Interviews / Movies

Sir Daniel Winn Attempts to Answer Life’s Biggest Questions in Debut Short Film, “Creation”

Sir Daniel Winn sees himself as a visionary. The artist is making his film debut with his fine art short film, Creation, which is proudly experimental. “As an artist, I’m only in the art world,” he says. “I am very forward thinking in terms of my art and in terms of the evolution of how art has been for the last several hundred years, if not thousands of years. I’m not a director or producer or in the movie world; however, I think it is still a form of performance art. So in my world, the evolution of art is what gives and paves a way for artists to be more creative and to give us a better understanding and perception and view of how art has moved people. I was thinking that possibly the performance art in the visual art world of movies could do the same. Experimental film needs more recognition in a sense that it creates and gives more variety and different viewpoints and challenges the directors and producers and the people involved in performance arts to push the limits of what could be possible to give the audience a different emotion and feelings and understanding what the movie is about. 

Nowadays, we have technology like CGI that offers a way to a different view of a movie. For example, fifty years ago, the movie Lord of the Rings could be made, but it would not give the same impact or powerful emotion if we did not have CGI. So if you compare fifty years ago with the technology that they did not have then to now with the technology that is experimental, that they’re pushing the limits of what the movies can do. You feel and you can see the emotions and the vision of what the author of the book was trying to convey in Lord of the Rings. Having an experimental viewpoint and creation will give a unique way of challenging and evolving what I feel movies can do.” The genre offers a freedom of expression. “I feel that there should not be any boundaries when it comes to artistic interpretation, whether it is CGI or whether it be music only or sound only, or anything that would be unique that would communicate a message with emotion or excitement or feelings visually and even impress them, technology or whatever they can do. I feel that the boundaries should be limitless creative-wise, that is at least, so that the viewers can be challenged and can be provoked to feel once they leave the theater. The more that it is reaching the limits of what the film industry can do creatively, and the more creative they can make the movie based on sound effect, emotion, or dialogues or whatever they decide to do, challenge the audience and give them the opportunity to see and view on a different level. It’s like eating sweets all the time, but without tasting the sour, you don’t know the difference. If you fuse the to sweeten sour, then you have a fusion that is experimental that could be very exciting and very rewarding for the viewer.”

Creation is powerfully symbolic. “This movie is part of my philosophy about existential surrealism. And it deals in the work that I create. My work as a three dimensional art sculptor and two dimensional painter communicates in a way that I call visual language. However, when you add more to that experience, not just visually looking at the sculpture or painting, but now you can see it in the movie from beginning to end of the process of how it’s done. But what’s more important is not just the process, but the concept and the symbolism and the story behind why I’m creating this particular artwork. It gives the audience and viewers a better understanding of my philosophical thought, but also it hopefully will move them to a way that challenges their perception of existence and who they are and why we are here on this earth, which are the questions that we all want answers for. So I’m hoping that the movie Creation gives everyone a better understanding about universal truth based on my philosophy. But now instead of just through my visual art and sculpture and painting it, now they can see it in performance art on the bigger screen.” So what is existential surrealism? “Existential surrealism is a terminology that I coined trying to have a better understanding of why we exist. What is the meaning of life? What is the purpose of the universe and the omniverse? Because those are questions that we all want to understand, and it’s something that no one has an answer to. My philosophy is a vision, hopefully, to have the viewer and the audience understand my thoughts because it’s like in anything else, even sensory sights -somebody sees blue, but blue, what is the color blue? Or one person tastes sour, but it means something different to others. So everyone’s interpretation is very different. With existential surrealism, I’m trying to give my thoughts and ideas and understanding of the universe of truth a better understanding of how I see it, so that the audience can possibly combine it with their understanding and have a better understanding of universal truth. So existential surrealism is my philosophy of understanding the purpose and meaning of life. Do we exist organically here only? And when we leave this world, what happens to us? All of my paintings and sculptures give us a window to a better understanding of that.”

He believes that we as humans must understand the polarity of contrast to truly savor the highs and lows of life.”Contrast is definitely a significant part of my work, but not in just my work – I feel it is the most significant in life itself. Think about everything in the universe or actually in our world right now. There would be no light without dark, there would be no sweet without the sour, there would be no joy without sorrow, and there would be no life without death. Imagine if you live life not understanding death, or imagine if you’re just eating sweets every day and not understanding what is bitter, then there will be no contrast and no understanding. You need a contrast or a comparison. Without one, there would be no other. Not to say that one is better than the other, but without the dark, how would you appreciate light? How do you appreciate life without death? So in essence my concept of contrast is to have us understand that the pain needs to be in life, death needs to be there, the bitterness, the sorrow, the anger, the darkness, all that needs to be there. So we appreciate the opposite. We can understand and realize what that emotion is. Without the emotion of sadness, how do we know what joy is? Because if this is all joy and there’s no contrast, we would never understand what that joy is. That is why contrast to me is so significant in life and not to take it for granted and not to take it as a negative thing as well, but to take it as a gift. That contrast is what makes us feel, experience, understand, and have emotions. And that’s the core of my artwork and this movie is to show contrast.” We can see this theme play out in all different arenas. “It’s the same thing even in the environment. Without the darkness, there would be no light without fire. Without the heat of fire, we wouldn’t understand coldness or vice versa. Without water, we wouldn’t know what dryness is. It is about contrast, and we need contrast to exist. Without contrast, we would be nothing. We would be just emptiness. So that contrast is very significant in our whole existence of not just us as spiritual and human beings, but also on the universal as a whole.”

The film is intentionally presented without dialogue to strip the art down to its purest form. “Language is a man-made concept. There could be hundreds, if not thousands, of languages throughout history and in current times. It communicates in a way that I feel is insufficient. So we have all senses, from visual to audio to taste, touch, and feel. Language is one sense that we here to try to understand to communicate with each other. And that’s just one way of communicating. However, I felt that having the movie without dialogue would communicate much more. To bring all the languages as one universal language, which is a visual language, by watching it and then hearing the sound and music, we can feel the emotion without having subtitles. The reason that I did this movie without any dialogue is when I communicate my art in a way that has no language that is verbal, in the same way as when you look at my painting or sculpture, you can’t really describe it, but can feel it. Looking at it here is the same way in the movie performance art. By looking at it and hearing the music, without any dialogue, hopefully it will bring all the viewers and the audience together. It doesn’t matter what country or nation they’re from, they will understand by just looking at it and feeling the movie without any dialogue.” Daniel is elated to have the opportunity to present the film at the 2022 Asian World Film Festival in a coveted slot. “That is such an honor because the day that it is actually premiering is the day that one of the Academy Award nominated movies is being screened. I think dozens and dozens of the Academy and Golden Globes jurors will be there judging the Academy Award nominated movie with the director making that movie. And yet our short film is going to be the opening act. I’m actually very honored, but at the same time, very nervous that my movie is going to be shown right before an Academy Award nominated movie. That’s a big task and a big role to be in. I’m honored, excited, nervous…all the emotions are rolled into one right now.”

Integrity will remain central to Daniel’s ideology as he ponders how to make his mark in this life. “My goal is just to be true to myself and create my philosophy and to create for the world and my legacy when I leave this world. Because my motto is, the only true measure of your existence is the positive influence that you leave behind to others to benefit humanity. My role here is to give my knowledge and understanding and philosophy. When I leave this world, I’m hoping that my works and my philosophy are maintained so that future generations can grasp and hopefully even evolve from that to a much more cerebral, intellectual understanding of our universal truth so humanity will be better as a whole.” As long as he’s here, he will be confronting and questioning on behalf of us all. 

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Sir Daniel Winn Attempts to Answer Life’s Biggest Questions in Debut Short Film, “Creation.” Photo Credit: Courtesy of Sir Daniel Winn.

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