We are truly fortunate to have the beauty and brilliance of Flying Orb Productions here in the Mill City. Founded by Lowell filmmaker, photographer, and graphic designer Jim Higgins, Flying Orb Productions presents Experimental Film, Dance and Performance Art featuring a cast and crew of performers from around the world, including members of Lowell’s traditional Cambodian dancers, the Angkor Dance Troupe. Like many Lowellians who are big fans of Jim’s work, we adore his use of Lowell as the ominous backdrop for his films – our canals, smokestack speckled skyline, dark alleys and historic spaces provide the perfect sense of foreboding and other worldliness that are the trademark of Jim’s black and white short film creations. What will immediately capture you as you enter Flying Orb’s world is the haunting, ethereal visual quality, the mood created through light (or the lack thereof) and sound, the sense of time stopping and starting. A feeling of voyeurism. These effects are achieved through a detailed creative process focusing on the use of stop-motion filmmaking – the technique of editing together tens of thousands of digital still camera shots to create a whole moving picture.
For Jim’s most recent film, NetherWorld: A Modern Fairy Tale, over 230,000 still shots were taken of his actors and used to create the 38-minute film. Think Tim Burton‘s Nightmare Before Christmas and The Corpse Bride. The big difference between Tim and Jim, though, is Jim’s use of LIVE actors. Flying Orb cast convey the story and script solely through facial and body expression. NO use of dialogue. Next time you have an exciting story to tell, try doing it with just the emotion in your eyes and careful use of every part of your body. THEN do that ever so slowly and methodically, but NATURALLY. This is the kind of talent Jim finds in his incredible actors. The LFC got introduced to Jim and his amazing films at the 2007 Lowell Film Festival and have been huge fans ever since.
It’s no wonder that Jim’s films have won awards and accolades at film festivals around the world, including London and Cambodia. Tomorrow (November 6), Flying Orb Productions’ latest film short NetherWorld: A Fairy’s Tale will screen at San Francisco’s New Media Film Festival. A 20-minute short film re-edited and taken from the longer 38-minute NetherWorld: A Modern Fairy Tale, A Fairy’s Tale is the first of a series of film shorts to be presented as Tales from the NetherWorld. Jim’s next film in the Tales series will be A Mother’s Tale, set to begin production this winter.
Ready to see A Fairy’s Tale in its entirety? Check out The Screaming Ant Short Film Festival, an entirely online fest taking place November 1 – November 30 (submissions can viewed through December 30). A Fairy’s Tale has a place of honor in the Experimental Category. Winning films will be announced November 30.
We encourage you to learn more about Flying Orb Productions’ past projects and keep up-to-date with their current plans. We have it from Jim himself that an exciting Flying Orb event is coming soon (November 20) to Lowell’s new Revolving Museum space on Jackson Street. We can’t wait for that! Be sure to bookmark www.FlyingOrb.com and Flying Orb Productions on Facebook and visit often for updates.
Finally, here is a one-minute peek into the movie-making world of Flying Orb Productions: