A unique collaboration from New York City-based director Jonathan Nelson and Monticello Park for the Campfire Poetry series. Bringing artists of different disciplines together within the framework of a classic poem, the project coalesces into an original composition that speaks to how certain emotions and themes transcend generations as well as how the act of passing something on, in the vein of campfire storytelling, can create new modes of expression and understanding.

For this instalment, Nelson is joined by dancer/choreographer Chalvar Monteiro as they explore a poem by Walt Whitman. Drawn to depictions of altered states of consciousness on film, Nelson takes on the blank canvas that is the spectrum of consciousness when we are in or around sleep to capture a man struggling with his innermost fears and insecurities:

“I feel lucky that the Campfire Poetry series from Monticello Park enabled me to use and explore dance as a dream state. I’ve always associated the art form with an ability to tap into a peculiar state of consciousness. It’s simultaneously experiential and performative: it feels good to the person doing it and it looks good (hopefully!) to whoever is watching. It’s the melding of performer and audience that makes dance particularly interesting, and when employed as a language to communicate the ineffable feeling of dreaming, there’s hardly a more beautiful form of expression.”

Watch “Tears” above and see full credits below!


Directed by Jonathan Nelson
Performed by Chalvar Monteiro
Based on a Poem by Walt Whitman
Produced by Max Rothman & JY Chun
Cinematography by Jonathan Nelson
Original Music by Leo Caruso
Gaffer: Alan Maxwell
Key Grip: Donavan Lambert
Steadicam Operator: Timothy Westover
Assistant Camera: Isaac Banks
Best Boy: Piotr Jagninski
Best Boy Grip: Nicholas Ellison
Art by Eric Conroe, Wilton Lewis, Sean Conroe, and Chloe Cerabona
Production Assistant: Clay Broaddus
Part of Monticello Park Productions’ Campfire Poetry Project


This video was submitted by Max Rothman and selected by our team. Click here if you have a project you’d like us to check out!

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