Land of Lo-Fi
Experimental Shorts
TEXTWord / Image

An experimental 16mm essay film and digital publication tracing the path of a writer, a reader, and a fantasy sequence across the haunted landscapes of childhood and into the fleeting, magical realms of creativity itself.

Named for the ancient word of magic and learning central to her books, Gramarye studies the creative process of fantasy writer Susan Cooper as she wrote her award-winning sequence The Dark Is Rising, from detailed investigations of her sources to contemporary studies of mind. Projecting in time, image, and sound the flickering, interconnected wanderings of human imagination and memory, the film offers an impressionistic response to one of the most frequent questions an author recieves—"Where do your ideas come from?"—as the filmmaker retraces her own artistic journey within Cooper's worlds. From its subject to its maker, Gramarye tells the story of creative awakening—of the way imagination reverberates from one mind to the next, shedding rays of light along our separate, haunted paths.

In coordination with its film premiere, Gramarye will be released as an interactive online film environment with media-rich resources for students, scholars, writers, artists, and fantasy enthusiasts; screenings at partner libraries, museums, and literary venues will include a traveling exhibit of artifacts from the film and interpretive text.


From my winter studio, a peek at the opening snows of Gramarye and the forest where The Dark Is Rising began. Like any imaginative journey, it unfolds in its own time . . . So dim the lights, take a breath, and follow Susan Cooper through the trees:

"One snowy day I was cross-country skiing with my husband in Massachusetts, where we live. . . . tramping along in silence, looking at the snowdrifts, seeing small trees sticking up out of the snow and thinking they looked like the antlers of deerand then for no good reason at all, I suddenly knew that I was going to write a book, set for the most part in thick snow like this, about a small boy who woke up one birthday morning and found he was able to work magic." Susan Cooper, "Seeing Around Corners" (Newbery Acceptance Speech), 1976