Friday, March 28, 2014

"Go South for Animal Index" to screen at SWIC in Belleville

Poetry Scores' movie Go South for Animal Index: a Fable of Los Alamos will screen 7 p.m. Friday, April 4 in the Liberal Arts Theater, Room LAC 1350, at Southwestern Illinois Community College (SWIC), 2500 Carlyle, Belleville, Illinois.

This SWIC faculty screening is free and open to the public.

Dan Cross, professor of film at SWIC, edited Go South for Animal Index and was one of its directors of photography and camera operators. He also directed many of the scenes he shot. He even makes an actor cameo as a uranium-mining Debased Cog, the movie's zombie-equivalents at the bottom of the atomic bomb effort.

"Dan joined our shoot as a zombie extra, but we soon realized we had the movie-making equivalent of atomic energy on our hands," says Chris King, director, a Granite City native. "He was shooting on every scene we could get him from that day on, and often left alone to direct the scenes he shot. Then, when we were done shooting, we just handed him all the footage, with some pretty spare editing instructions, and let him assemble the movie."

"The edit has taken nearly a year of work, but I was happy to do it because the of the quality of the material," Cross told the Belleville News-Democrat before the film's appearance in the 2013 St. Louis International Film Festival.

Read more here:

Cross is sharing director credit with King on the next Poetry Scores movie, Jack Ruby's America, and will also direct photography on that movie and edit it.

Cross is an accomplished filmmaker in his own right, including the animated short Dive, which premiered at the St. Louis International Film Festival on the same bill as A: Anonymous by Daniel Bowers, widely recognized as the best independent feature film produced in St. Louis.

Go South for Animal Index, a 90-minute feature, will screen with a new short film by Stacy Singh, a SWIC colleague.

Following the screening, Cross and Singh will be joined by Chris King, director of Go South for Animal Index, to discuss their movies with the audience.

A Belleville people note: Chris King played in the band Enormous Richard, which was active in the early St. Louis alternative country scene with Belleville's own Uncle Tupelo. He also was close with Pops Farrar, father of the Farrar boys in Belleville, and produced a record for Pops, Memory Music: Songs and Stories from the Merchant Marine.


Southwestern Illinois College is easily accessible by Metrolink. Just take the train east to the College Station stop. When you get off the train, walk straight across campus to the northwest corner, closest to Lowe's and you should see a sign for the film screening.  

If driving from the west, you can take 1-64 to the Greenmount Road exit (#16). Turn right on Greenmount and you'll come to Highway 161 in four miles. The college is at that intersection. The best place to park is the lot by the Liberal Arts Theater (the one closest to Lowe's, next to 161).  

If you go in the doors closest to that parking lot, the Liberal Arts Theater will be right inside those doors.  

The screening will start promptly at 7, so try to arrive early.  

For more information, email Dan Cross at

Dan Cross, directing and shooting a scene
from "Go South for Animal Index" in Cuba, Missouri.


Go South for Animal Index was produced by Poetry Scores, an all-volunteer international arts organization dedicated to translating poetry into other media, based in St. Louis, but with outposts in Hilo (Hawaii), Los Angeles, Nashville and Istanbul.

The movie was directed by Chris King and edited by Dan Cross, based on a poem by Stefene Russell. Poetry Scores previously scored Stefene's poem to post-punk rock, and this movie was written, shot and edited to that score. So Go South can be considered a 90-minute silent movie with a rock & roll soundtrack.

Shot on location in St. Louis and Cuba, Missouri, Go South for Animal Index follows four related storylines: the development of the nuclear bomb on a secret military base; the nuclear-waste-related illness of a tribal girl living nearby; the travels of the widow and daughter of a nuclear scientist who dies on the base; and the drafting into military service of a vendor of stuffed animals. The quartet of stories intersects dramatically in the context of the first successful test of the atomic bomb.

Cinema St. Louis writes: "Setting Stefene Russell’s poem to an exceptional rock-music score and eschewing spoken dialogue, Go South for Animal Index freely mixes zombies, experimental elements, and silent-film tropes in a bold genre mash-up. The large ensemble cast includes many well-known St. Louisans: poet Russell; former fire chief Sherman George; international burlesque stars Lola van Ella and Kyla Webb; African-dance impresario Mama Lisa Gage; architectural historian and preservationist Michael R. Allen; and the late George Malich in his final big screen performance."


Go South premiered at the 2013 St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase. Here were some reactions:

"Go South for Animal Index is a beautiful visual poem." - Chris Clark, artistic director, Cinema St. Louis

"Heck of a good movie." - Joe Edwards, manager of Chuck Berry and owner of Blueberry Hill

"Go South for Animal Index reminds us of Nietzsche's admonition: ‘Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster.’” – Michael A. Wolff, dean and professor of Law, Saint Louis University School of Law; former chief justice, Missouri Supreme Court

“This poedocudrama kept us all reaching back to refresh our memories of local, national and world histories.” – Mama Lisa Gage, arts organizer, choreographer, dancer

"Go South for Animal Index is an instrument of a higher power.” – Ellen Sheire, Jungian analyst


A brief (6:33) documentary on the making of Go South for Animal Index, produced by Thomas Crone and directed by Andy Alton

A feature story on Go South for Animal Index from The Alton Telegraph

The original musical score to Go South for Animal Index, produced by Matt Fuller and Chris King (the soundtrack to the movie has additional music by Tory Z Starbuck and Middle Sleep)

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