March 7th, 2012 by Anne Richardson · News
Animator/animation teacher/animation historian Laura Di Trapani offers a comprehensive survey course at NWFC this spring. The course runs from April 5 to June 7, 2012. It covers all animation history, worldwide, while at the same time offering an introduction to Portland’s contribution to that history.
Take this class and claim your birthright as a citizen in one of the world capitals of animation. There is every reason to expect it will ring all of your film history chimes.
Here’s the course description.
This informal enrichment class for film lovers and students of cinema (self-appointed or formally enrolled) examines the rich history and evolution of animation from an international perspective, discussing its inventors and innovators and placing a wide range of animators and their works within a cultural context.
Beginning in the late 1800s with the French Industrial Revolution and highlighting the art form’s sources in vaudeville, drawing, painting, photography, and film, the course discusses such early animators as J. Stuart Blackton, Emile Cohl, and Winsor McCay; looks at the rise of production studios and aggressive commercialization in America; and contrasts these with such works as Russia’s Wladyslaw Starewicz’s stop-motion stag beetle animation and Jiri Trnka’s film THE HAND, which openly questioned the power of the Czechoslovakian government.
European avant garde artists such as Hans Richter, Man Ray, and Fernand Léger are considered, along with American filmmaker Mary Ellen Bute, the modern self-referential personal films of George Griffin and Chris Landreth, and Portland’s own Will Vinton, Joanna Priestley, Joan Gratz, and others.
Through lecture, in-class screenings, and discussion, emphasis is placed on the creative process and how animation has helped define the cultural sensibilities of societies around the world.
For more information:
Tags: Chris Landreth·Emile Cohl·Fernand Leger·George Griffin·Hans Richter·J. Stuart Blackton·Jim Blashfield·Jiri Trnka·Joan Gratz·Joanna Priestley·Laura Di Trapani·Man Ray·Mary Ellen Bute·Will Vinton·Winsor McCay·Wladyslaw Starewicz
Based on Sheila Ballantyne’s novel, which was in turn based on her own life, Imaginary Crimes is a coming of age story where the heroine’s job is to protect her little sister from the downside of having a father who is a crook and a mother who is dead.
Because it is based on real life, the compassionate teacher (Vince D’Onofrio) is not a love interest for the young beauty (Fairuza Balk) already overwhelmed with grown up family responsibilities. Harvey Keitel is the father who wants to give his daughters what he can’t afford.
In a comedy, dad’s ineptitude would be the source of the joke. Imaginary Crimes is not a comedy.
Is there a “two sisters must survive” film genre? If so both Imaginary Crimes and Bill Forsythe’s Housekeeping belong to it.
I hereby claim Imaginary Crimes as an Oregon film on the basis of location shooting in Portland.
Tags: Fairuza Balk·Harvey Keitel·Sheila Ballantyne·Vince D'Onofrio
March 6th, 2012 by Anne Richardson · News, Oregon writer
Matt Love moved to the Oregon Coast because he loved the ocean. He stayed because he loves to write. Or maybe its the other way around.
Along the way, he discovered the only way to write eight books, plus hold down a job teaching high school English, was to skip the lengthy manuscript submission process and start his own publishing company. He founded Nestucca Spit Press in 2003. In 2009, Oregon Literary Arts awarded him the Stewart Holbrook Literary Legacy Award for his contributions to Oregon literature.
On May 25, 2012, Matt will launch his latest book, published by Nestucca Spit Press, at Powells Books. Here’s his description:
In Sometimes a Great Movie: Paul Newman, Ken Kesey and the Filming of the Great Oregon Novel, I document the legend of that magical summer and present over a 125 never-before-seen photographs, including many in color, in a large 8 ½’’ by 8 ½’’ format size of 168 pages.
In the book, I blend reportage, memoir, primary documents, oral history, film criticism, and photographs to produce a unique, visually rich work of non fiction. I also present a thesis that filming Kesey’s literary masterpiece may have helped re-elect Governor Tom McCall, who in his second term (1971-75), led the state to pass a series of progressive governing initiatives that created modern Oregon and one of the most desirable places to live in the country.
You can pre-purchase a copy of Sometimes A Great Movie by going to the Nestucca Spit website.
Tags: Ken Kesey·Matt Love·Paul Newman·Tom McCall
March 5th, 2012 by Anne Richardson · News
From The Dill Pickle Club:
A Place Called Home is a monthly presentation series examining the history of filmmaking in Portland. Held at roving venues on last Sundays at 1PM, lectures aim to orient recent transplants and residents to the city’s rich lineage of film and how it informs our sense of place.
Tags: David Cress·David Walker·Shawn Levy·walt curtis
From the NYTimes:
“!Women Art Revolution” tells of a raucous, rule-breaking era when female artists, in order to get their message across, protested outside museums and created outlandish performance pieces often involving nudity. But the documentary is basically traditional, with a straightforward, chronological structure. It tells the stories of major figureheads in the feminist art movement like Judy Chicago, Nancy Spero and the Guerrilla Girls collective through a blend of archival footage, artist commentaries gathered by the filmmaker over 35 years and narration by Ms. Hershman Leeson.
Carrie Brownstein, the vocalist and guitarist of the now-defunct indie-rock band Sleater-Kinney, provides the soulful soundtrack.
I hereby claim !Women Art Revolution as an Oregon film on the basis of the contribution made by Oregonian Carrie Brownstein.
Tags: Carrie Brownstein·Guerilla Girls·Judy Chicago·Lynn Hershman Leeson·Nancy Spero
March 5th, 2012 by Anne Richardson · Handy guide series
Steve Prefontaine, played by Billy Crudup in Without Limits (1998) and played by Jared Leto in Prefontaine (1997)
Bill Bowerman, played by Donald Sutherland in Without Limits (1998) and played by R. Lee Ermey in Prefontaine (1997)
Stephen Meek, played by Bruce Greenwood in Meek’s Cutoff (2010)
Art Honeyman, played by Michael Sheen in Music Within (2007)
Pennie Lane Trumbull, played by Kate Hudson in Almost Famous (2000)
James Fogle, played by Matt Dillon in Drugstore Cowboy (1989)
John Reed, played by Warren Beatty in Reds (1981)
Louise Bryant, played by Diane Keaton in Reds (1981)
Claire Phillips, played by Ann Dvorak in I Was An American Spy (1951)
Walt Curtis, played by Tim Streeter in Mala Noche (1985)
Special mention goes to:
Curtis Salgado, whose signature style inspired the attire and music of Jake and Elwood Blues, aka The Blues Brothers (1980)
Walt Curtis, who has inspired two documentaries, Salmon Poet (2009) and Peckerneck Poet (1997)
Tags: Ann Dvorak·Art Honeyman·Bill Bowerman·Billy Crudup·Bruce Greenwood·Claire Phillips·Curtis Salgado·Diane Keaton·Donald Sutherland·James Fogle·Jared Leto·John Reed·Louise Bryant·Matt Dillon·Michael Sheen·R. Lee Ermey·Stephen Meek·Steve Prefontaine·Tim Streeter·walt curtis
“Rock stars have kidnapped my son!”
In Almost Famous, writer-director Cameron Crowe revisits his youthful introduction to the world of rock journalism. Before starting the screenplay, he called a Portland friend who had shared that experience to ask for her blessing. She freely gave it.
Penny Lane, played by Kate Hudson, is based on Pennie Lane Trumbull, who met Cameron Crowe backstage at a rock concert at Portland’s Paramount Theater. A Roosevelt High School student who spent three years traveling with rock and roll bands in the early 1970’s, Trumbull hung up her dancing shoes after that, and got an MBA. She lives in Portland, a marketing consultant with her own wine label.
Kate Hudson’s Oscar nominated performance comes complete with the particulars based on the real Pennie Lane: the blonde ringlets and the carefully curated vintage wardrobe.
Here’s the real Pennie, circa 1973:
Here she is today:
Strange but true: there is a double Portland influence in Kate Hudson’s performance as Penny Lane. Not only is she playing a Portland girl crazy about rock and roll, Kate Hudson herself is the daughter of a Portland rock musician, Bill Hudson.
Here’s Mr. and Mrs. Bill Hudson:
Here’s Goldie Hawn, after becoming single once again, with young Kate:
There must be some cosmic string tying Goldie and Kate to Portland, because Goldie’s next long term relationship would be with Kurt Russell, who used to play for the Portland Mavericks
All of this is true! I swear!
I hereby claim Almost Famous as an Oregon film on the basis of the inspiration provided by Oregonian Pennie Lane.
Tags: Bill Hudson·Cameron Crowe·Goldie Hawn·Kate Hudson·Kurt Russell·Pennie Lane Trumbull
In the same year Vanessa Renwick made a perfect short film, The Yodeling Lesson (1998), Miranda July made her own perfect short film The Amateurist (1998), with Vanessa as her DP.
In the new issue of Plazm, Vanessa tells Nora Robertson that Miranda improvised all her lines as the mysterious Professional who constantly evaluates the equally mysterious caged Amateur.
I have such respect for this work!
From Australian Centre for the Moving Image:
The Amateurist features two figures, both portrayed by the artist, caught in an off-kilter relationship based on a system whose rules, boundaries and ultimate aim remain fascinatingly opaque.
The ‘Watcher’ views the ‘Amateur’ via a video surveillance system, suggesting numbers to her and interpreting the Amateur’s vague gestures and responses with a mixture of pride, concern and condescension. The Watcher considers herself the ultimate professional – telling us she has been engaged in this activity for four and half years – and yet the emotional intensity she has invested in this eerily empty activity is immediately evident.>
What is going on?
Here’s Miranda’s own description of The Amateurist.
“The Amateurist alternately adores and rejects three familiar tropes: the sick and examined woman, the starlet/stripper, and the genius/talentless woman. As a performer living with a chronic illness who has been both a child actress and a stripper, I choose not to speak with an autobiographical voice, which would, in itself be yet another cliché (the confessional). Instead, I create women who are predictable amalgamations of single types… What I choose to say with these figurines is much less articulatable, though no less familiar. The prescribed lines dismantle themselves with mutual interrogation and this process releases fumes of true loneliness, relentless strength, insatiable desire.” —Miranda July
I hereby claim The Amateurist as an Oregon film, on the basis of the location shooting, the Portland DP, and the at-the-time Portland filmmaker, Miranda July.
Tags: Miranda July·Nora Robertson·Vanessa Renwick
February 29th, 2012 by Anne Richardson · News
The 2012 Los Angeles Animation Festival salutes one of the world’s most respected animators.
“This year we’re excited to honor one of the greats of animation, Bill Plympton, whose work and independent career have inspired so many of us in the field of animation.” announced John Andrews, founder and co-director of the LAFF.
On Saturday, March 10, Alexia Anatasio will premiere her new documentary Adventures In Plymptoons at the Regent Showcase Theater. Plympton will be present to accept the LAAF award for his contribution to the world of animation on March 11, following a 20th anniversary screening of his first animated feature, The Tune.
Speaking of Oregon directors and first animated features, on March 9 the festival screens Iron Giant, with members of the cast and crew present, including Brad Bird.
LAAF has very discerning taste in animation. The previous festival, in 2010, honored Will Vinton.
How does Oregon do it? The 2012 LAAF honoree, Bill Plympton, was born and raised in Oregon City. A two time Oscar nominee, he made his first animated film at PSU.
The 2010 LAAF honoree, Will Vinton, was born and raised in McMinnville. After winning an Oscar for his first short film, Closed Mondays, in 1976, he founded Will Vinton Studios in Portland.
By the time Brad Bird graduated from Corvallis High School, he knew he wanted to be an animator. He won a Disney scholarship to Cal Arts, an Oscar in 2005 for The Incredibles and another Oscar in 2008 for Ratatouille.
Vince Porter of Oregon Film Commission would love to see an annual animation festival taking place in Portland. You can understand why!
This post brought to you by Oregon Cartoon Institute.
Tags: Alexia Anatasio·Bill Plympton·Brad Bird·John Andrews·Vince Porter·Will Vinton
February 24th, 2012 by Anne Richardson · News
Esperanza Spalding, Portland’s homegrown semi-self taught musical prodigy, will perform on stage during the 2012 Oscar ceremonies. Tune in to see Esperanza, if not Mr. Oscar himself.
Follow up report: Esperanza sang ” What A Wonderful World”, accompanying the photo montage of film figures who died in 2011. Very simple, and powerfully effective.
Here she is on the red carpet, pre-ceremony.
Tags: Esperanza Spalding