About the Film
Calvin Black was a folk artist who lived in California's Mojave Desert and created more than 80 life-size female dolls, each with its own personality, function, and costume. He also built the "Bird Cage Theater," where the dolls perform and sing in voices recorded by the artist. The film works on two levels. One is the documentation of the artist's legacy and commentary on women: grotesque female figures moving in the desert wind and the theater with its frozen "actresses," protected by his widow from a world she views as hostile. The other is the re-creation of the artist's vision through the magic of film, as the camera enables the dolls to move and sing and brings theater to life as the artist imagined it.
Possum Trot is part of the "Visions of Paradise" series on contemporary folk artists directed and produced by Irving Saraf and Allie Light. The other four films in the series are: Angel That Stands By Me: the Paintings of Minnie Evans, Hundred and Two Mature: The Art of Harry Lieberman, Grandma's Bottle Village: The Art of Tressa Prisbrey, and The Monument of Chief Rolling Mountain Thunder.