Filmmaker Mark Webber's latest film The Place of No Words is his 5th feature and the 3rd in a series he calls "Reality Fantasy Cinema". Webber is proficient in acting, writing and producing, as well as directing with a unique style of storytelling, especially when he wishes to bring to light a difficult subject matter.
His recent project is notably his most ambitious as it explores a real family taking an imaginative look at death. "I've always pushed the boundaries of traditional filmmaking with my films using elements from my real life to develop a method/style I like to call ‘reality cinema’. As an actor I've been obsessed with realism in film and strived to make the characters I portray seem real," Webber continues. "When I began my journey as a filmmaker I wanted to find a way to create the ideal filmmaking environment for realism."
Webber began developing his signature style of filmmaking with his first film Explicit Ills, by taking away all the bells and whistles found on a traditional film set. He notes, "It allowed a certain sense of authenticity to seep in." In his second feature, The End of Love, he discovered that by using real relationships from his own life he was able to take the process he wanted to the next level--this was key to developing his film style. He used his two-year old son in this film and built the entire script around a father-son dynamic, and says, "this put real love, pain, humor and vulnerability on screen”. His next feature featured other family members as themselves. Webber pushes his own envelope in The Place with No Words by incorporating a fantasy aspect into it to bring to light how we cope with the process of dying in its truthfulness.
Webber goes back and forth between two worlds: the present day and a Viking or Nomad era. It's a bit confusing at first but fascinating how he weaves the topic of death into a positive experience. Webber explains, "Death is so often thought of as morbid or gloomy or hopeless but in reality it is much more complex. It's full of many other things like liberation, joy and even laughter." He continues, "I cast my three-year-old son Bohdi Palmer and my wife Teresa Palmer along with myself as a real family facing the dying process together. The audience experiences the story through the eyes of my three-year-old as well as both parents."
Webber's incredibly intimate narrative begins with the question from his son, "Where do we go when we die?" The answer to this question puts a real family on an imaginative adventure to explore how one copes with dying and the love, laughter and pain it conjures up. To follow Webber and Bohdi on their journey and listen to their intimate conversation is emotionally challenging and visually stunning as they move between their authentic real world and a world of fantasy filled with mythical creatures that act as their friends or foes.