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Constant Fleeting

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Constant Fleeting
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In Ondrea Barbe’s CONSTANT FLEETING, the filmmaker presents an intimate and emotional portrait of her own family as they learn the enduring value of love in the face of loss. Filmed over a period of three years, CONSTANT FLEETING, The Documentary, utilizes vérite family footage, confessional moments and archival material to interrogate the themes of death, maternal love and memory-keeping from a perspective that is uniquely familial and female.


In the opening scene of CONSTANT FLEETING, we see the face of an eight-year-old boy through the reflective surface of a car window. In the soft angles of his profile one can make out the shadow of pine trees rising up like the gentle giants in his storybooks. The boy and his mother drive the serpentine Northern California highway they both know so well. They are traveling, one last time, to the mother’s childhood home to collect the ashen remains of the boy’s grandmother. The boy’s eyes remainfixed on the immortal landscape as he asks questions about the transience of the human body and the existence his grandmother’s soul.

CONSTANT FLEETING, The Documentary, follows the cross-country treks of the photographer and filmmaker, Ondrea Barbe and her young son, Cory, as they leave their NYC apartment to visit her mother, Bobbi Barbe (Grandma), in Pollock Pines––a small town on the periphery of the El Dorado National Forest. To capture and preserve what she instinctively knows will be the last days of her newly-reconciled connection to her mother. Documentation is part and parcel life in the Barbe family: we learn early on that Grandma won a tape player and a video recorder in the early 1970’s and continued to use them throughout her life: first, as a confessional function of the video diary; second, as a stand in for her loneliness and as an outlet for her creativity; and,finally, as a gift to her daughter. The audience comes to understand that the documentary is the result of a collaborative partnership between the two women, with the camera serving as their main conduit of communication. As Grandma’s body begins to decline from cancer, the filmmaker is driven to reconcile her mother’s stories of the past and her own memories of their family history. The chaotic nature of this undertaking is communicated visually through the physical detritus of Grandma’s home: the newspaper clippings; the stacks of pillows; the overgrowth in the garden; the rows of medications; the photo albums. Barbe films things honestly and as they are––piled haphazardly like the accumulation of so many wasted chances. The tension Barbe creates visually between her childhood home’s dark and cluttered interior and the rugged expanse of the surrounding El Doradoforest serves as an accurate metaphor for the film’s own leitmotif: the struggle to release the weighty trauma of the past and embrace the living beauty of the right now. The female characters in CONSTANT FLEETING grapple with the same themes that many women all over the world deal with every day, including motherhood, childbirth, caring for sick family members, breast cancer, marital abuse, and alcoholism. While Grandma is the clear subject of the film, the inclusion of the filmmaker and her son into the narrative allows the film to function as a multigenerational study of motherhood. Indeed, some of the most joyous scenes are born from the interactions between Cory and Grandma–– “the happy moments” as the Grandma calls them. But all the closeness comes at a cost as old conflicts and buried secrets make their way to the surface. In the end, Ondrea’s relationship with her dying mother proves prismatic and impossible to hold––like the morning sunlight that breaks through the heavy NorCal curtain of fog to play on the surface of her camera. However, in the transfer of motherhood from one generation to the next, Grandma and Ondrea are granted the rare chance to let go of all the unanswered questions between them and find peace and transcendence. In this way, CONSTANT FLEETING is more than a mother/daughter story––it is a filmic guide to end-of-life miracles.


Here’s what your tax-deductible donation can provide:




Invitation to Rough Cut Screening 

- An EXCLUSIVE invitation to a rough cut screening of the film. Either in person (time + place tbd) or via email. We will ask for your feedback and incorporate it into the finished film!  



- All of the above 

- A 8x10 archival print of the flower of your choice,



- All of the above

- Plus Framed 24x36 print of the flower of your choice,



- All of the above

- A private screening for you and your friends of the finished film with Director Ondrea Barbe. Location and date to be determined. (NYC)



- All of the above

- Executive Producer credit on Constant Fleeting. Executive Producers make all the difference!

-Ondrea will lead a private ONE-ON-ONE session in which she will help you to develop a treatment for your very own autobiographical documentary. We will comb through your home movies, pictures, letters and personal effects to determine the important facets of the story YOU wish to tell. (In-person for NYC residents, via Skype for out-of-towners) Everybody has a story that hasn't been told.


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