The Sun’s Shadow

by Mike McGuirk

Teaser Trailer: https://vimeo.com/200866520

The Sun's Shadow from Mike McGuirk on Vimeo.


-Internationale Kurzfilmwoche Regensburg, Regensburg Germany

-Utah Film Awards, Best Editing, Utah

-Red Rock Film Festival, Utah

-New Filmmakers, Anthology Film Archives, NYC

-Film Festival Kitzbühel, Austria

-Mitte Media Festival, Berlin

-German United Film Festival, Berlin

-IFP Center, NYC

-LightYear Bridge Projection, NYC

Presented by The Leo Kuelbs Collection

Curated by Sandra Ratkovic and Leo Kuelbs

Sound Design by Alexander Hamadey

Co-Produced by Alexandra Petruck

Director of Photography John Kelley

Editor Danielle Glynn


Margaret H Baker as “The Sun”

Jonny Footman as “Death”

And Riria Niimura as “The Moon”

Costume Design by Marisa Ferrara

Choreography by Ryan Bourque

Camera, Jonathan Mariande

3D Scanning by Jonny Footman

Animation by Mike McGuirk

  The Sun’s Shadow is a single channel video art piece by filmmaker Mike McGuirk, which was adapted from the works of 19th century Bavarian neo-gothic author and fairytale bard, Franz Xaver von Schönwerth.

  We were attracted to The Sun’s Shadow because of the rich visual characterizations and timeless themes, that still resonate today. Schönwerth narrative parallels common Greek mythology with three central themes: Death (men),  The Sun (women), and The Moon (non-gender specific entities). They quarrel for control over Earth, but, ultimately the Sun is victorious, takes pity upon Death and provides him the robe to keep performing his necessary duties.  

  We took an approach to stand-in themes of technology to convey Death as a lurking uncontrollable force. The sense of time is manipulated through editing and practical in-camera effects, which implements contemporary digital methodologies, such as manipulated Java Script, Google Deep Dream processing, and Animation; all of which are lensed cinematically in an anamorphic aspect ratio that reflects the folkloric theme of Schönwerth’s original story.  

  Alex Hamadey composed the original score using a hybrid of digital, analog and acoustic sound sources that blend in and out of the general themes, as well as the more micro-nuanced characteristics of the piece.

  Principal photography took place over the course three days in Southern Utah, shooting in Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, and Monument Valley. We were attracted to these locations because of the epic primitive landscape, removed from civilization…and we also felt a spiritual interconnectedness with the pristine native land and the thematic power of Gods existing in this environment.

  The viewer’s disbelief is suspended through spiritual symbolism that leaves a haunting feeling of a redefined existence of Death in today’s digitalized world. Death is personified as the “Technological Singularity,” frighteningly interwoven with other philosophies, such as “Roko’s Basilisk,” a thought experiment with the premise of an all-powerful, futuristic artificial intelligence with the ability to retroactively punish those who do not help bring about its existence. Themes of gender, with an emphasis on feminism, are also portrayed as a regulating force that evokes present global resistance and discourse. Our objective is to offer an alternative look at life and death as something that exists within the fabric of our universe and lives within the digital landscape.

This film was made using Java Script, Red Cinema Systems, Google Deepdream, GoPro, 16mm Film, and various digital media formats.