Date of Submission
Film and Electronic Arts
Project Advisor 1
Project Advisor 2
13 Pieces of the Universe is a film about a young girl, Sara, and her coming of age in the rural American South. My original script was inspired by the poem, Elsewhere in the Universe, by Jamey Jones. The script drew its structure, rather than plot, from the poem by utilizing the original artwork’s form to become the source of the narrative. The script was broken into thirteen individual parts that each explored a sense of newness, struggle for balance, choice, redefinition, and experiences of emotion. Mythologizing the South, and distilling the death of a child into a memory rather than a moment, the narrative is loosely biographical.
Though the final film ultimately deviated from my original script and it’s structure, I still tried to capture my script’s sense of growth, grief, and landscape through visual storytelling. Through each scene I attempt to communicate a dynamic of caretaking/loss of caretaking as well as including the specific, odd, Tara-observed new revelations of all the pressures on girlhood. I strove to go deep, get knotty, and to be really present to the layers I wanted to uncover in sound, image, and culture.
It is a sensual and atmospheric piece that is anchored in my particular eye and sense of Arkansas. I was interested in investigating ideas and problems I was confronted with in my childhood that I am still attempting to parse out now. I wanted to define and investigate the idea/moment of grace: the fall from grace and divine grace and how that relates to growing up. The act of remembering and living in the past have been such constants in my life, I wanted to stop and investigate this remembering through the narrative technique of voice over in the film. From single mothers, single fathers, remarrying, half-siblings, ect. family structure, mostly non-traditional and the breakdown of traditional families, is something that deeply interests me and heavily factors into my point of view of this film.
The final film, significantly shorter than the original script, explores how Sara attempts to develop an identity within and without her family. How she works through the growth of growing up, experiencing the tragedy of grief and grace, and all the little moments in between. 13 Pieces of the Universe draws heavily from my point of view. It expresses my internalized sense of place in the world by capturing the delicate balance of the little moments in life. The film asks the big question about what it means to become a person and navigate relationships.
Intimacy, community, symmetry, commitment, perfection, simplicity, and relationships are all ideas that are in tension within 13 Pieces of the Universe.
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Sheffer, Tara Elizabeth, "13 Pieces of the Universe" (2013). Senior Projects Spring 2013. 181.