Open City Documentary Festival

across London
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Rock Bottom Riser

Fern Silva | 2021 | USA | 70’ | digital

Rock Bottom Riser is an essay film that explores connections between geology, astrology and settler colonialism on the island of Hawaii. The film is centred around a proposed plan to build the Thirty Meter Telescope (the largest on earth) on the mountain of Mauna Kea – a dormant volcano and one of the most sacred sites in native Hawaiian culture. Through the voices of indigenous activists opposing its construction, Silva expands the conversation outwards to include considerations of Polynesian navigation techniques, indigenous cosmology, the arrival of Christian missionaries, pop-cultural representations of Hawaiian identity and the island’s fragile ecology. Silva incorporates an array of visual and sonic materials to construct a surprising and multifaceted investigation of Hawaiian history, culture and politics.

In partnership with Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival