We travel always with our two-year-old son Axel, and I sought to capture the cacophony of sights and sounds through his eyes. A perspective that does not yet feel the need to label, nor use any cultural or historical filter when visiting a new place. Simply nothing more than to see, taste, smell, hear and touch the world as it unfolds in front of him.

 

A visual representation of my life between the ages of 22 and 34. Slow it down. Slow it down...

 

Nag is a young Hmong girl that lives and works in Luang Prabang, Laos. Follow along as Nag prepares with her family and friends to attend Hmong New Year.  As traditional Hmong villages are small and the majority of the year is dedicated to the planting, care, and harvest of rice, this significantly slims ones chances of finding a partner. Hence the importance of the Hmong New Year, a celebration of the end of harvest-thus, the beginning of a new year-a giving of thanks so that a new life may begin. Also, a chance for young Hmong to find love.

Vocals- Nag and Maisha

 

LAYERS. Buffalo dung to perfection. Ounheuane, the one true lacquer-man in Laos, takes us along through his workshop in Luang Prabang as he strives to revive the ancient tradition of Lao-style lacquerware, layer upon layer added until achieving perfection. 

 

Self. What is self? When you look into a mirror what do you see? As Joseph Campbell says, "The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are. The meaning of life is whatever you ascribe it to be. Being alive is the meaning. The heroic life is living the individual adventure. There is no security in following the call to adventure. Nothing is exciting if you know what the outcome is going to be. Breaking out is following your bliss pattern, quitting the old place, starting your hero journey. You throw off yesterday as the snake sheds its skin. Follow your bliss."

Cast (in order of appearance)- Matt Hotmer, Matt Hotmer, Matt Hotmer, and Matt Hotmer. Crew- Matt Hotmer and Rhonda the Honda Location- Kuang Si Waterfall, Laos Music- 'Flying Foxes' by Moby. Licensed at www.mobygratis.com

 

51 hours. 24 hours of labor. 27 hours of waiting. This short represents those 51 hours. Born with fluid in his lungs and immediately whisked away to Neonatal ICU, Karin spent the first 27 hours after giving birth apart from her son, able to see him only sporadically through the confines of an incubator. This is the story, through her eyes, of those 51 hours.

Music: "Roaring Forties" by Lowercase Noises

 

Whispered Faith There is a hushed, whispered faith that breathes from the heart and rises with incense in a wistful dance to be consumed by the passing breeze. What does faith mean to you? Is it something you do because your parents did? Is it a path you’ve come about on your own? Is faith going to save you from something? Are you only faithful in times of despair? I filmed this at about midnight, while sitting for one hour at the Erawan Shrine, a popular Hindu shrine in Bangkok that is awash in the faithful twenty four hours a day. And as I sat I closed my eyes and remembered sitting with my mother just a year prior in a grotto in southern France, equally awash with incense and the faithful, albeit of another religion. And I prayed there. I washed with holy water. I lit candles and I prayed for my mother to be healed from the cancer she had been fighting for four years. I wanted her to be healed so much I cried. And I felt at peace. Two months later she had a series of seizures as the cancer had spread to her brain, and six months later she was gone.

 

Creativity. Play. Freedom. In a village in northern Laos I came upon this group of kids using bamboo poles to vault themselves amongst large sections of tree trunks.

 

A few years ago while sitting on a city bus mired in traffic in one of Latin America’s noisiest cities, Buenos Aires, I could suddenly hear the hum of a single bicycle chain. Theoretically, it seemed impossible to discern the low sound over the din of traffic, but it was as if all noises but the one from that bike chain had become inaudible. It felt like a bizarre out of body experience. A few days ago in similar traffic in Bangkok, Thailand, I peered upon a city bus ensnared in traffic and was reminded of that night years ago in South America. As I waited at the crosswalk, the persistent and increasingly urgent tone of the beeping brought the idea for this video. It’s about time and space, and the myriad of human experiences that are taking place at any given time within that space. It’s also about taking a step back from the urgency that seems so commonplace.