The unlikely pairing of elfin actress Jena Malone and directorial auteur, Gus Van Sant take centre stage in the final film from Opening Ceremony, this time in a trippy, twinkling short from director/artist M. Blash, set in the outdoors of Portland, Oregon. According to Blash, the project came together quite quickly. “I live in Portland and it’s a pretty small film community here. I know Gus, he’s my neighbour and I’ve worked with him on Paranoid Park. I like to shoot around Portland, there’s lots of locations and scenery that people don’t know about. Jena was up in Vancouver, making a film up there and so she came down for the weekend.”
Though born in California and having lived in New York, Blash is happy to call Portland home. “Portland gives you the space and quality of living, the energy to make a lot of work. NY is so bogged down by social expectations and events, you get tired living out there. Creative people here lack the ambition they have in New York or London, and that’s inspiring to me, just to see people who are experimenting without having high expectations of it. It really informs the work I try to do in that I try not to over think things and do things spontaneously.”
This would apply to his directorial debut, the intriguingly spare Lying (which starred Malone and Chloë Sevigny) which was written in 2 days and filmed in 2 weeks on a skeleton budget. It premiered at Cannes to acclaim and Blash is already working on the follow up – “It’s been shot in central Oregon in the high desert where the desert and pine forest collide. It’s set in a hermetic vacationing community called Black Beat Ranch. It looks like a Russian sci fi movie like Tarkovsky. I like to put people in heightened, really controlled places, and then have things happen to them that are out of their control.”
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