I buy a filmmaker lunch and in trade they give me a short film made for the cost of the lunch. It started by accident – and necessity. In all, 50 short films have been commissioned (or eaten). Rules and ideas based on whatever we talked about at lunch are written on a napkin contract. While each film has its own logic, it’s all about a variety of tastes. The overall metaphor is about community. It is very easy to help a filmmaker. Buy one lunch today. –Mike Plante
And that’s how Vanessa Renwick’s most recent ultra local work, Portland Meadows (2013, 15 min) was commissioned for $38.47 over lunch in San Francisco. You can see it on the big screen on April 26 at the Hollywood Theatre, as part of Raw, Raucous and Sublime: 33 1/3 Years Of Vanessa Renwick, An Oregon Department Of Kickass Retrospective presented by Oregon Movies, A to Z.
What else will you see?
9 is a Secret (2002, 6 min.) explores crows, death and divination.
Babyman (2010, 3 min.) philosophizes, in song.
Westward Ho (2001, 1 min. 20 sec) was shot during the Pendleton Round Up.
Completing the evening’s horse trilogy, Red Stallion’s Revenge (2007, 7 min.) repurposes Hollywood footage of a horse-bear fight.
Two films are repeated from the first evening of the retrospective.
Satan’s Holiday (2000, 3min.) is a portrait of a Portland painter.
And Portrait #2: Trojan (2006, 5 min.). T. J. Norris wrote:
Long defunct, the monumental tower was imploded earlier this year and Renwick decided to capture the haunting silhouette that has simply stood there menacingly for years. She calmly documents its demise, which is very much an anti-climax. The short film adores its subject, the towering cement structure. Over a varying course of time, with lapse and stills we view a building painted in pastel light, stark at night, at dawn and dusk. Its inevitable course in its history would be told through a moment in time when it was no more. In essence, the very moment of implosion infers the ultimate destructive potential of its former chilling power. The film, shot by veteran cameraman Eric Alan Edwards (To Die For, Copland, The Break-Up), is stunning to watch, and perfectly blunt.”
Vanessa’s series, Portrait #1: Cascadia Terminal (2005, 6 min.), Portrait #2 Trojan, Portrait #3 House of Sound (2009, 11 min.), fixates on disappearance. How do you capture what is no longer there? Cascadia Terminal, a hulk of a building in Vancouver BC, processes shipments of grain mechanically, more efficiently than the workers who once did it by hand; the Trojan nuclear power plant disappears before our eyes; and the House of Sound is a memorial to a North Portland business which closed. Taken as a set, the series treats dying, death, and remembrance.
All three will be shown on April 26, along with Mighty Tacoma (2011, 9 min.), which Rock Hushka praised for providing “a gentle but eloquent reminder of the fleeting and miniscule qualities of human endeavor“, which returns us to the subject Vanessa treats in Portland Meadows.
“And the music… Oh, the music! Renwick has commissioned some of the most badass original scores in the history of no-budget film. This program features scores by some of the Pacific Northwest’s best musicians (Sam Coomes, Chris Sand, Tara Jane O’Neil, Johnne Eschleman, Donovan Skirvin).” UnionDocs, in Brooklyn.
As you troop out of the theater, blissfully satisfied, you’ll be able to buy North South East West, All Around The Map With Vanessa Renwick, the long awaited DVD compilation.
What: Raw, Raucous and Sublime: 33 1/3 Years Of Vanessa Renwick, An Oregon Department Of Kickass Retrospective
Where: Hollywood Theatre, 4122 NE Sandy Blvd, Portland, OR (503) 281 -4215
When: April 25 & 26, 7:30 PM.
Plus: Filmmaker in attendance!