A Light in the Dark: The Art & Life of Frank Mason
Seven years in the making, A Light in the Dark: The Art & Life of Frank Mason was clearly a labor of love. The quality of the documentary, down to the finest details, spoke to the extensive rumination the filmmakers must have taken. For one, they chose to use actual film stock to produce that classic granular imagery, a smart analogy that mimics the “feel” of paint on canvas. Indeed, nearly every frame was a painting. Produced by Frank’s nephew Scott Mason, directed by Sonny Quinn (co-producer & editor), with Rick Lopez as DP, this documentary presented our strong desire to reach back to hallowed antiquity, and to preserve our prized cultural heritage. Done simply and intimately, the result: a beautiful and personal homage to the much-loved and well-respected Frank Mason.
The filmmakers wonderfully captured the energy that the late art master so very clearly emanated. A personality so captivating, he centered every shot and illuminated every frame. A magnetic character with great charisma and even greater passions. So few of us are blessed with chosen professions that feed our souls. Art and its sacred preservation were the causes of Frank’s life. He was a lifelong advocate against the poor and reckless process that destroys instead of preserves art; the Sistine Chapel is one of great consequence. And against some current artistic outlets in modernity, Frank sustained the gorgeous wonders of the old masters. For over 50 years, he inspired legions of art students to pass on the classic, natural beauty of colors and light. Art is one of the finest achievements of man, and Frank was a master of his craft.
His recitation of Kipling’s poem was a sublime close to the film. Scott told me “When Earth’s Last Picture is Painted” was hung above Frank’s bed in the later years of his life. For a man in his twilight years, this must have been his “Thanatopsis”. A small solace that guided the soul of an artist, like a light in the dark. An Official Selection to the 2011 Big Apple Film Festival, and the Newport Beach Film Festival, “A Light in the Dark” from Maestro Films was a polished (and at moments, luminous) production.