First Surface

What if, at 12 years old, you could remember being an old man?

Premiere Date
April 1, 1997
30 minutes
Funding Initiative
Open Call
  • Award laurels-r Created with Sketch.
    1997 New England Film and Video Festival-Visual Innovation
  • Producer

    Theodore Lyman

    Ted Lyman has been making experimental films for more than 20 years including Skycap, Alleydog, Scotland with No Clothes, Mansacts, Fla.Me, and Testament of the Rabbit. His work has been shown in national and international venues, won several awards, and been broadcast on PBS and The Learning Channel. He lives with his wife and children in Vermont where he teaches film/video production and the history of media as art at the University of Vermont.

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    The Film

    First Surface, the story of a twice grown boy, is an entertaining and provocative exploration of time, memory, family, and mortality, as told through the story of a unique 12-year-old boy. Although Andrew looks “normal,” he has the memories of a full lifetime in his mind — a condition with disturbing symptoms and implications. All sights have been seen, all emotions felt. Andrew’s memories are vivid but without chronology — at one moment he might recall an incident from his babyhood, at another, some episode from his future as an adult. His thoughts shatter like glass, then reassemble, leaving him in random times and places. Events lose their order and fold back over themselves. His footprints disappear behind him as he walks, snowmen melt, and jack-o’-lanterns collapse.

    Inviting and challenging, First Surface uses an astounding array of cinematic effects — sight and sound — to create a mental state where past and present are continually fractured and reassembled into dizzying new configurations. A haunting, original musical score is provided by Phish guitarist Mike Gordon.