Flora
Pat and Theo in “Flora Borealis.” COURTESY FLORA BOREALIS

Montclair director Casey Friedman’s film in progress, “Flora Borealis,” is an animated short focused on the story of two gay men struggling with depression in a ruined environment, and a depressed glassblower mourning his wife.

The film, says a release, “calls for a reorientation of human interaction with nature, illustrating why humans should look to plants to heal them, rather than viewing nature as a resource to be exploited.”  

It weaves together 3D models and 3D scans from Harvard’s Ware Collection of Glass Flowers, and rotoscoped actors shot on a green screen. Nearly 10,000 drawings will eventually bring the film to life.

Friedman was selected as the Spring 2019 Valentine & Clark Emerging Artist Fellow at the Jacob Burns Film Center, where he is producing and directing his animated short.

He has created a Kickstarter campaign so he can pay the actors, cinematographer, and others working on the film. The campaign, at tinyurl.com/y4rcy5z6, will conclude on July 5.

From the website:

Flora Borealis tells two stories about our troubled relationship to the natural world.

The first is a story of renewal in a darkened future, a tale of queer love and a chance for redemption as two men, Pat and Theo, struggle with depression in a ruined environment.

Theo knows they need to make a radical break with the past and start over somewhere new, but Pat feels this effort is hopeless. To buoy Pat, Theo tells him a story.

The story Theo tells is one of the past, of loss and hubris, of art and science, of knowledge and morality, as a botanical glassblower mourns his dead wife. Haunted by her memory, he seeks solace in nature, which leads him on a fantastic journey.

The two tales weave together, as both Pat and the glassblower struggle to find hope in despair and appreciate the beauty of nature.