Wolfgang Hastert

experimental/ poetic/ short 35mm film about a house in the dunes on Cape Cod and the neighbors who want it to be torn down.
35mm hand-developed film transferred to HD video, black & white, sound, approx. 16 minutes
Full Frame Theater at ATC



I work on the intersection of the photographic narrative and cinema. The images I make alternately live in video projections, flicker in 35mm hand-developed films, and/or rest sequentially in photographic books. My works have always been rooted in photography. At the same time they have restlessly tackled the relationships existing between the still and the moving image.

Here I explore fractions of a second, where things we can’t quite see become visible through the exploration of subtle, chosen, increments of time— the extended time of a pinhole exposure; slow motion carefully articulated as a product of film and/or video; and/or the juxtaposition of highly considered still and time-based qualities. Above all else, the “ongoing moment” is made palpable in my work.

The 35mm film THE SANDCASTLE is such a narrative of fragmented and ongoing moments.


The film’s back story:

Not every new house on Cape Cod’s seashore is welcome.

When a wealthy Florida developer purchased land in Truro with plans to build his posh dream home, he might have simply meant to enjoy one of the most sensational waterfront views left on the Cape. Many of his neighbors, however, looking down on his newly purchased property and his blue prints, had a different perspective.

The multi-millionaire managed to erect an 8800 square-foot trophy mansion on the open land adjacent to the cottage that once served as painter Edward Hopper’s Summer studio and home. A court challenge to the construction of the house is still working its way through the legal system. The town has officially ordered the house to be torn down. It still stands but cannot be occupied.

The quaint town of Truro on Cape Cod has long been home to a tapestry of characters: locals and weekenders; artists, writers, New Yorkers and fishermen; the rich and often famous, brushing shoulders with the humble, in a delicate balance of mutual dependency and suspicion. The residents of the town love or loathe the millionaire’s building in the dunes each for their own reasons.

The illegal construction of the impressive trophy home on what has been considered by some as the “Hopper Landscape” has created a controversy that pits public sentiment and the law against individual liberty, property rights, and the pursuit of happiness.

I first came to Truro to film a docudrama on Edward Hopper for German/ French arts channel arte some years ago. During the filming, community members became my collaborators and I became part of their community. Since then, I have returned Summer after Summer to enjoy the idyllic landscape and to make more films.

For THE SANDCASTLE I re-visited the Hopper house neighborhood in Truro with a specific set of obstructions. I chose to work alone, take my time, and limit myself to only two tools: a Russian made 35 mm movie camera and an audio recorder to capture nature sounds and brief intimate conversations with a small group of neighbors. It is my story of walking through the landscape and meeting up with neighbors filming them observing the landscape and watching from their houses what goes on at the dubious trophy house on the dune.

The film combines lyrical visual montages with fragments of sound, and elements of experimental audio documentary into a poetic ensemble of pictures and voices of neighbors in the dunes. During projection the film’s hand-developed imagery flickers and shimmers in a Black & White spectacle.