City kid, raised by wolves.
BuK is an experiment in immersive film and autonomous exhibition.
One part traveling roadshow, one part drive-in cinema (with just a touch of dark ride), BuK is an itinerant road-side attraction crisscrossing the interstate system, stopping at any given location just long enough to satisfy demand.
It’s the story of a silent little boy named Eli Buk, his mother Ella, her partner Mina, and their two dogs - Remus and Romulus - making the mid-winter drive from New York City to a remote cabin in the Adirondacks.
Both experiential and deeply intimate, BuK employs a kind of inverse world-building. It’s immersive precisely because it’s directed inward, like the ‘world within a world’ summoned by a child in the backseat of a car.
BuK blends narrative, full dome projection, and experience design without abandoning the time-honored traditions of cinema: a good story well told to an audience assembled in the dark, their undivided attention focused on the big screen. The film is screened for an audience of four, seated in a station wagon as the story unfolds in 360 degrees, projected against the interior surface of a mobile ‘pop up’ geodesic dome.
Sound is delivered via the vehicle’s audio system, making subtle use of binaural audio: the metronomic “thwump-thwump” of the family car traveling a bleak highway at speed, its tires kissing the seams in the concrete beneath the asphalt; the terse “whomp” of a temporary rear window fashioned from duct tape and plastic drop cloth, buffeted by oncoming traffic; the disconcerting “crunch” of automotive sheet metal colliding with flesh and the fretting whine of a dog as someone steps out of the car to investigate the outcome of a deer-strike.
The film concludes with our characters reaching their Adirondack destination. The audience steps out of the station wagon and emerges from the fulldome theater needing a moment to get their bearings, having just experienced something like the body-knowing of a child asleep in a car, whose disorientation when roused is a groping to make sense of the space/time-between, a moving without motion.
The piece is reset, the next showing begins. It continues like this for as long as there are tickets to be sold at this particular engagement. Then, like a one-tent circus pulling up stakes, it’s time for BuK to move on. The projection surface is peeled away, the geodesic dome is broken down and packed into a trailer, the trailer hitched to the very same station wagon from which the audience views the film, and the little caravan is driven to the next location.