The Chaste Prophecy (1998-1999)
"The Chaste Prophecy" is a short film that Eric produced while a junior in high school. This is the earliest film that he wrote, produced, directed, shot, and edited. He has retained the original full length cut, a shortened "abridged" version, and the raw footage.
Here you will find some information about the film, the backstory, and its personal meaning for the filmmaker.
Extended clip: "A Grayscale World" - also known as "The Middle Portion" of the film. The clip is deliberately silent. Originally this segment was edited to Pink Floyd's "Us and Them", but without sync rights, the song was removed.
"The Chaste Prophecy" was originally shot on VHS videotape, utilizing a Panasonic professional grade camcorder. The Panasonic AG-456 SVHS model is Eric's best guess as to which specific camera model was used for his initial movemaking. Eric utilized the camera between 1998 and 2000, and it was the property of the Portland Arts & Technology High School in Portland, Maine.
"The Chaste Prophecy" was edited on a now obsolete non-linear editing system called Media 100.
A restoration of the project is currently in the works and information about this will be provided on this page.
"The Chaste Prophecy" was filmed on Long Island, Maine. The primary shooting location on the island was the old navy barracks, which had been neglected by its owner for many decades. The island was home to a navy fuel depot, which served the North Atlantic fleet during World War II. All of the original oil tanks are still on the island.
In the raw footage, Eric films a destroyer coming into port. Around the time Eric shot the film, Bath Iron Works operated a drydock on the Portland waterfront. Many U.S. Navy destroyers were worked on at the drydock, and tested on the bay. Now that the drydock installation is long gone, the footage holds special value, at least for the sake of historical documentation.
Buoy Whitener is the main star of "The Chase Prophecy." Buoy is a local of the island where Eric grew up, and they were practically neighbors. Buoy would go on to appear in Eric's future works: "Sixteen Stories" and "Hero for a Day."
Eric's Personal Reflections:
I have fond memories of the project, mainly because it garnered immediate positive feedback from my neighbors, teachers, and friends. Up to that time, no other aspect of my being yielded such strong reactions. It was honestly the first time I felt the community noticed me in a positive light. The art of filmmaking, literally changed my life and it started with this project. I remember Buoy presented me with a little troll doll statue, which his mom had mounted to a rock and spray-painted gold. This was my 'oscar' for 'best picture.' If I remember correctly, in the note that accompanied the statue, she had written something along the lines of '... thanks for showing me delight in the delinquency of my child' or something to that affect.' Unfortunately the statue was lost sometime after I moved to New York, but I still have a picture of it.
The instructor for my video tech course, which this film was originally produced for, was really blown away. Her name was Carol Schiller. She offered a variety of interpretations of the possible meanings behind the film. Her reaction alone got me thinking theoretically about the medium. She was also the first to suggest that I seriously consider a film program after graduation. Furthermore, she got the school to provide me with an award for the film at the end of my junior year. They really considered it an achievement. It opened a lot of doors, both academically and socially.
For me, "The Chaste Prophecy" , is the first of what would be many personal works that tackle my life growing up on an island off the coast of Maine. It would be the first of many in which I lament the seclusion, isolation, and depression of life on 'the rock'. I have continued to tackle the subject, both in my later films and in the form of short stories and creative non-fiction essays. This film, however, was absolutely the first, even if I didn't realize it at the time.
About the Music:
"The Chaste Prophecy" originally employed classic rock and 90's pop music for its soundtrack. This was completely natural considering it was a student film, made by a high schooler. However, because artists like Bob Dylan do not allow their work to be used in such a way, Eric opted to mute the entire film for internet exhibition. Since there is no dialogue in the film, there's no need to re-edit or sync new music.
In Eric's words:
I'd be okay if "The Chaste Prophecy" went the rest of its existence as a silent film. Honestly, the best thing about it isn't the pop music. These songs have developed new meaning for me over time. 'Like a Rolling Stone' is one of the disputed songs, and now that I'm more educated to Dylan's meanings and history, it has less purpose in the final cut. I think the only one I'll miss is 'Us & Them' by Pink Floyd. That song still fits, and probably always will.