Dark One Credits, Reviews + More

Darryl Miller-producer,director,videographer,editor,special effects,sound design, location audio and sound mix.
Elaine Pain-executive producer,additional videography, photography,assistant to director.
Skulls provided by The Bone Man
Case Study Footage
provided by Gordon McLennan
Music composed by Darryl Miller
Bass Guitar
by Chris Gavin
Additional Keyboards by John Frederick
Words and Poetry
by Dan Biholar
Special Thanks goes to:Dan and Helen Biholar,Boobaloo,Pat Butler,Steve Hasiak,My Family,Our Lord Jesus Christ,Darrell Prohor and Roland Bourgeois,The University of Regina.
Additional audio samples provided by DoruMalaia(http://www.dorumalaia2.com/)
and The Freesound Project http://freesound.iua.upf.edu/index.php
Financial Participation:
Elaine Pain + The Ice Cube Factory

#01-I used many dronetails by Jovica.Which ones?Who knows?I renamed them.Sorry about that Jovica-You have many good samples-good for transitions.Thanks
#12-7527 _jesges_alien_factory
Dark Thoughts by Nora Gardner Saskatchewan Film Cooperative's Splice
Like any film or video maker, I am interested not only in a work’s look and sound - I am also interested in the story of its making and where it gets to travel once it is completed. This is the story of Dark One, the first feature length work of Darryl Miller, completed in 2007. There is plenty to be fascinated with in this film as Miller is a obsessively gifted sculptor of both the visual and sound mediums.
I’d like to say, however, that I am as equally appalled as I am fascinated by this work. The subject matter of drug abuse, self-destruction, nightmarish delusion and death are so depressing in nature that to consider a character in such pain is a tragedy. Here, the overwhelming tragedy is that this film documents a human life - that of Dan Biholar whose “search for his soul” through drug abuse results in poverty, jail time, multiple hospitalizations, mental illness and a wasted life. In a lucid moment, Biholar says “I wanted to destroy myself, but I couldn’t - so here I am.” The sometimes seemingly prophetic, more often delusional reveries of Biholar, which have been equated with the stream-of-consciousness poetry of William S. Burroughs, are further shaped by Miller to take on demonic tonal proportions as incantations for Miller’s complex multi-layered visual nightmare representing Biholar’s inner psychic experience as a drug-addicted poet. “All the dark dreams and nightmare screams come to light”, says Biholar in the film.
Miller constructed Dark One over the course of nine years. The film transcends as many boundaries in cinematic language and genre as it does in the technological advancement of video and digital media. Miller documents Biholar’s life in Hi-8 (w/ some final shooting in Digital 8), while employing avant-garde techniques, rigorous editing and multiple image manipulations to present the audience with the uniquely uncomfortable ordeal of joining Biholar in his forays into drug abuse. Miller does this by using out-of-focus, de-saturated, and diffused images, multiple filters and masks, the look of multiple exposures, kaleidoscopic images and psychedelic visual effects. For the most part, he used Photoshop, Boris FX and After Effects to achieve his ends. Miller said he found Boris FX to be the most user-friendly when working with transparencies. He combined these visual elements with soundscapes created from the words and poetry of Biholar, sound samples and music. The soundscapes are as distorted and complexly-layered as the visual elements. He recommended the use of sound samples from the Free Sound Project. While working on his sound, Miller used a SoundToys plug within Pro Tools and completed the work in Pro Tools LE.
The genres of Canadian Documentary, German Expressionism and American Experimental film are immediately called to mind when viewing this film. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that Dark One received acclaim at Hot Docs when it premiered in 2007 at the festival and was nominated for the Best Canadian Feature Documentary Award. Following on the heels of Hot Docs, Miller travelled to Jihlava in the Czech Republic after his film almost made it into the programme of the International Documentary Film Festival Jihlava. He said because Dark One almost made it into the programme in 2007, they requested the film for the new Documentary Film Centre's archive in Prague, to be studied by students at FAMU, and viewed by journalists, film professionals and the public in general. The festival in Jihlava discovers authorial documentary film, and follows the motto of “Thinking through film!” FAMU is one of oldest film schools in Europe. On the following site http://www.dokument-festival.cz/new_index.php under the Thinking through film! link “authorial documentary film” is described as “A work of art voicing a unique experience, connecting existence and essence, that arise and die out in each other.” This caption does indeed describe work such as Dark One.
Even more fortunate, Dark One was accepted into the programme of DOK Leipzig in 2007 and Miller was in attendance for a number of screenings at the festival. DOK Leipzig is one of the leading international film festivals for documentary and animation in the world. Upon his return from Germany, I went to Cupar, Saskatchewan to interview Miller about his film. Despite all the trials and tribulations of intermittent funding, fickle software, unreliable technology, and a bad screening here or there, Miller was grateful for the financial support of the Canada Council, the Saskatchewan Arts Board, and SaskFilm. He was also adamant in his appreciation for the enormous amount of support that he received from his partner Elaine Pain, who is also the film’s executive producer.
While tired in appearance, Miller seemed confident about finding a niche market and distributing his unusual feature length film. Of Dark One, which he described as an ambient epic approach to storytelling, Miller says: “There are a lot of ways to tell a story.” Continuing in a frugal fashion, as any independent filmmaker would these days, Miller found the https://withoutabox.com/ service for independent film distribution to be a great starting place. Information about Dark One, including several trailers, is available at numerous blogspots such as http://icecubefactory.blogspot.com/, appears on IMDb, Amazon, and the complete film will shortly be featured on Punk TV and MyDocumentary.ca. Miller does appear to be mastering the arts of self-promotion and finding niche-markets for distribution.
In closing, I will return to the film’s story and the life of Dan Biholar. The film concludes with the death of Biholar’s mother Elena, an Auschwitz survivor with horrible dreams of her own, and foreshadows a continued downward spiral for Biholar, himself. Wishing to complete his promotional work for Dark One and take up work on a new project, Indoctrination (working title), Miller reminded me to complete this article. My final question for Miller was to ask about how well Biholar is doing these days. Miller confided: “Dan is still writing, but his words are becoming more confused… I am concerned for him… He is depressed and wants to work on his art, but even when he has the time, he either sleeps or is out searching for more drugs.” Biholar’s only saving grace, the redemption that he seeks in the film, is documented by Dark One. However, Biholar himself remains a lost soul and will never be able to claim what he seeks. But then again, perhaps, the search is all there is…

“Where am I… playing on the edge. I’ve never been this sick before. Capture my soul. Isn’t that what true film is? Capture my soul and free it, free it, free it…” (Dan Biholar).

My own personal post-script, an observation (downtown): Spring is here. The mentally-ill walk among us, no matter how they got there, remember sometimes we are them (it’s a delicate balance). Be kind. Wishing you all - the best in mental health.

Review from John Thomas Frederick
" MAGNIFICENT ! I am fortunate to have received today one of the first DVD copies of the film "Dark One" by Darryl Miller. I just finished watching it on my 32" Sony, and I was completely blown away ! Darryl has painted a masterpiece of visual images. Think what you want of the Documentary subject-matter (the Review posted by Cyberite is so far off; he/she obviously didn't get it !)( Cyberite's Hotdocs Review is on the HotDocs Dark One review page. ) Darryl documents Dan's journey with such honesty that he manages to capture both sides of drug addiction; the junkies side and the observers side, without forgetting to show Dan's spiritual and intellectual aspects. Dan is not dehumanized by his drug use or by Darryl's document. My impression of Dan after watching the film, is that Dan is an intellect and by way of his own spiritual, (maybe even Mystical), experiences, has developed a keen, intellectual, even theosophical intuition for his own spiritual nature and for the Metaphysical nature of his life and environment. Darryl seems to understand this and remembers to document this aspect of Dan. Darryl also seems to see the value in; and the importance of Dan's creative outlet of poetry and visual art. Many documentaries on drug abuse or on drug users tend to ignore these Human aspects of the junkie; turning he or she into an object of curiosity only; something to be viewed by 'the rest of us' at a safe distance. In this film Dan is all of us and none of us. He is a human like the rest of us and a soul like no one else. Many who watch the film may not realize that Dan is himself the writer and performer of most of the lyrics and poetry put to music by Darryl in the film. All this aside, the film is the most fantastic painting of moving images and color I have ever seen. Musicians creating music in the 'Psychedelic' Genre should be lined up at Darryl's door begging him to create their next Music-Video. Film-makers and editors who have seen the film must be scratching their heads wondering how he did it and asking their doctors for ant-depressants as they try to recover from their jealousy induced depression caused by a sudden and utter drain on their self-esteem. Anyone who can't see the superb artistry in the flow of the images and color has no idea how many years and hours it must have taken (did take) Darryl to make this masterpiece. Above all, that is how I see this film; as a visual masterpiece ! In my eyes and ears it is an Art piece before it is a documentary and its showing should not be limited to just documentary festivals. Anyone who appreciates the visual arts will find this film entrancing and a real piece of eye-candy. I also loved the sounds and music; but I may be a bit biased since I have been collecting and listening to Darryl's music for 20 years. Darryl lovingly gives me credit for ' additional keyboards' at the end of the film, but honestly and humbly, I must admit, that his mastery at sound editing and manipulation makes it virtually impossible for me to recognize any of the synthesizer playing that I did on one or two tracks on one or two of the musical pieces; 20 years ago in my parent' basement while Darryl and I drank and smoked our way deep into the night (and sometimes on until morning.) Darryl has been for more than 25 years a master of recorded sound enhancement and manipulation, now after finally seeing "Dark One" I can without bias and with complete confidence, pronounce him, a master of the moving image. Thank-You Darryl; after waiting all these years for you to complete the film, I can honestly say it was worth every minute of the wait. BRAVO !
Miyako HotDocs Review
Interesting and Esoteric. The pet bird facilitated the kindess,humility and benevolence the protagonist had for all living beings despite the lifestyle addiction can have on the affect and behavior of humans.
Nathan Southern - All Movie Guide
Sanity, for the half-burnt out poet Dan Biholar, is growing ever tenuous. With ruinous, bleak and empty days sitting in his yellowed kitchen and coiffing morphine alongside his concentration camp survivor mother and his pet bird, Biholar reaches out to latch onto the literary brilliance now often eluding his grasp. Emotionally, Biholar plummets through a host of phases, from extreme depression to poetic bliss to unbridled mania - often without transitions or in-between lulls. With his documentary Dark One, avant-garde director Darryl Miller (once a down-and-outer himself, who rebounded) witnesses Biholar in his most private and intimate moments. Miller travels one step beyond, however, by then recreating, with his cameras, the hallucinatory mental state experienced by Biholar - an onslaught of dissonant sound and visual fury. The director thus unifies the audience, sensorially, with the film's subject.
Dark One beckons you to follow the rabbit down the hole and screams at you to stop at every turn. Having done the drugs and traveled sections of that route with Darryl, I can attest to the authenticity of the dimensional shifting and gravitational pull that influences our own perception and how that looks to others watching. Dark One shines through the facets of life that accompany hard drug abuse that often go neglected in the glorification of the war on drugs and the message of abstinence. Looking at family and relationships in ways that push you to look deeper into your own judgments of what a junkie is. As a viewer you have to be in for some psychological rough trade and the visual overload that can become abundant in drug induced hallucinations. Music and art that show originality and craftsmanship as alive and well as ever.................
David Sloma Rockin' Films
I really liked the film! Looking forward to a surround sound mix. The soundtrack CD is awesome too!Great stuff, Darryl...stunning! I remember when I saw this at HotDocs on the BIG screen..blew me away! Dan's words are an inspiration to me, as a fellow creative type.
Matt Caravella from Boris FX, Inc. comments....
Fantastic Job. A wonderful and creative use of compositing and effects. Best of luck with the film, surely it will not be overlooked. Again, terrific work.
CBC Anonymous Review
Dark One was an intense, documentary detour on an afternoon of multiple screenings. Your creativity in imagery & sound is humbling.
Wilfred Gayleard
I got to see this last weekend, it is amazing. Darryl does once again an amazing job of constructing a complex montage of visual and sound editing. Sounds great and looks beautiful
Great score. Nice "film" treatment on the footage. An interesting character. I'd definitely check it out at a fest or Netflix.
Artwork Scan#1 - Fragments of Dan's painting discussed in Dark One
Artwork Scan#2 - Fragments of Dan's painting discussed in Dark One
Artwork Scan#4 - Fragments of Dan's painting discussed in Dark OneUnfortunately the Filmeck screening in Leipzig Germany had technical difficulties. Audio was poor and the projection bulb was on it's last legs. The "nato" screening went well !!! :) Sounded wonderful, looked great, and there was an extensive question and answer period after. It was here I had an in depth conversation with Detlef Kuhlbrod, a writer from Berlin . Read his impressions of Dark One below....or in the article titled "Gestorben wird uberall" in "Tageszeitung", the German national newspaper.
For a couple of days,I was with the Canadian filmmaker Darryl Miller,whose experimental documentary "Dark One" , I was very impressed with.A difficult psychedelic film on the level of technology.It is about the morphine addicted poet Dan Biholar,with his mother,who was in Auschwitz.The reality shocks between drug images,hallucinations and history of the mother.The perspective of the film is extremely fickle; infected by Miller's own drug history. Exhausting,sad,radical,psychedelic, sometimes with a little gallows of humor; when a little bird, totally uninterested in fact, always on the verge of small tin bowls.The kitchen cabinet in black and white,for a small moment of clarity again.The drug-addicted artist who logically as a teenager began to emulate Burroughs, loves this bird is very fond of him and then told,almost entirely,as this bird dies,it would be the fifth or seventh dead bird in a few years.A film,in which the spirits dropped,as it were....An Envoy of the "Human Rights Documentary Days" from Kiev, a soulful - looking man who inspired me to a Russian mystic recalled or Andrzej Rublev (quickly gets you into stereotypes);The least hardly spoke English and yet shy and seemed curious, felt of "Dark One"also directly addressed.The film was such an existential thing. That is something quite different from the more or less good at documenting performance of a subject.Of course, Miller was much too long (eight years) in the movie.Darryl Miller was the first time in Europe and had a heavy travel behind him.A week earlier,he was at a film festival in the Czech Republic and had been robbed.Fortunately,he had not had so much money on.During the day he ran through Leipzig and filmed trams and trains.There were many policemen on Oct 31, because of the football in the city;Many people on the street or in the tram. Always pretty nervous;On the verge of paranoia probably; Many people whose language he spoke not;Yes, he lives in a town with 600 inhabitants,and this was but sometimes too much.Now he flies back grad direction toward Saskatchewan.Somehow ...The director... I had a couple of beers, a smoke, and just thought.
Lordofallfire - Jan 08/2007 - It's more of an experience than anything else. All the fx, visual and audio are very cool. I kept thinking to myself, 'how did he do that?'. I know a bunch of Photoshop stuff so I have a slight idea what was happening with some of it. There are so many little things in the visual collages that I'll have to go back and watch it again to catch them all. I was kinda thrown off at first by the actual raw colour footage, but then it made sense with the content to bring some realism to the doc. I thought it was funny but worked really well when you and the subject are driving by the Lakeview Food place and the 7-11 and you blur out the whole image to hide the signs. At times it reminded me of Naqoyaqatsi (love the Qatsi trilogy) but also added a disjointed narrative to it. To be honest, I had an idea to do an experimental doc for a few years but never understood of how I could pull it off. This is pretty much how I would have pictured it, so thanks for stealing my idea, haha, JK. Not a lot of people will like this or even get it, but there are those of us who live for it. Hope it ends up doing well. The music was way, way awesome. .... and where your feeding him his lines, haha, so good!
luckplc | 01/10/2008 10:27 AM --5 out of 5 stars
"Darryl Miller weaves a spellbinding ride into the scary zone. Drawing on all the experience Darryl has had with drugs and alcohol, a story winds itself around the mind of Dan Biholar stitching the influence of drug addiction to a soaring spirit yearning to break free. The door to the other side is all the way open and the weirdness is leaking out."
the_guinness-10.1.2008 9 out of 10 stars
You don't know it yet but Darryl Miller is a master film maker. Dark One is a trip that grabs a hold of you and first strips you of reality then tosses you to the demons lurking just on the other side of drugs and booze. For those experienced this is a ride through it with road signs to the freaky bits. For the rest of you, talk with your psychologist and bring a hand to hold on to. Bravo Darryl!
K00k00s', an artist I met in Jihlava, has contacted me a number of times in regards to Dark One. Here are his kind words....
we met in Jihlava, 2 days ago, I am Jan... long-hair-bad-English-animator. Today I opened my wallet and saw your calling card - after watching your videos and translating some sentences, I leave with eyes and mouth wide open. Your videos are very suggestive and so atmospheric. Well done!"
Jan15-" I am listening to your music now, and its brilliant! Very impressive, deep and atmospheric! I like it! I made this fractal montage, while listening to your soundtrack. Do you think it is possible to use some of your songs in some of my noncommercial projects?"http://dumb.ic.cz/fist3/fist3.html
Len Gieni
Dark but good. Couldn't stop watching.
Alex Conrado
I like your aesthetic. ENHORABUENA¡¡¡ I'm impressed by your work. Felicidades¡¡
i`d like to say that I'm impressed to say the least....
your work has a real magical quality to it that takes your breath away at times and swallows u up the rest ...:) Really like the movie....evil as fuck...peace.
A Million Minds
DUDE your music is kickass! I love the rawness of it!
That "dark one" movie looks pretty eerie! But cool.
I like your psychotic nature. I mean... human nature. hehe

No comments: