Film Journey in the Now

Return to Hope

Production of a Portfolio Film – Post #1 Concept Development

The first time I laid eyes on what my childhood friends and I would eventually refer to as the “First River” in Hope, Rhode Island, I thought that surely it must be a magical river. Magic was the only explanation my six-year-old imagination could come up with as to how the river’s water could have been transformed into a wonderfully milky, bright orange flow.

The first river was actually more akin to a spillway than a river, being flanked by hand-stacked stone walls and gravel embankments from the point that it emerged out of the arched granite gateway at the rear of Hope Mill, all the way down to its reintroduction point with the Pawtuxet River. The mill had been using the Pawtuxet’s water to generate electricity for nearly a century before I first visited its spillway, a historical fact that was entirely irrelevant to my uneducated mind at six years of age. And on that first sighting, every gallon of water in between those walls, for the full half-mile stretch of the first river’s length, was a swirling Creamsicle orange. During the following weeks, I returned to the river often and I was thrilled and delighted to see that it would change colors regularly. Baby blue was my favorite because it appeared to be creamy enough to drink, but even at that age, I sensed it would be an unwise decision to do so. For weeks, I visited the magic river, and I kept it as a secret from my parents. When I finally told my dad about it, I was perplexed by his stern reaction. As we walked down to the rivers’ edge together, my father’s demeanor seemed to grow stormier with every step. When he saw it, he became downright angry. He said, “Son this is not right! The mill is polluting the river with their wastewater and that’s against the law!”

“First River” Hope, RI – June 2022

I’m not sure about this, but I think my dad may have reported the environmental crime to the local authorities. The mill, however, continued to pollute the river for at least another three to four years, because I can clearly remember watching the fish and turtles dying slowly through the passing seasons, presumably a result of the toxic dyes being poured daily into their habitat. That childhood experience has remained fresh in my mind for fifty-three years’ worth of water passing under a multitude of bridges in my lifetime. Memories of the experience have also evolved into the underlying premise of the portfolio film I am now producing, titled “Return to Hope”. The film is to be a crucial element of the submission package for my application to the graduate program at Savannah College of Art and Design. Although I have never created a film before, this one will need to be emotionally provocative and intellectually impactful, considering that I’m hoping to impress the college admissions board. The sole mandatory guideline given by the admissions department is that the film must be no longer than ten minutes. Well, as you might imagine, this requirement brought my confidence level up a notch or two. As a novice filmmaker, producing a ten-minute film seems manageable. As to how impactful it will be, well, that is entirely a matter of intention.

Spillway Outlet” Hope Mill, Hope, RI – June 2022

The month of October is my personal favorite. Not only because it is the month I was born in, but because it represents the beginning of the transition between summer and autumn. I love the cool crisp mornings of fall; the coming harvest and the promise of snowfall; anticipating nights spent by the fireplace staring into the glowing embers and remembering the best of autumns long past.

This morning, October 1, 2022, I set the intention to turn my focus primarily to the work on this film. Journal entries on the Grand Providentia United blog site will also be largely dedicated to this intention. I will be documenting the process from beginning to end, right here on this site. Happy October everyone!

As soon as I published this post, a notification popped up to congratulate me on my 100th post on Grand Providentia United. In light of the transcendental level of intentions I’ve been setting this morning, I see most clearly that there is a high density of synchronicity in the air today!

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