Monday, June 6, 2016

MSPIFF Wrap-Up, Part 1

To attempt any cohesive first-person account of the Minneapolis- St Paul International Film Festival is of course a fool's errand, especially if, like me, you were really busy setting up a new recording studio while it was going on, and also trying to get work done on some jobs, and it was a thousand years ago anyway.

I sure did enjoy the heck out of it, though-- it's a smorgasbord of global cinema that heads way off the beaten path, from drama to comedy to horror to documentary, shorts of all sorts and, new this year, an experimental program I got to contribute to (more on that later-- this commits me to finish blogging about the fest, since it won't be featured in this entry).

Like I said, I only got to see a small fraction of what I wanted to-- early on from busy-ness, and later because films started selling out before I got there (good for the presenters though). Here's Part 1 of the account of my feeble (yet enjoyable) attendance at the recent 2016 fest.

The first program I attended was a showcase of shorts, and I was pleased to find all offerings of good to exceptional quality. I especially enjoyed Martha Gorzycki's Voices from Kaw Thoo Lei, an experimental animated account of genocide by the Burmese military government. But the most compelling entry for me was Leo Fleming's A Self Chosen State, a documentary of Bruno Bettelheim's ill-advised treatment of autism (victims of which included the director's brother).

The first of two feature-length documentaries I managed to catch, The Legend of Swee' Pea paints a captivating portrait of a great basketball legend who never was. I found the film truly immersive despite the fact that I am not generally a person who finds sportsball of interest.

Cellular Cinema's "Celluloid" and "Pixels" programs were a real treat, sourced from analog and digital origins as their names imply. I really enjoyed Kiera Faber's stop-motion, sound-rich T is for Turnip, and Scott Stark's "Traces/ Legacy" was powerful as well. I'm not sure if this is that exact piece below, but it's quite similar anyhow; the technique of allowing the optical processing to generate the soundtrack is quite compelling.

In my next entry: everything else I have to say about MSPIFF 2016! Stay tuned.

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