My two most recent short films, At Last, Okemah! (2009) and The Catastrophe (2011), will be screening at Oakton Community College’s annual “Creating Justice” symposium on Saturday, April 12th in Des Plaines, Illinois. The symposium explores the unique possibilities for social transformation and creativity offered by the arts. Each film will be preceded by brief remarks by me and will be followed by a question-and-answer session. There will be many other artists at the event including Nicolas Lampert, author of A People’s Art History of the United States, who will deliver the keynote address. The event runs from 1:00 to 8:00 and admission is free. My portion, which will be held in Room 1625, begins at 4:30 and ends at 6:00. Any of my students who attend “Creating Justice” and write a brief report about the experience will receive 20 points extra credit towards their final grade. See your course website for details.
For more information about “Creating Justice,” including a full list of presentations, panelists and speakers, and directions to the venue, visit:
You can check out the trailers for my short films via YouTube below:
April 4th, 2014 at 9:52 pm
I saw that first short of yours entitled At Last, Okemah! and I thought it was fantastic. The 17 minute short film plays out like a mini-mockumentary of a fake folk singer (the trailer does not do this short piece justice). I do not know If this is a worthy comparison, but it reminds me of your own version of This is Spinal Tap with some Coen Brother humor thrown in. The names of the singers and band names (aside from “Winston Thomas”, their is also “Suzy Brack & The New Jack Lords”) are very clever as well. You also got to work with some cult icons of Chicago like Mia Park (host of the children’s show Chic-a-Go-Go and co-founder of Chicago’s A-Squared Theatre Workshop) and Jon Langford, a British musician and expatriate living in Chicago. His brother is Hugo Award winning science-fiction writer David Langford. If I am not mistaken, I read somewhere today that your feature length film The Minx (2007) also featured Park. Interesting that The Minx took ten days total to shoot while At Last, Okemah! took only six days to shoot. I love that reference early on when Harvey Grossman/Winston Thomas is searching for five records to collect and one of them he picks out is the late Fr. Francis L. Filas record seminar (lack of a better word) “Sex Education of Children.” Before I watched the short film, I noticed that you had a cameo as a Winston Thomas fan in the scene where you get his autograph. Pulling an Alfred Hitchcock I see:) Truth be told, as far as trailer music goes, you should have used the cue that was played when Winston Thomas breaks in the Library and has visions of folk singing legend Woody Guthrie (whom, he is arguably based on and which this short film is dedicated to). I love how the Miguel character admits that his name is Michael and that he is from Cleveland 🙂 The references to folk music history is interesting and hilarious at the same time. Tell me something: was that restaurant scene where all the customers were talking about Winston Thomas done with a steadicam or did you pull a Max Ophuls? I also noticed that Adam Selzer did the music and he is someone on your blogroll If I am not mistaken. What else can I say: you directed a winner. I would love to see The Catastrophe, but it seems the only way I can will be If I am able to attend that Oakton thing next Saturday. Thank you for giving the times. I cannot promise that I can attend, but I will definitely ask you how it went. Too bad Susan Doll can’t be there to attend cause I know when she lived here, she attended stuff like this:) Keep up the great work as always:)
April 5th, 2014 at 8:56 am
Thanks for the detailed response and the kind words about my modest short film, John. The bar scene (which we shot in “The Hungry Brain” in Chicago) was indeed shot with a steadicam. I’m very proud of that shot because it was difficult to pull off such an elaborate camera movement while having all of the actors say their lines right on cue. We did 11 takes of that shot and the one in the final film was the 10th! We had a talented steadicam operator that day. Her name is Janice Arthur and she was the steadicam operator on Kevin Smith’s MALLRATS (among other films).
April 5th, 2014 at 5:37 am
Excellent work!!! Hearty congratulations!!
April 5th, 2014 at 8:59 am