Charismatic Megafauna
2011, 48 minutes,  16mm and SD video

Portland Oregon-based radical documentary film maker Vanessa Renwick places 16mm film footage from her own teenage life in inner city Chicago, living  with a wolf dog with stunning video documentation shot by biologists reintroducing wolves into the western USA in the late 90’s. We watch the wolf dog scavenging in the gutters of Chicago, and we watch humans performing the act known perversely as “wildlife management” on wolves.

score by Lori Goldston
footage by Carter Niemeyer and Vanessa Renwick
edit: Vanessa Renwick

Charismatic Megafauna premiered at the Good Shepherd Center Chapel in Seattle on October 14, 2011. The ensemble comprised composer Lori Goldston on cello, vocalist Jessika Kenney, electric guitarist Dylan Carson and percussion/horn player Greg Campbell.

It has also shown at the Museum of Jurassic Technology in Los Angeles, Ca., Other Cinema, San Francisco, Ca.,  The NW Film Forum in Seattle, Wa., and The Frye Art Museum, Seattle, Wa

musician bios:
Seattle composer/cellist Lori Goldston performs an original score with the film, accompanied by an ensemble of formidable iconoclasts.

Jessika Kenney is a Northwest based vocalist and composer known for a haunting sense of timbre and ornamentation, dedication to vocal traditions, particularly of Javanese and Iranian classical forms, and a wide range of collaborations since the mid-90s.

Greg Campbell plays drums, percussion, and French horn in styles ranging from mainstream jazz to free jazz to classical to Afro-pop. He has worked with Bill Smith, Stuart Dempster, Hadley Caliman, Matana Roberts, the Tom Baker Quartet, Wayne Horvitz, Stuart Dempster, the Young Composers Collective, the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra, Seattle EXperimental Opera, and the Seattle Percussion Collective, and co-leads the traditional Ghanaian drumming group Anokye Agofomma. He is a former student of Dave Holland, Bob Moses, Tom Collier, and Michael Crusoe.
Guitarist Dylan Carlson is the founder of the band Earth.
Lori Goldston is a cellist and composer based in Seattle. Her work passes freely across boundaries that divide genres, geography and time; she collaborates with artists in a wide range of disciplines.

"The speed of cinema film is 24 frames per second. God knows how many frames per second flicker past in our daily perception. But it is as if, at the brief moments I’m talking about, suddenly and disconcertingly we see between two frames. We come upon a part of the visible which wasn’t destined for us. Perhaps it was destined for night birds, reindeer, ferrets, eels, whales…

"Our customary visible order is not the only one and it coexists with other orders. Stories of fairies, sprites, ogres were a human attempt to come to terms with this coexistence. Hunters are continually aware of it and so can read signs we do not see. Children feel it intuitively, because they have the habit of hiding behind things. There they discover the interstices between different sets of the visible.

"Dogs, with their running legs, sharp noses and developed memory for sounds, are the natural frontier experts of these interstices. Their eyes, whose message often confuses us for its urgent and mute, are attuned both to the human order and to other visible orders. Perhaps this is why, on so many occasion and for different reasons, we train dogs as guides.”

 John Berger- The Shape of the Pocket