Category Archives: Film Community

OH! intro: New Jurors are Filmmakers Too

Coup de Foudre from Stacie Sells on Vimeo.

    An interview with festival jurors Stacie Sells and Cassie Troyan.

    This is a first installment, of a new series of profiles and interviews with festival staff, board members, and volunteers. Stacie Sells joins the festival as the Chair of the Social Issues division. She will be working closely with a team of jurors, including Cassie Troyan, throughout the summer leading to the festival event season which kicks off September 09.

OH!Film: Congratulations on joining the festival, and thank you for offering your time for this interview. Lets start with an introduction. Give me some context.

Cassandra Troyan: In terms of interests, I feel there are hundreds of different facets which inform my practice as an artist. I enjoy the work of philosopher Gilles Deleuze, appreciating cinema in general, (especially Eastern-European, French New Wave, German Expressionism, silent film, and musicals,) studying languages, and traveling abroad.

Stacie Sells: I am a recent graduate of The Ohio State University who majored in Art and Technology with a focus on more experimental video art. There isn’t a film or video program at OSU. I had to create my own by picking classes that lead me to my interests, such as the class in 1960s Avant-garde and Film Theory. This led to my recent obsession in the “old school” 1940 musicals.

OH!Film: Your film “Coup de Foudre” screened at this years Athens Film Festival as part of the Experimental Abstractions program in April.

CT: In “Coup de Foudre,” the initial intention aimed at using more personally aggressive actions as a way to subjectification, by acknowledging, then conquering stereotypes of femininity. For example, at one point I take a roll of saran-wrap and begin to bind my head with it until I can no longer breathe. Such an action suggests the silencing of women and removal of voice, although in the end with my tearing through the layers, it is representative of claiming a place from which to speak.

Still from Coup de Foudre

Still from Coup de Foudre

This sort of confrontation also occurs in the scene where the Jackalope character methodically descends a staircase, nude from the waist down. Even though this displays a partially nude female form, it is portrayed in a way in which the figure refuses just to stand docilely and be observed. By descending the staircase, and approaching the viewer below, the character situates herself in a place of movement and control. Culminating in the final filmic sequence, these ideas solidify through an intense montage of women experiencing different modes of violent control.

The German phrase written on outstretched arms, “Du weißt nicht, wogegen ich anzukämpfen habe” meaning, “You don’t know what I’m up against,” reaffirms each encounter as an affect which women face daily in society. The very last scene transgresses beyond assumptions of frailty, or women viewed purely as objects of desire, with a female form emanating brightness and declaring a position as an active subject.

SS: What else can I can say after that great explanation? This film is to bring front the issues we both strongly agree on and want to bring into the consciousness of the typical viewer.

OH!Film: This was a project in which you two collaborated. What did each of you bring to the table?

CT: This was very much a collaborative effort, and for me, even though the theoretical aspects might have leaned heavier in my direction, Stacie and I still shared a united vision with these elements. What works best within our process is that Stacie often helps me further realize esoteric ideas in aesthetic terms. We are currently working on Part II of the trilogy, and our collaboration is becoming even more egalitarian as we are now both, shooting, editing, and appearing within this video.

Still from Coup de Foudre

Still from Coup de Foudre

SS: I also believe that we worked equally on the video. Cassie sought me out initially, as she was searching to work with someone who was interested in the issue of how images socialize us within society, and especially how that relates to women. With Cassie’s vision it was more directly focused with her ideas in relation to the concrete image, but often I would take those ideas and interpret them through abstract imagery. I learned that within this collaborative process we were able to push each other’s ideas further than we might have been able to on our own.

OH!Film: Whats your take on film in Columbus?

CT: Sadly, I think it’s a little disappointing. I believe there are many venues for opportunities that have not been explored. One of the goals that Stacie and I actually have is to create/inhabit a space once a month to give video/film artists in Columbus a chance to exhibit their work.

SS: We are hoping to have the first showing some time in June. Depending on the success, hopefully it will become a reoccurring event that will provide a productive atmosphere or community that fosters feedback and support.

OH!Film: What else is there, besides video and film?

CT: At the moment, I’m working to help other artists through collaborative efforts. This is all part of a project called the Embodied Knowledge Ensemble and Volunteer Corps, initiated by Ann Hamilton’s and Michael Mercil’s graduate seminar. It is an especially exciting course because it allows for an interdisciplinary atmosphere by including students from the art dept., dance, etc. I also enjoy bike riding, playing racquetball, and baking bread.

SS: A few days out of the week I teach art classes up in Powell to all ages of children. I also have a local cottage industry business with my sister where we make mini cupcakes and sell to local customers called Little Darlin Cupcakes. I try to connect as much as I can in the art world with people in different areas of study and interest to expand my scope in the art world and show that we are all able to connect and work with one another.

OH!Film: Anything else you want to share?

SS: Our film on Vimeo!

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“Swept-Out” Screens to a Full House

Columbus showed a healthy turnout for a screening of a local documentary, Swept Out , by Mary Howard, on May 26th at the Drexel Theater.

The event, presented by the Columbus Free Press and the Festival, played to a large crowd- prompting Drexel Theater staff to move the film to a larger screen just before the lights dimmed.

“Swept Out” tells the stories of hundreds of Columbus citizens who survive outside in their cars, under highway overpasses and in tent and shanty communities near downtown. The raw, unadorned lens reveals the multi-layered difficulties present in caring for this under-the-radar community.

Earl Wurdlow

MC Earl Wurdlow, lyric oratory – perking up audiences ears before the film.

Earl Wurdlow played orator, read: master of ceremonies, for the evening and Festival Director Susan Halpern and a host of new film fest interns provided free stuff (whats an event without a raffle,right?!).

Following the screening, Mary Howard, answered audience questions, and provided an update from the field concerning the whereabouts of a few of the individuals featured in the film.

Mary Howard

Mary Howard sharing behind the scenes insight into the problem of the geography of Columbus’s homeless: “not in my back yard, but nowhere else to go”

Ken Andrews, Outreach Coordinator for the Columbus Open Shelter , was in attendance and added insight into  solutions for homeless access to shelter.

After months of tightening focus in the media on the subject of financial, psychological, and personal difficulties in the current economic climate, the affect of Swept Out relies less on our distanced compassion than on realizing “we are all a few paychecks away from being on the street,” as one homeless resident reiterates throughout the film.

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Pecha Kucha Night in Columbus, 2/19/09

We know this is last minute, but we know you hipsters turn on a dime, so grab a few dimes and go to the Gateway Landmark theater on Thursday night for Columbus’s Pecha Kucha Night. If you’re not familiar with this night, word:  14 presenters talk about their creative pursuits for 7 minutes each, or maybe it’s 20 images for 20 sec. each. Okay, so it’s actually a bit flexible—e.g., presenters come from many different creative fields, from filmmaking to chocolate making—, but the point is to put a dozen+ interesting people from your community in front of an audience. And we can’t think of a better recession-time amusement: the suggested donation is $2. I suppose there are pragmatic, networking-related benefits of the events, too, but you can’t beat the purity of this model for creative sharing.

Thursday night will feature at least two friends of the CIF+VF. Come see Matt Meindl—friend, juror, and muse of the Festival—talk about his short films and show samples of 20 of his works (yes, 20). Also check out Walker Evans, friend of the CIF+VF and intrepid creator of ColumbusUnderground.com, discussing our interactive future.

The official Pecha Kucha listing.

The PK Wikipedia page.

“Get yourself a freakin’ video camera…”

This year at Sundance the director Lee Daniels won both the Audience and Grand Jury awards with his film Push. This excerpt from his acceptance speech resonated with everyone in the office:

(from Entertainment Weekly)
“We don’t have no money. We got $2 to make some s— happen. We’re doing this story about this fat black girl who doesn’t have a voice. They’re all in it for the craft.” When asked to look at the bigger picture for his film — which still lacks distribution — he explained, “I think [this win] means there’s hope for people of color. Just because Obama’s president doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to translate down to our world of cinema. And I think what it does is reiterate and strengthen this power of, Get yourself a freakin’ video camera. And you go out and tell your truth. That’s what I started doing as a kid, and I think inevitably, it led to this. It’s just so much hope.”

By now it appears that the film has gotten distribution (go Oprah!), but it’s still inspiring.

Read the full story here.

My Columbus Film Beat: Gail Mezey

Today we bring you another installment of My Columbus Film Beat wherein area film types introduce themselves.  Today it’s Gail Mezey.

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Gail has over 20 years experience as a producer and production manager. Some of her credits include, PBS “Great Performances,” documentaries for MTV, and TLC, and commercials for Herbal Essence, Disney, Bud Light, and BP to name a few.

Over the past few years she has worked to create an independent non-profit film commission for Columbus and Central Ohio. The Greater Columbus Film Commission is focused on enhancing the independent, feature, and commercial film industry in the region and is actively promoting Central Ohio as a premier filming destination.

Ohio Lt Governor Lee Fisher appointed Gail to the newly formed Media Advisory Board and Film Task Force to look at how Ohio can bring in more production work to the state. Partnering with the Ohio Film Commission and the Cleveland and Cincinnati film commissions, the Greater Columbus film commission is working to bring tax incentives for filming in Ohio.

Dusting off that resume

Our friends over at the Greater Columbus Film Commission are calling for resumes from the production community.  See their note below the jump.

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