Through the Lens of Award-winning Filmmaker Lindon Clarke ’23

Lindon Clarke ’23 has creativity in his genes.

His mother is a film producer and his father is a photojournalist. “Growing up, seeing my parents represent ideas through media and learning about the process of making films had a big influence on me,” he reports. So it’s no surprise that when Lindon arrived at Dwight in eighth grade, he dove into Digital Media class. “I really liked the modern way I could present social commentaries through digital media, and when I began creating short films in tenth grade Digital Media, I fell in love with the whole filmmaking process.” That passion only grew the following year when Lindon enrolled in Dwight’s IB Diploma Program Film class.

From there, Lindon’s spark of genius took further flight. His talent is impressive, to say the least, garnering recognition in film festivals worldwide. Lindon’s focus on social commentary is further distinguishing his work — and deepening its impact.

Film Studies at Dwight
The two-year IB Diploma Program Film course, taught by Kevin Rosenberg, is designed to develop students as proficient interpreters and makers of film. It encompasses the study of theory, criticism, cinematic movements, filmmaking and production processes, and more. Students explore the content and technical aspects of film and filmmakers, while developing the hands-on skills and creative competencies to communicate through the language of film and express their own voice.  
 
“During the first year, we spent a lot of time learning about different genres and their histories. We have since been able to use that knowledge to make our own films, drawing on the influences of different artists, their styles, and techniques through a variety of assignments that enable us to apply theory and be creative at the same time,” says Lindon. “Film isn't one thing. It's relative to everyone who does it. Every time we create short films, we screen them in class and see a wide range of completely different works, with some students focusing on sound, others on color, and still others on animation, etc.”

The Making of “Anxiety in Peace”
Lindon has extended his spark of genius beyond School and his film, “Anxiety in Peace,” which he entered into film festivals, is gaining increasing industry attention with prestigious awards, ranging from best first-time director to best student short film. Shot in black and white in an almost magical landscape, it is a compelling depiction of “anxiety as a juxtaposition to the beauty of nature,” Lindon explains. “Even amid the beauty of nature, there can still always be darkness. My intention was to show the idea of how anxiety can infringe on a person's pursuit of happiness.” 

He filmed in the manicured Remsenburg Gardens on Long Island, which are alive with flora and fauna, and heightened the sound — the sounds of birds, water splashing, the wind rustling through leaves, the crunching of gravel below a bicycle tire — while the protagonist moves through the film. The only voice we hear is Lindon’s reciting excerpts from the beginning and end of a Walt Whitman poem, “As I Ebb’d with the Ocean of Life.” He explains, “We studied this poem in English class a few years ago and I chose it because the poem gets more and more tense, more anxious — anxiety, like the ebb and flow of the tide, is inescapable — it never goes away.”

In the making of this film, Lindon also drew on some aspects he admires in the works of two filmmakers: “Wong Kar-wai, director of ‘Chungking Express,’ whose non-linear narrative proceeds without a distinctly noticeable plot, but is something that the viewers pick up on as the film progresses; and Wes Anderson’s use of symmetry,” he says. “I used the motif of circles throughout so that things were constantly spinning, just like the protagonist is constantly spinning because of his anxiety.” 

At the end of the film, after we’ve traveled a brief but powerfully drawn path, a message appears on the screen citing the high incidence of anxiety among adolescents. 
 
On the Film Festival Circuit
Lindon submitted “Anxiety in Peace” to a number of film festivals and has received the following recognition to date:

  • Europe Short Film Festival: Jury Diamond Award for Best First-time Director
  • Roma Short Film Festival: Best Student Short Film
  • IndieFest Film Awards: Best Student Short Film
  • Eastern Europe Film Festival: Honorable Mention
  • Silk Road International Film Festival: Honorable Mention

The work has also been nominated for the Toronto and Stockholm Film Festivals, with more, no doubt, to come.

Thanking his Film teacher for his mentorship, Lindon shares, “Mr. Rosenberg is so very, very helpful — he is always taking time out of his day to meet with me and support my film process.” 

In fact, Mr. Rosenberg also taught Lindon in Digital Media, and says, “I've had Lindon in class for four years, so it's been especially rewarding to see him grow as both a well-rounded student and creative artist. He has developed a cinema verite style, combining diegetic sounds [sounds coming from within the movie that a character hears vs. what the viewer hears from a soundtrack] with cinematography intended to capture the surroundings. ‘Anxiety in Peace’ is an ideal example of Lindon's skill set and a great reflection of his emerging voice as an aspiring filmmaker. I couldn't be more proud of him for the accolades the film is receiving.”

Two of Lindon’s previous films made in class — “Trapped” and “Dissonance” — also have narratives depicting tension and anxiety, “so you can say I gravitate toward psychological thrillers,” he reports. Ultimately, his messages have social significance and are helping to raise awareness of several critical issues. Lindon created two PSAs outside of class, one about the protest in New York City against the war in Ukraine and another about the fentanyl crisis. “I am drawn to film as social commentary,” he explains. 

When it comes to watching movies, Lindon enjoys science fiction for entertainment; and his favorite is the futuristic “Ex Machina” about artificial intelligence, which he finds to be a compelling subject. 

On Campus and After Graduation
It’s unsurprising that English is at the top of Lindon’s list of favorite subjects: “What we study in class complements my work in film,” he says, “but I also enjoy Economics and Chemistry.” 

Outside of class, Lindon has competed on our Boys Varsity Soccer team, worked on the yearbook, runs, and writes opinion pieces about film for Dwight’s student newspaper, The Lion’s Gazette

Looking ahead to his journey beyond Dwight, Lindon’s passion for film, communications, and media will land him in a college program where he can continue telling stories, raising awareness, and presenting ideas in excitingly modern and creative ways. With his spark of genius and growing reputation as a new filmmaker to watch, we have no doubt that we will see Lindon’s name scrolling in movie credits for years to come! 

To watch “Anxiety in Peace,” click here.
 

  • Visual Arts