Connecting, sharing, breathing into life: for me these are the magic behind film-making. I strive to express more than the sum of visible parts. Movement and its absence are visceral tools to express temporality and relationship dynamic; they formed the concept for my thesis film, Imago Dei. Story always captivated me: over time, I found I could engage people with it, but was frustrated by inconsistent results. My instinctive grasp of image as a storytelling tool did not help me string visual essays into a narrative. Imago Dei would be about the magic of human connection. Inspired by Chris Marker's use of stills in La Jetée(1969), I conceived a static world where a wizard was persecuted for making the magic of motion. I would parallel emotional stagnation with lack of interpersonal connection, using stillness as a central metaphor. Still pictures would break into moving image as the story progressed. I would incorporate live-action and stop-motion techniques to layer the story with magical quality. The main problem with my concept was that it was a nebula of form and character. Paraphrasing Howard Lester, "You can't make authentic characters serve form. You need story: cause and effect, choices, conflict." With this in mind, a narrative developed, and the script cried out for movement. Marker's film succeeded because he used a narrator to create external continuity and singular point-of-view. The story I had needed a diegetic voice. Once I stopped fighting to keep the form, the story was unveiled. The conventional narrative achieved subtle irony that my experimental form could not: stillness conveyed through moving images. With the guidance of advisers and instructors at Rochester Institute of Technology, I learned to weave "image essays" into a story rather than imposing arbitrary continuity by accepting the limitations that confronted production as creative opportunities.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Motion pictures--Production and direction; Short films--Themes, motives; Short films--Technique; Motion picture authorship
Department, Program, or Center
School of Film and Animation (CIAS)
Gemetta, Jeremy, "Obstacle as inspiration: Producing Imago Dei" (2012). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
RIT – Main Campus