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Project Brain States

Last summer, I formed a team for the Cyberpunk Now film festival. The festival involved a challenge of making a film over 5 days, and each category had specific challenges you might need to include in the film. My team decided to enter the Found Footage category, so that we could work on a film without ever meeting up and shooting. We chose the “Damnation” challenge element (include footage of religious cults), and that is why our film is based around a documentary of the Waco seige.

How it went down

I’ve made a couple films in college to enter into contests (I won a lot of pizza once!), but haven’t in a long time. This seemed like an interesting challenge while in isolation. I asked around (friends, [now online] coworking space, art collective) for a few weeks ahead of time and started an email thread with everyone who said they might be interested. The final team ended up being me, someone who makes films often (Scott) and a visual artist (Nora).

My favorite behind-the-scenes fact about this film is that we did it all via email. We never got on a Zoom call, never got on the phone. We formed the team, wrote out a few ideas, Scott did the story and main editing, I did the soundtrack and some editing, and Nora made the video art featured at the end. My co-favorite behind-the-scenes fact is that Nora made the art using EEG data. You wouldn’t know it from the film, but it makes it a little bonus fascinating in-context of the film.

CONTENT WARNING: Includes strobing and flashing imagery and viewer discretion is advised!


Project Brain States from Pam Selle on Vimeo.

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