On our final podcast from this year’s Sundance Film Festival, FC co-editor Devika Girish talks to filmmakers Deborah Stratman, Mary Helena Clark, and Mike Gibisser about their fantastic new films, which premiered in the festival’s New Frontier section. Stratman’s Last Things explores the history of our universe through the point of view of rocks. She combines stunning images of rocks with interviews with a geoscientist and excerpts from various sci-fi texts—read by the filmmaker Valerie Massadian—to craft a narrative of the past and the future that decenters humans, and invites us to think beyond ourselves.

Mary Helena Clark and Mike Gibisser’s A Common Sequence, explores how our ideas of the commons have changed in our capitalistic, tech-driven present. The film uses three case studies: the first focuses on efforts to conserve and study the achoque salamander in Mexico, known for its regenerative properties; the second explores the use of artificial intelligence in apple picking and harvesting; and the third digs into the ways in which genetics is fast becoming a prime site for data mining. 

The filmmakers joined for a wide-ranging conversation about the ideas behind their films, how they approach questions of time and perspective, and what it felt like to be an experimental filmmaker at Sundance. It turns out that Clark and Gibisser were once students of Stratman’s—so the three had much to say about each other’s work.

Catch up on all of our Sundance 2023 coverage here.

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