Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Super 8 Movies

For about 10 years, between junior high through college, my career goal was to be a filmmaker. When I was 7 my father gave me a still camera for Christmas, which began training my eye, and took pictures from time to time with whatever film I could afford. At 13, my mother gave me a Super 8 movie camera, and it was destiny from there. During this early geek life I produced about 50 short Super 8mm movies, many with sound. I tried every genre from clay animation to comedies and documentaries, usually with my friends and family as subjects or reluctant cast members. In high school, I entered the national Kodak Teenage Movie Awards, and won two honorable mentions. However, that would be my highest climb up the film business food chain.

After college, I began producing music, which had opened as the next independent frontier. By that time, my films had gone into storage, and I kept them as anyone keeps their family pictures. They were part of another life.

Recently, after 30 years, I retrieved these films out of storage. I wanted to see if that unfinished life had anything to tell me now. Like a box of old love letters, I hesitated with mixed emotions at looking back. So why was I holding on to them? As I made my way through the stacks of reels, I remembered most of the films, but some were surprising. One such relic was a 10 minute movie called “The Fair”. I had shot the footage one day during my summer break in 1978. My home town of University City held a street festival, and in true experimental film-school mode, I captured the event with a micro lens, filming faces and objects in tight close-up, with blurry waves of people, double exposures, and crowds moving in slow motion. All the effects were done in the camera, a Fuji Single 8mm that allowed me to rewind the film, make fades, overlap, shoot high speed, etc. There was no soundtrack, but I had apparently spent time editing the film, and probably stopped when school started that fall.

Nothing plagues the artist quite like unfinished work. However, 30 years is plenty of time to make a fresh start. This look back gave me some inspiration. I transferred the footage to video and began a new round of editing. The more I studied the film, the more it clicked what I was attempting. Most of the original cuts were fine, and I didn’t want to remake the entire project. Instead it was really about finishing what had been started. I added a soundtrack, a loop-guitar piece called “Panomorphia” recorded this last year, and it all came together. Whatever meaning I was originally trying to convey, the old film and new music bridged two unfinished lives.


video

No comments:

Post a Comment