Feet in Water, Head on Fire


2023 | 90 Min | 16mm - DCP 

Press Kit


Terra Long’s feature debut is a breathtaking portrait of California’s Coachella Valley that is both anchored in the specifics of place and community, while freely exploring the limits of cinematic time and space. Shaped by seismic forces of the San Andreas Fault, the Coachella Valley is home to an agricultural community built around the date palm trees introduced to the region in the early 1900s. Today, the land and its people face combined threats from economic upheaval, US immigration policy and climate change. With an elliptical grace, Long’s film spans vast expanses of geological time and sweeping desert landscapes into extreme close-ups of the region’s plant and insect life, where microscopic views of cellular biology trace intimate stories of human connection. Beautifully shot on 16mm film and featuring hand-processing techniques that incorporate plants native to the Coachella Valley into the film, Long’s documentary is grounded in place even on a material level. - JC


Directed + Camera | Terra Long
Produced + Written | Mireya Martinez,
Sharlene Bamboat + Terra Long
Written with | Daniela Uribe
Edit | Kaija Siirala + Terra Long
Sound Design + Mix | Richy Carey
Additional Camera | Alisha Tejpal

Selected Press:

A Great Divide, Reverse Shot
Ode to the Natural World, VOX
The Road to Mecca, Cinema Scope
Palm Trees, Persian Myths, and Pageantry POV Magazine

Selected Screenings:

True / False Film Festival, US
First Look MoMI, US
Hot Docs, Canada
DOXA, Canada 
DokuFest, Kosovo 
Black Canvas Film Festival, Mexico
Dok Leipzig, Germany
Unorthodocs Wexner Center, US 
IDFA, Netherlands
RIDM, Montreal Canada

350 MYA


2016 | 5 Min | 16mm

“350 million years ago the Tafilalt region was the Rheic Ocean.” So we are informed at the end of Terra Long’s lovely formalist landscape study, which employs the sharp contrast of colored silk against sand and sky to emulate a kind of visual oasis. The material, undulating in the wind, is not a metaphor for the once-present waves. Rather, it demonstrates a time-frame separate from that of the desert itself, which is always in motion but whose geological existence is at a significant remove from human time.

Adding an additional dimension to these images of differential flux, Long displays the work of the apparatus itself: slippage in frame registration, sprockets vibrating, and the specific meeting of the Moroccan sun and the surface of the lens. Each reflects a topography, and in turn a temporality all its own.

Michael Sicinski, Mubi Notebook

Made during the Weight of Mountains film residency at Café Tissardmine in Morocco

Selected Screenings

  • Toronto International Film Festival, Wavelengths, Canada
  • International Film Festival Rotterdam, Netherlands
  • Jihlava Film Festival, Czech Republic
  • Media City Film Festival, Windsor, Detroit, Canada, US
  • LA Film Forum: Mysteries Inside Facts curated by David Dinnell US
  • Lightfield, Sanfrancisco, US
  • Festival Strangloscope, Florianópolis, Brazil
  • Exposure Kopernik Observatory, curated by Tomonari Nishikawa NY, US

Horses in the
year of the dog

2018 | 6 min | 16mm | 2K | 5.1 Sound

An immediate love forms between new friends considering motherhood under the roof of a fierce matriarch. Bodies become porous, and passage, bees pollinate the food we consume, becoming and belonging one to the other. Film developed in lavender, eucalyptus, and hibiscus grown on site.

Filmed during the Site and Cycle residency at Casa Rural in Jalisco, Mexico.

Select Festivals:

  • Ann Arbor Film Festival
  • EXiS Experimental Film & Video Festival, Seoul, Korea.
  • Edinburgh International Film Festival, Scotland, UK
  • THOUSANDSUNS CINEMA Media City Film Festival, Online