This is a cutting edge documentary about the Avant Garde art movement conceived by American scientist, poet and thinker John Allen, in the 70s. The film is based on a critiqued published by the film’s director Ishmael Annobil in 2000. The film utilises the text of the critique as narration, which is delivered in a surreal setting by an actress embodying the spirit of the Transvangarde.


The film also features an interview with John Allen, the founder, which is both insightful and electrifying. He takes the audience through the events and processes leading to his discovery of a parallel world of Avant Garde artists working in all cultures, from Berber North Africa to Japan, and also his primeval experiences as a correspondent in the Vietnam War. 



The film uses Ishmael Annobil's critique of The Transvangarde movement’s 2000 exhibition as the point of departure, interpreting the works in that watershed exposition, side by side with John Allen’s lucid and electrifying analysis, prescience, sophisticated anthropology and polemics, his mind-blowing anecdotes, all ending in a boldly alluring prediction on the evolution of art. This unique storytelling approach draws the audience into a dualistic reckoning of art and the human spirit - phantasm.


Ishmael cites In the Presence of Awe as the architypal Stonedog film, as it was made without any kind of budget, relying purely on the storytelling, artistic, and technical skills of the crew. It is Stonedog's first ever film, and it gave birth to Ishmael's coining of the collective's slogan of defiance: "shoot the sucker". Stonedoggers also refer to this film as the quintessential director's film.


Cinematography is by talented young South African William Olivier George, who also co-composed the film’s futuristic score with the director. He shares the editing credits with Italian editor Francesco Caradonna and Norwegian Merethe Rosvold. Lighting is by Israeli Ori Batut. Original narration was by actress and cabaret performer Alexandra Frances, but she was later replaced for technical reasons by Canadian actress Farah Merani (updated trailer coming soon).



Producer/Director: Ishmael Fiifi Annobil | Cinematography: William Olivier George and James Buck (second narration) | Editors: William Olivier, Francesco Caradonna, and Merethe Rosvold | Motion Graphics: Murat Kuscu | Lighting: Ori Batut | Production Management: Sharon Tang | Narrator: Farah Merani | Original Narrator: Alex Frances | Sound: Marco Iavarone