THIS STATE I’M IN, 20th Anniversary Edition

THIS STATE I’M IN is the “true” story of Truey Kemah Shivers, a teenage girl filled with adolescent wanderlust and curiosity and completely dissatisfied with her uneventful life on the Texas coastal plain.  When she can no longer tolerate the shabbiness and domestic squabbles of home, Truey decides to make a run for it and seek her fortunes elsewhere.  She rows away into the Gulf of Mexico where she is swept up in a ferocious hurricane.

Washed ashore and reborn “way far away and perhaps in the past,” Truey finds herself alone and friendless in a strange and unknown territory.  Her saga continues as she travels through three distinct time frames which correspond metaphorically to the evolution of the state of Texas.  Her own journey from innocence to experience parallels that of the cultural and political history of the state as she encounters all aspects of the human personality such as pain, pleasure, lust, and greed. Truey is, in effect, a contemporary Dorothy, working her way home through a Texan Land of Oz.

THIS STATE I’M IN is enhanced by striking black-and-white cinematography and a richly blended music and sound-effects score. It features performances by noted Texas art personalities such as the late celebrated curator and Menil Founding Director, Walter Hopps; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, contemporary art curator Alison de Lima Greene; MFA/H Film Center Director Marian Luntz; Houston gallery owner Hiram Butler, Boston MFA curator, George Shackelford; and Marfa, TX based film programmer Ralph McKay. The film also features Texas artists Michael Tracy, Bert Long, and Gael Stack in memorable roles. Another notable member of the cast is Houston socialite Carolyn Farb who continues to be a generous fixture of the Houston philanthropic scene. The part of Truey is played by dancer and writer Claudia Obrosey.

In addition to its Wizard of Oz inspired narrative trajectory, the film documented Ziebell’s first impressions and actual experiences in Texas since relocating to Houston for the Museum of Fine Arts’ newly established Core artist-in-residence program. THIS STATE I’M IN may now be seen as a time-capsule preserving a vibrant moment in the nascent Houston art scene. It also foreshadows the future of Houston and surrounding areas, from events such as the Enron scandal to Hurricane Ike and the fate of the Bolivar Peninsula.

This app contains the full feature film, the storyboard, behind the scenes photos as well as interviews, reviews and opinions of the film.

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