Wisconsin film reads March 28, 2014

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At UW’s “Antenna” Blog, Brandon Colvin discusses the rewards and challenges of his grassroots “Micro-Wave Cinema” program:

Depressingly, way more people will come out for a campus screening of the new Thor film than a screening of a film they might not be able to see anywhere, anytime, anyhow, even with the bonus of special access to the filmmakers. How does an upstart exhibition organization effectively attract and reward viewers, especially when the films are produced by total independents? This question is interesting to me not just as a budding programmer and exhibitor, but also as a filmmaker and, most pertinent to this blog, an academic. I imagine my understanding will grow along with my experience. I hope to deliver progress reports to Antenna in the future.

On a lighter note, The Isthmus’ Phil Davis interviewed Colvin about his new film Sabbatical, which plays at this year’s Wisconsin Film Festival:

Art direction should not be descriptive, in my opinion. Instead, it should be expressive. I don’t think production design should tell you about the characters. I think it should make you feel what they feel. Walls, colors, furniture, space — all of that carries emotion. The story gives those elements further emotional charge. In some ways, I think I tell stories in order to give space and time an emotional charge instead of using images and sounds to dramatize stories. It’s a reversal of the way most people make narrative films. Anything that dilutes the overall mood of the space — extraneous objects or details that might add verisimilitude — is excised.

On his Madison Movie Blog, Rob Thomas unpacks structure and aspect ratios in Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel:

So the film moves from a book being read, to the author reading the story in the book, to the author being told the story of his book, to the story’s central character living through the story. It’s an effect that makes the past seem almost unreachable; not only is Gustave long dead, and not only is Zero long gone, but now even the Author that Zero told his story to now a memory.

Of course, I’d be remiss if I failed to shamelessly plug my ongoing festival coverage with Arts Extract and Madison Film Forum. Here’s Taylor Hanley on Particle Fever and its expensive drawbacks:

The film doesn’t ignore the debate over the necessity of science and the justification for the billions of dollars spent, but it also doesn’t strongly take any sides either. It manages to only scratch the surface and this leads to a mild tone that seems inappropriate for such a relevant topic. By not diving deeper into the controversy, the questions remain potent in the viewer’s mind—“well, is this research worth billions of dollars?”