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film + video

Documentary Focuses on NYC Cab Driver-Turned-Street Photographer Matt Weber

(Matt Weber)
Van Gogh (1989) by Matt Weber, the subject of More Than a Rainbow.

Matt Weber got his start in photography with one hand on a camera and the other on the wheel of a New York City taxi cab. He soon went from being a taxi driver with a camera to a photographer with a taxi, eventually making photography a full-time pursuit. Weber—and the fate of photography in a digital age—is the subject of More Than the Rainbow, a new documentary that opens today at New York’s Quad Cinema and heads to Los Angeles later this month. Set to the twisting melodies of Thelonious Monk, the film combines live action with still photography and interviews with Weber and fellow photographers such as Ralph Gibson and Zoe Strauss.

“For me the essential thing was to create something that would have its own feel,” says director and producer Dan Wechsler. “We interspers[ed] musically driven montage sequences—some in color, some in black and white—where the audience could feel itself moving along the sidewalks and through the subways of the city that our main subject has been roving for the past quarter century, with a camera around his neck at almost all times.”
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Gary Hustwit’s Design Film Trilogy, Coming Soon in Book Form

design trilogy bookIf you’ve enjoyed one, two, or all three of Gary Hustwit‘s design documentaries—Helvetica, Objectified, and Urbanized—you’re sure to be mesmerized by his forthcoming book of compiled interviews, now available for pre-order. The 400 pages, gleaned from hundreds of hours (and 31 hard drives worth) of footage, are unedited glimpses into the minds of creative types from Paola Antonelli to Hermann Zapf. “What’s striking to me is how wide-ranging the actual conversations are compared to the films, which seem kind of narrow in comparison,” says Hustwit. “I’m actually excited—and a little frightened—about how it’ll all work in one book…we’ll see!”

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Advanced Style Goes from Blog to Book to Film

advanced style

What began as a blog and became a book—and then a coloring book—has shape-shifted once again. Ari Seth Cohen‘s Advanced Style heads to the big screen via filmmaker Lina Plioplyte, whose documentary follows seven fabulous New Yorkers aged between 62 and 95 as they challenge the stereotypes of beauty and aging with their unique style. Chunky jewelry, statement sunglasses, turbans, magenta, and Iris Apfel all loom large. Advanced Style makes its U.S. debut tomorrow at the Montclair Film Festival in Montclair, New Jersey. The trailer (below) is best enjoyed while wearing a cape and a minimum of eight bangle bracelets.

Watch: This Is a Generic Brand Video

Rushing water, DNA helices, stop-motion footage of a city at night. Put ‘em together and what have you got? A generic brand video. Royalty-free stock footage purveyor Dissolve.com seized upon the formula outlined by Kendra Eash in a recent piece for McSweeney’s Internet Tendency and brought it to life in this amusing short, made entirely with stock footage and narrated with an avuncular twang by Dallas McClain.

Font Men: A Filmic Flashback to Happier Days for Hoefler and Frere-Jones

Hoefler & Frere-Jones is no more, the namesake duo having been torn asunder by disagreements (over ownership stakes in the powerhouse type foundry) that in January escalated to a lawsuit that had the design world combing through court filings. What remains is one last glimpse into their 15-year partnership: Font Men (below). The short film was made by New York-based Dress Code for AIGA to celebarate H+FJ’s 2013 AIGA Medal, and earlier this month was selected for SXSW.

At Architecture & Design Film Festival, a Look at Building Communities

This month marked the Los Angeles debut of the Architecture & Design Film Festival. We dispatched writer Brigette Brown to take in a few of the 30 flicks on offer along with the program of talks and panels. The five-day festival kicked off with If You Build It, a documentary that follows designer-activists Emily Pilloton and Matt Miller as they lead a group of high school students in rural North Carolina through a year-long design-build project, and wrapped up on a similar note, with a closing panel entitled “Hands-on, Ground-up: Community and Design/Build.”

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The Los Angeles Theater Center, an early-nineteenth century bank turned theater, was the setting for the inaugural L.A. edition of the Architecture & Design Film Festival. (All photos courtesy ADFF)

27_ADFF_LA_2014-(22)-Kyle-Bergman_Steve-Badanes“Hands-on, Ground-up,” the final program of the Architecture & Design Film Festival in Los Angeles, left the audience wondering how we, as community members, designers, architects, and structure aficionados, can collaborate and build more. How can we push ourselves back into building and problem solving away from the computer, getting our hands dirty?

Architecture critic Mimi Zeiger moderated a panel of seasoned minds in the architecture and design/build field: Steve Badanes (pictured at right with festival founder and co-director, Kyle Bergman) professor of architecture and director of the Neighborhood Design Build Studio at the University of Washington; Jenna Didier, founder of experimental design and exhibition space, Materials & Applications; and, Dave Sellers, founder of Sellers and Company Architects. Though each panelist approaches the topic of design/build differently in their practices—professor, architect, artist—they each showed how small steps within design culture can help guide American culture to a more hands-on way of living.

“Why is it important to talk about design/build right now?” Zeiger asked to kick off the discussion. This simple “why should we care?” question shaped the conversation that followed. “A day’s work usually involves staring at a screen, pushing around a bar of soap, and maybe answering a few emails and sending some texts,” said Badanes. “So, you don’t really get the satisfaction that you’ve accomplished anything. When you make things, it’s really visceral…you have the satisfaction that you’ve made something.” The panelists agreed that design/build is about getting back in touch with making things. Using a hammer, painting columns and, as Sellers said, “having the oldest lady you can find make [you] blueberry pies” to eat on site are what architecture and design should be about.
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Tea Time with Geoff McFetridge

While Americans pound coffee and gobble sleeves of Milanos, those in more civilized—if less productive—nations know the restorative power of a pause that involves a fresh cup of tea. Bigelow Tea joined Los Angeles-based artist and designer Geoff McFetridge for tea time and captured the creative magic that can happen in the couple of minutes it takes to to steep a cup of tea. The contemplative short, directed by Bucky Fukumoto, is part of Bigelow’s “While You Were Steeping” series.

Documentary Explores Vision of Paolo Soleri

soleri

Paolo Soleri gets his close-up in a documentary now making the festival rounds (next stop: Sedona). Lisa Scafuro‘s The Vision Of Paolo Soleri: Prophet in The Desert explores the life and work of the Italian-born architect, urban designer, artist, craftsman, and philosopher, who died last April at the age of 93. The film traces Soleri’s path from his formative time at Taliesin West, where he worked under Frank Lloyd Wright before setting off on a course of his own, driven by the dream to create an environment in harmony with people. Check the film’s Facebook page for news of the latest screenings. In the Washington, D.C. area? The Vision Of Paolo Soleri will screen at the National Building Museum on the evening of March 24.

Architecture & Design Film Festival Heading to Los Angeles

ADFF_IF YOU BUILD IT_photo Brad einknopfThe Architecture & Design Film Festival is heading West. After years of celebrating the creative spirit of architecture and design through a dynamic line-up of features, documentaries, and shorts in cities including New York and Chicago, the festival will debut in Los Angeles with a 30-film slate as well as a program of panel discussions and Q&As, a pop-up bookshop, and other design-related events. The five-day event kicks off March 12 at the Los Angeles Theatre Center with Patrick Creadon‘s If You Build It, which follows designer-activists Emily Pilloton and Matt Miller as they lead a group of high school students in rural North Carolina through a year-long design-build project.

Other highlights include the world premiere of TELOS, a film on maverick architect Eugene Tssui, and the U.S. premiere of In The Midst of Things, which explores the life and work of Portuguese architect Manuel Tainha. And local flavor abounds: the L.A. programs includes The Oyler House: Richard Neutra’s Desert Retreat (which includes interviews with the house’s current owner, actress Kelly Lynch) and Levitated Mass, a fascinating tale about the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s two-story, 340-ton granite boulder that was moved from a quarry in Riverside, California to the museum site on a 105-mile journey that spanned 10 nights and crawled through 22 cities and four counties on a football field-long transport vehicle.

Pictured: A still from If You Build It. Watch the trailer below.
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Quote of Note | Jerry Saltz on Kanye West

bound 2 kw

“’Bound 2′ is certainly a piece of work—as bizarrely gonzo and creepily asexual as Jeff Koons‘s hyperrealistic 1991 paintings of himself having sex with his then-wife Cicciolina, John Currin‘s 1989 paintings of Breck girls, and Marina Abramovic’s staring at spectators at MoMA in 2010. “Bound 2” is different: a freakish act of creation and destruction by appropriation. It stars Kanye and his fiancée, Kim Kardashian, and we see (along with the two of them) wild horses running in rivers, eagles flying to the sky, sunsets, purple mountain majesties, redwood forests, and gulfstream waters. It’s a teenage girl’s bedroom’s idea of romance crossed with Richard Prince‘s Cowboy photographs, American Romanticism, Celestial Seasonings packages, shampoo commercials, Iranian music videos, Thomas Kinkaid, beer ads, Jeff Koons, The Onion, Lars von Trier, the House of Fendi, and Jeffrey Deitch and his own uncanny 1992 prophecy ‘The Freudian model of the psychological person is dissolving…freed of the constraints of one’s past.” The New Uncanny is un-self-consciousness filtered through hyper-self-consciousness, unprocessed absurdity, grandiosity of desire, and fantastic self-regard.”

-New York art critic Jerry Saltz on Kanye West‘s “Bound 2” video, directed by Nick Knight

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