Award Winners / Artist Profile

About the Artist

Serge Gregory (Seattle) is a filmmaker who creates narrative, documentary, and experimental shorts. His film When Herons Dream (2009) imagines the perspective of a great blue heron as it moves through the seasons and a Northwest landscape shaped by water. His nine previous films have been exhibited at the Seattle International Film Festival, Seattle Art Museum, One Reel Film Festival, Library of Congress, and a variety of museum, gallery, and alternative venues in North America and Europe. Serge’s films have been funded by Artist Trust, 4Culture, the Seattle Arts Commission, and Seattle’s Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs. He is the board treasurer of the Northwest Film Forum. A Fulbright Scholar at Leningrad State University, he holds a Ph.D in Russian language and literature from the University of Washington and is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate in English literature from the College of William & Mary.

Serge received a 2004 GAP to help defray completion costs of the fictionalized documentary film Tientsin, including talent fees for the voices-overs of two characters and the narrator, original music fees, audio recording, and final mixing sessions. The film’s images, which will be shot on mini-DV, include photo stills belonging to the artists’ family and taken in China during the 1930’s and 1940’s. The story follows the lives of Dmitri and Natasha, Russian exiles who grew up in China during a civil war, but remained safe and protected in a rare Western enclave within China. After the Japanese invasion of the Chinese mainland, their idyllic life proves harder to protect. “The intent of the film is to recreate, through the story of Dmitri and Natasha’s courtship and marriage, the lost world of Westerners in Revolutionary China.”

See Serge’s video about his 2009 Claire Short Ireland Residency.

Information included above was provided by artist at the time of application.
From the Artist

Turning onto the dirt track that led to the house, we knew that we were settling into a rural setting of remarkable beauty. The West Coast of Ireland is littered with ruined huts and deserted houses. In the 1840s, before the famine, Sheep’s Head had a population of 8,000. Today, it swells maybe to 1,000 in the summer.

These thoughts were in my mind as I set out each day with my camera and audio equipment to capture the stark beauty of thepeninsula. I needed to find a voice to give context to the shots of roiling seas, wind-blown grasses and the never-ending operatic chorus of clouds.

Inspiration came while attending a poetry reading by two poets in Waterville. I was struck by the plain speech of their verse and the richness of their conversation. This was the voice I wanted for my film. I wrote the narrative—a poet in conversation with his friend, a landscape painter recovering from an illness in a house perched above the sea. The poet’s words feed the painter’s eyes.

Now, back in Seattle, the film begins to take shape. It has a name: “Summer Elegy.” I doubt that I would ever have been so deeply engaged in exploring the meaning of landscape if I hadn’t gotten that surprise call from Artist Trust. For the first time in my life, I spent a month tied to the rhythm of rural life in a land where you can come upon a stone circle arranged by men for some unknown purpose 3,000 years ago. Perhaps like the poet and the painter, they were nothing more than penitents saying their prayers before the land’s terrifying and magisterial Beauty.

Serge Gregory