Tin House Reels: Orland Nutt

Alison Pezanoski-Browne

Orland Nutt makes short films that are intended to “transport the viewer to somewhere no one else can take them.” Drawing inspiration from poets, dancers, TV personalities, and other experimental filmmakers, Nutt creates something new and wonderfully bizarre.For this week’s Tin House Reels, we’re happy to share Nutt’s short I am Into Your Fire, which is a collaboration with actress Amanda Riley and composer Matt Marble. Riffing off part III of the poem “Aisles of Eden” by James Broughton, a mountain woman tells of her passionate love, while diving through and igniting what Nutt calls a “psychedelic mountainscape.”

On using poems as the backbone of his shorts, Nutt says, “A great poem doesn’t really need a video made from it. When I choose to make a video from a poem, it’s because I think there is something there that I can strongly relate to and because I think I can add a new spin on it, offering a new meaning or interpretation. I don’t want to change the meaning of the poems I work with, but to change the context, and the world that they reflect upon.”

“I tried to take a very lusty love poem that sounds very intimate and intense, and set it up as a wild woman’s call into a desolate landscape,” he says. “I tried to create a persona that is unfamiliar, a little bit frightening, and yet exciting and intriguing, a kind of gleeful mountain witch.”

To create the ethereal landscape that serves as the film’s backdrop, Nutt combined live footage shot in the Colombia Gorge with After Effects-altered desert landscapes, the likes of which call to mind the surreal set design of early Star Trek episodes.

Riley’s performance, which incredibly pulls off the melding of a mountainscape and heroine, was inspired by various beastly women in films like The Profound Desire of the Gods by Shohei Imamura and Under the Blossoming Cherry Trees by Masahiro Shinoda.

Through these disparate influences, Nutt has created a video filled with the kind of majestic intensity one often associates with a shaman. And like those fabled mediums, Nutt has tapped into that sacred space between the visible world and an invisible spirit world, albeit with a knowing wink.

For Portland readers: the Northwest Film Center will be holding “An Evening with Orland Nutt” at the Whitsell Auditorium on July 10th at 7 PM. Nutt will be present to introduce several of his films, including the premiere of his newest work “Bear of Heaven.”

Orland Nutt is an experimental filmmaker based in Portland, Oregon. He works at Bent Image Lab, a stop-motion and CG animation production house, as a compositor on international ad campaigns, feature films, music videos for bands such as Radiohead and Modest Mouse, and television series.

Alison Pezanoski-Browne is an editorial intern at Tin House. She is a writer and producer, focusing on music, documentary, and experimental media. She is currently pursuing her master’s in Critical Theory and Creative Research at Pacific Northwest College of Art.

Tin House Reels is a weekly feature on The Open Bar dedicated to the craft of short filmmaking. Curated by Ilana Simons, the series features videos by artists who are forming interesting new relationships between images and words.

We are now accepting submissions for Tin House Reels. Please upload your videos of 15 minutes or less to Youtube or Vimeo and send a link of your work to tinhousereels@gmail.com. You may also send us a file directly.