Silvanus Slaughter: An Indie Filmmaker

Silvanus Slaughter began his career as an artist in radio and theater in San Francisco. In 1985, he moved to Los Angeles and worked for HBO Films and Original Programming until 1998. During that interim, he sold one screenplay, Tesla: Beyond Space and Time, and optioned two psychological dramas, “La Danza Moderna” and “Venice in Peril.” He wrote, produced and directed a featurette executed in Fellini / Antonioni Eurostyle, “An Encounter/Un Incontro,” which aired nationwide on PBS affiliates.

Disenchanted with the nepotism and corporatization infecting Hollywood, Slaughter returned to his native home in North Carolina in 1999. He subsequently published a debut Southern Gothic novel, “Sweet Piece” which was well-reviewed. Two attempts to mount a $10 million indie feature adaptation of that erotic, violent novel were derailed by an unstable economy. Exhausted, Slaughter took a hiatus from filmmaking in 2004 and crafted his debut as a singer-songwriter, “Constellations Compromised, Vol. 1” in an old jail in his hometown, which The News and Observer called “a work of genius,” but, rather than tour, Slaughter holed himself up in a small garret for six years and has finished recording ten more conceptual albums, including “Constellations Compromised, Vols 2 and 3” , “Symphonic Jazz Abstractions Vol 1 - 7” and “Little Dream: A Suite for Piano.”

He plans to tour beginning 2011 when he starts releasing these volumes. “Creative ideas and their execution come easily to me; connections never have, because I am uncompromising. It's the music that, oddly, brought me back to film making. I needed visual representations of myself and my music for this era, so I started crafting what I term “music-films” for You Tube on zero-budgets. After making 34 “music films” of varying complexity and abstraction, I am now edging back into narrative again with “In Oxford Town,” and a short about suicide I co-wrote, directed, edited and scored this past summer, “The Lighthouse” (due later this year). I learned everything about directing and editing from 70s classics and European directors – they weave more than one idea per film, and probe humanity. I am a Romantic in an era fascinated with necro-porn and CGI cartoons; American cinema is stuck in the Focus-Group money game.

An attorney friend in L.A. Is trying to raise budgets, again, for “Sweet Piece” and “La Danza Moderna.” I may do another half-hour film I scripted called, “The Devil, You Said” this winter. My websites need overhauls, the economy sucks, I'm readying to tour. Time will tell what is on the front burner.”

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