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 tilting on seventeen stilts,
one barn moved half an acre back.
The fog horn giving up mid-January, the light-house rolling its neck like a drunk.
We lived with the smell of the tide thick in our sweaters.
A pair of swans floating underneath a barnacled swing set.
The moon, a dumb eye, watching 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