Meet the Winnipeg filmmaker making movies of decaying plants and animals
Ben Cousins, CTVNews.ca Staff
Published Wednesday, March 13, 2019 10:23PM EDT
Joel Penner of Winnipeg has a knack for seeing the beauty in things most people would find disgusting.
The 28-year-old time-lapse filmmaker has developed a specialty in creating videos using time-lapses of animals, fruits, vegetables and flowers as they decompose.
“I sort of had the idea from my lifelong love of plants to get into capturing time-lapses of decaying flowers and vegetables,” he told CTV News Channel on Wednesday. “I just had a lot of inspiration in that and it came pretty naturally to me.”
Penner has anywhere from 10-20 scanners running simultaneously in his basement studio as they capture fruit and vegetables decaying in a small dish of dirt and worms.
“In (the footage) I find these beautiful scenes of things like microbial growth happening and fruit fly larvae existing,” he said. “(These are) things that you wouldn’t typically think of as beautiful, but when looked at in the right way, it’s pretty cool.”
Penner’s work has been used as part of National Geographic’s docuseries One Strange Rock, which is available on Netflix.
He intends to release his latest work, Wrought, this summer. The 15-minute film captures decomposing roadkill, as well as several lizards and geckos donated from a local reptile group. The animals are shown essentially being devoured by beetles.
“It was pretty tedious because you have to navigate the smells and we had to keep these flesh-eating taxidermy beetles alive during the winter,” he said. “Overall we got a lot of really exciting footage.”