W.H. Auden called the postwar era, “The Age of Anxiety.” I feel like we’re in another one now. Between climate, politics, war, viruses and technology — we have a lot to fear.
LOOKING FORWARD is a short essay that considers how our feelings about the future affect how our lives unfold. It’s about dealing with the dangers we notice and the ones we ignore. The film explores conflicted emotions through the expressionistic prism of AI imagery.
My own life anchors the film. My grandfather fled antisemitic killings in Ukraine and lived to see his son introduce First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt when she spoke at his high school. Unexpected, dark turns have punctuated my family’s story.
I found in generative AI a potent vehicle for traversing time and place. The use of stills relates to Chris Marker’s sci-fi LA JETÉE, but in this case the science fiction is what’s happening now.
In LOOKING FORWARD, the past and the future are in constant conversation about the present, and what it feels like to be alive today.
By Academy Award nominee Steven Ascher
Produced by Steven Ascher & Jeanne Jordan
Music by Sheldon Mirowitz
So wise, so beautiful and so fascinating to take in. I love this smart and elegant film! Great filmmaking — and beautifully written, too. Amid these down days, I feel a little better — and this feeling just might last! – Guy Maddin
One of the best shorts of DOC NYC. A thought-provoking meditation on the future and how we view it. I was entranced by the film and had to watch a second time… since the AI images are dreamlike and burn their way into your brain. A brilliant look at life. – Steve Kopian, Unseen Films
WORLD PREMIERE – DOC NYC – NOVEMBER 2023