The Archive and OKJA!!

The show will start 15 minutes early!!

My film, “The Archive…” is playing as an OPENER for “Okja” at the IFS in Boulder on the evenings of Sunday Nov. 4th and Monday Nov. 5th. I know it’s on Netflix, but it’s better on the big screen and in the temple of the moving image which we all know as Muenzinger auditorium.

Arrive by 7:15 to see “The Archive of the Movements of Inanimate Objects”, the serendipitous short opener to “Okja”.

Here are two reviews to inform this short film and then longer feature:

Review: “In ‘Okja,’ a Girl and Her Pig Take on the Food Industrial Complex”

– By A. O. SCOTT

“Okja,” not unlike “E. T.,” is about how a young person achieves moral insight by connecting with and fighting for a nonhuman creature. Okja’s oppressors, like E. T.’s, are part of a system that refuses to recognize her as anything more than a thing…

…The human performers are all brilliant, but the movie belongs to its title character and her digitally conjured, genetically modified ilk. Okja is a miracle of imagination and technique, and “Okja” insists, with abundant mischief and absolute sincerity, that she possesses a soul.

 

Review: “The Archive of the Movements of Inanimate Objects

– By ALEX COX

“Brilliant! …A lot of shorts (and longs) seem to have no message or moral purpose but your film absolutely does. It is a really strong statement not only against vivisection and cruelty to things we don’t understand, but also about the perversity of technology and the capriciousness of man, or the man/beast which we are. This is really fine, thought-provoking work – beautifully realized and deeply disturbing. Thank you for doing it! ”

Profound (or shallow?) Objectification

Profound objectification is a method of practicing a mind state of equanimity that a lot of artists are familiar with because it comes from practicing drawing, or photography, or painting, or sculpting, or any art practice where you’re doing a lot of observing.

Handknee, graphite and charcoal on paper

Surfing in place, Digital Sketch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It comes with drawing from observation. As you practice more, you start to see past your own desires, and past your own assumptions of the subject in it’s relationship to you. You really see shallower as well as deeper. You start to see shallower than the meaning, shallower than the surface, shallower until it’s just the light that you’re witnessing. The light that simply bounces from the surface. The light that’s reflected and refracted inside the surface, and then comes back toward you. It’s just the light that you’re looking at rather than what you want the object to be. It starts to simply be what it is. You start to see it without all the extra stuff that you put on it, and you realize that it exists in it’s own right. The object has autonomy outside it’s relation to you. This is a clearer and more humble version of anything you look at, without the names for things we all agree on, or the names you call things by, but you start to see it by it’s name as it’s called in your eye, only by the light that returns from it at the moment you’re watching.

Dynamic gesture, charcoal on paper

Not again, charcoal on paper

It’s this kind of seeing that allows you to see the spirit in the inanimate object. You don’t have to imagine it, you don’t have to know it, you don’t have to make any decisions about it at all, you just have to see it without all the naming and choosing and wanting and deciding and knowing. The light as it is in it’s shallow nothingness strips you of all the artifice from your understanding of what you’re seeing, and it lets you profoundly objectify the thing while you maintain your empathy and compassion for it. Most objectification leads to disrespect because you retain your desire, you retain a central position in your universe, you retain your ego, objectification from egocentrism. Whereas, this shallow-yet-profound-objectification opens you up to the ability to respect anything, real or imagined, alive or inanimate. The priorities and hierarchies in the world disintegrate from your sight and fall away. How respectful could the world we live in be, if all things were offered the same respect by virtue of the way we see them, rather than how we think about them, name them, speak of them, and desire them.” 

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The Archive: notes…

 

The Archive of the Movements of Inanimate Objects

“I want people to take as much as they can from the movie.

“It started as a basic psychodrama, with a character entering a space and investigating what seems strange and then possibly finding something that they can’t understand. The space is defined by the character’s ignorance in relation to what they are seeing. As it’s said in the world, “you see what you want to see.” But, of course, there’s a spirit of truth that lives intrinsically behind what we see and what we don’t. What many people call God, I guess.

“Then the character finds something and has both an external and internal – or objective and subjective – experience with what they take from that place, all of this “mixed experience” is fairly easy to express through animation because it’s all constructed as collage, so what’s interior can be exterior and vice versa, very much like our simultaneous interior and exterior experience in conscious life. That’s what I love so much about animation, it’s how much better it expresses reality than live action cinematography! Yes motion is inherent to realism, but it’s not the whole story. Internal moving-visual-thinking is the other half, and for some it’s way more than half.

“So, I was turning that into a kind of essay on the very normal experience of objectification and desire for answers, and the capacity for compassion and empathy in the face of that as well. The film is a real human story about our role as a mind in the world, and how it affects the world, and how it affects ourselves for that matter. I think it reaches way past the narrative itself, and into a kind of poetic mythologizing of “the questioner of reality”, or “the scientist”, who we all are in some way, and who is also human, and who also has a spiritual side, but then has to make compromises for their own humanity, and for their own empathy, in order to even ask the questions that they want to ask about the world and what they’ve found.

“It’s a story of poetic redemption and consequences, but, maybe there are consequences to questions that we don’t really have a choice in asking. So, in some ways, the film is a dramatization of everyday experience, and what we do to our minds and to our own spirits in order to navigate this journey that we’re all on. To accept the consequences of our actions, to continue to act, and ask our questions, and make choices about what we will sacrifice on a daily basis, and in many ways, also while we sleep and dream.” 

C. Pearce

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A Cultural History of Tai Chi

Working with both Scott Phillips, and a fantastic group of student filmmakers at the Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design, was an enlightening experience. Teaching filmmaking techniques while negotiating the expansive combination of history, kinesthetics, art, dance, music, and religious ritual that Scott offered to this documentary was one of the most challenging experiences of professional development I’ve had.

Scott’s book, “Possible Origins”,  furthers and clarifies the ideas summarized in the video, and it’s a great way to get deeper into the compelling arguments he makes to recombine the histories of dance, fighting, religious ritual, and art, that were separated through global politics.

Working with an unorthodox scholar, historian, and practicioner of martial arts was a dream for a filmmaker. Scott is a wealth of mind expansive ideas, sounds, and movements, all around the theme of recombining falsely disparate cultural traditions. Having such a compelling subject actively making his own voice, image, and thinking available to our documentary practice was a boon for a film production teacher and  students expecting a semester of repetitious curriculum.

The film, characteristically, is dense with meaning, metaphor, image, and sound and was a struggle to compress into it’s short length. You can feel the compression while watching as you’re compelled to re-watch the film to get a handle on the complex epiphanies. Each repeat screening rewards the viewer with new understandings, the book is no less insightful.

My crew, the Video and Sound production class in the RMCAD Animation Department, who are all credited at the end of the video, were the most engaged group of learner-makers I’ve had the pleasure to work with. Thanks to everyone involved.

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The A.M.I.O. at MIFFonEdge, July 2015

Walking to the Lab

If you’re in the Waterville, Maine area and want to take in some art, my new film, (take a breath first) “The Archive of the Movements of Inanimate Objects”,  is in the MIFFonEdge exhibition there for a week or so. I won’t be there because I’m teaching my best summer animation workshop to date, but please drop in to catch it’s first light. I’ve heard great things about this festival already from folks in the know.

The exhibition includes work by the artists Nancy Andrews, David Colagiovanni, Judith Larsen, Heddi Vaughan Siebel, and Stan VanDerBeek. I’m in great company and humbled. Should be a great show.

Watch the film online here

Here’s the link to the 2015 program: MIFFonEdge – Maine International Film Festival 2015

Just a week or so away from this postings date…

Hand and BulbPoem Stanzas

JCOS Animation Workshop

I was at the Jefferson County Open School this Spring to teach another animation workshop!

Possibly the best public school in the world. On entering the building each afternoon I was fed by the pervasive enthusiasm of every learner in the building. This is a community built on self-directed, whole child, experiential education.

My love affair with this community did not start here. I’ve had an “in” for 10 years chaperoning trips like “The Art and Culture of L.A.” and “The Independent Film Trip” to the Sundance Film Festival in Park City. But working in the building was a small dream of mine and it came true this March.

This fantastic group of students took their turn at the challenge of making a metamorphic exquisite corpse animation as a group on index cards and they drew almost 800 drawings in their spare time!

With the theme of “Hybrid Creatures” they each designed a hybridized character, like a “Pica-yogurt” (Picachu + yogurt) and a “Squain” (squid + brain) and spent their spare time drawing in-betweens on index cards to transform each creature into the next in an endless loop. This particular loop has some gaps, but those who finished get credit for being the most engaging young animators I’ve ever worked with.

 

September School Visiting Artist Workshop

I was invited to be the visiting artist at the September School for the first week in November.

The fantastic art teacher Angela and the students took the challenge of making a metamorphic exquisite corpse animation as a group, and with an entirely digital process!!

With the theme of “Mythological Creatures” they each designed a character and spent their in-class time drawing in-betweens in photoshop to transform one creature into another in an endless loop.

This was the result with original music by one of the students: (It’s all in the credits, Enjoy!!)

Bill, The Galactic Hero World Premiere – DEC. 12th – 7:30 & 9:30 – IFS – Muenzinger – Boulder

Bill-Title-Frame

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

!!! Bill, The Galactic Hero – FEATURE FILM !!!

World Premiere – DEC. 12th – 7:30 & 9:30 – IFS – Muenzinger – Boulder

New Link 2016!!!! – Bill the Galactic Hero Feature Film on Vimeo HERE!!!

Watch the trailer here:

Directed by Alex Cox and produced by a crew made entirely of students, this is the largest student production ever, and I had the honor of directing the animation for the Prologue and the Epilogue for the film !!!

In the spring semester of 2014… on the third floor of the Atlas building… in the CU Film Studies digital lab… the students in my course, FILM 3620, naively accepted the task of creating the animation for the Prologue and Epilogue to the student made feature film, BILL, THE GALACTIC HERO.

They designed, toiled and fought their way through a full 8 minutes of character animation for a measly 3 credit course. They continued working past the end of the semester for another 30 days. Beginning with the production design and concept art by Coley Lubinski (Nicole Raven) and ending with delivery to the editor, the work was unrelenting for six months. Hats off to the animation crew, many of who will be present at the world premiere!

The film will open for it’s world premiere at the International Film Series in the Muenzinger auditorium at 7:30 pm on December 12th!!!

 

 

 

 

Telluride Film Fest 2014 review

20 fascinating films in 4 days.

Inbetween all those films the mind is filled with ideas. What better way to pass the time than make motion sketches. Blink, like the eyes of the aspens, and you may miss a few frames. Note: plenty of time to sleep when dead.

Telluride 2014 had a handful of gems to look for.

This caveat is unnecessary if you know me: I’m not one for the mainstream. Typically my list includes the strange-and-powerful over the fun-but-easily-forgotten.

Here are my lists (below) responding to the question “WILL YOU SEE IT AGAIN?” (and here’s a link to the program if you want to follow along)

The ABSOLUTELY list:

Cried mild at “Wild” and I would do it again. This is how I like to cry. With atheistic forgiveness.

Grunts of approval after “Mr. Turner”. Strap me to the mast to resist the siren of this light!

Long persuasive discussions after “Diplomacy”. And I have an aversion to history.

Pensive shared moments after “The Look of Silence” (much less traumatic theater experience than “The Act of Killing” and a perfect supporting film, although it became obvious to me that the real shocker is not violence on screen but a lack of remorse). The heart of darkness is not a serial killer, but the everyday man turned into one by their government. Serial killing as a learnable skill (shudder again weeks later). “The Act of Killing” I could not see again, but this film I may watch every year.

Between Thanksgiving and Xmas, if I can find some dvds, you will find me screening “Baal”, “California Split”, and “Wicked Woman” as a triple feature, alone in the garage, with a bottle of Bulleit.

The POSSIBLY list:

If it get’s recut for release I may re-screen, “Mommy”, as a Silver-Linings-reality-check.

I may see, “The Salt of the Earth”, again if I’m with my family when I share it with them.

Some strange political optimism after “Rosewater”, This film may come back and be unavoidable.

The NO NEED list:

The over the top images and blunt manipulations of “Wild Tales” are indelibly stuck in my mind so why would I ever need to see it again. Zero subtlety to tease out with repeated viewings. A sort of masochistic kind of fun and humor that may be just right for you, however.

As it is simply validity for my paranoia, I will skip “Merchants of Doubt” next time, and simply worry while I do the dishes instead.

All the best,

ChrisP

The Portal

I worked for over two years with the producer/director of The Portal actualizing his visions and designing his experiments into an HD feature. This feature plays behind a live band of extremely talented musicians to create an immersive rock-concert-cinematic-experience. The entire show is precision and emotion to a degree I never thought possible. The feature film is synched to the frame with the music, live and recorded, like a two hour music video.

This project, The Portal, was a test of technique and intuition working collaboratively. At the end of each week I would be utterly drained of my left and right brain simultaneously. It was a fantastic learning experience both technically and creatively.

This video is a rough assembly of a tiny fraction of the animation and compositing that I created for the film. Every shot in this assembly was fully composited. In some cases you can see clearly what was illusion and in some cases it looks so real you may be fooled. I now know Adobe After Effects inside and out. Enjoy.

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