William Egglestons STRANDED IN CANTON trailer

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Here's a little trailer for William Eggleston's STRANDED IN CANTON, a gem in time capsule from the seminal 20th century artist deemed the 'father of color photography' by maverick curator Walter Hopps.

Eggleston's sole video work lay too long as an underground cult film that was originally experienced as randomly assembled fragments in spontaneous late night screenings for friends and visiting artists, with Bill threading reels, one after another, over his music room's television.

I edited Stranded in Canton in 2005 for director/photographer William Eggleston, producer Robert Gordon, and executive producer Cotty Chubb. The sound design for the film was built from the original material Eggleston captured on the two Portapaks that he used to shoot with so every aspect of that soundscape I built is from the authentic, particular air of the early '70s as heard in Memphis and New Orleans as opposed to the convention of sourcing an effects library. Much of the soundtrack's fine quality is due to the fact the Bill was extremely close to the majority of his subjects, bringing his lens (and camera-mounted mic) in close to explore their faces. My final audio mix of his material made it to the finish line in our online and is what is heard today on the film.

Editing Stranded was a great thrill, getting to go deeply into the 40+ hours of original reels, many of them never seen outside Bill's house, or the MIT and Harvard guest artist screenings arranged by famed documentarian Ricky Leacock. Every day working with this material was akin to riding on Eggleston's furious eyeball, peeking into endless surprises, often darkly humorous, grotesque, or deeply beautiful.

Being a massive fan of Faulkner's novels, I found the tragic fates for many of Bill's band of regulars strikingly similar to those that the grand old man in Oxford, MS modeled his characters on decades before, accents and attitudes alike, as real life rhymes, and Bill's friends are seen with the same lack of judgement and complete fascination as they move through the time-pressure of his glaring gothic vision.

It's interesting, too, that Eggleston's style of operating the camera is more aligned with the manner in which he hunts for stills than the typical grab & go verité video operator, and he anticipates a direction that decades later would be filled by Larry Clark, Harmony Korine, or the Dardenne Brothers.

The video triptych that closes the film was originally something that I created for fun, thinking that neither Bill nor the producers would go for it. As it turned out, Bill loved it, the producers dug it, and I was able to go fully contrapuntal on the material.
-John Olivio

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