Still images from video by Jamie Chamberlin
West Seattle filmmaker Jamie Chamberlin, known for his rock videos, created a film noir short. The spirit moved him when the snow came down.

Filmmaker Jamie Chamberlin utilizes snow at Hiawatha for unsettling noir short

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Many of our readers are familiar with our stories on West Seattle filmmaker Jamie Chamberlin and his video work with rock musicians from ZZ Top to the local sounds of Villains of Yesterday, Star Anna, and Victoria Contreras.

Last week's snow storm got Chamberlin's artistic juices flowing. He grabbed his film equipment, a bag of props, including a "bloody hand and arm", and headed for an untouched snow blanket at Hiawatha Park. The outcome, seen on the YouTube posted here, is an unsettling, gory, film noir short, a documentary style tale of the murder of Deborah Klien, called "First Snow". It is about two and a half minutes. Chamberlin said he envisions a trilogy.

"Snow days create an opportunity that you can't buy," said Chamberlin. "They create a priceless environment. How often do we get full snow coverage as we did last week where you can shoot in powder right here in West Seattle? I shot it at Hiawatha Park because I wanted to go where there weren't a lot of people around. Like, I used a fake gun and didn't want one of these scenarios where a police officer would approach me and maybe fire.

"At first I wanted to shoot a music video with any artist I have worked with, but it was so hard, traffic-wise, getting around, and so it turned out just being me heading out with a bag of props."

He is currently working with the band The Missionary Position and will release the DVD "Missionary Position Live From the Feedback Lounge" in March.

"The piece was an exercise in editing and spur of the moment storytelling with a bag of about 10 different props, including the fake bloody hand which I once bought for a Halloween party that was laying around my home.

"It was shot from the point of view of the detective. I had the music in mind before I shot the film. It's a popular Spanish (Argentine) artist Gustavo Santaolalla, known for ambient soundtrack music. I tend to prefer music that doesn't have any lyrics for this kind of film so that you are not confined to the narrative of the song.

"The snow created an environment to shoot a B&W film noir piece because the juxtaposition was so stark between the landscape and the film content and then you lay music into that and create this mood.

"I want this to be a trilogy. For the first one (chronologically) I would follow Deborah Klien throughout the night before the murder. For the third one I'd follow the detective around perhaps a year later. I wouldn't necessarily need more snow to shoot those."

To keep up with jamie Chamberlin check out his website: www.blackdahliafilms.com

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