"Spacefarer" Director's Statement
Updated: Jul 28, 2020
by Aaron Lehmann
Our upcoming short film "Spacefarer", which is my thesis film from the MFA Stony Brook | Killer Films program in New York City, is entering the film festival circuit very soon.
"Spacefarer" came about at a time when it was necessary for my imagination to regress to a child’s perspective – perhaps to examine or reestablish identity. The story is informed by my memories growing up on Long Island, New York, in addition to my travels later in life, which brought me to such places as India and Kenya where I worked with street children and witnessed overwhelming poverty, exploitation and lawlessness; experiences that shaped my global perspective. It is a kaleidoscope of memory and dreams and has an intention, though I was unaware of what this was when I began writing it.
"Spacefarer" is the story of a young boy, Ethan, who is obsessed with leaving planet Earth via a spaceship he has built in the forest by his home. He refuses to become a product of his environment; informed by the primal and delinquent population that inhabits this post-industrial wasteland. His plan is to fly off into the vastness of space, which requires a religious level of faith as the ship is not yet operational. It is his dream, his creation; an abstract belief in freedom and the preservation of his own innocence. To acquire the final piece of machinery, which will enable flight, Ethan is convinced he must follow Brandon, a character who embodies Earthly concerns. During this potentially dangerous transaction Ethan observes Eva, a teenager who demonstrates to him a relatable vulnerability; harboring within her an even more intense need for flight. Eva and Ethan’s interactions become crucial in that they reveal that the liberty which they both require cannot be achieved geographically, but rather by way of human connection and understanding. This relationship implies the potential we all have for the freedom of “self” when surrendered to the other. What I initially perceived as a slightly more neorealist vision has transformed through the filmmaking process into something I would now equate more with a strange sort of mythology.
As human beings struggle with their inability to respect one another, the diminishment of planetary resources, greed and the abuse of power; Spacefarer aims to demonstrate that that which humanity so desperately longs to escape is not in fact our planet, as Elon Musk would have us believe, but rather freedom from the pain we inflict on each other. Abuses are contagions and Spacefarer dares to suggest that there is also the potential for the negation of hurt by means of compassion.