This past Sunday at Century 20 El Con Theater, multiple documentaries were shown as part of a cinematic smorgasbord.
“Randy Parson: American Luthier” highlights the Seattle guitar-maker who handcrafts all of his instruments for the likes of Jimmy Page, Jack White, and others. Parson’s philosophy is explored, as he takes great pride in creating works of art as opposed to the cold, sterile, factory-manufactured guitars. The tactile nature of Parson’s work comes to life with detailed, up-close camerawork.
The first of two music videos during the segment was “Taste of Disarray” by the Hawaiian alternative rock band Ignite the Red. The video was directed by recent BFA Film Production ’13 alum Jason Sikorsky and follows a young woman in a post-apocalyptic world as she tries to reconnect with her lost lover. Shot in his native Hawaii, Sikorsky effectively transforms the paradise of the islands into a barren wasteland. The video is currently on YouTube.
“Throwing Punches” focuses on Leanne Hindle, a Vancouver, British Columbia martial artist who specialized in wushu who made the transition to all-star Hollywood stuntwoman. As a film enthusiast, the documentary offered a fresh perspective on the industry from that of a stuntwoman. It also touched on the politics and fleeting nature of stunt work in Hollywood. Director Rosalie Miller crafts a narrative that shows Hindle making the switch from career-oriented professional to loving mother.
The biggest surprise of the festival was director Kyle Schneider’s “Rebel Rebel Rebel.” If docs are dependent on interesting subjects to bolster their, then Schneider hit the jackpot with DJ Josh LeCash. LeCash is incompetent, self-absorbed, and, overall, just resides in his own little world. Apart from awaiting what new stunt he’ll do or what ridiculous comment he’ll make next, the documentary provides of-the-moment commentary on DJ culture. Everything about the documentary is professionally done, and I highly recommend it. The film bursts with energy and style. With some searching on YouTube, the entire documentary can be found broken up into different parts.
“La Banda Loca y Sus Chupakuete: Vivo En Portrerillos” was the most “slice-of-life” documentary, bringing a small, local band hailing from Mendoza, Argentina. It was this film that really shows how small, yet vastly large, the world is. That the viewer is allowed to see a local performance outside of a small bar on Christmas Day in Argentina, such a random and isolated event, is truly remarkable. Director Evan Bluestein introduces a political angle with the band members protesting through song about the building of a mine near their home.
The second music video of the segment was “Ghosts” by seven-piece, LA-based Red Circle Underground. Director Arielle Kilker establishes a haunting, dark atmosphere set in the deep woods. With imagery that seems to hearken back to colonial America of the late 1600s, the music video, along with its inhabitants, seem to be held captive by the past.
The segment was concluded with current UA BFA Film Production student Dae Hyun Song’s “Into the Black,” a documentary about astrophotography. Song offers three different perspectives on the field, ranging from the amateur (a student simply going out into the desert and shooting) to the professional (an astronaut who takes photos of the sky from outer space). However, what they all share in common is that they do it simply for the love, not the money. They are all driven by the curiosity to capture the night sky, a sight that not many people will ever be able to see in its proper, unending spectacle.