Although it’s not his first film that has screened at Bowdoin, “Palisadia” is Henry Spritz’s ’23 last before he graduates. The film, which premiered in Sills Hall last Friday, tells the story of an actress living in New York City as she navigates both the acting in a movie and her life outside her work, as the experiences begin to increasingly mirror one another.
“I wanted to really push myself because I felt like I was starting to write the same stories. I was writing about kids who grew up in Maine and dealing with the same sorts of things, and I felt like I was starting to just get a bit stagnant. So one of the purposes of the film was to push myself to try and keep exploring,” Spritz said. “I wanted to try something different, so I thought, why not try and go to New York, something very different from Maine.”
Due to budget constraints, Spritz took on a variety of roles in the production of the film, including but not limited to directing, writing, editing and even costume design. Although these roles are integral to the filmmaking process, Spritz’s favorite part is the actual filming of the scenes, as it allows him to collaborate with those on set.
“Filming is always the most gratifying, but it’s also the most stressful and the most anxiety inducing and difficult…. I think I learned the most from [filming] because that’s when you’re collaborating,” Spritz said. “I always want to give the actors as much creative control as possible.… At the end, we all create something that’s better because it doesn’t feel like one person’s vision that’s stifling the project.”
Spritz also collaborated with a variety of musicians to create the movie’s soundtrack, both composing original songs for the film and compensating smaller artists for their preexisting music.
Audience member Chloe Howe ’23 was impressed by the film.
“I thought that [Spritz] did a really really great job. He was really clear that he used a lot of the funds that he got from his fellowships and his research grants, which … gave him more [opportunities for this project],” Howe said. “I know he traveled to Seattle to film some of the scenes and got some new equipment, which was really awesome. I’m really excited to see what else happens for him.”
What has made films like “Palisadia” special for Spritz is not only making it but sharing it with the Bowdoin community. While he is excited to share his work with the public after he graduates, he will miss the familiarity and experience Bowdoin offers.
“That’s the one thing that sort of keeps me going: thinking, ‘Oh, I’m gonna get to show this in front of people.’… If I do a screening in New York City, … I have no idea where the [people] come from or the place they’re living or what their day to day life is like,” Spritz said. “That’s also beautiful in its own way, but it’s just very different. I’ve just grown accustomed to getting to share movies in a space where I feel like this is a very shared experience. Even though we’re all very different people with different backgrounds, we’re all sort of existing in the same world right now.”