Dominic Angerame

Battlestations--A Navel Adventure (2001) 16mm, B&W, 5.5 min

Genre: Experimental

Starring Bruce Conner, a Belly Dancer, a geiger counter, and a toxic waste dump. Sound design by Amy Leigh Hunter Leyna d'Ancona and myself went filming at the Naval Shipyard at Hunter's Point a few weeks ago. My original concept for this film was to have my friend, Leyna perform a belly dance ritual in front of the Cinematheque office and I would superimpose images from the "macho" naval station...a perfect blend of yin and yang...ships and a navel... However, when we arrived it was high noon and the shadows were awful....workers were honking horns at Leyna as she belly danced...I had a hard time coming up with the correct exposures...and we were both frightened by the earthen mounds we saw covered with plastic and anchored down by haystacks...It was extremely distracting...and we had heard that there were toxic materials from radioactive ships all around...so I decided to shoot this toxic material as part of the film...Leyna kept saying..."Dominic...stay downwind" as the currents ripped my hair backwards... We stopped at the pier and I cautiously stepped down a rusted metal stairway to the water to get footage on an abondoned submarine walkway...and we traveled to the main shipyard where workers were deconstructing a ship...We were stopped for papers and ushered off the set...we were on top secret ground...I now discovered I shot the entire previous shots (more than 100 short takes) with the variable shutter closed...and told Leyna of it... We shrugged and headed for higher ground a hill over looking the pier where the workers were. I rewound the film and opened the shutter...hopped in the back of the flatbed truck and took out the 100mm lens...perfect...for a rather close view of the top secret activity...and began to shoot the first sequence...we are stopped again...Leyna jumps out shaking her chest...I hunt for the permit...the guard says..."that's my boss' signature" and drives away...I shoot...have no idea if anything is to come out...I run out of film... And soon I smell smoke...thinking it is a barbeque...and Leyna runs out of the bathroom saying the whole place is on fire, and indeed there is a wall of flame and smoke outside of Daygo Mary's...clientelle running out to save their cars...we bust through the front gates, flames licking the side of the truck...I am furiously rewinding film to shoot...hop out of truck and shoot the fire...children are throwing stones at us from the nearby hills and...certainly we are in Dante's Inferno...fire trucks finally arrive...put out the blaze, me and Leyna leave, glad to be back to some sort of civilization. The next week, Bruce Conner and myself decide to go to the site with a geiger counter to see of the toxins are radio active...After more than 45 minutes of driving and testing we find no radioactivity... This film is a diary of this experience...

Rental: $35.00
16mm Rental: $35.00

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