Young filmmaker’s space odyssey to premiere
Doug Ramsay photo, dougramsayphoto.photoshelter.com
Filmmaker Emmett Fifield kneels with the clay figures from his film “Constant Space” in Fifield’s basement studio along with the Super 8 camera that he used to make the full-length feature film.
MONROE — Having worked on his project since he was 16 years old, Emmett Fifield, 22, is a filmmaker whose Claymation feature length film “Constant Space” will see the spotlight next month at the “Local Sightings Film Festival” hosted by the Northwest Film Forum.
It’s kind of a big deal.
Fifield remains humble and focuses instead on his art, and collaborating with close friends and family to make his film endeavors creative and fun. Fifield hopes the exposure at the film festival could amplify his budding career and get his other written projects jump-started.
His family and friends are supportive and excited for “Constant Space” to premiere.
“Emmett has always been very focused when he connects with an idea, when he wants to learn something,” said Emmett’s mom Stephanie Fifield. “He will spend hours reading books and researching online and then he will
work at his pace on that skill. He is passionate about how to tell a good story, and film is his chosen vessel to do that.”
Using his mom’s basement to
build the sets, characters and shoot the film, Fifield said the creative process is part of what makes filmmaking fun for him.
“I’ve been artistic pretty much all my life, I’ve always liked art and building things and with filmmaking, those things are put together – you have to build sets, props and to have vision,” Fifield said. “It’s a combination of art and craftsmanship. It’s a process you have to commit to.”
His film, “Constant Space,” is set in the distant future and centers around a spaceship that is looking for natural resources in uncharted galaxies. The characters find a mysterious device that causes problems for the mission and they venture through wormholes and further space travel to find their way back home.
For research, since Fifield first wrote the story as a teen, he read many books about space, time, physics and theories about the cosmos. Other space-related science fiction helped inspire Fifield, who said he was a big fan of works by Arthur C. Clarke, Frank Herbert and Issac Asimov.
It all culminated into telling stories of space travel and characters dealing with the effects.
To create these stories for film, Fifield made clay characters and shot with a Super 8 film camera he
bought off of eBay when he was 15 years old.
“I like the aesthetic of the Super 8 film format, it’s ‘pre-VCR days’ and was used mostly for home movies; while they still make it, it’s
kind of a niche market (for supplies),” Fifield said. “I’ve always liked the way it looks, no offense to digital, which to me sometimes appears
flatter. With the claymation, you have to pose the puppets and shoot them frame-by-frame, then combine all the pictures together and
like a flip book, it looks
like live action. But it’s animation. It’s very time-consuming but it’s what I like.”
Fifield did not attend Monroe High but the Sky Valley Education Center (SVEC). He hasn’t gone to film school either, just read, studied and practiced — a lot.
“The film I just made has basically been my
film school,” he said, “Though making this, I learned how to do lighting, how to set up the shot, things like that. I’ve studied a lot and had feedback and help from friends and my family. That’s been the best mentorship and not everybody has that with their art.”
Fifield’s best friends helped voice the characters, as well as composing the movie’s soundtrack. On the “Constant Space” soundtrack, the original music was made by friends and Fifield
on the drums, his dad Will Fifield on the bass guitar, and his best friend who studies sound engineering mixing it all for the “space-like” sound. Fifield said
mixing the sound effects, music and soundtrack was his favorite part of creating the film.
With help and support from friends and family, as well as self-funding from years of buying supplies, Fifield said he was able to accomplish
his goal of producing his own movie. It cost him a
little under $8,000 of his own money. But the time from friends and family was free. As the adage goes, charity starts at home.
encouraged her son’s creative endeavors as well as her other children’s: Emmett’s older brother, a chef, has a Seattle food truck and his older sister is an
artist of multiple mediums. His younger two sisters are dancers. All were educated at SVEC and Stephanie Fifield said it allowed her children to spend more time on their creative passions than other students their age because of the path they took for their education.
“I support him because I believe if we give kids time to work at their passions they learn many other important things along the way,” Stephanie Fifield said. “Patience, problem-solving, teamwork, resourcefulness … they own their triumphs and process their failures
in a more constructive way. Emmett was encouraged by many teachers, parents and students (at SVEC) to keep after this passion of his.”
Fifield said he had no grand expectations for his film, he just loves making movies and telling stories; when he submitted his entry to the festival and found out it was selected, he was happy and hoping the exposure will help him learn more.
He’s pretty sure he has
more to learn and will keep learning through art.
“Constant Space” premieres at the “Local Sightings Film Festival” hosted by the Northwest Film Forum. The festival will be Sept. 22-30 at 1515 12th Ave.
(between Pike and Pine) in Seattle.
To see a movie trailer, visit https://vimeo.com/hobofilm
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