From Sea To Shining Sea is a feature-length, time-lapse documentary film by landscape architect Evan Mather is set to premiere on Sunday, 6th April at the National Building Museum in Washington D.C. as part of ASLA’s National Landscape Architecture Month. Tickets available online through National Building Museum.
Learn more about the film from the Director…
“My name is Evan Mather, and I am a landscape architect in Los Angeles.
In 2012, I completed a series of experimental time-lapse videos as a mean of depicting landscapes – specifically via an iPhone mounted to my dashboard. These included portraits of the 110 freeway in Los Angeles; the 1-1/2 drive from Baton Rouge to New Orleans; portions of my commute to work; and culminated in 12 Minutes To Vegas.
12 Minutes To Vegas was an experimental time-lapse video that compressed the 3-1/2 hour drive from Los Angeles, California to Las Vegas, Nevada into 12 minutes. Watching the video, one experiences a variety of landscapes – from the beach environment in Malibu, to downtown Los Angeles, the high desert, casinos along the California/Nevada border, and Las Vegas itself. But in my mind, I had something more ambitious planned.
In April 2013, the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) designated April as National Landscape Architecture Month. To commemorate, I launched and completed a Kickstarter campaign to fund production of my first feature film – From Sea To Shining Sea – a celebration of diversity in the American geophysical and cultural landscape.
From Sea To Shining Sea is a feature-length, time-lapse documentary film, tracing the route of American settlement from Jamestown, Virginia to San Francisco, California primarily via the Interstate Highway System. The viewer experiences the journey itself during the nearly two hour video presentation – as the shifting geophysical landscape (from coast to coast) is united physically by the transcontinental transect (highway) and socially by an interpretive audio collage.
To commemorate our nation’s bicentennial, the July 1976 issue of National Geographic Magazine contained a traditional fold-out graphic map of the lower 48 states, which on the reverse side, transformed into the first ever satellite portrait of the United States taken from the Landsat 1 satellite. In this one image, one sees the incredible diversity in the American landscape – from the Appalachians to the Sierras, and from the interior plains to the Gulf and Atlantic coasts. I can attest that as a six-year old, no one image has had such a lifelong impact and generated such an excitement for the natural diversity of the United States. With From Sea To Shining Sea, I am doing with film what National Geographic did with a photograph.
Time-lapse videography has been used to portray landscape transformation before – notably in Godfrey Reggio’s 1983 feature Koyaanisqatsi. However, a more accurate point of reference for From Sea To Shining Sea is Al Reinert’s 1989 documentary For All Mankind. This film tells the story of the Apollo moon program via archival photography underlaid with an ambient music score – augmented by interpretations of the lunar landscape by the astronauts’ themselves. While the American landscape is certainly not as foreign as the moon, it is this combination of beautiful imagery with layers of interpretation via interviews and music that is portrayed in From Sea To Shining Sea.
An original ambient musical score by my frequent collaborator Juuso Auvinen of Helsinki, and dynamic animated cartography highlighting landmarks in the landscape, sustains the viewer’s interest from start to finish.
Upon completion of watching From Sea To Shining Sea – the viewer will feel as if they have taken the journey itself, and have a greater appreciation of the diverse physical and cultural landscape of the United States of America.
From Sea To Shining Sea was funded primarily by the Kickstarter campaign, and primarily filmed in August 2013 – with some re-shoots in September 2013. Editing, animation, and the audio collage were completed in January 2014. The film is slated to premiere on 6 April 2014 at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC.”
Thanks to Evan Mather for providing an interesting background story to an this great landscape film.
TEXT CREDIT : Evan Mather – AHBE Landscape Architects