Slo-Mo: Cultivating Contemplation Through Film

BY AMY MATHEWS AMOS

 

From the fast food, eat-on-the-run culture of the 1990s emerged the Slow Food Movement. Amidst the endless tweets, status updates and memes of today, filmmaker John Grabowska offers a modern variation: the slow film movement. It’s not that you can’t watch his natural history showpieces on your smartphone if you want, but they’d be much better on a big screen. And it’s not that his films are slow — his sweeping aerial shots of breathtaking scenery move effortlessly to intimate close-ups of wildlife, and back again. It’s just that Grabowksa’s betting that enough of us will be so captivated — and contemplative — we won’t be tempted to multitask.

His latest film, The Ends of the Earth: Alaska’s Wild Peninsula, was screened at the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival in September and will screen at the American Conservation Film Festival October 31–November 3. A shorter version aired on PBS stations for most of the summer. But Grabowska doesn’t make his films for television: He claims he doesn’t care if you change the channel. If you do, you’re not his audience. Instead, he says he crafts his films for those who “enjoy the voyage of intellectual curiosity, who relish erudition and wit, who have the patience and interest in discovering something that is at home in the world of art rather than merely commerce.”

 

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