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in Filmmaking
on Jan 9, 2007

As you may have read below, Filmmaker is hosting an evening with animator and artist Brent Green this coming Wednesday. I think his work is really great and hope you can come and check it out. If you want to learn more about him, check out this essay on the Creative Capital website. Green is a Creative Capital fellow, and their support helped him realize his new Paulina Hollers, which we’ll screen on Wednesday before its Sundance screening next week.

An excerpt from the Creative Capital page:

Picture this: a Santa Claus who’s a skinny, irritable old cuss who guzzles cough syrup for the buzz and whose workshop is home to scrawny blackbirds and big-eared, dancing mice. And imagine his story told with a tremulous voice muttering snatches of prose over scrawled drawings held together with bits of Scotch tape. That’s Hadacol Christmas (pictured, 2005), Brent Green’s adamantly handmade twelve-minute animation, a rough, cobbled together thing that makes your head spin with its barrage of unexpected moments, like a shotgun blast spewing poetry.

“I’m not, so much, into polished stuff,” says Green, whose work is all about the improbable splendor of the broken down, the rickety, and the barely-held-together. “I don’t see any beauty in it.”

This pursuit of the unexpected is what drew Green to filmmaking in the first place. After writing a short story, Green decided he wanted to bring it to life. So he taught himself how to animate, maniacally drawing thousands of images that second by second became his first film, Susa’s Red Ears (2002), a story about a girl who sleeps on top of a bureau. Pleased with the fact that the moving images approximated his vision of the story, he kept going, working next on Francis (2002), based on a soundtrack by the band Califone. Green’s three films wiggle and jump with hand-drawn characters. And in each, there’s that voice-over narration, spoken by Green himself with an edgy urgency that drives the films forward like freight trains at night.

Funded by the Creative Capital Foundation, Green’s current project is Paulina Hollers, an animated film that draws on his own family history. “My family was originally from West Virginia,” he says, “and for this project, I tried to write an Appalachian folk tale where everything gets worse and worse, but there’s still this tinge of hope around the edges.” According to Green, “the story centers around an asshole kid who dies and goes to Hell. His mother kills herself so he won’t be alone. She finds him and they try to escape.”

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