Remember Her Name

carson bennett


Artist statement

Since my earliest short films, there has always been a quietness to my work. This is often characterized by focusing on the visuals as a means of expressing the tone of the film or non-standard dialogue interactions with the main characters. This has often contributed to unique film worlds that are twisted or strange in some way. I have always been interested in these expressionistic aspects of film language that are able to get to the heart of a feeling or tone. Films that take place in “our world” have an important place as a way to make audiences think about our lived reality and can help ground ideas in a sense of an actual experience. My work focuses on the stories that live on the fringes of that world that we might imagine visiting one day but can never truly touch.

My most recent film “Remember Her Name” follows in this aesthetic and thematic vein. The film follows a man traveling through a surreal purgatory scape with different rooms that represent periods in his past. Styled as a one-shot film, the audience has to follow this father through this space and discover new insights as he does. With mostly one actor speaking to off-screen voices, the film takes on a non-traditional narrative style as well as a unique structure in following the story of a sympathetic abuser. I expect audiences to feel a connection to him through walking in his shoes, yet also realize the wrongs he has committed. This juxtaposition in which the audience understands the character but perhaps can’t forgive him is intended to help convey the feeling of being in such a complex relationship.

This is why the one-shot aesthetic is so important to the work. Although most audiences are able to ignore the cutting in a well-edited film. In the subconscious there will always be the understanding of how the camera is set up, then it is taken down and moved. By staying in the film the audience is given the sense of really being there in the space. By being there and in some way experiencing the same things that the main character experiences, and seeing all of his reactions, the audience is able to create a unique connection to that character.

The story is strange, and it looks strange, through a combination of sound design and un-real locations. It builds off of the thematics of my previous work as a way of depicting the complexity of often simplified situations. A quiet apocalypse, a disconnect of self from body, or in this case, an abusive father. In all of these stories, the lack of a central evil antagonist ties together the idea that the world isn’t black and white, good and evil. Most people are just trying to survive.

With all of my work I really don’t want audiences to think. To sit outside of the film and its world. I want them to feel. To sit immersed in the film and to have that kind of cerebral, instinctual understanding that only truly experiencing a story can give. I want the audience to come away from my films with a deeper internal sense of the humanity in everyone, even if just a little bit. Because everything is complicated, and everyone is just a person. The easiest thing is to forget that but hopefully, here that thought can be found again.