South County is a short film made in collaboration with Motionpoems, a nonprofit arts organization pairing poets and filmmakers. Each year, Motionpoems focuses on a different theme for its poets and filmmakers to address. This year’s theme, the Futurity of the Earth, places Earth center stage. While natural disasters, pollution, changes to environmental law, and climate change are all of critical importance, we were invited to consider: What is going right? What are the bright spots?
We interpreted Meghann Plunkett’s South County as finding the courage and hope to persevere in the wake of one of the deadliest and most destructive hurricanes to hit the coast of the Northeastern United States.
Through experimentation of various mediums, we translated the poem into color and movement, then captured on camera.
Each winter a new storm bent on our shoreline and damage
bloomed wild. When the neighbors left, we stayed
watching the seawall recede stone by stone. The windows
of other houses grew closed, boarded, as ours glowed
through each night. Begging for it. A line corseting
our home thinner from where the water scaled, stained
and entered through the windows. Our small peninsula
of land caught between the bay and the gray Atlantic–
there was no hope. Gulls nested on the barren island
of our roof, cracking blue crabs on battered shingles.
The waves gnashed up our welcome mat, silver-sided
minnows gasped on our doorstep. My father grinning
like a mad man lost at sea when he’d wade out
to get the mail, the floating garbage barrels spinning over
and over like pigs on a spit. Over the years, everything grew
larger around us. The school lifted by two cranes, the church
house rolling its neck like a drunk. We lived
with the smell of the tide thick in our sweaters.
our home inch closer and closer to the breaking
of waves–chewed by salt, slowly disappearing–
my mother with her two palms pressed to the window,
fogging the glass with the small weather of her breath.
Director: Kenneth Kegley
Creative Director: Rachel Ma
Art Directors: Rachel Brickel, Eunha Choi
Videographer: Rachel Brickel
Colorist & VFX: JD Burditt
Editor: Nathaniel Park
Music & Sound: Zelig Sound
Narrator: Morgana Hasil
Executive Producers: Todd Boss, Egg Creative, Cori Cooperider
Communications Director: Saara Myrene Raappana
Communications Associate: Su Hwang
"South County," a poem by Meghann Plunkett. © 2018 Meghann Plunkett. Used with permission.
Motionpoems are made possible, in part, by funding from The McKnight Foundation, The Archie D. and Bertha H. Walker Foundation, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts