The Color of Time Premieres at Rome Film Festival / by Alexis Gambis

In November 2011, 12 directors from NYU Graduate Film program were selected to be part of a collaborative poetry to film project led by actor-filmmaker James Franco. This project is named after the collection of poems TAR by C.K. Williams. Post-production recently completed, COLOR OF TIME starring James Franco, Henry Hopper, Mila Kunis and Jessica Chastain will premiere in theCinema XXI programme at the Rome International Film Festival.

For this project, I adapted the last poem of the collection “One of the Muses”, starring James Franco, Mila Kunis, and Henry Hopper. One of the Muses is a lyrical piece recounting the tumultous night of CK in his forties (James Franco). The study room becomes “the house of shadows” as C.K. prepares a lecture the following day and experiences a writer’s block. He slowly plunges into his dark memories and early relationships as a twenty-year old (Henry Hopper), a cathartic experience that strengthens his present day with his wife (Mila Kunis).

COLOR OF TIME is based on Pulitzer prize-winning poet C.K. Williams’ collection of the same name. Written and directed by 12 filmmakers, the film blends together adaptations of numerous poems, creating a poetic road trip through C.K. William’s life. Waltzing through time over several decades, C.K. Williams goes through a certain sense of rejuvenation as well as feelings of loss, as he experiences a series of significant past and present encounters. His constant wonder at and desire to grasp his memories makes him struggle to be fully present with his wife, but he then realizes through his journey, that he is inexplicably bound to both.

“Maybe the right words were there all along. Complicity. Wonder.”

Our project began as a collaborative experiment rooted in the idea that the language and ambitions of poetry provide a fertile source from which to create a unique cinematic experience.

Our source was Tar, C.K. Williams’s 1983 poetry collection that is a narrative of a remembered life – personal stories of brief as well as
long-lasting encounters with people, places and situations. It is an extraordinary poetic achievement.

COLOR OF TIME, the film, consists of contributions from 12 individual directors developed in a Graduate Film class at Tisch lead by James Franco, and comes from a shared belief that a truly collaborative experiment could yield something more powerful than we each could have achieved by ourselves.

Central to the collaborative nature of the film were the actor’s improvisations, allowing little accidents to happen, letting the actors’ inventions shape the moments, and in this way helping us explore and celebrate the wonders of one man’s recollections, seen through a glass cinematically.

It is our hope, that COLOR OF TIME will meet an audience open to watching and experiencing this kind of improvisational and experiential cinematic jam- session.