"Under a Shipwrecked Moon"
(2003; 96 min. USA)


The Story Behind the Moon
by Antero Alli

As with many others who have survived their 50-year mark, I began looking back to my roots to better understand my present-time circumstances. Born in Finland and raised in Canada and California by a mother and grandmother, I’m a hybrid of old-world matriarchy and modern west-coast subcultures. This strange brew of influences gifted me (and some say, cursed) with perpetual outsider status to see the world at a distance and more askew than most people I’ve met. Though this perspective hasn’t made me feel any more special or “better” than others, it has created its own kind of internal pressure -- an inner tension that demands outlets for the expression of what I see and feel, not just as a creative endeavor but also, to minimize social alienation. These are reasons I make films: to reach others with my visions and in that communal event, come to know myself in relation with the world.

My Finnish genes continue influencing my life today in ways obvious and mysterious. This search for my roots led me to the making of my fifth independent feature movie, Under a Shipwrecked Moon (2003). The film’s story follows a young self-made shamanic punk rocker who smokes a mysterious substance for entering the spirit world in a search of his father, a ship captain who drowned at sea.

With all due respect to Saami (Lapland) culture, I never set out to mimic these ancient shamanic traditions or to make a "shaman movie". Yet the Shaman archetype continued to pulsate inside the broken heart of a story about long lost love and the deeply buried secrets of a disintegrating family. My ongoing fascination with the shipwreck metaphor inspired visions of literal shipwrecks that have caused family tragedies for centuries. As a fatherless child myself, it was also time to explore the journey of a young man in search of his missing (dead) father. Making this film became for me as much a voyage of self-healing, as it was an artistic enterprise; maybe more...

In the complex process of filmmaking, I am constantly researching new ways to share my perceptions and feelings through stories, characters, music and a myriad of visual effects. The cinematic challenge in Shipwrecked Moon was to create an experience for the audience to represent the mystical out-of-body experiences of the young punk rocker. Though I have personally survived several out of body experiences, I was at a total loss at how to convey these extreme states on-screen. How do I reveal the shimmering revelations of dreams intermingling with the mundane world while discovering an identity existing independent of my physical body? A question I will probably be asking myself as long as I am making films and maybe as long as I inhabit this body.






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