“Agrabagrabah” by Calvin Frederick

Calvin Frederick’s hallucinatory short film is remarkable for the fact that it was made using no visual special effects.

The trippy visual effects in Calvin Frederick’s “Agrabagrabah” were generated using a series of analogue components that together mimic digital imagery: a mirrored carousel, old VHS home movies and an arsenal of lightboxes.

This experimental short film is divided into three parts: the mirrored carousel, the towers of light and the bubbling screen. While the film may look like it was created using computer-generated imagery, it was made entirely with live action.

Although it bears no direct connection to the event, the film was inspired by September 11, says Frederick. In order to replicate the overwhelming emotions of the event, Frederick enlisted the help of sound designer Daniel Eaton. Eaton sourced vocal clips from Frederick’s childhood videos and stitched them together so that they all play at once, creating a hypnotic and unsettling sound track.

“Agrabagrabah” was featured at Slamdance Film Festival, as was Frederick’s previous film, “Bermuda”.


These lightboxes make the towers of light in the second part of “Agrabagrabah.”

The bubbling tank used in the third part of “Agrabagrabah”.

The reflective carousel from the first part of “Agrabagrabah”.