Innovative documentary filmmaker Alison McAlpine is back in the indie film fold, nearly a decade after her impressive “nonfiction ghost story” short film “Second Sight” debuted in 2008. This time around, McAlpine is again gunning for distinct filmmaking, now trained literally to the heavens.
In her “Cielo,” McAlpine is focused on the skies above the Andes and the Atacama Desert in northern Chile, which will debut at the New York Film Festival next month. Details on the film are purposely slim, but its official NYFF page explains that “McAlpine keeps the vast galaxies above and beyond in a delicate balance with the earthbound world of people, gently alighting on the desert- and mountain-dwelling astronomers, fishermen, miners, and cowboys who live their lives with reverence and awe for the skies,” adding that the film “itself is an act of reverence and awe, and its sense of wonder ranges from the intimate and human to the vast and inhuman.”
On her own website, McAlpine has shared some of her vision for the film, writing that “Cielo” was envisioned to be “my personal, cinematic, poetic, humourous and unofficial journey to reveal and discover our relationship to the night sky. Most of us on this earth almost never see the night sky, and when we do it has nothing like this clarity and purity, this quality of seeing ideal for astronomy, this crazy energy of wonder and limitless freedom. How do the planet hunters in their observatories see the night sky? How about the people who live in the valleys, mountains and by the sea below? How can the night sky change our perceptions, our way of understanding and seeing the universe and our world?”
In the film’s first official trailer, McAlpine hints at those larger questions, will also unfurling stunning shot after stunning shot, and not all of them sky-bound.
The film will have its world premiere in the Spotlight on Documentary program at this year’s New York Film Festival. McAlpine will be on hand for a post-screening discussion after its showings on October 6 and 7. Check out our exclusive trailer for “Cielo” below.
You can find out more about “Cielo” and its NYFF premiere, over at the festival’s official website.