FLOREANA > NOTES
Floreana is a hodgepodge of ideas I’d collected over the years, including one incarnation as a direct sequel to The Surfer. At the most basic level, though, I wanted to make a movie about two friends wandering on islands and beaches, exploring, swimming, pondering, dreaming, etc, and eventually attaining some sort of catharsis or quickening triggered by all these things combined with prolonged exposure to nature.
While I had the premise for a long time, I didn't figure out the MacGuffin until about a week before starting pre-production. Delirious one day in the dentist’s chair while enduring a root canal, the image of red fog popped into my head. (Later - in a clearer state of mind - I realized I’d probably swiped this from the mysterious silver mist in The Incredible Shrinking Man, but oh well; I suppose far worse theft occurs in Hollywood every day.)
I was thinking a lot about Ken Russell, Werner Herzog and Terrence Malick while preparing the film, in the sense that I wanted the presence of nature to be overwhelming in it, to the point that it would be first alluring, then oppressive, and finally transformative. To be reabsorbed into nature is the only destiny of every living thing, and this film is about the possibility of achieving spiritual contentment, even nirvana, from this basic fact, and embracing it instead of fearing it as a dark, silent void that we call ‘death.’
Inspired by Pedro Gonzalez-Rubio's Alamar (2009), which was shot entirely by a two-man crew, I could only get a brave and original thinker to go along with my plan for such a stripped-down shoot, and that was Caleb White, to whom I'm forever grateful. Since before I started making this cycle of films that began with The Surfer, my largest ambition was to fuse Rod Serling with Ivan Tors, and I think with Floreana I finally did this in a way that's satisfying to me.