In the Air Press Materials

Lee Brown in In the Air.

In the Air
a film by Liza Johnson
22 minutes
Super 16>HDCAM

In Southeastern Ohio, April works in a scrap yard. Daphany waits for customers in a fast food window. Lee spends the day waiting for school to be over. But the local circus school offers a departure from daily tedium and checked-out adults. Combining elements of fiction and documentary, In the Air is a portrait of a place that has endured an economic crisis for decades. The film features real people acting out scenes from everyday life and examines the force they are capable of in a deindustrialized world. In the Air is shot in the filmmaker’s hometown–Portsmouth, Ohio–with the collaboration of the Cirque D’Art circus school.

Director Bio:
Liza Johnson is an artist and filmmaker. Her work has been exhibited internationally in museums, galleries, and film festivals, including the Wexner Center for the Arts, the Walker Art Center, and the Centre Pompidou, as well as the New York, Berlin, and Rotterdam Film Festivals, among many others. She has been a fellow of the DAAD Berliner Kunstlerprogramm and the Sundance Institute, and has published a number of articles and interviews about art and film. Johnson is Associate Professor of Art at Williams College.

lizajohnson1 [at] gmail [dot] com

Principal Cast:
Lee Brown, Daphnay Bauer, and April Hobbes
with the Cirque D’Art Theater of Portsmouth Ohio
also featuring John Chandler, Brandon Craft, Ronnie Davis, Austin Lee Lansing, Trevor Lansing, David Mallory II, Jason James, Misty Jones, Matthew Runyon, Hayden Schmidt, Anita Skaggs, Morgan Taylor Sparks, Robert Sparks, Autumn Thompson

Produced and Directed by Liza Johnson
Director of Photography Anne Etheridge
Editor Paul Zucker
Additional Photography John Foster
Sound Mix Chen Harpaz
Field Producers Pegi Wilkes and Trisha Schmidt
Choreography Pegi Wilkes and Trisha Schmidt


Johnson’s film, which centers on kids training for a circus in a town without one, is never boring. It rather grows in significance until it reached it’s final scene, one of pure cinema, that is equal parts High School Musical and Gus van Sant. In the Air leaves the emotions, just as the title promised, deliciously suspended.
Tavia Nyongo, cultural historian, NYU
read the full review

In the Air manages to evoke sadness and laughter, despair and hope, awkwardness and grace all at once. Those kids were perfect and Portsmouth was perfect.”
Jennifer Lange, Associate Curator of Media Arts, Wexner Center for the Arts

Jennifer Lange’s Interview with Liza Johnson about the making of In the Air

Hi-res images:

John Chandler and Heather White in In the Air.

Lee Brown in In the Air. Photo by Liza Johnon

April Hobbs in In the Air. Photo by John Foster.

Lee Brown and Daphnay Bauer in In the Air. Photo by Anne Etheridge.

Robert Sparks and Lee Brown in In the Air.

Robert Sparks in In the Air.

Director Pic:

Liza Johnson

Lee Brown, Liza Johnson, and Robert Sparks on the set of In the Air.

Frame grabs:

Lee Brown in In the Air.

Trevor Lansing, Austin Lee Lansing, and April Hobbs in In the Air.

Daphany Bauer in In the Air.

Trisha Schmidt in In the Air.

Anita Skaggs in In the Air.


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