Dejar is an experimental short that embodies the duality of nature. For day there is night, for calm there is chaos, an eternal cycle that has us all in it’s grasp. Caitlin Díaz is the mind behind this film, you can read more about the Los Angeles based filmmaker below.
What is your connection to the South?
I grew up in the Rio Grande Valley, Texas in various towns along the US-Mexico border. I’ve lived away from the Valley for the last 8 years, but the area is still a constant source of inspiration for me. El monte, la playa, la cultura y la raza forever have a place in my heart.
Where did you get your inspiration for this work?
Dejar is an investigation of extremes: the calm versus the chaotic. I wanted to explore my own emotional and mental processes in order to recognize, assess and release old habits that were no longer valid. My intention was to create imagery that would mimic a meditative or hypnotic state, disrupt it and cycle back. Finding a balance between these two opposing states allows us to exist as we currently are without hesitation or doubt due to the past and future.
How did you start making films?
I started making films with my friends when I was around 13 years old on my parents’ home movie camera. We’d come up with stories and shoot everything in sequential order, then screen the movie on our TV for friends and family. It wasn’t until I taught myself how to edit using two VCRs did I understand the power of editing. In high school, I was part of a film class that would work with the local TV station to shoot football games and other community activities. I had access to all sorts of AV equipment and learned how to edit on a NLE system. It wasn’t until my college years that I discovered experimental and avant-garde cinema, which completely restructured the way I approached filmmaking.
Did anything interesting or funny happen on set during the shooting?
Most of the footage in Dejar plays with the movement a brushstroke can create—I didn’t know what the outcome would be until I scanned the film and watched it in motion. It was also my first time working with Super 8 and a macro lens. I forgot that I had to change a setting on the camera I was using for that specific lens, so all the footage I shot with it was out of focus. However, I really loved the way it looked—almost like a lost moment in time—so I ended up using a lot of that ‘mistake’ in the film.
What do you look forward to the most during Indie Grits?
Meeting other filmmakers, sharing experiences and visiting South Carolina because I’ve never been there before!
Why should someone see your film?
If you feel like meditating on abstract, monochromatic imagery and listening to a layered and cosmic soundscape, Dejar is the film for you! It allows you to tune into your inner world and, hopefully, let what you no longer need go.