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Revelation (2012)
Tonight's Short Presentation


Starring: Lisa Coronado, Jillian Boshart, Jessica Martin, Lisa LeVan, Kay LaVergne Jaz, Bridget O'Neill

Directed By: Wonder Russell

See It All Here (Film & Galleries): http://www.revelationfilmproject.com

The Story

Each of us has something to hold us back in life, whether or not we choose to see it.  It may involve clinging to innocence, or perhaps refusing to turn away from an illusion.  Maybe it’s an enforced separation from something or someone held dear, or maybe it’s something else entirely. 

At its core, Revelation explores these barriers, their discovery, and ultimately, their breakdown, through the unique interpretations of six actresses in a series of short vignettes. 

Beyond its core… the limits of Revelation are as open as your mind.

The Rundown

What Kind Of Cheese Is It?


Masterfully crafted; complex, light and yet not, and full of possibilities.

Pairs Well With...


Also complex, light and yet not, and full of possibilities.  Some fine examples come from the State of Washington, too.

“Art lives in many forms for me; I have never thought of one discipline as being wholly separate from another.”

-Director Wonder Russell

Revelation defies both classification and expectations.  One might call it a serial short film, but that’s akin to mistaking the Death Star for a small moon.  There’s just so much more to it than that simple description suggests.  One might call it an experiment, but that term carries with it something of a dismissive connotation, and if anything is certain about Revelation, it’s that it is definitely not something to be dismissed.

As for me, I call Revelation what it is: Art.  And by “Art,” I do not mean “something highfalutin’ that only academics need bother with.”  Rather, I mean “naked truth spoken through the language of beauty.”  That is what Revelation is.

The six short films about epiphany that make up the core of Revelation are just the first stop on a tour of a much larger gallery.  After those first six vignettes, there’s much more for those who wish to go deeper, featuring exhibits from beyond the realm of cinema.  Photography, painting, and literature are all employed to further explore the project’s central theme, and even that is just the beginning.  With the freedom that Director Wonder Russell is giving others to continue the work of Revelation, the possibilities really are endless.  (I’ll even bet that at some point, a Psychology professor will stumble across this and decide to make a class out of it.) 

Or, you can just watch the film portion… not that there’s any such thing as “just” watching Revelation.  This is one work of cinematic art that truly does qualify as an “experience.”

So, what’s the experience like?  It begins with a fog, and then…

Your eyes will tell you that each of the six core vignettes is a black and white affair roughly two minutes in length, with splashes of color judiciously applied at key moments. 

Your ears will tell you that the pieces are silent behind the score (itself wonderfully composed by Catherine Grealish and played by real live musicians); your eyes will note that the actresses do all of their speaking through facial expressions and bodily movements.

Your critical mind might appreciate that the techniques these actresses utilize to present their stories owe more to live theatre and interpretive dance than to a standard cinematic approach.

Your eyes will marvel appreciatively as they behold the elegant costumes worn by the actresses and the wonderful makeup of artist Kari Sue Baumann.

All of these observations are true and worthwhile, but, as is the case with all great art, the six core vignettes of Revelation are best experienced with the heart and soul…

Your heart will go out to Lisa Coronado as she plays out a moment we’ve all experienced, trading the secure fortress of childhood playthings for the realization that she’s all grown up now… and that she and life are beautiful.  Coronado is more expressive in the final thirty seconds of this piece than many actresses are during entire feature films.

Your soul will be lifted when Jillian Boshart casts aside the veil of doubt and uncertainty and finds that the wonder of the world was within herself all along.  If there’s a single snapshot that captures this endeavor’s theme, it’s Boshart’s “a-ha” smile that says “I’ve got this now.”

Your heart will laugh with Jessica Martin as she flutters about in carefree fashion; happy, yet naïve… and then it will skip beats when that innocence is overtaken by a power that is anything but naïve; the pain of strength through experience.  Martin’s 180 degree shift from Elysian sweetness to sinister self-assurance is powerful, and unforgettable.

You soul will dance with Lisa LeVan when she emerges from beneath the weight of loss and the end of hope and comes back strong, renewed, and purposeful.  Her graceful, martially invocative performance is stirring, and inspiring.

The piece presented by Kay LaVergne Jaz proves to be a wonderful bookend to the opening vignette from Lisa Coronado, and though developed independently, feels like a continuance of the same story.  Your heart will smile when Jaz does, but it’s the world-embracing look in her eyes at this vignette’s end that really seals the moment.

Your soul will be energized by the strength of Bridget O’Neill, who puts a new spin on the term “command performance” – her performance is the command.  It’s a performance that says the woman on the screen has done what she came to do in the place that she is (and succeeded), and now it’s time to take the next step forward, her way.  O’Neill’s vignette is the perfect coda for Revelation, and its final frames make for a very elegant punctuation.

Or perhaps you will find that your heart and soul are moved in other ways and for entirely different reasons… and that’s wonderful.  Part of the magic of a presentation such as this is that it is a completely unique experience for all who witness it.  Your interpretation of the stories conveyed by the performances may not be the same as what the actresses and the director intended; mine may not be, either.  Much like everyone reads something different in the Mona Lisa’s smile, here, too, the power of the art is in the eye, heart, and soul of the beholder.  You may not be moved in exactly the same way as the person standing next to you is, but rest assured, you will be moved.  (If you are not… I sincerely pity you.)

And when the vignettes are done…

Your eyes may be drunk from the rich cinematography of Ty Migota, who turns the most minimalistic of sets into a series of worlds with such skill as to make the effort seem trivial, though we know it is not.

Your brain will be trying to wrap itself around the notion that Revelation marks Wonder Russell’s first ride in the Director’s chair.  You can bet that it won’t be her last, and that it won’t be long before some hardware decides to keep her mantle company.

And maybe, if you’re the sort to do such things, your hands will be sore from applauding these incredible women who have given so much of themselves on the screen, baring their souls for their Director… and for you.

But most of all…

Your heart and soul are going to want to experience what’s in the rest of the gallery that is Revelation. It’s moving, it’s powerful, and it’s like nothing you’ve seen before.

The gallery is open.  Prepare to be spellbound.

When you visit the gallery that is hosted at RevelationFilmProject.com, you will, as noted, have many worlds to choose from.

Along with the core vignettes presented in serial film format, you can also see a shortened, remixed version created by the film’s cinematographer, Ty Migota, to create a single, very different, short feature.

You can see photos from the “Reveal All” shoot taken by photographer Dawndra Budd, wherein the ladies of Revelation (very tastefully) do exactly what the name suggests.  You can also see several different poster designs for the project: one to spotlight each of the actresses involved.  There will soon be more galleries, as well, including painted works of art and short stories based on each of the core vignettes.

You can also continue the Revelation experience right here at Cinema on the Rocks.  We’ve conducted a series of interviews with a dozen people involved with the making of Revelation, including Director Wonder Russell, the entire cast, members of the film’s creative team, and other artists who contributed to the gallery beyond the world of cinema.  I invite you to click the links below and let these people present their art in their own words.  I promise that these trips behind the scenes do nothing to dispel the magic; rather, they enhance it.  It is, after all, all about baring the soul.

The Cinema on the Rocks Revelation Interview Series

Athena: Interview with Director Wonder Russell (one month prior to premiere)

Shake It Out: Interviews with the Cast of Revelation

Revealing All Behind the Curtain: Interviews with the Artists of Revelation

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- Reviewed by Ziggy Berkeley, October, 2012

You can email Ziggy at ziggy@cinemaontherocks.com. You can also find us on Facebook.


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