POET IN A MODERN WORLD

CHOOSE BEAUTY

An excerpt of Venus's eyes from Botticelli's painting, "The Birth of Venus".

LIVING IN AN UGLIFIED AGE

Poet in a Modern World is a look into an art instructor’s yearning for the past and his pupil’s disquietude for the future in the midst of modernity’s spiritual wasteland. It is a story about family, home, the necessity of tradition, and choosing beauty in a world defying it.

“There is only the fight to recover what has been lost
And found and lost again and again : and now, under conditions
That seem unpropitious. But perhaps neither gain nor loss.
For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business.”

—T.S. Eliot, East Coker

A PINING FOR HOME

Poet in a Modern World begins during the art instructor’s revisiting of his childhood home one rainy day. There, we learn of his crippling nostalgia brought on by the death of his mother. An oneiric memory of his youth—becoming lost in the nearby woods of his neighborhood—repeatedly haunts him.

THE PRICE OF PURSUING TRUTH

THE PRICE OF PURSUING TRUTH

Vincent van Gogh's "Pieta (after Delacroix)" painting.

“Perhaps artists experience life so intensely that others don’t have to. They’re outcasts who invite others to join their unending quest for meaning.” The instructor expresses this to his student as he examines a copy of Vincent van Gogh’s letters, stumbling onto a photograph of Pietà (After Delacroix). “But when is a true artist ever understood? No one listens to a prophet.”

 

Poet in a Modern World explores questions such as, “What does it mean to be an artist?”, and, “How can one achieve harmony between the realm of imagination and that of reality, especially in a world that seemingly continues to slip into the abyss?”

Yet, the discoveries made are far more applicable to the whole of existence than only an artist’s life.

Vincent van Gogh's

“Perhaps artists experience life so intensely that others don’t have to. They’re outcasts who invite others to join their unending quest for meaning.” The instructor expresses this to his student as he examines a copy of Vincent van Gogh’s letters, stumbling onto a photograph of Pietà (After Delacroix). “But when is a true artist ever understood? No one listens to a prophet.”


Poet in a Modern World
 explores questions such as, “What does it mean to be an artist?”, and, “How can one achieve harmony between the realm of imagination and that of reality, especially in a world that seemingly continues to slip into the abyss?”

Yet, the discoveries made are far more applicable to the whole of existence than only an artist’s life.

The eyes of van Gogh in his famous self-portrait painting.

“Love is the best and the noblest thing in the human heart, especially when it is tested by life as gold is tested by fire. Happy is he who has loved much, and is sure of himself, and although he may have wavered and doubted, he has kept that divine spark alive and returned to what was in the beginning and ever shall be.”

—VINCENT VAN GOGH

FAMILY & TRADITION

FAMILY & TRADITION

"First Steps" painting of child walking towards father by Millet.

The young artist is repelled by his family of philistines and his instructor mourns for the family he lost. The story touches on just how irreplaceable one’s familial relations are. The instructor finds himself in a midlife malaise after a recent divorce. His time spent with his only daughter confronts him with life’s great fragility. He and his ex-wife eventually realize they have never stopped loving each other and together apprehend the real meaning of marriage.

 

The young artist is repelled by his family of philistines and his instructor mourns for the family he lost. The story touches on just how irreplaceable one’s familial relations are. The instructor finds himself in a midlife malaise after a recent divorce. His time spent with his only daughter confronts him with life’s great fragility. He and his ex-wife eventually realize they have never stopped loving each other and together apprehend the real meaning of marriage.

IGNORANCE DESTROYS

IGNORANCE DESTROYS

"Socrates Address" by Louis Joseph Lebrun.

The twenty-year-old mentee witnesses his beloved mentor’s enforced resignation after accusations of proselytizing are made by radical peers. A pressured administration caves to the clamor of student protestors engulfing the university campus. Eventually the instructor’s classroom is completely vandalized—textbooks containing prints of Western masterpieces are rent to pieces. The question arises, “What can be done to rescue the modern world’s cultural and civilizational crisis?”

The twenty-year-old mentee witnesses his beloved mentor’s enforced resignation after accusations of proselytizing are made by radical peers. A pressured administration caves to the clamor of student protestors engulfing the university campus. Eventually the instructor’s classroom is completely vandalized—textbooks containing prints of Western masterpieces are rent to pieces. The question arises, “What can be done to rescue the modern world’s cultural and civilizational crisis?”

POETRY IS NOT MERELY
TO BE READ, BUT TO BE LIVED

POET IN A MODERN WORLD

a screenplay by William Jacobs

Q&A

A mentorship blossoms between Shane, a disoriented young filmmaker, and John, his grieving art instructor, during the cultural and moral decay of the present epoch. Both live in the realm of poetry and grapple with their relationship to reality. The student reproaches his family of philistines and the instructor pines for the family he lost. One gazes into a future of possibilities, the other gazes into the ineradicable past. The two assist each other in their spiritual journeys and enable one another to return to reality with reinvigorated resolve.

Poet in a Modern World is a story about the price of choosing Beauty in a world that defies it—for poetry is not merely to be read, but to be lived.

As an independent feature film this project is estimated to cost $25,000 to create. Approximately half of the budget will be allocated to acquiring 14,000 feet (6  1/2 hours) of 16 mm film, which is enough footage to make the project four times over, and processing and scanning it at 4K. The rest of the budget will be devoted towards catering, location booking, and talent. Most of the filmmaking equipment required is already in possession of writer-director William Jacobs.

What better way to make a film about the necessity of tradition than by using a tradition? The aesthetics of the 16 mm film format are indeed inimitably beautiful, but filmmaker William Jacobs is most interested in the asceticism of shooting on film—for its delicateness demands that an entire cast and crew operate at their utmost. Read this brief interview regarding PIAMW’s proof-of-concept for more insight on the value seen in using cinema’s traditional format.

Kodak has a webpage displaying recent productions utilizing celluloid film: https://www.kodak.com/en/motion/page/shot-on-film

Poet in a Modern World is fundamentally a film for the entire breadth of humanity. Everyone is dependent upon tradition—consciously or unconsciously—to attain a sense of belonging and lead a life of purpose and meaning; to remember what it is we live for and the evils that must be avoided. Stories offer us a means of refining ourselves spiritually, ethically, and intellectually. They serve as foundations and guidance for living an enriched and fulfilling life. Meaning precedes all stories and the act of storytelling reconciles us with it.


Those in Western society are thirsty for its ancient principles to be resuscitated so that civilization can be reunited once more underneath ideals which endure. It is due time that the True, Good, and Beautiful are respectfully conveyed in a cinematographic work of art.

The film will be made mostly in the small city of Peoria, Illinois—the city which coined the expression, “Will it play in Peoria?”. Peoria is a historic part of Central Illinois that once was an entertainment Mecca in the days of vaudeville and theater palaces. Rich with a burgeoning independent filmmaking community, Peoria has potential to become prominent as a fertile location for great art and entertainment remote from the autocratic mainstream film industry. 

At this juncture filmmaker William Jacobs is seeking to attach talent to the project. Mourning Dove Films firmly believes the beauty of the story and its poignant pertinence will be enough to attract competent artists willing to dedicate themselves to creating a serious work of art—and moreover a movement—the world is in dire need of.

We would like to screen Poet in a Modern World in theaters throughout the United States, and if possible, across the globe. It is a dream of writer-director William Jacobs to project a 16mm print of the film so that audiences may have a chance to have an authentic viewing experience. Of course we also want to release Blu-rays, DVDs, and digital copies shortly after PIAMW‘s theatrical distribution. In the worst case scenario where no distributors are interested or expenses are too numerous, William Jacobs would arrange a screening tour and share the film at virtually every independent theater nationwide on his dime. Film festivals are indeed an option, but the majority risk being a waste of time and money and those which are world-renowned are steeped in politics.

Too long has cinema been contaminated with brash immorality, violence, and vapidity. Poet in a Modern World is an opportunity to open the discussion with cinemagoers about what is True, Good, and Beautiful. It is a film that emphasizes a way of living that can endure all things and enjoins others to transfigure themselves and choose a life of beauty and meaning over modernity’s relativistic dystopia. It is an attempt to initiate a movement revivifying Western civilization’s Judeo-Christian foundations. We want PIAMW to serve as a torch of hope as well as a sword to pierce the destructive ideologies threatening humanity. 

William Jacobs is the founder and filmmaker behind Mourning Dove Films. His history with cinema began at the age of nine creating stop-motion animations. Today, William practices the tradition of cinema using the 16mm film format, with great interest in the asceticism of celluloid filmmaking. In lieu of the depravity and decadence of Hollywood, William saw potential for a subversive independent film industry in the Midwest. He is an Arts alumnus of Illinois Central College and a graduate of The Second City’s Improv Program in Chicago.

At one point William was, too, a disoriented young student partially seduced by some of the modish postmodern tenets possessing a great number of his generation. He recalls as a teenager being intimidated by art museums and classical literature. Approaching his twenties, William grew aware of his insularity and endeavored to fulfill the duty his educational institutions abdicated—adventuring through the humanities and assembling its image of Truth.

We are in a state of crisis. We are witnessing the demonization and rapid corrosion of principles that have sustained Western civilization for millennia. It is enticingly easy to tear down what has taken thousands of years of suffering, bloodshed, and toil to establish, but among the rubble lie no alternatives.


The art instructor and his young student in Poet in a Modern World are figures of hope amongst the present ravaging of Western culture. Despite their dejection and previous blunders, they continue to stand for principle—protecting the shattered fragments of what is True, Good, and Beautiful from becoming lost forever. We will for this film to inspire a new generation of those preserving the West’s great heritage, honoring those who have come before us.

Mourning Dove Films is accepting contributions to raise the $25,000 needed for production. You may fill out a secure online contribution form here

 

We are in need of other resources such as crew, talent, sponsorship, and distribution. You may use our contact form detailing your interest and means of assisting the film here.

We have more answers! Contact us by filling out an email form here.

Visit our contact page and fill out a form detailing your reason of interest in Poet in a Modern World. We would be glad to provide a digital copy for your review.

THE PROOF-OF-CONCEPT

A MOMENT IS ENOUGH

ABOUT THE FILM

A young artist recollects his past muse on a blustery winter day. Vacillating between upholding certain ideals and compromising them to end his friction with modernity, a bittersweet truth eventually emerges from a fantasy.


A Moment Is Enough 
is the proof-of-concept for Poet in a Modern World. The excerpt presented takes place towards the middle of the full-length feature film. Its purpose is to give those interested in the greater project a glimpse of writer-director William Jacobs’s aesthetic vision.

JOIN OUR PROGRESS

"The Pilgrim's Progress" illustration of Christian plunging his sword into Apollyon.

We invite you on our  filmmaking voyage, but it will be no easy feat.

Poet in a Modern World is our vessel that needs to be properly equipped to succeed in delivering its message. $25,000 is the approximate budget to acquire the right materials necessary to create the film. 

A gift of any proportion is cherished. You may fill out our secure online donation form here.

We invite you on our filmmaking voyage, but it will be no easy feat.

Poet in a Modern World is our vessel that needs to be properly equipped to succeed in delivering its message. $25,000 is the approximate budget to acquire the right materials necessary to create the film. 

A gift of any proportion is cherished. You may fill out our secure online donation form here.

“Why, we do not even know where we are to find real life, or what it is, or what it is called. Leave us alone without any books, and we shall at once get confused, lose ourselves in a maze, we shall not know what to cling to, what to hold on to, what to love and what to hate, what to respect and what to despise.”

—Fyodor Dostoevsky, Notes from Underground
Painting of Fyodor Dostoevsky.