Flipping the Whale

Far beneath the surface of collective consciousness is a phantom street where dreams and memories collect...it is called the Ravenswood Ocean, and its discovery in the 1920s has brought generations of scientists called "whalers" to study and explore it on mythical expeditions in metaphysical sailing ships. It is a street where ghosts walk, and Jeffrey, the demon of regret, terrorizes all who enter. The year is 1998, and a new journey into the Ravenswood is led by Captain William Moore, whose motive is not entirely scientific. Having altered their equipment, he arranges to rendezvous with the spirit of his deceased ladylove. When his fellow whalers learn of his self-serving plans, they remove him from command. But as their own tactics against Jeffrey fail, the captain convinces them to leave him alone in the Ravenswood...with Jeffrey, his lost love, and his fail-proof plan to save the soul of mankind.

Starring Eddie Shin (Gilmore Girls, That 80s Show), Flipping the Whale won Best Picture at the 2001 Lake Arrowhead Film Festival in California, and Audience Award at the 2001 Critical Mass Film Festival in Clinton, New York. It was broadcast on Chicago Access Channel 19. Lenny and Jessie, a five-minute short extracted from the feature, won runner-up on the ZoieFest online film festival, aired on the PBS program Image Union, and screened at the ZombieDance Film Festival in Texas and the DaVinci Film Festival in Oregon. With Martti Nelson, Jim Staples, Amy Bakos and writer/director Sean Guinan. Co-produced with Joshua Eckhardt for Chicago Avenue Films. Black and white, 90 minutes

"Guinan's work flies in the face of popular wisdom about what contemporary television is supposed to be"
-Ed Koziarski, Can TV Connection

"The actors do a perfect job"
-Insane Wayne Chinsang, Tastes Like Chicken

"A beguiling, maddening melange of songs and skits...the musical numbers, most of them written by Guinan, recall Yankee hymns, minstrel music, early Beatles, and Kurt Weill, and generate a sweet, nostalgic, at times sardonic tone"
-Ted Shen, Chicago Reader

"Pretentious, yes. It's full of itself. And it's all the more entrancing for it. The impressive mixture of video and sound technique and Guinan's array of tuneful songs that recall some half a dozen different styles artfully match the story's jumble of emotion and regret...unlike much experimental work, which attempts to pound you into submission with the seriousness of its message (and technique), there's an engaging sense of play here, of whimsy and misdirection, even through the film's elegant, elegiac tone"
-Steve Johnson, Chicago Tribune

"A beauty...[Guinan uses] the cinema as an instrument of magic"
-John Guare, playwrite (House of Blue Leaves, Six Degrees of Separation)

- Title Sequence
- Jean and Sammy
- Tuesday Blues
- Lennie and Jessie
- Sammy's Bar
- They Come to Die
- Underbelly 1
- Underbelly 2
- Underbelly 4
- Flipping the Whale
- Promo