From dawn to dusk, in the middle of nowhere, the lives within a small hotel intertwine against the backdrop of an untamable wilderness.

Death Valley (working title) | Documentary Feature
Est. 90 mins, currently in post-production

As one day unfolds, Death Valley foregrounds workers choosing to live unconventional lives in the heart of the vast preserved landscape of Death Valley National Park. As dawn breaks, their hands smooth, count, fold and wash. They clock in, check their watches, and ask what time it is. Interspersed the sun moves throughout the sky.

Over the course of the film, they begin to share their internal landscapes. The seemingly inhospitable desert gets reconstituted as a space of belonging and longing, avoidance and choice, isolation and connection. Through an intimate combination of poetic and observational filming, the film explores the tension and coexistence of different temporalities: labor time, geological time, and a human time that aspires to exist outside of modern social constraints. 

Death Valley is part of the multi-format documentary project, Topography. Supported by the Ken Corday FDM Grow Grant, National Park Arts Foundation. 

Hannah Jayanti | director, producer, editor, cinematographer, sound