Phil Garrett

My work provides the viewer a window into the human condition. This has led me from creative work that serves purely as entertainment to more recent works that are introspective and based on themes of personal choice and the out of control forces that surround us. Space is an important element in my work, real and subjective space, and humankind’s interconnectedness with the natural and manufactured world, both its grandness and the small details of life we often overlooked. Time, existence, and thought are also explored.

Narrative filmmaking for me has broader scope than its more generally accepted definition as cinematic fiction. It has the potential to permeate all genres from fictional dramas, to documentaries, commercial media, and even experimental films. It is storytelling that draws from the narrative levels and elements of plot, character, setting, style, theme, story structure, and metaphor. Narrative is ingrained in my work, sometimes directly and sometimes in more subtle ways.

In the past few years, my work has branched out from dramatic narrative and other works into more lyrical or poetic filmmaking that is more experimental in nature. I draw on documentary and narrative techniques from camera work to music, editing and visual rhythms, and sound design. This approach enables me to tell stories and connect with the viewer in ways that are different from my past work. I proceed with a plan for my work, and allow myself the freedom to drift from the plan when happy accidents occur in filmmaking, those moments that occur on the fly when a situation or subject presents itself in an unexpected way. It has been my experience that there are some moments and images I simply cannot not capture. My process has evolved to balance design with an organic approach to the capturing of the images and sounds. Examples of my work resulting from this process includes the Kobresia and Overlooked shorts, as well as my MFA thesis project, All Things Shining, a devised experimental, intermedial play/immersive live cinema experience and performance film that integrates live performance and media elements to explore consciousness, using time and space as a metaphoric landscape.

As a Visiting Professor of Film at Kenyon College, I teach directing, screenwriting, producing, and senior seminar, a course focused on thesis development and process, as well as cinema topics. Prior to Kenyon, I was Assistant Professor of Cinematic Arts at Columbus College of Art and Design (CCAD), where I taught courses including Senior Capstone/Thesis, Intro to Film & VideoDigital Cinema Production, Collaborative Projects, Visual Narrative and Storyboarding. I also mentored MFA candidates pursuing research and creative activities related to the moving image.

Professional Background
My professional background in the field of the moving image began in 1999 and includes live action and animation, studio and independent motion pictures, documentary, visual effects, and commercials and includes projects at DreamWorks SKG and Disney. Arbor Avenue Films is a production company I founded with John Whitney to make films focused on well-produced, creative storytelling. As co-writer and producer, our films have played festivals internationally, garnered awards, and received commercial distribution.