Slow Down: River to River

Filmmaker Liz Sargent was commissioned by ALL ARTS to create an experimental short film reflecting themes of this year’s River To River Festival: deceleration, reflection, and stillness as an antidote to our rushed contemporary reality. The River To River Festival is presented annually by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council in Downtown New York City.

AIRED: August 07, 2019 | 0:19:24

(vortex closing)

(waves crashing onto shore)

(upbeat instrumental music)

(birds chirping) (construction noises)

(water splashing)

(upbeat instrumental music)

- I walk a lot in New York.

It's where I find my inspiration, where ideas come.

In New York maybe more than anywhere else,

we are constantly walking around quite breathless.

We take pride in doing a lot

in the fastest amount of time we can possibly do it

and that's how we're being valued

and that part is, choose to continue to work in that

very complex difficult environment is a daily inspiration.

(city noises)

(upbeat instrumental music)

(city noises)

- [Female Voice] People just roam around the city

and then you wonder.

It's like you see everybody and you go

I wonder about that person's life.

- I'm trying to learn about listening.

Who is the most important or the best listener in your life?

- Probably my lady.

She listens to all my... everything that I have to say.

- [Female Voice] To understand art,

you have to understand people.

That's what I got in the essence of it.

- [2nd Female] I'm like more of a talker than a listener

and I need to learn how to be a better listener.

So he asked me, well who are the good listeners in your life

and I immediately came to my ex husband.

- [Man In Gray Jacket] Cause I'm one of those people,

I'm starting to feel like,

I listen to respond instead of listening to understand.

(people talking over each other)

(instrumental music) (heavy panting)

(atmospheric instrumental music)

(city noises)

- We have a sense of these rushed lives most of us live.

The minute for me when I let myself take that moment,

it's so incredibly rewarding

and how do we create an environment that rewards that

as much as our productivity.

How do we slow down the neighborhood, the city.

How do we create environments where people can

come together, reflect, start imagining.

These are invitations just to be in that moment,

in that poetics of that moment.

(instrumental music)

(birds chirping)

(upbeat instrumental music)

(city noises)

(balloons rubbing against each other)

(taxi horns)

(balloons rubbing against each other)

(city noises)

(car horns)

(upbeat instrumental music)

(waves crashing onto shore)

(water splashing)

(upbeat instrumental music)

(birds chirping)

(city noises) (upbeat instrumental music)

(rain hitting ground) (thunder roaring)

(water splashing)

(water leaking onto ground)

(water splashes)

(city noises) (upbeat instrumental music)

(kids playing)

- When an experience is successful,

as an audience, you feel that

you have witnessed something quite unique

and you're living with that experience within you.

An arts festival can share this intimate context

in which people can just be and listen

and continue to open up to sounds of possibility

for themselves or what they're dealing with at that moment.

(city noises) (kids joyfully playing)

- [Subway Announcer] The next and last stop

is Brooklyn Bridge, City Hall.

(balloons rubbing against each other)

(train horn)


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