Sea Series 23 (2022)

John Price

Sea Series 23 John Price Canada16mm > digital8 min2022

Yes, I contemplate the sea, what else is there to do?…to look at the sea is to become what one is. – Etel Adnan, “Of Cities & Women (Letters to Fawwaz)” 

John Price’s Sea Series is a long-term project featuring two dozen titles filmed over the course of more than a decade (2008–2022). These masterful in-camera impressions of “place” investigate the optical, mechanical, and alchemical possibilities of analogue cinema, while recording the natural majesty of global bodies of water at the turn of the 21st century, including the Pacific Ocean, St. Lawrence River, and the north shores of Lake Ontario abutting the Pickering Nuclear Power Station. Sea Series 23 was filmed in the Yucatán Peninsula, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, an area which constitutes a significant proportion of the ancient Maya lowlands, the central location of the Mayan civilization for centuries. Now a significant portion of the Yucatán has been developed for tourism. 

Somewhere between heaven and hell. A 16mm haiku to mark the occasion. – John Price

The value of an individual life a credo they taught us 

to instill fear, and inaction, ‘you only live once’

a fog in our eyes, we are

endless as the sea, not separate, we die

a million times a day, we are born

a million times, each breath life and death:

get up, put on your shoes, get

started, someone will finish  – Diane di Prima, “Revolutionary Letter #2” 

Streaming Details

This film is available to stream globally.

Program Partners

This film is co-presented with Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto and Cornell Cinema.

Image credits: all artworks, stills, and portraits courtesy of the artist © John Price.

about the artist

John Price (Canada) is an independent filmmaker, photographer, diarist, and educator born in Fleming, New Jersey in 1967. He has lived in Canada since 1969. Price’s work features extensive experimentation with a wide range of motion picture film emulsions and camera formats. He frequently works with outdated stock, hand-processing all of his films to achieve quality and textures that would be impossible through commercial laboratories, adding a human element that becomes as important as the subject in communicating the subtext of his films. Price received a Bachelors of Commerce from McGill University (1985) and an MFA in Film Production from Concordia University (1996). He has produced 50+ films since 1986, which have been exhibited at numerous festivals, museums, and galleries internationally, including Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, New York Film Festival, Berkeley Museum of Art and Pacific Film Archive, VideoEx, The Presidential Palace (Chile), Museum of Modern Art Buenos Aires, 25FPS Festival, International Film Festival Rotterdam, Berlinale, Edinburgh International Film Festival, CPH:DOX, Toronto International Film Festival, Canadian Film Institute, Anthology Film Archive, Indie Lisboa, Hot Docs, SXSW, Punto de Vista Festival, and Curtas Vila do Conde, among others. He is the recipient of numerous grants and awards, including the Prix Jean Vigo and Mills Purchase Prize (1996), Chalmers Art Fellowship (2003), and a Canadian Screen Award for Best Cinematography (2017). Price has taught filmmaking at Filmwerkplaats in Rotterdam and Humber College in Toronto. He was a long-serving board member at LIFT (2000–2013), and a member of IATSE’s International Photographers Union, locals 667 and 669 (1996–2013). He has produced film projections for opera and dance and worked as a cinematographer with directors including Mike Hoolboom, Bruce Macdonald, Annette Mangaard, and others. His work has screened at eight previous editions of Media City Film Festival. He lives and works in Toronto, Ontario.

Artist interview