Aug 2 - Quick jump back.
I was proud to join my student Colin Campbell for the festival premiere of his film Flash Point in the Student Shorts at the Bijou by the Bay. His work stands up very strong in story and image against the series of university film school shorts. Colin will be attending NYU in the fall after four years at Interlochen Arts Academy in our Motion Picture Arts Division.
Friday morning – Perverts Guide to Ideology at Milliken (somehow felt it was an academic companion to Martinov’s Propaganda). Directed by Sophie Fiennes starring philosopher Slavoj Zizek. Zizek travels throughout time and cinema to explain his philosophies on the formation, support, and acceptance of world ideology. It’s dense philosophy supported by both B-Movies like They Live (starring former WWF legend Rowdy Roddy Piper) and staples in film history – The Sound of Music and Taxi Driver.
Aug 3 - “Show me the boy at 7 and I will show you the man.”
Wasn’t sure if Susan Sullivan or Michael Apted were going to show at 35 Up. It turned out to be neither guest, but a good conversation rolled on afterward with some die hard Up fans to talk through some of the complicated topics of the series. Do we or do we not have the ability to break out of class systems we’re born into and early personality traits formed by the time we’re seven years old? Apted’s Up series is brilliant, committed to the long term discovery of the answers to the question of the powerful effects of class. I still wonder how/if the simple presence of the camera and this series in their lives has affected them.
Then it was on to Narrative Shorts. Long live the Narrative Shorts, more than just a setup and punchline. A highlight was the stop motion animation Oh Willy…, a whacked out journey of a man whose mother dies a member of a naturist community where he becomes hopelessly lost on the property and turns bumbling survivalist in a surreal setting.
The end of the night was a return to NMC to moderate the Q/A for Propaganda at Dutmers with director Slavko Martinov. I don’t think there’s exactly a category for his kind of documentary. I question if it was documentary or something altogether new. There’s no way to be apathetic about this film. The film succeeded in stirring the audience in to two camps. Question everything.
Martinov won TCFF Founder’s Prize Best Film at the filmmaker’s party.
Michael Mittelstaedt is the director of the Motion Picture Arts Division at Interlochen Center for the Arts. He is currently on sabbatical writing his first Western that he plan to produce in the summer of 2014.