FROM A TOY
One of my favorite new writers at Filmmaker is Graham Leggat, who contributes our “Game Engine” column. (Check out this issue’s piece, in which Leggat takes filmmaker Derek Cianfrance for a spin test driving the upcoming Dr3ver videogame, which comes complete with a groundbreaking video editor. In addition to his column next issue, Leggat wrote a short report on the filmmaker Shannon Plumb (who, coincidentally, happens to be Cianfrance’s wife). I just finished editing it when I got an email press release from the folks at Fountainhead Films, the company behind the feature Quatro Nozza. The company has just released a DVD by Plumb entitled Before Z which can be bought online at the website or, in an interesting marketing connection, at Colette in Paris. Says the release, “The half-hour Super 8 film includes twenty-six film sketches by Plumb, one for each letter of the alphabet. With her unique brand of slapstick humor, Plumb acts out words for every letter, as animations whimsically appear and disappear across the screen.”
Fountainhead producer Frederic King says that he commissioned Plumb, who was three months pregnant at the time, to make the piece when he saw her work at the New Video Festival. “When I saw Shannon’s Super 8 sketches at the New Video Festival at Lincoln Center, it hit a nerve. I was wowed by Shannon’s inventiveness and comedic talent, and her films evoked a nostalgic feeling that I wanted to share with my twelve-year-old daughter. So I approached Shannon with the concept of creating a series of short films for children and parents to enjoy together. Something unique to the marketplace, something organic and very creative.”
Time Out New York Kids described Before Z as an “utterly inspired, inexplicable mix of Buster Keaton and Gloria Swanson.” The DVD sells for $15.99 and comes with “a coloring activity sheet, metallic stickers, and creative suggestions for moviemaking fun at home.”
For those wanting something a bit more adult yet with their own childlike charm, check out Plumb’s own website to see the artist’s witty Super-8 shorts.