Accelerated Development
- In the Idiom of Santiago Alvarez

U.S.A. / 1999 / English, Spanish / Color, B&W / 16mm / 56 min

Director, Script, Photography, Editing, Sound: Travis Wilkerson
Producer: Susan Fink
Production Company, Source: Up Front Films
23414 Magic Mountain Parkway, #1210
Valencia, California 91355, U.S.A.
Phone & Fax:1-661-799-9959

Travis Wilkerson

Born in 1969 in Denver, Colorado. After studying Comparative Literature in college, he turned to filmmaking and completed a number of short experimental works including Hands, and Hanoi Diary. Accelerated Development is his first feature film. At present, he is completing his MFA at the California Institute of the Arts, and working to complete his next film 3-7-77, which concerns the unsolved murder in 1917 of radical labor organizer Frank Little in Butte, Montana.

Accelerated Development uses the life of Cuban documentary filmmaker Santiago Alvarez to portray the radical changes that have taken place in the 20th century. After studying philosophy and literature at Havana University, Alvarez (1919-1988) studied abroad in the USA, an experience that taught him the realities of imperialism. In the 1950s, he produced music shows for the newly-formed Cuban television network and participated in the movement against the Batista regime. After the revolution, he entered the Cuban Institute of Film Art and Industry (ICAIC), where he studied cinema. From 1961 onwards, his richly innovative documentary films on Cuban society and the oppressed third world earned him high acclaim at home and abroad. This film, which presents Alvarez's life in ten chapters, borrows from Alvarez's methods of expression, combining Alvarez's words with segments and snippits of his films into an experimental construction opposing image, word and music. The film also reconstructs from a new angle the major events of the 20th century, events that Alvarez himself portrayed. The title phrase, Accelerated Development, is Alvarez's own, and describes how rapid changes in Cuban society after the revolution led him to filmmaking.
[Murayama Kyoichiro]

Director's Statement
Santiago Alvarez understood that every film functions as a form of intervention - political and aesthetic. With Accelerated Development, I chose to intervene on behalf of the films of Santiago Alvarez.
What kind of films were they? They were always political, often didactic. They could be playful or deadly serious. They were borne of rage, bitter irony, and an almost limitless solidarity. They could be raucous or silent, brief or monumental, laconic or verbose. They were prone to tangents, but could be as eloquent as poetry. They never sought perfection. They were never made with posterity in mind. They were made for the here and the now. They showed the world to be forever changing, and changeable. They used every means at their disposal. Frequently, this meant they were made with next to nothing at all. "Give me two photos, music, and a moviola..." he said, "and I'll give you a movie." And what a movie it would be.
Accelerated Development is, in short, a gesture of admiration. It carries the subtitle, In the Idiom of Santiago Alvarez.

COPYRIGHT:Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival Organizing Committee