At a traffic stop, distinguishing reality from fantasy becomes the difference between life and death. Pineland is a real-world Rashomon story inviting critical inquiry about truth, perception, and America's militarized institutions.
Pineland is informed by my background as a civil-rights lawyer representing victims of fatal police shootings. A collection of short films—or one experimental creative-nonfiction feature—will tell this true story multiple times from a range of perspectives, in collaboration with a survivor, in several genres:
The first version, Pineland/Hollywood, is an 11-minute experimental piece employing almost 400 fair-use clips from 188 Hollywood films to tell the story under a voice-over soundtrack of survivors' testimony from the actual court case. Two people testify about the same incident, but they seem to be inhabiting different worlds. The real testimony might as well have been scripted in Hollywood. Trauma is mined for entertainment, and we as viewers readily consume it.
A second version, Pineland/Police, will tell the story using archival police-training films and public-service announcements. How does fear-based training prime police to confront unexpected developments with violence?
If funded, the third version, Pineland/Redux, will be a staged reenactment starring one of the survivors of the original incident, using Grand Theft Auto video if COVID-19 restrictions impede filming.
The story begins on the next page.
The Pineland concept was shortlisted for the 2019 & 2020 Tim Hetherington Trust Visionary Award.