Date of Submission
Academic Programs and Concentrations
Film and Electronic Arts
Project Advisor 1
Project Advisor 2
Artist’s Statement Film and Electronic Arts Project Advisors: Kelly Reichardt, Peter Hutton Panic, Baby Abrahim Mahallati, Spring 2015 Every individual’s perception of reality is highly subjective and cannot be identical to anyone else’s. It is easy to imagine how most others may perceive the world similarly to ourselves, but what those who have a compromised mental state, inherently altering their perceptions. Their reality is no less real than anyone else’s but the experience itself can be theoretically anything. Panic, Baby is an attempt to create and illustrate a human experience, particularly one of someone who is slowly realizing they may have some abnormal mental behaviors. Filmmaking provides a boundless opportunity to construct a specific reality and a specific character’s interpretation of it. Through combining the various elements of film and video production, The main character’s experience is depicted throughout the span of less 48 hrs. Part of what drew me to create this film is to explore how different elements of film can interact with each other with respect to a mental space. Tied to my own curiosity about abnormal mental illnesses, I attempted to create a piece that would establish a character and then illustrate their reality formally by way of the mediums used. Panic, Baby is the result of these ideas combined and explored. In the film, the main character, Kate, is asked to watch a friend’s infant for a few hours. She agrees and continues about her day. A quick trip to a local convenience store, however, leaves Kate vulnerable and her handle on reality begins to tremble. Using a combination of digital footage, film photography, and graphic film manipulation, we navigate the streets of New York City through Kate’s mind. A tension that has been on my mind since sophomore year is the divide between shooting on film or using digital. I began and continue to ask myself questions on what it means to choose a particular way of capturing an image and the impacts that accompany it. With the digital revolution, the idea of moviemaking entered a non-physical realm, which is one that I am still attached to in some degree. I wanted to shoot on film but not without a purpose and I chose to use that physical medium as a way to texturally illustrate the mental, non-physical space of this character while using digital technology to depict the actual physical world. Finally, I wanted to capture and convey the uncontrollable energy that is often associated with panic attacks. This energy is often unwelcome at the moments when it arrives, but I find it fascinating how intense the feeling and drive can be and want to express that pure, raw energy, without focusing too much on the hindering side effects it comes with. The ferocious energy that comes with anxiety could be quite useful if it was not paired with fear and I want to explore how it could possibly be harnessed in a positive way, through the filmmaking and the plot. In this process, I aimed to create a tense environment for myself and use the process as a means to not only explore the materials I was working with, but also what attracts me most as a filmmaker and what direction I would to go from here.
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Mahallati, Abrahim, "Panic, Baby" (2015). Senior Projects Spring 2015. 277.
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