Doug Ischar, Tom Daws

2011 | 00:11:04 | United States | English | B&W and Color | Stereo | 16:9 | HD video

Collection: Single Titles

Tags: Blu-ray, Death and Dying, European Film/Video, History, Literature, Portrait, Religion/Spirituality

CB is an experimental bio-pic: its heroine, Charlotte Brontë. A collaboration between Doug Ischar and Tom Daws, CB was commissioned by the Laumeier Museum, St. Louis, for their inaugural Nightlight series.

The film was inspired by a 1976 audio recording of a séance with Charlotte Brontë, of which the film makes ample use. But the séance audio is merely the tip of the affective iceberg as its heroine turns out to have an emotional--not to mention intellectual--life of epic proportions. Her searing letters--another primary element in the video--throw the eerie platitudes of the séance into razor-sharp relief and disclose a 19th Century woman whose brief life was both an artistic triumph and a relentless battle against grief, loss, and despair. Her dark moments--confided in her letters--drove the film far beyond the initial ambitions of its makers. CB uses footage from a 1947 Hollywood production of Jane Eyre--co-staring a very young Elizabeth Taylor (un-credited)--to augment enactments of scenes inspired by the ambiguous nature--both conversation with the dead and univocal performance--of the séance audio.

Starring Erin Leland, Charlotte Geissler, Jalyn Mosely, and Gwendolyn Geisler; cinematography by Mike Gibisser; concept, research, editing and direction by Doug Ischar and Tom Daws.

--Iceberg Projects, 2010

Note: This title is intended by the artist to be viewed in High Definition. While DVD format is available to enable accessibility, VDB recommends presentation on Blu-ray or HD digital file.

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Laumeier Museum
St. Louis, MO

Exhibitions + Festivals

Transmediale Festival, Berlin, Germany, 2012

Seoul International Film Festival, 2012

Stream Single Title

Title Awards Image Major Exhibitions/Festivals Description
Sea in the Blood

Equal First Prize for Best Male Short, Inside Out, Toronto Lesbian and Gay Film Festival

Sea in the Blood

OutFest (LA, CA.), 2001

Rotterdam International Film Festival (The Netherlands), 2001


Athens Int'l Film/Video Festival (OH), 2001



Sea In The Blood is a personal documentary about living with illness, tracing the relationship of the artist to thalassemia in his sister Nan, and AIDS in his partner Tim. At the core of the piece are two trips. The first is in 1962, when Richard went from Trinidad to England with Nan to see a famous hematologist interested in her unusual case. The second is in 1977 when Richard and Tim made the counterculture pilgrimage from Europe to Asia. The relationship with Tim blossomed, but Nan died before their return. The narrative of love and loss is set against a background of colonialism in the Caribbean and the reverberations of migration and political change.

"Sea in the Blood was to be a meditation on race, sexuality and disease, but after working with the material for three years, it was the emotional story that came through. It's hard to work with such personal material, but in the end the work takes on a life of its own. 'Richard' is a character. Because of the subject matter — disease and death — I wanted to avoid sentimentality. I'd like the audience to think as well as feel."

— Richard Fung