Sarasota Half in Dream


#1

My feature length documentary, Sarasota Half in Dream, is now available online!

SARASOTA HALF IN DREAM is an experimental documentary about dead turtles,
crab swarms, decaying tennis courts, and microscopic histories. The filmmakers shot their explorations into the abandoned golf courses, factories, and resorts of Sarasota, Florida and spoke to local youths who are using them for new and strange purposes. What would the Surrealists and Situationists think of a suburban, subtropical tourist town? What goes on in a storage unit in the dead of night? What is the afterlife of a decommissioned train car? What ghosts haunt a ruined hotel? What is the life cycle of a city? When will waters wash it all away?

WATCHABLE ONLINE HERE

Credit to @HOBO for the poster, and to @Sakurina, @AutomaticTiger, and others for helping me figure out a platform for self-releasing the film!


#2

I just watched this, and I think it’s very good. I like the way the focus shifts in unexpected ways, but always smoothly. I especially like the swimming pool segment, for example. And there’s even a Silent Hill reference.

The very beginning reminded me a little of this:


#3

Thanks a ton for watching it and for the kind words!! I was flipping out when I encountered that Silent Hill reference in the wild.

I’d never seen that fat video before, but that’s hilarious. I’m gonna pass it on to my cocreator, who edited a lot of that scene.


#4

I hadn’t actually rewatched this film in quite some time, and in the intervening 2 years I got really into left politics. So I was starting to get a little nervous that perhaps I’d written something annoyingly liberal. I also wrote the film before Trump was elected, so I was also a little concerned that this may have instantly dated the film. So tonight I watched it through.

I’m pleased to say that the film does not feel dated, and I managed to make a pretty thoroughly socialist film before I even knew I was a socialist! It helps that a lot of the film’s thematics were inspired by the Surrealists and the Situationists, two explicitly marxist art movements (even if at the time of writing the film I was more into the art than the marxism).

But yeah, I find nothing here that really conflicts at all with my current worldview, which is a giant relief! I also noticed some only semi-intentional stuff that I’m pretty fond of (e.g. the use of bursts of light as visual symbolism for Surrealist “marvelous” moments and places).

In my recollections of the ending I’d worried it was kind of meaningless, too much style and not enough substance. But on rewatch it was more interesting and nuanced than I’d remembered. The “declarations” I make aren’t just vivid imagery, they can be read in a few different ways that mostly complement each other. But really I think what I was saying there was that you can escape the rigid imaginative confines of a boring Florida retirement community and of capitalism itself by putting yourself and your friends in the places you’re not supposed to be and opening yourself up to radically different aesthetic ideals (the Surrealist lens). It’s also a sort of ode to the directly democratic ethos of welcoming the community into spaces that capitalism has forgotten and opening them up to new and imaginative uses (the Situationist lens).

This is really really navelgazey so I do apologize for that! Just putting some of my thoughts on paper here. The longer I go without watching this film, the more I convince myself that maybe it’s not actually good, but then when I finally watch it again I remember why I made it and I realize that I made something I’m very proud of that I don’t think anyone else could ever have made.


#5

Placeholder because I am for sure watching this sooon


#6

Yeah, this is my big weekend plan.


#7

Anyone who watches it, I’d love to hear your thoughts!


#8

I loved it. The intersection of the hyper local, the sponsored film collages, and the meditative is extremely my shit. Around here urban exploring and ruins are generally hyper political, so it was really alien and refreshing to get that without the familiar baggage.

The abandoned hotel as a touristy selling point in that old promotional film blew my mind! You are tapped into a rich and deep vein.

Loved the soundtrack too!

Great work all around. I’ll try to push it on a couple film maker friends.


#9

Thank you! Definitely appreciate anyone spreading the word about the film, cuz I am terrible at getting it seen.

A bit of info that we didn’t put into the film that makes that “Ghost Hotel” tourism video even weirder – we ripped all the tourism video footage in the film from VHS tapes we found in the buildings we explored for the film. All the public access TV and golf stuff came from a huge box of tapes we found in the abandoned golf course’s club house:

And all the recent and historical tourism films came from some VHS tapes we found at the Colony Tennis Resort:

One of those tapes had The Ghost Hotel of Longboat Key on it:

We were filming an abandoned hotel in Longboat Key, and in doing so we found a VHS tape that contained a film about a different abandoned hotel in Longboat Key from at least 50 years earlier. We were totally freaking out when we watched that tape for the first time.


#10

That’s nuts! I love it!!!

My mouth totally watered when that box of tapes popped up! I’m so so glad they were salvageable/salvaged!!!


#11

They definitely smelled like crayons and were probably in the early stages of sticky shed syndrome, but they all played fine and didn’t destroy my VCR, thank goodness. I love the particular way their visuals have been decayed by years of sitting out in the Florida heat.


#12

Another forgotten world hanging on in that oxide!


#13

I just want to say we watched this and were deeply enamored by it. Extreme congratulations to everyone involved.

We were watching Planet Earth 2 that week and we totally interpreted this as an episode of Planet Earth 9999 far in the future, even though it sadly isn’t. The walking conversation is a god damn jewel. The empty parking garages are powerful, magical. The ants, the trains, everything is connected like rhizome, spreading horizontally, always a line. We were absolutely half in dream.

That same week we ended up in an abandoned hotel. Still half in dream:

Thank you so much for sharing this!


#14

oh yeah i watched 25 minutes of this on my birthday and i’m not sure if this is a compliment but the music made Alicia nauseous? like physically ill. so we had to stop

I’ll finish it soon, it was good


#15

Thank you so much for watching the film and for the kind words. This really made me smile. I’ll pass it on to my cocreator. I love that rhizome comparison, I was hoping the film would work that way.

Great photo. I love the caption: “¿Como es que lo más lindo del capitalismo es cuando se fue?” I completely agree with the sentiment.


#16

Lollll Clint, I’m sorry I made your wife sick! Some of that music definitely gets pretty woozy and weird. I’ll bet the South Lido beach music is what really did her in.


#17

she asked me “Does music ever make you nauseous? It happens to me with quite a few songs”

Which is such an alien concept to me, like getting nauseous from considering the concept of sunlight or something.

anyway i thought the music was fantastic.


#18

Heh, I’ve never had it happen to me either. I wonder if it’s like a mild sort of misophonia or something.


#19

You may already be aware, but I just saw a thread about this go up on Metafilter.


#20

I hadn’t noticed yet, thanks for making me aware! I posted it to the MetaFilter Projects site, and it looks like someone brought it over to the main site. Pretty rad! Hopefully that’ll help get people watching it.