• Playing with film scratches! An expanding multiverse explores the collision of horse-powered farming and inter-dimensionality in a prairie calliope on hand-processed 16mm film. In the throes of my artist’s love affair with Saskatchewan’s sensuous, surreal landscape, I am also curious about other dimensions.

  • Jim Saville of Ravenscrag Saskatchewan still feeds his cows using a team of horses. His father Bill, a lifelong heavy horse teamster and saddle-maker died shortly after this film was shot, at the age of 88, just after completing his 600th saddle.

  • Shot on 16mm neg film with a hand-wind Bolex, I hand-processed the raw footage in buckets full of chemicals in the dark, then later captured the projected footage on HD video at 24FPS. Bringing the footage into After Effects I began playing with the images, finding myself captivated with the scratches created by the hand-processing, and torn between leaving the film in negative or inverting it into positive. Both were lovely, and so I put the positive and negative images side by side to compare, and to help me decide what to do. What happened next became the film.

  • Music is Creative Commons archival recordings from 78RPM and older audio recording formats from the early 1900s. Sound effects from

  • The team belongs to Jim Saville, who uses them to feed his cattle in winter when the tractor can’t make it up the hill. In this film, his father Bill, a lifelong teamster and harness maker, is expertly driving the team. The week he died (in early 2012) , Bill Saville finished his 600th saddle, and drove this team to feed Jim’s cows. I am grateful that I had this chance to personally watch a true old master teamster at work.

  • Shot and processed at Film Retreat Rapture, Spring 2011.

Film and screening info

  • 3:30 min., 2012
  • Screened at Philip Hoffman Screening, Saskatchewan Filmpool Cooperative, November 2012


  • Shot, processed and edited by Chrystene Ells
  • Thanks to the Saskatchewan Filmpool Cooperative and Berny Hi for Film Retreat Rapture!