Shorts #2 & Chloe Domont & Far Out Isn’t Far Enough Day 3 FFF 2013

Number2Son Chats With Chloe Domont After Watching Her Fil

NumberTwoSon Chats With Chloe Domont After Watching Her Film

Today was one of those typical, beautiful Enzian Theatre days. NumberTwoSon, a professional illustrator, came up from Sarasota specifically to watch the Tomi Ungerer movie. We also enjoyed the Shorts #2 program. Best of all was the time we had between the movies when we sat under the Spanish Moss draped oak trees next to the fountain and had a delightful interview with the writer, director and co-producer of the short Joyful Girl while sipping on a delicious libation from the Eden Bar. To steal a phrase from an old advertisement; it just doesn’t get any better than this!

Shorts Program #2: “The Weight”

The Procession
Alas, once again the long ride from our home to the FFF made us too late to see this film. Based on the description alone, I’m really sorry I missed this one.

An animated ice cube explains the wonders of refrigeration to a man who is too distracted to pay attention. This short kind of melts in your mouth–unfortunately for the cube!

Doubles with Slight Pepper

A Trinidad and Tobago delicacy

A Trinidad and Tobago delicacy

Executive Produced by Spike Lee, it tells the tale of a young man from Trinidad and Tobego attempting to eek out a living by selling Doubles out of a cooler anywhere he can find a crowd. (Doubles are a common street food in Trinidad and Tobago often eaten for either breakfast, lunch or even a late night snack. It’s made with two baras [flatbread] filled with channa [garbanzo beans] and topped with a variety of chutneys.) The unexpected return of his father, who taught him the business of selling Doubles, reopens old wounds. Poignant and gritty, this slice of life was a quality production and worthy of a look.

The River
NumberTwoSon’s favorite short film, it tells the story of a new age, pregnant worker at an un-air conditioned co-op in a very small town on a hot summer day just looking to take a break and have a swim in the cool river. Punchy script, good production values and fine acting made this film one of the best. As NumberTwoSon said after watching it, “I just wanted to jump into the river myself.” What a great review! Michael C. Hall from the TV series Dexter had a cameo as a spiritual guru on a recording.

This film was an attempt to use an old magnetic recording tape to control the past in a futuristic, supernatural time traveler kind of genre. Fascinating concept with some quality production values that didn’t quite seem to work; at least for me.

Altruistic Sex?

Altruistic Sex?

A middle age man practices “sexual altruism” as he helps the ugly, overweight, disabled women with facial hair and other undesirable attributes attain sexual satisfaction–until his psychiatrist helps him to discover that he might be the one who needs saving. Funny script with great directing and editing help this movie reach some really great moments.

Joyful Girl
Enjoyable slice of life film about the ups and downs (and comings and goings) in a relationship. Good acting but it was the editing and pacing of the movie that made it work. Great moments of humor interspersed with touching moments of reality. You don’t know who to root for (if anyone.) One of the best shorts in the program.

After his family discovers a burglar in their home, a man buys a gun and learns how to shoot it. From then on, it’s not clear if he controls the gun or if the gun controls him. Both timely and a little unsettling. Good production values but a weak ending made this film a little disappointing.

The only filmmaker in the audience was Chloe Domont from Joyful Girl. I knew it was a dicey question, but I couldn’t help asking to a lot of laughter and guffaws from the audience, “Now that you’ve completed this film and gotten it out of your system, was SHE right or was HE right and where is your relationship now?” After grousing about having to deal with questions that were more personal than she’s comfortable with, she admitted that she does not speak with him anymore but she truly wishes him well.

Interview with Chloe Domont, Writer, Director and Co-Producer of Joyful Girl

Chloe Domont

Chloe Domont

After the shorts program, NumberTwoSon and I invited Chloe Domont to have a seat with us at the outdoor Eden Bar for a brief interview.

I began by apologizing to her for asking a question that was too personal. She graciously laughed it off saying it was to be expected with such a personal film.

The first question I asked her was about the title, Joyful Girl, to me it seemed like a misnomer.

“Right, yea, well throughout my life I have this thing where people think I’m unhappy. This has been a thing looming over my life. They’re always, like, ‘smile. Why aren’t you smiling? Aren’t you happy?’ I’m like, ‘I am happy.’ I don’t know if it’s my cheekbones or what’s going on. So I wanted to make a kind of oxymoron for the title. Like a miserable girl who hates this person she’s with, hates herself, hates the person this guy has turned her into. You know, Joyful Girl, obviously she’s not.”

“In your opinion, was the female character in the movie you?”

“It was the worst version of myself.”

“That was intentional?”

“Yea, what I didn’t say in the Q&A is when you’re in these awful relationships, not ‘awful’ but ‘dysfunctional’ relationship, it turns you into someone you don’t want to be. I exaggerate it for drama and comedy.”

“Tell me about your history.”

“I graduated from NYU film/TV program. I started out at USC but I grew up in LA and I wanted to get out of LA so I applied to NYU and got in. I wanted to be a screenwriter/director. I prefer directing but I love to write with other people. I’m finding that more and more with my other projects. Writing can be a painful process so I like inflicting that on someone else. I made this other film, “Jack’s Not Sick Anymore.” It’s going around film festivals right now. It premiered at Montreal. I also started a production company. We do old fashioned commercials so that’s kind of my bread and butter and I’m now co-writing and producing my first feature that shoots in May. We’re excited about that. It’s another little relationship story.”

After our chat with Chloe, NumberTwoSon and I head back into the Enzian for our next films.

Animation Hotline 2012
Very cute animated short film that explores what would happen if someone animated all the calls that came into an animated hotline–regardless of how trivial or ridiculous. Very cute, very funny, very artistic and quite creative. This one was a gem to watch.

Tomi Ungerer

Tomi Ungerer

Far Out Isn’t Far Enough: The Tomi Ungerer Story
A really great documentary featuring fabulous animations of Tomi Ungerer’s work. While neither NumberTwoSon nor I had ever heard of him, it was obvious from the audience that this man holds a special place in the hearts of many people. Born in 1931, much of his life was shaped by the Nazi occupation of his French town located right on the border of Germany during his early childhood.

As an adult, Tomi immigrated to America where he became famous and won numerous awards for his writing and illustrations of children’s books. He was also well known for creating political posters during the era of Vietnam and segregation. But it was his dabbling in erotica art that made many critics of children’s books blackball his work. He moved to Nova Scotia and then to Ireland and disappeared from the art world until this documentary brought him out of his reclusion.

This was so much more than a documentary about a famous author. This was an historical figure whose life as well as his work spanned many of our history’s most tumultuous time periods and who, through his travels to several continents, was there to chronicle and react to the world around him. It also includes the second last interview ever recorded of Maurice Sendak, the famous author and illustrator of the classic children’s book, Where the Wild Things Are; as well as famed political cartoonist Jules Feiffer

Q&A with Director Brad Bernstein
After the movie Brad Bernstein the director had a Q & A with the audience. During this, he noted that Tomi had requested that he have final say over any of the animation that was done with his work. Brad replied that he would honor guidelines. For example, he would not change any of the lines of his illustrations. But Brad said he was happy that he did not allow Tomi to have final say on the animation.

I asked Brad about the ethics of such a decision. After all, an illustrator creates a piece of artwork specifically designed to appear on the piece of paper with the scope, proportions, color, composition and feel of the illustration and putting it into animation can profoundly change that. How do you reconcile that with the obvious respect you have for the auteur?

Brad thanked me for the excellent question. He noted that he assured Tomi that they would respect the intention of the artwork. For Brad, the validation of his decision came when he first showed Tomi the finished animations. Tomi was in tears and said that for the first time he saw his artwork come to life. Not only that, but for the first time he could watch himself on screen and feel like he was watching someone else’s story. “We took care and pains to hopefully treat him right.”

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