Down In Shadowland (2016)

I have finished a new feature film; a surreal and slightly strange documentary called DOWN IN SHADOWLAND.

From my first step underground in 1976 I was fascinated by the world that existed beneath the streets of NYC. In 2009 I began carrying my video camera on the trains every day trying to capture some of these mysterious and moving human moments I’d witnessed.

DOWN IN SHADOWLAND was shot over 5 years. The more I shot, the more this shadowy realm of the underground came to illuminate the harsh, frenzied world of reality above ground. In this most populous of public of spaces the film attempts to reveal intensely private human experiences that are at times humorous, emotional and disturbing.

The film is constructed in 8 movements–similar to the way a symphonic piece of music is structured. Each movement takes the film’s larger theme and develops it further. Although not conventionally narrative the film embarks on a clear journey and finds unity and connection through emotional and visual motifs.

The entire film was shot on a camera just slightly larger than a pack of Marlboros. Most people were aware I was filming them. I did not try to hide the camera but its size helped make it less conspicuous. Nonetheless, the moments I sought were agonizingly elusive. For every ten I saw I was lucky if I captured one.

Down in Shadowland Trailer from Tom DiCillo on Vimeo.

DOWN IN SHADOWLAND is a personal project that I made entirely by myself. I directed the film, I shot it, I edited, I selected and placed all the music. After two decades in the independent film business it was enormously refreshing to make this film with just me and the camera. My only obligation was to present a film as close as possible to what my eye sees.

The film has just been accepted into the Main Documentary Competition of The Woodstock Film Festival.