Richard Raymond‘s newest short film, A Million Eyes, is a beautiful film that speaks to the idea of what goes into creating art.
When we first meet Leroy (Elijah M. Cooper), the teenager is taking photos across town with a banged up 35mm camera. He also recites the title line but not in a cliche way. Leroy lives with his mother, Amber (Katie Lowes), a struggling alcoholic. When an older photographer, Fern (Joe Morton), takes him under his wings, it’s as if a new world has opened up for Leroy. Fern teaches Leroy what it means to be a photographer. A photographer isn’t just someone who takes photos. Similar to how someone can paint with a brush or draw with a pencil or pen, a photographer uses the light in their craft. It is because of this mentorship that Leroy decides to take a photo of his mother. This may be his truth but the question is whether or not Amber going to be up for the job.
I especially love how the script has something to say about real film. We’re living in a digital world where not too many filmmakers are using celluloid to make their films–let alone even have a 35mm print available. Maybe I’m reading too much into this when I’m one who still uses an old-school digital camera to take photos instead of utilizing the camera app on my smartphone. However, this is another story for another day. This is a film that speaks to the idea of creating art.
If there’s a cinematographer to keep your eye on, any list would be incomplete without Jarin Blaschke. Behind the camera, Richard Raymond and Jarin Blaschke are a match made in heaven. I fell in love with their work last year on Souls of Totality and the rest is history. The camerawork here is simply phenomenal even if they aren’t capturing an eclipse. There may not be such a shot here but the camerawork is still just as intricate in its own right. Blaschke’s upcoming work includes The Lighthouse, screening this September during TIFF.
Meanwhile, Pink Wall composer Chris Hyson drives up some of the film’s emotional beats. He also knows when he needs to get out of the way. Hyson composes the upcoming Castle in the Ground, which will premiere in Toronto.
A Million Eyes runs just shy of a half hour but the story is also self-contained. Regardless, I feel that there’s enough here that could potentially form the basis for a feature film.
DIRECTOR: Richard Raymond
SCREENWRITER: Curt Zacharias Jr.
CAST: Elijah M. Cooper, Joe Morton, Katie Lowes