Art triggers the mind and soul; it makes us feel without saying a word. True art enriches our inner lives and stays with us for a lifetime. Told through the immersive performance of world-renowned painter and sculptor Sir Daniel Winn, Creation is a genius short film that will profoundly impact how you view art, the universe and your life going forward. Those familiar with his artistry will know, the unexpected should be the expected. The film will capture you as revelations come to the surface long after you’ve viewed it. Creation is simply an explosion of art in all of its forms and an artistic masterpiece.
Sir Daniel Winn is a true visionary who believes in the power of shaping your own destiny. His exploration of personal and artistic development has been rich with valuable insights he learned through the trials of his early years. He is a leader in his field and has created his own artistic style and philosophy, which he calls Existential Surrealism. Using a surrealistic subject matter, his style of expression encourages the viewer to examine the nature of our human existence. His art explores the meaning of life and attempts to show us what the eyes don’t see. It communicates the inherent dichotomy between reality and perception and between the physical and the spiritual realms. He searches for why we exist, why we are here and what our purpose is through his visual language. His contribution to the art world and belief in uplifting humanity never wavers.
His latest artistic endeavour brings his philosophy to life through the medium of film. Creation is produced by Emmy-winning producer Georges N. Chamchoum and directed by award-winning cinematographer and director Angel E. Vera of veraONEproductions. Angel is passionately focused on creating content for documentaries and is especially renowned for his aerial content. He was recognized as one of the top three cinematographers in the drone category at the 2018 Los Angeles Film Festival and has directed many international films including Hong Kong, My City, My Home, and Lovers in a Dangerous Time. His latest accolade was as the Director of Photography for Aamal, which won Best Film at the Vision Film Festival in Europe this year.
‘Creation begins where destruction ends’ is the tagline of the film and the essential concept. Sir Daniel describes the film, saying, “Creation is all about contrast. Light and dark, life and death, hot and cold, arid and lush, organic and inorganic, black and white, masculine and feminine. The dichotomies of these opposing factors and the fact that one without the other would have no significance is an underlying idea expressed in the film. The style involves contrasts and counterpoints and examines the physical and spiritual dichotomy of existence. It juxtaposes the idea of a universal, creative divinity against the concept of free will and self-determination by recognizing divinity as the genesis of autonomy and acknowledging our responsibility for universally constructive action.”
The film, an analogy for the creative process, examines the forces that compel creatives of all types to create. Our capabilities as life forms are without bounds, as we have the ability to write, speak, compose music, create technology, paint, draw, engineer systems, entertain, and educate. There is almost nothing that we are unable to do. The film examines the creative process as a transformative journey, with death and rebirth as its core. How can we rise to the higher forms of creation? The film dives into the depths of the creative process, which can be seen as a kind of resurrection and reincarnation.
It tells the story of an artist from another realm driven to construct two figurative sculptures in an otherwise lifeless world. Sir Daniel’s life-size Quantum Mechanics: Femme and Quantum Mechanics: Homme sculptures from his Dark Matter series are semiotically showcased in the film. Creation follows an artist’s tranformative journey as he enters our realm, finding himself alone in the desert. His path begins with meditation showing him the way forward through visions. Taking his inspiration from these visions, he begins his ‘creation.’ The film serves to remind us that we are the creator of our life and the manifestation of something greater.
The usage of symbolism relating to philosophy, religion, science, mathematics and spirituality allows us, the viewer, to come up with our own interpretation. The no-dialogue route is a way to transcend all languages. Retaining audience engagement in a silent film requires a creative approach that breaks away from conventional storytelling.
Creation subtly intertwines facets from various religious ideologies, faiths and belief systems. The Artist wears a white cloak which is often worn by monks (representing innocence, faith, purity and peace) and the chimes are reminiscent of Buddhism. When he enters the cave and hears the symphony of the Grandmother and Grandfather clocks, God is speaking to him. He is reminded of the motivating power that had set him off on this journey when he felt the same forces at work. He is never alone. The timekeepers are an ever-watchful presence, guiding him.
At the beginning of the film, we first hear this sound, which can be equated with a calling from a spiritual perspective. Jesus would listen and hear God in his own language, and the clock is symbolic of a form of higher communication. Jesus had a purpose in fulfilling God’s word, and here the chiming is telling The Artist what needs to be done. Spirituality is universal. It does not matter what faith, whether Christian, Buddhist or Muslim; it is all about our innate humanity.
The introduction of anthropomorphism, where human traits are attributed to the Grandfather and Grandmother clocks (masculine and feminine duality) is significant. He gazes at the two timekeepers, the music building as the film cuts to an extreme close-up of a tear streaming down his face. Overwhelmed with emotion, he can envision what they will become.
He closes his eyes and listens. He understands what he has to do; his destiny is calling him. As he tears apart was was there before he will be able to create anew Through the clocks destruction, he can start his creation. His tears can also be compared to those of Christ on the cross; he too knew that he must die to be reborn. Energy never dies; it just transforms. The energy that runs through everything is in a constant state of flux and motion.
The image of him pulling out the core of the clock, the intricate mechanisms that are at the soul of its workings, reminds us of the continuity of life from one form to another. In the glow of the central light source of the film, The Artist picks up one of the ticking hearts of the timekeepers, feeling its steady rhythmic beat pulsing in his hands.
There may only be a flash of a memory from the past, but it is there. As the film progresses, we can clearly see that sculpting is second nature to him and that he has done it before. He is himself from a previous life or even one of several omnipresent artists in the past. It could be from a millennia or even an infinite amount of time in the past. He is already equipped with the skill; it is part of his DNA. He has come to destroy and create. Although this might be his last creation.
The music is also integral to its emotional impact, heightening the audience’s experience and deepening its storytelling. The instrumental music thumps like a heartbeat, providing a steady beat in the background. He is following through with what he was called to do; making his art. He is molding time.
It is imbued with multiple layers of messages. it can even be interpreted from the lens of the creation of man by God. We see into the Artist’s inner world through the presence of winged and masked muses that are visible throughout the film. Bathed in the recurring single white light of the film, each angelic being provides a magical ambiance while on screen. Each winged creature represents one of the six elements: wood, earth, water, fire and metal. Through their dance they call to The Artist, influencing his sculpture’s design and aesthetic.
At the end of the process, The Artist has to destroy and hit the shell to reveal the metal so that it becomes part of the wings. Then he can assemble those wings to the form of the body. He hammers each piece, the sound of metal ringing in the air as the mold is broken away with each clang of the hammer, creating a melodic sound. The aftermath of the destruction are intricately designed metal wings, masks and headgear. The wings represent freedom, the mask alludes to the façade we hide behind, and the horns on the headgear symbolize eternity.
He washes away the artistic remnants from his face with splashes of water. This represents a spiritual purification and renewal, akin to a symbolic baptism (ritaul). Now dressed in black representing his metaphorical death, The Artist biblically raises his sculptures with chains, all while that same ominous light in the background highlights their crystal-clear bodies. With each pull, the sculptures are hoisted higher into the air.
This powerful resurrection scene is made even more ethereal with the heavenly sound of choir music, creating a divine moment in the film. The symbolism behind the chains is closely tied to the crucifixion. As The Artist raises the statues, he is symbolically destroying the sculptures so that they may come to life in a physical body. This is reminiscent of how Christ was crucified on the cross and the sins of mankind were forgiven.
This metaphorical act of rebirth can be thought of from a resurrection perspective. The black clothing symbolizes his metaphorical death. It is the end of his time and the beginning of life for his two sculptures. After the statues have been biblically raised, The Artist stands back in awe and takes a moment to marvel at the grandeur of his work of art. The choir music adds to the surreal atmosphere, creating a divine moment in the film.
As with all journeys, we must go back to where it all began. The artist connects with his creations one last time before returning home. There they stand, ‘Femme’ and ‘Homme’ isolated, on their own. It is now time for him to make his way over the rocks towards the ocean back to his realm, leaving his creations behind. The sun’s rays break through the clouds, the same prevalent light that has guided him throughout the film indicates that there is still hope ahead of him.
In one of the most stunning cinematic shots in the film, The Artist stands majestically on the high rock peak. A lone figure in black illuminated by the light from the sky, with the ocean’s waves crashing against the rocks below him awaiting his new destiny. This peak is so grand that it could be considered a stairway to paradise. As he stands motionless above the pounding ocean, gazing into the distance, he is once again enveloped by the circular portal. He has completed his labor of love.
With distant thunder in the background, the steady tick-tock is swept away by the sound of the ocean. The statues, situated close to the water, will awaken with the essential vitality of life. The recognizable clock melodies that have been woven into the fabric of the film dominate the scene. The gong of the clocks rings eleven times, the angel number ‘1111’ signifies spiritual guidance and new beginnings. As the sky darkens and the weather becomes ominous, the statues begin to morph from material form to human form.
The Artist’s transformative journey is one of progression, from nihility to existence. He begins with dirt and clay, ultimately creating two awe-inspiring sculptures, now consisting of bronze, lucite and stainless steel. The Artist gives the sculptures life by giving them a metaphorical heart, a timepiece of a mechanical clock, where the arteries and veins flow through its chains. The rhythm of the beating clock encapsulates the theme of creation as the sculptures morphed into living, breathing humans. Two living beings evolved; one female, one male. He has turned substance into form; dirt and clay into the symbol of humanity.
Femme and Homme, who have now been given life, walk off into the distance holding hands. A Black man and a White woman created from the same elements by one creator. He has created something extraordinary from the elements, symbolizing the creative power that we all possess. The dichotomy between black and white is pervasive throughout the film.
Creation and Sir Daniel’s philosophy is all about contrast. With different rhythms, the artful play of shadows tells a story without words that culminates in a hauntingly beautiful tone. The different perspectives conveys an undertone of uneasiness that comes with dancing with the dark of Creation. Nothing with this film is accidental, and you will find yourself drawn to watching it repeatedly. Every time you view it, something new strikes your inner being. As the stunning images play across the screen, the impact of this film is profound as you reflect on your own life, its contrasts and your own creations.
Through the creative implementation of light to craft a sense of atmosphere and mood, the film is able to bring forth a further layer of depth to the story. The film’s recurring use of a single, haunting light source illuminates the entire story, creating a mysterious glow of intrigue. At the start of the film a light source from above bathes The Artist’s figure as the clock’s ticking and echoes around the room. On the back of the chair two wings become more visible, signifying he is ready to ascend. The wings are another recurring motif used throughout the film emblematic of freedom, protection and spirituality. This scene can be interpreted as an artist waiting for their inspiration to strike.
Creation purposely tells the story through cinematic language, allowing the message to be seen, felt and heard. The lack of dialogue is a bold artistic move, relying on the purely visual nature of cinema for the film’s eighteen minute run time. The avant-garde style of the film makes use of a wide array of cinematography, art, music, dance, light and shadows. Through vivid visuals, the film brings the main character’s emotions to life on an intimate and human level.
Sometimes we understand the purpose of life better through the lens of a metaphor. That is the beauty of art; we each take away something different and find meaning in what we see. Sir Daniel’s philosophy is all about duality, showing us that without these opposing factors, neither would exist. His choice of surrealistic matter encourages us to free our unconscious mind, creating an environment that encourage us to question the nature of our human existence. This art film gives an imaginative insight into what it takes to be an artist like Sir Daniel Winn, to give everything you have to your art; to create.
Georges N. Chamchoum shared his experience working on the film, saying, “After an eight year hiatus, I never thought I would be immersed in one of the most challenging artistic creations of my fifty-four years in the movie business. Working with Sir Daniel is like living in his mind and heart — a kaleidoscope, a world of color, emotions and creativity in the purest sense of these attributes. Creation is a feast for the eyes and ears. Creation is an esoteric trip. Creation is a unique experience that digs deep into your soul!”
Georges’ passion for film is evident in everything he does, especially in the numerous festivals he has been organizing since 1982. He co-founded the Film Festivals Cinergy, whose objective is to promote and champion film-making talent around the world. In 2017, Georges was named one of the hundred most influential Lebanese in the world, and in 2018 he received the prestigious Dari Award from the South Korean Ministry of Culture on behalf of the AWFF for bridging the culture of Korea with that of the United States.
Creation was filmed on location in Hollywood, Big Sur, Orange County and Joshua Tree. Big Sur by the ocean had a magical quality as a ray of light breaks through the clouds, providing a sense of divine intervention that is also earie to what happens in the film. The combination of Georges and Angel’s unique skills with Sir Daniel’s artistic philosophy has created a once in a lifetime cinematic experience. True art makes you think, makes you curious and continually leaves the doors of interpretation open. Creation is visual storytelling at its finest.
Creation is a film that will stay with the viewer long after the credits roll, leaving a lasting impression on anyone who watches it. Sir Daniel’s vision has been brought to life in a truly unique and captivating way, and it is a testament to the power of co-creation. Being filmed at ninety frames per second allowed the audience to intimately feel a part of the process. The film showcased director Angel E. Vera and cinematographer Jordan Schulz vast experience and technical knowledge in bringing Sir Daniel’s philosophy of Existential Surrealism to the screen.
The film will premiere at the 2022 Asian World Film Festival (AWFF) on the 17th of November in conjunction with the AWFF’s winning Oscar-submitted film at the Directors Guild of America Theater Complex in West Hollywood, California. The AWFF is the only festival in the world with the Bruce Lee Award, created and designed by Sir Daniel, who also created the new Snow Leopard trophies last year. Don’t miss Creation, an out of this world experience.