Thursday, February 13, 2014

Returning to the Outskirts

The drive out to Ruby, Arizona is along a road that invokes the sense of the unknown.  I usually travel in the light of the late afternoon and return in the dark.  All you can think of is what's around the next turn.  It's not far from my home in Arivaca, but upon returning, the feeling is like you spent time in another place. 
Tucson filmmaker Scott Hellon (Point of View Pictures) and myself traveled down to Ruby last summer to make the film I intentioned 8-years ago - filming the migratory bats of Ruby.  But that movie project became something completely different.  I ended up making what became a really important film for me: "The Outskirts of Infinity".  Although the film included a flight of the bats, it wasn't the nature video I had planned to make.
 Scott Hellon on the Ruby Road, Arivaca, Arizona - 2013
But last summer (2013), I had the opportunity to make the nature film I originally intended.  The flight of the bats is really beautiful and something unique that I have access by living in these wild borderlands. Therefore, I felt that experience needed to be expressed in an artistic manner.

The day of filming was planned and other friends from Arivaca and one of Ruby's property owners joined us.  They had their own film mission -to drop a camera several hundred feet down the mine's main shaft. A vertical shaft that has been sealed for over 70-years.  That short film "Exodus" will be shown on Friday night March 7th, 2014 at the "Arivaca Independent Filmmakers Exhibition".
We arrived at the Ghost town of Ruby in the late afternoon.  The bats usually leave the cave at dusk.  We took a look around to get a sense of the place then both film teams and their wives had a informal pot luck dinner.  After dinner, Scott and I were setting up equipment that included sound recorders, when suddenly someone called out that the bats were flying - early!  Totally unprepared, I handed Scott a camera he had no experience with, while I grabbed my camera and we both got to filming the bat flight. 
After, I was totally bummed that we were not finished with the setup in time to optimize the camera angles I wanted for the film.  The photo below to some extent shows my contemplative mood after the shoot was over.
Bart Santello with camera in hand at Ruby, Arizona - 2013

It wasn't until we returned and looked at the footage, did I realize Scott's camera work saved the day and my second camera captured the 'establishing' shots necessary to piece the film together.  After several months of editing, my film "Bats of Ruby" has been completed.

Music for the film was from musician John Lyell, an artist producing some of the finest ambient-electronic soundscapes I have heard in a long time. 


The Bats of Ruby will be first screened at the Arivaca Filmmakers Exhibition on Friday night March 7th in Arivaca as part of the event's local filmmakers program.


Anonymous said...

In Mayan Cosmology the bat is symbolic of re-birth.
Will Bart be re-born? Who will take a chance?

Kyle said...

I can relate to the feeling of driving out to Ruby. After doing so for 30 years, it still feels like entering some sort of cognitive dissonant twilight zone. I love that feeling. It's like splashing cold water on my face in the morning - time to be mindful.

GaryF said...

I've watched every one of Bart's films starting from a film documenting a number of dreams he had. His films always evoke thought and bring you to a unique perspective on something in our universe. I also love the soundtracks.

Synthetic Human said...

Nice work Bart, can't wait to see it. - David.