2011 | 54 min | Portugal, United States
Filmmaker and artist Christiaan Zwanikken in Person
Prima ballerina Geraldine, photographer Kees, and their two boys, Christiaan and Louis, left Holland in 1980 to take up residence at the Convento São Francisco de Mértola. Strategically situated at the convergence of two rivers in southeastern Portugal, this vacant monastery was left decaying for centuries until the Zwanikken family arrived and transformed it with their eccentric and earthy endeavors. In the airy studio converted from the estate’s chapel, son Christiaan builds kinetic sculptures from discarded electronics and the skulls and bones of deceased wildlife. Combining the family’s home movies with his own observant photography, filmmaker Jarred Alterman casts these fantastical creatures as supporting characters in the film, as they literally move across the landscape, animating the ancient grounds.