper becomes a pervasive figure who in some way affects the lives of all those who listen to the story. He seduces women, is linked to a local thievery, a rape and a possible death. The story comes to conclusion when this chaotic character quits town leaving in his wake a trail of destruction and despair. What is left is a void, a space for transformation, as the wounded community rediscovers itself in its quest to make sense of what has happened.
A defining feature of the film is the use of still images and the use of voice over. Characters talk to us / themselves / you about their ambitions, memories, hopes, fears and dreams. The film is to be shot using a mix of super 8 and 16mm film stock and Polaroid images. Certain computer-generated effects will also be used to enhance the films surreal mood and to animate its dark humor.
project by Stefanie Schneider, camera Stefanie Schneider, music Daisy McCrackin, Sophie Huber, Zoe Bicat, editing Stefanie Schneider, with Austen Tate (Margarita), Daisy McCrackin (Cristal), written by Austen Tate, Daisy McCrackin, Stefanie Schneider, sound design: Sophie Huber, produced by MICA Film, Berlin, Caroline Haertel und Mirjana Momirovic, supported by "Medienboard Berlin Brandenburg" and "ARTE", length: 31 Minutes. English.
"Till death do us part", an episode of the "29 Palms, CA" project. A film shot on Polaroid stills combined with Super 8 film sequences.
"Till Death Do Us Part" is the story of two young lovers, lonely souls escaping the abuse of reality into each other. Imagine a stranger suddenly in your path, you can just be silent with, and you feel you have known her forever. This is the experience of Cristal and Margarita, that begins when Cristal picks her up hitchhiking on a lonely dessert road. A runaway from a cruel older brother and a broken family, Margarita is searching on the edge of the shadows for a home. Cristal was also a lonely child and already dangerously close to vanishing when she finds Margarita. For her it is the begging of life. When she finds Margarita, she finds herself, she feels for the first time and discovers that she is not invisible after all.
The childlike, roadside life they make together is a dream that they truly believe will last forever, and with the naive joy of beginners, they dive in, never sensing danger. When two lost souls become one and share everything, do they loose themselves further or do they become whole at last? When a girl has no home, no anchor, can she combine thrive with another? Once a human heart wakes up from isolation for the first time, enchanted by a reflection in love's mirror, can the dreamer fall asleep again, or must she wander searching to find it again forever?
An artistic triumph for Schneider, this piece floats deeper into her exploration of the colors of the human psyche, separation, relationship, androgyny and the fringes of social reality.
The Californian desert light and the vintage colors of Polaroid create a unforgettable atmosphere in the abandoned trailer park.
website: 29 Palms Exibition
The project can be seen at the Berlinale / Forum in the Atrium of the Gossip Bar (Filmhaus Potsdamer Platz) and the gallery Spesshardt & Klein. For the first time the complexity of this grand art project, which positioned between film and fine arts, as well as a link or interface in between various media, will be exhibited.
An essential part of this project is the artistic, conceptual and filmic collaboration between actors, musicians, photo artists, directors etc. Udo kier is not only a performer, but also a producer. Marc Forster is responsible for directing the dialogues, and special effects in the post production. Radha Mitchell is writing the script. Sophie Huber, Max Sharam, Daisy McCrackin, JD Rudometkin, Zoe Bicat and Camille Waldorf are all writing the music, developing their characters and acting as performers. All participants are developing and acting out their characters. Steve Marshall is a performer as well as the DJ of the “Lonely Hearts Radio Show”. Sabine Dehnel will build the DJ booth of the radio station as a model, which will then be emulated as the DJ room for the film.
The vision of a feature-length film is just as important in this as all the single, small stages or fragments, which are necessary for this film: Just as life and the circumstances of our social reality, the project 29 Palms, CA is in a state of constant change and development. The film is a biography and a social commentary, whose characters act as the alter egos of those individuals who portray them. In the course of the art project the different performers have contributed ideas, stories, scenes, monologues, poems, music and films, so that the basic principle of the concept, namely a collaboration of different perspectives and the pooling of different fragments and depictions, bestows a lively rhythm upon the film. Each character will introduce his or her character in the form of a fictional or semi-fictional diary on the website, which was specially developed for this project. The website hereby plays the role of an independent world from which the film project and the radio show emerge. The characters take influence on what will be seen in the film through their descriptions. Through the radio show connections between the individual performers will be established.
The whole film is generated from Polaroid pictures, which Stefanie Schneider is editing into the film. The fact that the films are expired leads to the surreal distortions and colorings. The pictures appear fleeting and taut, blurry. Stefanie Schneider paints with her Polaroid films. She clearly alludes to the ambivalence between imagination and portrayal, between fiction and reality, and leaves it to the viewer to form his/her own picture, to remain in a surreal or real space. The motive of the desert also supports the dichotomy between imagination and reality, at any moment breaking the clearness of a definite ascription, which is definitely not found in her work. All the more clear it becomes that the characters are living in their own lost world, but that life itself can change their perspective on their world. The place in which the performers of 29 Palms, CA are living, is more an idea or a reflection of a place than a place per definition itself. The light and the desert landscape are painting an imaginary reality, which the characters find themselves exposed to. Memories, fantasies and reality merge.
29 Palms, CA is a project positioned between film and art. In this project the German photo artist, Stefanie Schneider, explores and documents the dreams and fantasies of a group of people living in a trailer park community in the California desert.
website: The Lonely Hearts Room
DAISY McCRACKIN MUSICIAN, WRITER & ACTING as CRISTAL in 29 PALMS, CA
Daisy McCrackin creates Cristal, the gender confused, love hungry, desert born waif. She is a musician, singer-songwriter, actress and political activist. She is known to be a powerful muse. She also paints and more than one established painter has said of her, "No one can paint faces like Daisy".
Daisy was born in San Francisco and survived the earthquake of 1989. Raised by a single, working mother in the shared company of her three brothers, she excelled at athletics and the arts early on. At 8 years old she earned a scholarship to study with The American Conservatory Theater, where she performed onstage in numerous productions. While Daisy attended the prestigious School of the Arts High School, she nabbed her GED at 16 and headed up to Northern California to live on an ashram and immerse herself in her spiritual studies. It was at the ashram that Daisy heard a friend sing a Leonard Cohen song, and was inspired to pick up the guitar and teach herself to play.
It wasn't long before Daisy made her way to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career, all the while playing guitar, writing songs, and singing herself awake in the mornings, and back to sleep again at night, never imagining she would one day share her music with anyone, let alone the world. While she quickly achieved success as a fresh-faced young starlet, booking coveted roles in feature films, television and commercials, she soon sunk into the vacuous void of artistic starvation. Longing for creative freedom and a more expansive method of expression, Daisy ditched her acting career and took to the road. She spent a year abroad, writing her way through Europe, reconnecting with herself as an artist and a lyricist, and pondering what kind of career to pursue next.
Back in Los Angeles, Daisy moved to the fabled Rodeo Grounds arts collective in Topanga Canyon, where she bathed in the deep and salty waters of authentic expression daily. Inspired by the eclectic community of artists living by the beach, serving as a muse and creating by the moment, Daisy took up painting, and continued to labor at the guitar. Immersed in a supportive environment that encouraged her artistic exploration, Daisy wrote songs and improvised instant ballads 'round the famed campfire, holding her fellow creatives captive while dazzling them with hilarious impromptu outpourings of quirky lyrics, sung to sweet, simple melodies. Still too shy to share her "serious" songs, Daisy stuck to modeling by day, and making her cohorts laugh by night. Finally, after an intense song-writing jag Daisy sang a somber, personal song to a close friend who advised her to quit her day job and dedicate herself full-time to music. She played her first live show in 2006, and was dubbed "an instant rock star" in an LA Weekly review, which reported that Daisy "stole the show."
Daisy's melodies are unique, potent and penetrating. There is a sweetness in the Simplicity of her songs, in the vulnerable sincerity of her delivery, and in the ever-so-perfectly placed moments of profound lyrical prowess that cut straight to the heart and the soul and the spirit.
Sophie's myspace page
Camille's myspace page
She is a fine art painter, ballet dancer, ex Olympic level vaulter, singer- musician, fashion model, actress, writer, filmmaker, photographer, and an animal lover.