July 6, 2016

“The Path” : A Chorus Films Original Short

Under ideal circumstances, you go into a narrative film knowing exactly what you are going to do: you’ve planned, pre-pro’ed, built storyboards, prepared equipment, worked with the actors, etc. When undertaking a documentary, however, you prepare in an altogether different way: you study your subject and listen closely to their responses, ready yourself to move quickly, focus your senses to react in the moment, and immerse yourself in the unfolding story.

When we approached artist Sal Brownfield about being the subject of a short doc, we had neither of those approaches in place. What we had was this: A willing subject and a visually arresting location. We had an idea of Sal’s work. It was late winter. And we had one afternoon to get it all done.

We simply dove in. We paid attention. We listened. We filmed.

The result is “The Path,” a tone poem featuring an artist speaking candidly about his process, his life, and his unceasing drive to create. It is neither a traditional, structured documentary nor an intentional narrative piece. It is simply the result of being in the moment and capturing that moment as it unfolds naturally. 

As filmmakers who pay their bills doing commercial and industrial work, Sal allowed us the chance to explore a different tone. To linger. To turn away from a smile. To stare a little too long. To find something poignant and haunting. To turn our focus, like him, to our own relentless need to create. To embrace the chill of winter. To go down our own path without knowing exactly where it ends.

But most of all: it allowed us to grow.

Director’s Note: Sal isn’t always this somber. He’s often one of the most alive and gregarious people we know. Being the man he is, he ventured into the winter with us for this project and embraced the tone. To check out more of Sal’s outreach and work, visit: https://salbrownfield.wordpress.com

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