There are few documentarians who excite my love of the form as much as Jilli Rose does. Her work Stixky was a masterpiece of the animated documentary form. There was no question that we were going to program Bright Spots when we saw that she had submitted it, and when I watched it, I knew it was exactly the film we needed.
The focus of this piece is the work of the legendary Nick Holmes. He's one of the folks who is working to prevent extinctions on islands. Rats are, in many places, villains, destroying so many island ecosystems. The work that Nick does to save species in critical danger is so important.
The film, as an animated work, is lovely, impressionistic, and absolutely beautiful. The way the animation plays with the interview, and the music, really turns it into a singular work of art instead of an academic piece. It gives weight to the environmental aspect without losing sight of the artistic aspect. That is a difficult line to walk, and Bright Spots is so good at it, they seem to be running on it!
Bright Spots screens as a part of DocuNation on March 1st at 415, March 5th at 615, and March 12 at 415 at the Century Theatres in Redwood City, and on March 7th at 345 at the Hammer Theatre in Downtown San Jose.
One of my favorite Disney shorts, it provides an amazing point of consideration for the development of animation's role in the Hollywood landscape.
The world of animation is wonderful. I've learned that so many artists have signatures that are instantly recogniseable. The moment we put on Boomerang, I knew it was Steven Vander Meer. His 2015 film Salmon Deadly Sins was an absolute highlight, and this was very similar to it in methodology, but also worlds way in emotional resonance.
Boomerang is a beautifully made animation, with each frame numbered in the corner. The thing is, it's a music video based on a song by Chris "Bird" Jowaisas. Again, like so many films we're featuring this year. the music and the imagery play within the same sandbox, and they make the entire work far more impressive.
Vander Meer's animation style is wonderful, and yeah the way he treats the reality of his images reminds me of Bill Plympton, but here the sensation given off is so much more than just surreal, which it is, but it's also beautiful, evocative, and most of all, it is generous with itself. That may sound unusual, but some films demand, insist, but Boomerang gives to the viewer, making it more impressive.
The figure of the Jester, based on the model Bella Uribe, is persistent, and gives us a trickster, but moreso, it ties it into the long standing tradition of clowns and jesters in Surrealist art. Add to that the visual signature of stripes, in everything from the tights of our trickster to the tiger shark a great white becomes after eating a swimmer, and you see the power of that particular character.
The impressive flowing images, morphing from one, often concrete, form to another which tends towards the organic through a set of doughy stages, makes for the entire five minutes to feel as if we are bring washed over, that these images are coming to us as a cleansing. The Boomerang motif is apparent, but more importantly, the transition from the hard/rigid/scientific to the soft/pliable/natural is a wonderful path, and through it, I found myself moved deeply. This is exactly the kind of film that makes programming a shorts program difficult; the moment it finishes, you have to go back and re-watch it or else you'll feel like you've not given it justice.
Boomerang shows as a part of the Animated Worlds program showing at Century 20 Redwood City Thu, Mar 2 9:15 PM, Sat, Mar 4 8:15 PM, and Sun, Mar 12 6:50 PM, as well as in Downtown San Jose at the Hammer Theatre on Wed, Mar 8 3:45 PM
Martha Colburn is a helluva filmmaker. Her works are, well, indescribable, and not in a Gaspar Noe sort of way. Her stuff ranges all over the place, and she is exciting! Her films and installations are wonderful ruminations on all sorts of things, and when she hits, she hits hard!
You inhabit two of the worlds of film – the festival and museum realms. What role do you see film playing in museums today?
I am thinking about how the public can be part of my work, through costumes and clothes and sets. I will be showing some films in Varbergs Konsthall in Sweden in October.
Your films are often incredibly scored, you've created music, and also done music videos for bands. How does the process for each differ?
It’s the same for me– its musical. Next week I have a performance where I play a sampled set and some drums, with a drummer and a synth / harmonica player. I put together the group and do projections. I had a band that put out six records – The Dramatics. I’m musical, but now I am interested in applying this to scripts and stories.
I absolutely adore the style you employed for MYTH LABS. Where did that film come from? When you work on a film like it, how do you get started?
I started with personal stories, people I knew from High School and friends of friends were being impacted somehow by the epidemic of Methamphetamine when I made the film. I then go to research, books, internet, talking to people, writing, and collecting images. It is my writing and research that I find to be the most work.
When you are struck with the concept for a work, how do you go about choosing its form, whether an installation or a film? Do you ever start down one road and then end up having to re-work everything?
I am working on scripts and with actors, and performers now – as part of my filmmaking. I don’t even want to think as narrowly as film or installation- however practical approach that may be- but I first think outside the box- how I can do something live, something engaging. I am an animator for the last years, but when I am not behind the camera – which is not very often - I like to think way beyond that, how I can work with fashion, music, opera, theater, sexual education, political movements, environmental campaigns and anything but animation.
Klaus at Gunpoint
A Film Journal dedicated to all film.A segment of Office Supply Publishing.