On The Cusp, Longlist - Short Film


Daniel Henry


Tan came about in a very natural way through necessity. 2019 really kicked my ass in a number of ways, through adversity and also tragedy. I needed to wipe the slate clean, while also confronting some of the things in my head. The song Tan (written by the outstanding Monteagle) seemed to travel parallel with how I was feeling. Meandering and bare, his prose had a heaviness to them that also struck me with their simplicity. So Dustin and I headed out across the country on a road trip with his dog and a 35mm camera. Everything was stripped down to the bare essentials. We shot on 5222 B&W stock on old medium format still lens. We had little else but our eyes to shape the image. Without anyone with us, we had to assume a hundred different roles along the way. With the restrictions, it actually gave us absolute freedom to explore where we wanted and spiral down our own rabbit hole. Winding through strange small towns along the way, I focused on the ordinary and instill the images with something eerie, evocative and sometimes foreboding. Something that matched the unexplainable anxiety-ridden mess inside my head. I like the process of slowing down and really perfecting each frame. So often people just shoot, shoot, shoot with almost a disposable mentality to their subjects. This was exactly what Dustin and I wanted to fight against. I had an extensive list of moments I was looking for (a blind shotlist); things that would help guide us to where we inevitably found success. Sometimes we would find an insanely beautiful image, something we both were drawn to, but it didn’t express an element of motion or fit a tone we were after, so we had to pack up the camera and keep moving.

Daniel Henry has always been drawn towards visual art from a very early age. Growing up in a family who’s focus was on science and mathematics, he pushed back to pursue photography and other visual languages. Getting his hands dirty with developing and printing his own photo projects, he soon continued on his path towards filmmaking. Being drawn to the often overlooked, Daniel finds interest in atmosphere and how the environment effects the subject. Working with clients such as Foster the People, Kurt Vile, and Vanessa Carlton, he continues to hone his style. Drawing inspiration from photography, he strives to create atmosphere and mood; something unique yet familiar at the same time.