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March 20, 2015 | posted by Lara Klaber in Filmmakers
You don’t know what you don’t know, and chances are the average person knows next to nothing about slime molds, let alone understands they are, in fact, more than the stars of a sci-fi thriller. Jasper Sharp and Tim Grabham reveal much more than what’s beneath our feet in “The Creeping Garden.”
How does one develop such a strong interest in slime molds? According to Sharp, a combination of watching Ishiro Honda’s (the director of “Godzilla”) movie, “Matango: Fungus of Terror,” an evolving interest in photogenic fungi, mushrooms’ roles in the environment, and some entertaining time-lapse experiments.
“When Jasper introduced me to the existence of these organisms and suggested we make a film about them, one lure was having an opportunity to make a weird nature film full of macro time-lapse photography,” Grabham says. “To have a subject that there appeared to be no real creative response to in a feature length form was quite a gift.”
So, “The Creeping Garden” came to life—“SlimeWorld” a bit off-base from the film and “Call of the Mycomycetes” not as alluring as the final title that alludes to the magical discoveries found behind a locked door in the children’s book, “The Secret Garden,” Sharp says. “I think that’s the feeling we wanted to convey, of opening the door to a world you never knew existed, like falling down the rabbit hole or something.”
And what a rabbit hole it is. Slime mold research proves that while these unfamiliar beings made up of just a single cell are very simple, they are able to do more than anything a human can create.
“If you can model this behavior efficiently, or integrate it with computers or electronic circuits,” Sharp says, “you can do much more than what our existing computers or robots can do.”
Tracking these clever creatures, however, is not an easy task. The molds remain in their most captivating state for only a short period of time, so finding them in nature in this stage proves to be challenging.
“There are a lot of trips to the local woods and scrabbling around in the undergrowth searching for them, which end fruitlessly before you are lucky enough to slip into that window of time of a handful of hours where it is going about its business,” adds Grabham. “The byproduct of turning logs all afternoon is you find lots of wonderful insects, so it’s never a wasted trip.”
After three years in the making, Sharp and Grabham are thrilled to be bringing this beautiful glimpse of nature to the big screen. While much is to be learned from the film, they hope audiences take away something even bigger.
“Simply take a pause once in a while to look again at the natural world around us, and lift a log and be amazed at what you might find under there,” Grabham said. “As Heather Barnett says in the film, ‘Slow down, tune in and enter a different time frame.’”
— Amy Brown
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FILM UPDATE: CIFF44 alum MY NAME IS SARA will hold a special event featuring a moderated conversation and select scenes from the film this Sunday, June 7th at 5:00 PM EST. Get full info and register today (limited space is available): https://usc.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_cWE8cip2Rjy87cukns-i6g
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FILM UPDATE: #CIFF44 alum MY NAME IS SARA will hold a special event featuring a moderated conversation and select scenes from the film this Sunday, June 7th at 5:00 PM EST. Get full info and register today (limited space is available): https://t.co/9PLyJ2Kcal https://t.co/0QVw7i26cX
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