BRATTLEBORO — Starting Friday, Epsilon Spires will screen “Truth or Consequences,” directed by Hannah Jayanti, through its virtual cinema.
The film will be available online through 11:59 p.m. March 26.
Set in a near future when commercial space travel has begun and Earth’s wealthiest people have fled the planet, this speculative documentary focuses on those who are left behind. “Truth or Consequences” interweaves archival and observational footage with virtual reality to create a sublime meditation on progress, history and how we navigate a sense of loss within ourselves and a changing world.
In an email to the Reformer, Jayanti explained that she and her colleague Alexander Porter started using the term “speculative documentary” during the editing of “Truth or Consequences.”
“We made the term up during our collaborations once we discovered that conventional narratization and story structure were not working for the footage we had captured. We were trying to figure out how we could create an emergent structure borne out of really listening to the footage, especially what the people we filmed with had chosen to share with us about who they were and what mattered to them. We have of course since discovered that other artists are, and have been, making work using this term in a myriad of ways.
“For ‘Truth or Consequences,’ we use speculative documentary to connote that the film subtly takes place in the near future, or at least that it is not entirely set in the past like most documentaries are,” Jayanti wrote. “Through making this film we’ve come to articulate that sometimes it takes an act of breaking form to get back to the foundations of documentary filmmaking which for us are about listening, bearing witness, finding the extraordinary in the seemingly ordinary, and using the camera to elevate parts of our lives and worlds that are often overlooked or considered unworthy of being recorded.”
Epsilon Spires director Jamie Mohr said her organization works with the company Sentient Art Film to bring politically-engaged documentaries to the community. In the past, Epsilon Spires has shown “In My Blood it Runs” and “The Island of Hungry Ghosts.”
“The film is very unusual in how it bends the viewer’s experience of time,” Mohr said of “Truth or Consequences” in an email. “Just when you become lulled by the seemingly ordinary, the surface breaks to reveal a profound epiphany and surprisingly this pattern happens again and again. It reminded me of the conversations you have with strangers when traveling ... which I do miss very much!”
A trailer for “Truth or Consequences” is available on YouTube, youtu.be/iYLWjIiknVA.
More information and registration is on the Epsilon Spires website, epsilonspires.org.