‘Never seen anything like it’

NEW MILFORD – The Merial Center in New Milford will showcase the beauty of mathematics with the creation of music Saturday when it hosts the Connecticut debut of director Denise Kahlo’s first documentary, “In Flowers Through Space.”

The Fibonacci sequence is a mathematical sequence in which each number is the sum of the two preceding numbers. Cahlo’s documentary spotlights recording artist E. Scott Lindner’s work in converting the sequence to music.

Lindner and Kahlo are expected to attend a screening of the film on Saturday and participate in a post-film discussion.

Cahlo’s career

Although her journey into filmmaking began late in life, Kahlo, a native of Carmel, N.Y., said she wanted to be a filmmaker from an early age. In his youth, he studied how to make films and tried to create his own films using his father’s VHS camera. Kahlo caught the music bug and toured the world as a musician from the age of 18 until the age of 26, but her dreams of making films were sidelined.

Kahlo later transitioned to a career as a freelance photographer, and it was through her work that she was introduced to various local community members, including Merrol Center board member Dean Gray. As part of her natural transition from photography to filmmaking, Kahlo said she decided to make a film based on her personal experiences – thus creating her 20-minute short film “The Weekend” and it was well received by audiences.

As she began to expand her business into video and film production, Kahlo created three short films – including “The Weekend,” “Death and Disco Fries” and “Lonely Hearts” – before reaching her first full-length documentary.

‘In Flowers Through Space’

Reflecting on what inspired her to examine the Fibonacci sequence for her first full-length documentary, Kahlo said Lindner approached her about making the film. He said he had worked with Lindner before artistically, with Lindner producing the music and Kahlo taking photographs for Lindner.

“He’s very fast and mysterious,” Kahlo said of Lindner. “He said, ‘I have a project and I want you to make a documentary about it.’

Although Kahlo had never made a full-length documentary before, Lindner assured her that she could do it. They met to discuss the project, and as Lindner walked Kahlo through the process of making a film based on the Fibonacci sequence, Kahlo quickly understood how it could be shot.

“It’s magic when Scott and I work together—things happen so quickly,” Kahlo said. “We can come up with ideas very quickly. He works very quickly, so you have to be quick.

“It was our two minds together,” he said, “and if it hadn’t been for him, I don’t think I would have thought of making a documentary about the Fibonacci sequence.”

However, Kahlo told Lindner that she wanted enough freedom to give the film a “Kubrick sci-fi feel”. Opening the documentary with each number in sequence, Kahlo explained that each number represented a chapter of the film, along with a single flower and a piece of music created for that number. He said he used this technique to break up the documentary and keep the audience engaged.

Recalling how long it took to make the documentary, Kahlo said, “Scott works by rules—he basically hired me, so I had to follow his rules. You have a lot of days to film it and you have to do it within a lot of time because It fits into the Fibonacci sequence.” Documentary should also be made within the prescribed rules.”

Although Kahlo said she had to figure out how to shoot the documentary within those rules, she said Lindner compensated her fairly. Fortunately, Kahlo was able to collect all the interviews for the documentary within her allotted time frame, and then shoot and assemble the film in less than two months.

When asked what the secret was to meeting the deadline, Kahlo replied, “Lots of coffee and the will of the soul. There was no crew – there was me, the camera and the mic.”

Kahlo said the process required her to go out on her own again and again.

“As a filmmaker, I had to overcome my self-doubts and I became stronger in the end.”

Connecticut debut

When it came time for the film to hit the big screen, Kahlo said “In Flowers Through Space” didn’t get much love on the film festival circuit and was rejected by about 15 or 20 film festivals. Fortunately for the couple, the Merryall Center took an interest in bringing the documentary to New Milford.

Having known Kahlo for nearly a decade and even being hired as her wedding photographer, Gray said he had seen Kahlo’s short films and was surprised by their quality. When Kahlo mentioned that documentaries were difficult to get into film festivals, Gray asked if they could bring the film to Mary’s for its Connecticut premiere.

“At Merryall, all of our events to date have featured live music,” Gray said. “It’s the same genre, but it’s a recording of music and it’s a behind-the-scenes look at music, and I’ve never seen anything like it.”

By watching the documentary, Gray said Lindner makes viewers empathize with the struggles of creativity: “You learn a lot about what this person is going through behind the scenes and how he perseveres and how he pushes through other areas of his life, and you end up caring about this person. Who just wants to create music.”

Gray said he was also interested in other musicians’ reactions to this unique approach to music-making as shown in the documentary, and how they collaborated to create the “In Flowers Through Space” album.

“That art is a struggle worth fighting, that beauty comes from perseverance — that was my takeaway,” Gray said.

“It means the world to both Scott and I that people are going to see this film,” Kahlo said. “Getting this kind of support is what the film is all about. We are thrilled, we are absolutely thrilled. “

When asked if she would ever make documentaries again, Kahlo replied, “Yes, absolutely.”

In between his jobs, Kahlo said he’s working on a documentary about horror movies on his “Dennis Kahlo” YouTube channel to fill the void and keep his tools sharp. Using the new series as a continuation of her foray into documentaries, Kahlo said she plans to do it once a month, as she prefers to focus on quality over quantity.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.