Director & Creative

The Universe


Director, Cinematographer, Editor, Colorist: Ian Watt
Recognition: Vimeo Staff Pick


A young man takes his first leap into what it means to wonder and philosophize, as he imaginatively renders his unique thought experiences in visual form. The film examines what it means to truly be; not only to merely exist, but to engage, reflect, and respond to the world around us.

A.K.A. how my random camera tests became what some have called the most pretentious film ever made.

I road-tripped across the country with the (then) new Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera. Coming from years of experience with DSLR filmmaking, this camera absolutely blew me away. America’s grandeur captured in 13 stops of dynamic range was simply too much for a mere blog post. So naturally, I crammed my entire last year of college philosophy and visual aesthetics studies on Terrence Malick into one film.

It was an immersive editing experience, and a chance to explore film techniques often unimplemented in branded content. I was deep in it, even having the voice over talent listen to Rachmaninoff's All-Night Vigil during the entire recording, resulting in a half-whispered half-spoken tone. It was wild.

This film explores some major concepts, but two of them are simple: places and spaces. Places are merely physical locations, with often no meaning attached to them. However, a simple, empty room can be formed into a space; turned into a place of meeting, creativity, innovation, and community. Places are often beautiful, awe-inspiring, breathtaking, but they only become spaces when we engage with them.

When we experience beauty, peace, or joy from a place, our reflections and responses to the place are what create an experience, as well as the emotions that we feel. Here's the problem, when we reflect during an experience, or bring pre-conceived notions to an experience, we aren’t truly experiencing. Reflection must exclusively follow experience.

This film is about experiences of the mind. Places of the mind are merely thoughts, ideas, concepts. When we engage with the places of our own minds, we create spaces. Spaces to dream, to think, to create, to become. In this film, a young man engages with some big concepts for the very first time, and as an audience we get to see the spaces he creates and explores. And with that, we get to explore alongside him, and ask ourselves the very questions that he does.

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