Screening Room: 6 - Kentucker Audley's HOLY LAND / by Samuel B. Prime

Some time before I knew Kentucker Audley as an independent filmmaker, I knew him as an actor. I spent New Year's Eve 2012 in Long Beach with my friend Josh Polon. We went to an art gallery space where the doorman was a photographer who asked us to pose for a mugshot. I remember the photographer saying: "What crime are you guilty of?" I didn't answer right away and, I think sensing my reticence, he added, "Don't worry. It's not a real admission of guilt. Just for fun." So, as someone who doesn't drive, I said "vehicular manslaughter." The bulb flashed and he stepped aside, revealing a smoke-filled room, replete with wall-to-wall hipster androgyny and a shouty-screamy band with an apparent following. Not my scene, but an overall memorable experience.

After a midnight toast, we worked our way back from fog-covered Long Beach to Josh's place. We flipped through channels for an hour or more, watched the final third of Dick Lester's JUGGERNAUT (1974), a film that I think proves rhythmically perfect at 2:00 AM, and when it finished still miraculously had some energy left. It was then that he asked me if I had seen or heard of a film called BAD FEVER by Dustin Guy Defa. I had not. So we watched it. Or, rather, I watched in amazement from start to finish, while Josh fell asleep with a beer in hand. The next morning, I expressed to him how much I enjoyed it and with his assistance later booked it at UCLA.

All of this is to say that through this colorful experience I came to discover Kentucker Audley as a filmmaker in his own right, a presence in the world of independent film, creating complicated, thoughtful, and original works. In particular, his film HOLY LAND (2010) which depicts a kind of cross-country road trip pilgrimage in the form of fragmentary elisions and where characters are a dime a dozen, simply passing through the narrative world as experienced by the main character, Cole Weintraub. A character who sets for himself a goal of arriving at a specific place and finding some kind of literary inspiration there (or among whatever he finds there), Cole woefully neglects the journey in favor of the destination. The resonant moments, the beautiful impressions in Audley's film, come along the way and only then as phantoms that are here one second and gone the next. The journey, I think, is paramount rather than whether what lies at its end is anything at all tangible or cathartic.

HOLY LAND is available to watch on LA Ciné Salon from now until July 20th, 2014 at 10:00 PM (Pac). 

Support indie film and check out Kentucker Audley's online platform for independent film, NoBudge.

- Samuel B. Prime

Founder, LA Ciné Salon