Several years ago, HERE director Braden King made the film DUTCH HARBOR: WHERE THE SEA BREAKS ITS BACK in collaboration with photographer Laura Moya.
DUTCH HARBOR is a lyric examination of the life and landscape of a community on the Aleutian Islands, off the west coast of Alaska. The film interweaves residents’ personal narratives about living out at the edge of the Earth with imagery of Dutch Harbor’s landscape, its community and crab fishing boats on the Bering Sea.
In addition to more traditional festival screenings and distribution, DUTCH HARBOR toured in the United States and Europe with live, improvised soundtrack accompaniment by the Boxhead Ensemble, a rotating group of musicians formed to create the film’s soundtrack under the guidance of composer Michael Krassner.
King has continued to work with the Ensemble since DUTCH HARBOR, producing live music and film events that have featured work by filmmakers Jem Cohen, Gustav Deutsch, Gerard Holthius, Peter Hutton, Barbara Meter, Julie Murray, Chris Petit, Phil Solomon, Guy Sherwin, Anita Thacher and Naomi Uman, among others. The Boxhead Ensemble’s rotating lineup has included Guillermo Gregorio, David Grubbs, Glenn Kotche (Wilco), Fred Lonberg-Holm, Will Oldham, Jim O’Rourke (Sonic Youth), Jeff Parker (Tortoise), Tim Rutili (Califone), Jeff Tweedy, Scott Tuma, Ken Vandermark, Jim White (Dirty Three, Cat Power) and many more.
King, Krassner and the Ensemble have continued their collaboration with HERE, but with an even greater sense of ambition and intention. Non-traditional venues for the recording of the film’s soundtrack were employed in Armenia, including the Sergei Parajanov Museum and a disused Soviet-era recording studio. International tours and events featuring film screenings with live musical soundtrack accompaniment continue intermittently.
Conceptually, these tours and events will turn HERE inside out, featuring longer “director’s cuts” of the Explorer Story interludes, seamlessly connected with landscape footage taken from HERE’s dramatic story. Separate from the film’s primary theatrical release, these events are a visceral exploration of the “dream life” of HERE, expanding its thematic scope and audience in groundbreaking ways.
The entire project – the film, the Explorer Stories, the Boxhead Ensemble tours – is designed to become a kind of macro “map” or Explorer Story of its own, functioning on various formal, narrative and conceptual levels at once, transcending all manner of media and audience borderlines.