New website & SXSW wrap-up
1. I have a new website! sondrol.com
2. SXSW wrap-up!
It’s been a very fun but busy month. I spent the first two weeks on the road- first on a relaxing family vacation for my Dad’s 65th birthday and then straight to Austin for SXSW (after a 4 hour nap on the floor of LAX).
As mentioned last time, I was there with Celia Rowlson-Hall’s film “Si Nos Dejan”. (I’ll be posting session photos from the score at some point). Our screenings went well and people gave some very nice feedback about the film. Since Celia lives in NYC it was fun getting some time to hang out with her and her co-star (and husband) Andrew :) Here’s Celia with the most interesting lady we found in the Mexican restaurant where we were eating:
Narrating my entire trip would probably take about 5 hours to write (at my blogging pace), but here are a few of the highlights for me:
A panel with indie animator Don Hertzfeldt, Dimitri Simakis of Everything is Terrible, and Hadrian & Bret of Cinefamily. In my opinion, Don is one of the most uncompromising artists in any medium today. His latest feature (which I highly recommend) is available to stream on vimeo for just $2- trailer above.
The stop-motion short “Oh, Willy”- visually stunning and the story goes in directions you would never predict. I can see why it won Best Animation.
Pixar’s new short, and the fact that director Saschka Unseld was gracious enough to stick around and sign a poster for EVERY person in the theater, what a class act!
Julia Pott’s terrifying and moving animation set to a Tom Chivers poem. I love how it blends animation and live action (shot by the talented Adam Wissing).
The other shorts from Borscht Corp (Si Nos Dejan was one of four they had in the festival). Above is Jillian Mayer & Lucas Leyva’s “comedic satirical sci-fi pop-musical” and an animation by Bernardo Britto. Wildly creative and diverse work.
Stephen Finnigan’s HAWKING. The film tells Professor Hawking’s life story in his own words (and voice!) I found it to be very personal and moving. Also, here’s a video I took of the audience filming a hello to Professor Hawking.
Black Metal by Kat Candler (produced by Kelly Williams, who also produced the SXSW feature Pit Stop) explores some very interesting territory re: the terrible actions of a fan “inspired” by a band, and how it affects a metal singer and his family.
SXSW’s “Best Narrative Short”: New Zealand native Michelle Savill’s Ellen is Leaving. A well-deserved award, IMHO. When I sheepishly told Michelle that my primary NZ reference is Flight of the Conchords, she laughed and assured me “that’s a good reference” :)
Sarah Gertrude Shapiro‘s Sequin Raze is a narrative short set in the reality TV industry, from a perspective I was SO happy to see- as were the judges, because it garnered an honorable mention for Best Narrative Short.
Lauren Wolkstein’s Social Butterfly, a very human story inspired by a personal experience she had in France. Great performances & story.
Jason B. Kohl’s The Slaughter. This one is QUITE intense/graphic, but in a way that serves the story. As with many of the shorts I’m linking to, great acting & production quality.
Caleb Johnson’s Root, a film he explained he had to make because he “couldn’t get the idea out of his head”, ha! One of the best “Midnight Shorts”.
Hugo Vargas-Zesati’s Boy Friends was another of my favorite “Midnight Shorts”- unpredictable, ridiculous, and hilarious.
Matt Adams’ We Cause Scenes is the documentary Improv Everywhere has always deserved. Hats off to editor Nathan H. Russell for sifting through what must have been mountains of footage from the prank collective’s many “missions”.
Whew! So there’s my attempt at a “brief” re-cap. It was a treat meeting so many inspiring and creative new friends. Until we meet again, Austin.