Tales from Dell City, Texas is past, present and future. At one point in the editing room, I used those three tenses as chapters to structure the film. But after a while, I abandoned that approach. Past, present, and future are evident at the same time in all the stories. They are evident in the lines of a face, the cracks in a building, the water in a field. The documentary was filmed over a period of several years, but does not present a chronological story. It is a document of a particular time and place that shows where that place came from, and where it may go.
Thursday, May 26, 2011
Time is present everywhere in Dell City. It is measured by when to water the fields, or cut the hay. It is measured when the strong winds come, or the baby lambs are born. It is evident in the old buildings. It can be felt in the petroglyphs and pictographs left behind by ancient cultures over a thousand years ago.
Friday, May 20, 2011
New York City, where I live, is a visually arresting place. It is defined in many ways by the land on which it sits. Dell City is also visually arresting and defined by the land. Both also came into being because of their proximity to water. New York City is surrounded by rivers. Dell City sits above a huge underground lake, or aquifer.
I’m guessing on the figures here, but I bet New York has 100,000 people per square mile, whereas the Dell Valley has about 2 people per square mile. One of the reasons I made the film is to experience the incredible landscape of the Dell Valley and what it is like to live in such a sparsely populated place.
Everyone in Dell City at one point or other mentions the beauty of the area. It is a beauty that you just don’t get in cities. The remoteness requires sacrifices that us city dwellers don’t want to make. And it works the other way around: New York has its own beauty, and requires its own set of sacrifices. I live in one extreme, and am captivated by the other. There is a rich life to be had in either. But they sure ain’t the same.