NiteTalk: Juan Carlos Zaldivar Strikes an Optic Nerve at MOCA

His Jose Marti and I mixed seance and striptease to celebrate a real Cubano hero. His 90 Miles spanned the distance between an exile’s heart and his home. And in Soldier’s Pay he teamed with David O. Russell and Tricia Regan to uncover the effect the Iraq War had on all those involved. He’s a Sundance Fellow, an Emmy nominee, and one of the most vividly astute visualists now operating in Miami. He is video artist/filmmaker Juan Carlos Zaldivar, and this Friday his SHIFT finds him paired with sculptor Anja Marais and among the fine ffinalists in MOCA’s Optic Nerve 14.

What’s the big idea behind SHIFT? SHIFT is a five minute featuring Anja Marais short made from over 10,000 photos taken over a period of 1½ years. Everything you see is happening in front of a time-lapse camera, one frame at a time. Every five second shot took an average of 4-5 hours to shoot and many more to prep. The film follows the life of a character who is born from a tree and whose face is stolen by a wild dog. After wandering the landscape reflecting its environment, looking for home, our character's vision returns in an unsuspecting turn of events.

How’d you and Anja initially come to connect? Anja and I met at a Creative Capital professional artist development workshop. We immediately felt an affinity for each other's work. I pictured motion whenever I looked at one of her pieces and so I asked her if she ever thought about animating them. She said she would love to but she had never done it, so we began to talk. What I loved about collaborating with Anja was that she did not say, "I have this film idea..."; instead we read each other's artist statements and began to highlight concepts and ideas that we had in common and the story grew from those conversations.

Is this the first time you two collaborated? Yes, this is the first project we do together.

Are there plans for another? No solid plans yet, but we would totally work together again.

Juan Carlos Zaldivar’s Shift screens Friday September 14, 7pm and 9pm at MOCA’s Optic Nerve 14. For more information log on here.

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