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in Filmmaking
on Jan 5, 2007

Those of you in New York should come down to the IFC Center next Wednesday, January 10, for an evening Filmmaker is co-presenting featuring the very interesting work of animator and artist Brent Green. Coinciding with his solo show at the Bellwether Gallery, the evening will feature Green’s original animations, including his Sundance-bound Paulina Hollers (pictured at right), a Q and A between myself and Green, and films by special guest artists. The show starts at 7:30, and I’ll post more on it next week. For now, though, here’s what I wrote about Green in 2005 when we selected him for our “25 New Faces” feature.

“BRENT GREEN LIVES AND WORKS IN A BARN IN CRESSONA, PENNSYLVANIA,” begins the bio of this 26-year-old animator who has developed a novel distribution strategy for his haunting, charmingly low-fi animated shorts. “When I finish a film we do live shows with bands and sell DVD-R’s with hand-painted artwork,” Green says. “The bands improv the soundtracks and I yell the narration like a preacher. I get to work with artists I love — Califone, Sin Ropas, Garland of Hours and Brendan Canty from Fugazi.”

Green says he’s more influenced by music and books — Vic Chesnutt, Smog and the above musicians as well as writers Kurt Vonnegut, Langston Hughes and Jack Kerouac — than he is by other filmmakers. He thought up the story for his first short, Susa’s Red Ears, and decided to animate it just to see if the result would “look the way it does in my head” and was shocked when, six months later, it did. He sent the short to his favorite musicians and one, Tim Rutili from Califone, wrote back and asked if he could include the short on his next CD.

Green is working on his latest film, Paulina Hollers, with the support of a Creative Capital grant. “It’s about an asshole kid whose mother is a religious zealot and who shoots rabbits from his window,” Green says. “He gets hit by a bus and his soul slips through the floor into hell. His mom shoots herself so she can slip into hell and try to get him out.” The aboveground footage will all be stop-motion wood-carved animation, while “hell” will be hand-drawn. Again, for Green filmmaking is about communicating what’s inside his head. “You think everyone sees the world the way you do,” he says, “but then you realize, Holy crap, they don’t!” — Scott Macaulay

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