Sunday, October 23, 2011

Clowns Making Films — Part 2 of 3

[post 204]

Last month I posted a preview of the Clowns on Film evening at the NYC Clown-Theatre Festival, perhaps a shameless piece of self-promotion since I was co-hosting the event with Audrey Crabtree. I wrote that the work that evening would be great, since Audrey (festival co-director ) had told me so and I believed her, though honestly I hadn't seen most of the films before stepping on stage. Of course my hidden agenda was to try to fill the voluminous Brick Theater to the rafters. If you've never been there, think Radio City Music Hall. (Yes, that was sarcasm.)

As luck would have it, we actually did sell out, the movies were truly excellent, and the audience had a helluva fun time. Plus we bribed them with free prizes.

I can't replicate the evening for you since for that special night all of the filmmakers were in the audience and three of the movies were accompanied by live performance. And need I mention the charm, wit and acrobatic partnerings of the aforementioned co-hosts? However, I can now show you more than I could in that previous post, because three of the movies have since been put online. So... "let's go to the videotape."

Behind the Nose
Another confession. This one was already on YouTube but I didn't mention that in my previous post so I could lure unsuspecting patrons to the live screening and separate them from $15 of their accumulated wealth. Also, I knew it would be a hoot for everyone to watch this short film sitting in an audience of fellow clowns, all of whom struggle with the popular perception of clowning prevalent in America and, in this case, in Canada. Funny stuff, but still sadly true. The movie is the work of those fantastically spunky Toronto clowns, Morro & Jasp, who an hour earlier had just finished performing live their latest show, Morro & Jasp Gone Wild.

Check out Morro & Jasp's web site here.

Isaac Littlejohn Eddy
Isaac is not only a performer in the New York edition of Blue Man Group, but he also has the coolest name of us all — though Zea is a close second! Isaac is at least a double threat, a performer but also a cartoonist / animator whose work has been seen in the New Yorker and Time Magazine. His festival piece was an updated version of the poor guy trying to choose between the advice of his good angel on one shoulder, his demon on the other, with Isaac performing live as the tormented soul while his would-be spiritual advisors appeared onscreen in the form of 2D animation. A very well-received piece, but Isaac says it's still a work-in-progress and he wants to use it in future live performances, so he's not posting it online just yet. You can, however, see plenty of his other work simply by clicking here.

Zea Barker
Zea, aka Bony Lil, is yet another performer-animator dynamo, the star and mastermind behind two films about "the extreme opposite ends of the creative process." The first is Distraction, everything that prevents us from getting rolling, and the second is Creation, that happy time when all the juices are flowing. Both movies are silent, in black & white, and come with soundtracks, but at the festival they were presented accompanied by two live musicians plus Zea and her director, Michael Pope, doing sound effects on a variety of ingenious devices. Highly original pieces that display strong talent and a heckuva lot of work.



You can see more video, animation and art work at Zea's web site and you can view her performance reel here.

A Day's Messing
Jeff Seal's A Day's Messing is unusual in that it is a modern-day silent film that stylistically emulates the films of the 1920s. This is easier said than done, but in this case the experiment works quite well indeed. Story, cinematography, and physical comedy are all right on target, and its world premiere at the festival received enthusiastic and sustained applause from the live audience. Now that it's been posted on Vimeo, you too can watch it. Enjoy!

And check out Jeff's monthly Dead Herring variety show in Williamsburg (Brooklyn) on Facebook!

Congratulations to all, and thanks for your excellent work!

These aren't the only clowns making films, so stay tuned for Part 3, a future post on more clowns exploring filmmaking possibilities......


Isaac Littlejohn Eddy said...

thanks for this great review of the clown shorts evening John. It made me re-live an awesome night. I hope I can do something like it again with you soon!

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