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experimental fiction | 5 min | 2001 | b&w, hand-processed 16mm

A salty ghost spins an elliptical tale of his own demise in a travelogue that complicates fact, fiction and memory.

Sundance Film Festival, 2002

Siren combines my memories of Belle Côte, the Canadian village where I lived as a child, with an 1896 guide for sailors and a soundscape by artist Helen Mirra that layers traditional Scottish seafaring songs with an intimate, below-decks perspective. A fictional memoir, Siren arises from the remembered landscape of Nova Scotia but is made from the materials of the Southern California coast. The film was shot at the site of the 1961 remains of a wrecked Greek freighter using a malfunctioning Bolex and then hand-processed in a bucket to create damage as the ‘evidence’ of history. The result, a hand-crafted record of a shipwreck that never happened, examines the complex nature of memory, desire and nostalgia.

writer/director/cinematographer/editor > Abigail Severance
narrator > Bill Basquin
sound collaboration > Stowaway, Helen Mirra, 1996
title design > Grant Nellessen
text > Wrinkles in Seamanship: A Help to the Salt Horse

Sir Christopher Cradock, 1894
hand-processing > Abigail Severance + Julie Kirkwood

Sundance Film Festival
Carl David Memorial Award, UCLA

Berlin Lesbian Film Festival

Artists Television Access

Echo Park Film Center
Ann Arbor Film Festival
San Francisco Int’l Lesbian & Gay Festival
Seattle Lesbian & Gay Film Festival
New Festival, New York
Outfest, Los Angeles
Image & Nation, Montreal
Mix Experimental Festival, New York

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