Documentary

Section



Documentary Food

Déguste: A New Short Film Showing the Beauty and Brutality of Commercial Kitchen Work

November 1, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Alternating between sensual, almost biological macro shots of raw ingredients and the harsh, dully-lit environs of a commercial kitchen, Déguste captures the dual reality of working as a professional chef. The majesty, beauty, and limitless potential of natural ingredients—mushrooms, red meat, fresh greens—are right at hand for the commercial cook. But the unrelenting pace of orders in, orders up, dishing out multiple copies of the same meal at once, and juggling the dangers of sharp and hot tools cuts in again and again. Déguste gives viewers a glimpse at how the sausage gets made, so to speak, in the restaurant world, with an electrifying soundtrack of atmospheric sounds. Created by Paris-based studio Insolence Productions, the short has been lauded at multiple film festivals. See more from Insolence on Vimeo

 

 



Documentary

The Last Honey Hunter: One Man’s Quest to Gather Honey From the Cliffs of Rural Nepal

October 1, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

The Last Honey Hunter was released in 2017, but is new to us at Colossal and is a powerful story worth a watch at any point. Set in rural Nepal, the half hour documentary chronicles the Kulung culture’s traditions of honey collection. Using precarious methods to scale treacherous cliffs, the Kulung seek to harvest a particular type of psychotropic honey that has spiritual significance to the community. We won’t seek to paraphrase the intricacies of the tradition; when you have some time, go into full screen mode and sink in to the story.

Written and directed by Ben Knight, The Last Honey Hunter is a co-production of Camp4 Collective and Felt Soul Media, in association with National Geographic and with the community expertise of dZi Foundation. You can also read about the Kulung honey rituals in a National Geographic article.

 

 

 

 



Documentary History

Watch Art Conservator Diana Hartman Painstakingly Re-Weave and Patch a Century-Old Canvas

September 30, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Step into the conservation and restoration studios at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in this short documentary following the restoration of a 1907 painting. Featuring conservator Diana Hartman, the video follows Hartman’s problem-solving, tool acquisition, and hands-on work. The hundred year-old canvas, painted by Paula Modersohn-Becker, is unusual in that it is still on its original wood stretchers, and was presumably stretched by the artist herself. This also presents some complex logistical hurdles, as normally a canvas on non-original stretchers would simply be removed from its wooden structural support for repairs. After several months of planning the repair, Hartman re-weaves the canvas using eye surgery needles and tones a custom-shaped canvas patch with precisely matched watercolors.

MoMA reopens to the public on October 21, 2019, after several months of extensive renovations and expansions, including two new ground-floor galleries that are free to visit. (via The Kid Should See This)

 

 



Documentary

A Look Inside the 45,000-Piece Collection of Trashed Treasures Curated by Sanitation Worker Nelson Molina

September 11, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

If, like me, you live in New York City, you’re confronted on the daily with mounds of trash on the sidewalk. While the appliances, antique furniture, clothing, and houseplants are a passing novelty for pedestrians such as myself, for Nelson Molina, the trash was his daily focus for 34 years. The veteran New York Sanitation worker, who retired in 2015 from his East Harlem route, has collected over 45,000 items of interest, all culled from his professional immersion in what New Yorkers discard.

His curatorial efforts have been widely chronicled over the years, including a 2012 profile in The New York Times, and particularly at inflection points when the collection’s future is uncertain. A new short documentary film by director Nicholas Heller meets up with the contagiously enthusiastic Molina for a look inside his curatorial process and the present state of the collection. There is currently a fundraising effort to create a permanent home for Molina’s ‘Treasures in the Trash,’ which you can contribute to here. If you’re interested in more anthropological trash projects, check out Jenny Odell’s Bureau of Suspended Objects, an archive created out of Odell’s time as an artist in residence at a San Francisco dump.

 

 



Art Documentary

Repurposing the World’s Plastic Waste: An Interview With Assemblage Sculptor Thomas Deininger

August 28, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

Every year more than eight million tons of plastic are dumped into our oceans. This anxiety, coupled with fears of a dramatic decline in insect populations and a global climate crisis, fuel the assemblage-based works of Thomas Deininger (previously). In a new short film by gnarly bay, clips of Deininger in his studio are supercut with footage showing the many ways that plastic has laid damage to our world’s sea creatures and environment. It is these bits of mindlessly discarded plastic that the Bristol, Rhode Island-based artist uses to create his sculptural optical illusions—which are often of the exact same animals and insects that the plastic threatens. You can see more of Deininger’s three-dimensional works built from found objects on Instagram.

 

 



Art Documentary

Filmmaker Bas Berkhout Steps Inside Portrait Painter Kathryn Engberg’s New York Studio

August 19, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

A short documentary film by Bas Berkhout profiles third generation portrait painter Kathryn Engberg. In the 6 minute-long film, Berkhout turns the tables on Engberg⁠—usually the observer and chronicler⁠—taking a look inside the artist’s studio and digging into her story. “As a painter of people myself, I tried to give Bas total control to capture what felt compelling to him. As someone so self-admittedly interested in being in the audience, it was strange to see myself as the focus. But I trusted Bas to create a wonderful piece,” Engberg tells Colossal.

The artist is currently working on a series of paintings inspired by the artist Artemisia Gentileschi  (who is perhaps best known for Judith Slaying Holofernes), and will be exhibiting in the group show “Face to Face” at Robert Simon Fine Art in New York City. The show opens on November 14, 2019. See more of Engberg’s paintings and sketches on Instagram and explore Berkhout’s film portfolio on Vimeo. (via Colossal Submissions)

 

 

 



Art Documentary

Life in Miniature: Medical Devices and Pre-Packaged Foods Immortalized in Tiny Sculptures by Kath Holden and Margaret Shaw

April 2, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

Kath Holden constantly daydreams about the everyday objects she can transform into tiny sculptures. Even during doctor’s appointments, the U.K.-based miniaturist glances around the room to investigate which medical devices she can cull for inspiration. Holden runs Delph Minatures with her business partner and mother Margaret Shaw, a fellow miniature maker who specializes in food-related items such as pre-packaged steaks, baskets of fruit, and trays of brownies.

The pair was recently profiled in Life in Miniature, a short film by Ellen Evans which delves into the women’s studios and their opinions on the world of miniatures. Holden explains that she views other miniaturists as often being stuck in the past. She doesn’t understand the desire to recreate Georgian and Victorian houses, when you could produce objects for ordinary people, and produce objects relevant today. “I like to represent now,” she explains in the film. “The era I life in. If we don’t do miniatures of what we do now, how will it be represented in the future?”

The film premiered at the Sheffield DocFest in June 2018 and was in the official selection for Sundance Film Festival, SXSW, Hot Docs, Aspen ShortsFest, and several other festivals. You can view the short documentary in the video above, and learn more about the Holden and Shaw’s wide range of contemporary miniatures on their website.