The 5th annual Jerome Indie Film and Music Festival wrapped up another successful weekend of independent film, indie music, art and trains. Returning to the hills of Jerome Arizona, the festival recaptured the magic of its very first incarnation from years ago. Returning for my fifth straight year at the festival, I took a different approach to the film’s I usually present during Forbidden Films. After a dismal year of dialogue-heavy and photography-light narratives that continue to saturate the film festivals, I presented a selection of experimental, arthouse and underground films to reintroduce an aspect of independent filmmaking that is currently being disregarded. 8 films, no dialogue, just filmmaking. The presentation was well attended and afterwards, I received several requests for links to the film’s I presented. If you missed Forbidden Films this year, here are all of the films that were screened, with links to all of the films presented during the Saturday, September 9th presentation of Forbidden Films at the 2017 Jerome Indie Film and Music Festival.

Fluorescence – (2017) Morgan Maassen
Subaquatic exploration in the Indian Ocean.

Morgan is a photographer who travels the world shooting fashion and surf photography. When his swimsuit shoot was rained out in the Indian Ocean, Morgan turned it into an opportunity to capture some exquisite and haunting underwater photography. The black and white imagery illustrates the tranquil liquid peace within the water while the rejuvenating torrent rages above.


Double Blind Experiments #1 (2015) – Zenon Kohler
Double-Blind No.1 is a VFX design project by Zenon Kohler, Jasper St Aubyn West, Ian Anderson, Ricky Marks and Raoul Teague. Their self-imposed brief was to produce a collection of unique shots by experimenting with different styles and creative techniques. With access to all of the raw footage, each artist selected shots they felt would best inspire their individual creativity. There was no expected outcome or planned narrative, instead the result shows what happens when five artists are let loose with a goat, a gasmask, and their imaginations.

This very short film is the essence of experimental, combining the happenstance collaboration of several artists into a frenetic, frightening and fantastic excursion into animation, still images and live action photography. Its there all around you, you just never know where.

Soulmate – (2013) – Dominik Galizia
Two couples who accidentally run into each others soulmates in New York City. “Dominik Galizia was born in Trier, Germany in 1988. After spending the first 18 years of his life in this city, he moved to Paris to work in Eurodisney as a stuntman. One year later he decided that Berlin will be his chosen city to become a director. Music video production companies became his film school to learn everything behind the creative process in order to realize his work on his own.”

Growing nostalgic for the racy, relentless days of hardcore New York underground film, I really enjoyed Galizia’s film for its ability to pay homage to the underground scene and give it a completely new look and attitude. Underground film is here to stay.

The Rapid Eye (2013) – Floris Vos & Menno Fokma
When going in a new sort of hypnosis therapy, a girl forces herself to face a dreadful moment from her past. The Rapid Eye is a short experimental art & fashion film which is born from the personal need to experiment with a fragmented way of storytelling, practical effects, aesthetics and evoking emotions on a subconscious level. We started the film by experimenting and recording a lot of different scenes we had in mind. Mostly by just the 2 of us. We paid attention to an intuitive way of working. During the process we connected the dots and developed our script into something bigger. With limited budget we managed to arrange locations and a great crew to shoot the spine of the film. We worked together with the amazing team from Box Of Toys Audio. They recorded vocals with a Scandinavian Yojk singer, Juhán Niila Stålka, and custom samples on the HMS Belfast warship in London.

An exquisite immersion into surrealism and stunning visuals. No words are necessary in this photography-rich presentation.

Erotics of Anonymity (2012) – Alex Wolfe
Discover the nature of the mask and the freedom it grants to play with the extremes of your character. “I released ‘Erotics of Anonymity’ five years ago and have since graduated from the top fashion design school in the world – Central Saint Martins in London. I was accepted on the MA Menswear course at the same school and am operating under the instagram @alexwolfelondon.”

Experiencing performance art is one thing. Capturing that experience on film is another. Alex Wolfe delivers both the experience and the images in this excellent hardcore, performance art film.

Dance Habibi Dance (1999) Usama Alshaibi
Mythological creatures parade and swim in an acid Greek mythos. A broadcast from beyond, with lurid flesh and Arabesque disco. “Dance Habibi Dance, was my first real expression as an artist. I did it after I finished film school at Columbia College in Chicago, and I abandoned much of my teachings and made something immediate, fun, explosive and quickly. And I have to say the response was incredible. It became this popular underground film and I continued making longer work. But in many way this film freed me to explore new ways of what a film can be.”

My personal favorite selection of the evening, Alshaibi’s film is a collection of color and images that are irreverent and powerful. They need to be seen on the screen in any configuration, regardless of formats, timelines or occasions. A popular underground film in the late 90’s that is still fun, entertaining and extremely relevant today.

SAHDOW SELF_Elizabeth Blackmore_photo by Emma Furno
Shadow/Self – (2015) Laura Scrivano
Shadow/Self is a film project that combines dance, fashion and music to explore the darker side of the feminine psyche. A story of human struggle told with movement, beauty and light. “The idea for the film came to me through discussions about our inner critic, specifically as women, this idea of a ‘shadow-self’ that haunts your every move and can render you paralysed with self-doubt. I’ve often thought that this inner critic is so strong that if you could come to accept her and harness her power then she could actually be a force for good – an ally. Geraldine Hakewill.”

This is NOT a music video! This is the dreamy, gut wrenching, tragic and somber visual poem that is created when artists, musicians and filmmakers collaborate to present a deeply personal and powerful message magnificently told in film, dance and music.

Don’t You Know You’re Queen – (2017) Arice
She arose from what in this world represents her the most. She reigns supreme, silently observing a slow, yet endless evolution. A stream of geometries for everyone to decode, along the crowded and lonely path. It is still possible to run away from the hidden gaze. To let the good and the bad go, until a new vision will be revealed through a leap toward an unexplored emptiness.

Arice is a textile designer who toils with several very complex design and animation programs every day. As the fashion and fabric come together, a dark and mysterious tale is inevitably woven in threads of celestial anguish and power.