Documentary & Experimental Animation Filmmaker
Phantasmagoria Magic Lanternist
Relict: A Phantasmagoria (2020/2023)
Two-channel experimental documentary expanded cinema performed with magic lanterns & hand-drawn animation projections.
[magic lantern projection, handmade 65mm film magic lantern slides, digital projection, pre-recorded audio, and fog machine]
Relict: A Phantasmagoria is an experimental documentary performed with antique magic lanterns and hand-drawn animation. Invoking the history of magic lantern phantasmagoria as an exercise in belief and perception, Relict considers the zeitgeist of pseudoscience, fake news, religion, and documentary ethics collapsed within contemporary cryptozoology.
Adapting modern cryptozoological lore such as Bigfoot hunts and the Loch Ness Monster to hand-drawn magic lantern slides, Relict employs the visual language of magic lantern phantasmagoria through slides based on antique designs, including geared slides and dissolving views. These pre-cinematic images are infused with the aesthetics of veracity in current nonfiction filmmaking, including CGI speculative animated documentary, thermal imaging, and interventions of rotoscoped documentary re-enactment. The narration on skeptical cryptozoology is nested in a collage of audio including interviews with Dr. Brian Regal (Keane University), a leading historian of science on the politics of skepticism in cryptozoology; recent creationist sermons; and excerpts of pseudoscientific wildlife documentaries ranging from Disney’s infamous White Wilderness (1958) to the Discovery Channel’s Mermaids (2012).
After the original WIP performance Relict: A Phantasmagoria (2020), was delayed from performances by the pandemic for a couple of years, Melissa completed fabricating the performance at the Camera Obscura Studio Residency in Santa Monica from Sept 2022-Jan 2023. Relict: A Phantasmagoria (2023) features approximately 70 new magic lantern slides and will start showing in 2023.
cryp·to·zo·ol·o·gy | \ ˌkrip-tə-zō-ˈä-lə-jē , -zə-ˈwä-\
The study of and search for animals and especially legendary animals (such as Sasquatch) usually in order to evaluate the possibility of their existence.
Excerpts performed at:
Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles
Automata L.A. | Dissolving Sights: Projection Exhibition
Relict: A Phantasmagoria (2020) Performances
Cosmic Rays Film Festival (Chapel Hill, NC)
Antimatter Media Arts Fesival (Victoria B.C.)
Cucalorus Film Festival (Wilmington, NC)
San Diego Underground Film Festival (San Diego, CA)
Press: KPBS San Diego Interview
Magic Lantern Slides
Melissa Ferrari & Benni Quintero
Melissa Ferrari, Jessica Goh, Sammy Lamb
Largo by Johann Abraham Peter Schulz.
Performed by Thomas Bloch on glass harmonica.
Courtesy of Naxos of America, Inc.
Brian Regal Ph.D. Historian of Science. Kean University.
“Cryptozoology in the Bible.” Pastor Jason Robinson.
Mountain Baptist Church. West Virginia, October 21, 2018.
Courtesy of archive.org.
Archival Audio from archive.org