My name is Ladd Wendelin. I'm a resident of Lincoln, Nebraska, a high school language arts teacher, and a filmmaker. I'm no big-time filmmaker. Just a guy with a camera and a story to tell, and this is where Emily Dickinson comes in. But first, a bit of backstory.
Back in the summer of 2010, I was unemployed and in school to become a teacher. Days lagged by, and in the midst of the summer heat and endless coursework, my mind drifted. This tedium only fueled my creative impulses, and as they say, I followed where the spirit led me. I remembered a story my sister, Greta, once told me. It wasn't so much a story really as a nugget of an idea - Emily Dickinson running around in a dinosaur costume scaring the citizens of Amherst.
I remembered this story idea and went from there - how about include this story as part of a disastrous poetry reading? So I set about exploring, as I had in a previously short film, the relationship between fantasy and reality - the moment this line is crossed, how it is blurred, and the secret universe within ourselves and the danger of exposing it to others. I immediately set to writing the shooting script. It would be a silent film in black-and-white and also in color.
It took about a month to film, and I decided to film in Lincoln and in Lawrence, Kansas, where Greta was attending the University of Kansas. Different and interesting locations would give the film flavor. Even better if local audiences wouldn't be able to immediately recognize them! I spent less than $200 to shoot the film, and to aid the finances (mostly to rent Emily's white dress from a costume shop), Greta and I sold giant cookies during an art gallery opening for $1, with the promise that their names would be included as "producers". All their names are listed in the end credits.
Unfortunately, due to the fact that I (at this time) do not have proper clearance on the Elliott Smith song and Joy Division song that are used in the film, I've been unable to show the film to a wider audience, which I believe the film deserves. It has been well received otherwise, and my hope is that those who have an appreciation for Emily Dickison, her life, and her works will find it to be an enjoyable viewing experience.
I tried very diligently to be true to who Emily Dickinson was, or, at least, whom I believed Emily Dickinson to be, but in doing so I also respectfully stretched the fabric of her existence and character in a way that works within the world of the short film. I hope you diehard Dickinson-heads will forgive me for that.
In any case, I'd love to hear your feedback/comments, and hope someday to make the pilgrimage to Amherst to pay homage to the vision of a poetess who inspired me and my own craft.
View at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LG7IWc4zmFk
Enjoy and Thanks!
Ladd N Wendelin