May 8: Previewing Ian Clark’s atmospheric abduction tale in ‘A Morning Light’

The moody micro-budget mystery will be the spring send-off for Micro-Wave Cinema on Mother’s Day

The final Micro-Wave Cinema presentation of the 2016 spring calendar will be the luminously abstract sci-fi thriller from Ian Clark. A Morning Light follows in the heels of last Sunday’s MA by filmmaker/actress/choreographer Celia Rowlson-Hall, who’s a featured co-star in Clark’s latest metaphysical expedition. Succeeding its world premiere at the Torino Film Festival last year and Atlanta Film Festival just last month, the 82-minute A Morning Light materializes at 4070 Vilas Hall for just the third public screening ever this Sun evening at 7:00p. Clark will join curator and host Brandon Colvin after the screening for a video Q&A via Skype.

In the process of filming his last feature in 2013, an experimental self-portrait titled after the year of its completion, MMXIII (which also had its Midwest premiere a couple years ago as part of Colvin’s series), Clark began to document the organic developments that led to the formal conception of A Morning Light. Regarded as a sort of spiritual sequel to MMXIII, this film continues a skyward curiosity about “celestial bodies, movements, and meaning” that simultaneously intersects with Clark’s scouting of real public testimonies in the realm of alien abduction. Discourse from prominent figures like the Canadian Minister of Defense, Paul Hellyer, and Harvard psychiatrist, Dr. John Mack, influenced the director’s conclusive vision that considers humanity’s damaging ecological impact as a catalyst to extraterrestrial visitation.


Filming in the heart of Oregon, Clark’s camera follows a young Forest Service employee, Zach (Zach Weintraub, yet another Micro-Wave alumnus, director of You Make Me Feel So Young), who rekindles a relationship with his ex-girlfriend, Ellyn (Rowlson-Hall), while house-sitting for his relatives. As the couple immerse themselves in the surrounding woodland, sounds (by analog electroacoustic artist Eleh) and natural/artificial light are progressively augmented and manipulated to imitate potentially otherworldly phenomena in their perception. Kevin Rakestraw of Film Pulse champions Clark’s methods, hailing his surrealistically heavy sense of patience, articulated in the subtlety of mood and slow-burning pace. Intriguingly, Rakestraw notes that “the natural is rendered unnatural and alien as images appear to be cast through prisms, refracted light, and lacking focus modulating and re-configuring nature and life, either presenting a distortion of reality or a manifestation of the unknown.”

  • A Morning Light plays FREE on Sun, May 8, in 4070 Vilas Hall at 7:00p. A video Q&A with director Ian Clark will follow. For more information on the Micro-Wave Cinema Series, visit their Facebook community page.