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Documentary

Meow Wolf Explains Their Origin Story in a Feature-Length Documentary

November 6, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

The sprawling team behind the equally sprawling megalopolis of art called Meow Wolf (previously) have banded together to create a feature-length documentary explaining how its “House of Eternal Return” came to be. The 88-minute film, titled Origin Story, was directed by Morgan Capps and Jilann Spitzmiller and written by Capps and Spitzmiller along with Christina Procter. It follows the seven founding members along with hundreds of volunteers through the decade-long journey of exploring, creating, and building Meow Wolf. The film includes footage from the nascent days of Meow Wolf’s artists working together, and also dives into the future plans of the group.

Built out of an old bowling alley in Santa Fe, New Mexico with the support of Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin, Meow Wolf opened to the public in 2016 filled with works by 150 artists spread out over 20,000 square feet. The immersive art experience has quickly become a cultural touchpoint, as it’s welcomed over one million visitors in the last three years, and is in the process of expanding to two new locations, in Denver, Colorado and Las Vegas, Nevada.

Meow Wolf’s original location has expanded as well, with several new rooms and sequences added in 2018. Cakeland, by Scott Hove (previously) explores notions of heaven and hell, and lightness and darkness, in his two-part installation which engages his signature “cake” creations. (You can watch a 5 minute video that takes you behind the scenes and inside Hove’s head here.)

Justin Di Ianni also built a new portal called Timeworm. “The space is a representation of our idea of the fifth dimension,” Meow Wolf shared. “For those out of the know, the fifth dimension is one in which all time and space occur in the same instant. This means that there is no visible movement, rather all movement appears as a singular line through space. Imagine all of your life’s journeys being viewed as a single line on a global map; that’s dimension five.”

The film will be released on November 29, 2018 at 600 theaters around the country. You can take a look here to see if it’s playing nearby, and follow along with Meow Wolf’s adventures on Instagram and Facebook.

Update: You can now rent or purchase a digital copy of the full documentary online.

 

 



Amazing Dance Music

Dancing in Movies: A Foot-Tapping Montage of Cinema Scenes

June 19, 2018

Laura Staugaitis


Despite the incredibly vast array of mood and subject matter of films throughout the ages, dancing is a universal dramatic device used to create moments of levity, romance, and drama. Casper Langbak of CLS videos created a delightful super-edit of nearly 300 dance scenes in movies ranging from La La Land to Schindler’s List. You can see a full list of the clips here. Langbak has a large catalogue of cinematic collections and tributes, like Meet the Hero, on YouTube.

 

 



Amazing Photography

Trailer for Awaken, a Documentary That Brings Together Breathtaking Footage From Over Thirty Countries

July 20, 2017

Kate Sierzputowski

Here is the first trailer for the feature length documentary film AWAKEN, a work that beautifully observes the simple and complex relationships that humans from all over the world have developed with technology and the natural environment. Shot over the course of the five years, the film tracks the ceremonies, private moments, and daily rituals of citizens from over thirty countries, capturing each instance with beautiful panning shots or captivating time lapse visuals.

AWAKEN was directed, shot, edited, and produced by Tom Lowe, who previously created the short film Timescapes, and is set to open next year. (via Kottke)

 

 



Design Music

The Apprehension Engine: An Instrument Designed to Play the Music of Nightmares

June 26, 2017

Kate Sierzputowski

Movie composer Mark Korven wanted to craft the perfect sounds for horror movies, but the instruments he needed didn’t exist, and he was tired of using the same digital samples. To produce the original effects needed for evoking breathtaking moments of suspension, he teamed up with guitar maker Tony Duggan-Smith to craft an original instrument that would better aid in manufacturing fear. The Apprehension Engine is that tool, a mechanism built with several bowed metal rulers, spring reverbs, a few long metal rods, and other attachments that allow for spooky interludes and effects.

“A normal instrument, you are playing it and expecting it to have a sound that is pleasing,” said Korven to Great Big Story, “but with an instrument like this, the goal is to produce sounds, that in this case, are disturbing.”

The Apprehension Engine expresses the emotions that cannot be expressed in other ways, triggering fear with intense sonic methods. You can listen to more music by the machine tuned to provoke horror in the video below. (via Great Big Story)

 

 



Art

Artist Felice House Reimagines Scenes from Classic Western Films with Female Cowboys as Leads

February 27, 2017

Kate Sierzputowski

Julia Dean in “Giant”, 2013. Oil on canvas, 54″ x 68″.

Angered by the gendered division perpetually seen in classic Western films, painter Felice House decided to create her painted series Re-Western. The collection of works are a re-imagining of her favorite Western films cast with female leads instead of the traditional male cowboys, painting females in place of actors such as James Dean, John Wayne, or Clint Eastwood. The women in her paintings are strapped with shotguns riding horses, fiercely looking out onto a deserted plain, and strongly staring into the eyes of the audience clad in plain button-downs and bright red cowboy boots.

“The western movie tradition is so established; so accepted, so mythologized that it spans the globe,” said House to Colossal. “I love the genre, and at the same time when I sit down to watch a Western movie, I start to feel angry. For the most part, the roles in Westerns are totally inaccessible to me.”

Deciding to start a conversation with this frustration, House choose to paint these reimagined Westerns to ask straightforward questions to a society that continuously handed over these roles to males. House seeks to ask what society would be like with this imagined reversal—how would education be changed? What would our reestablished priorities look like with females as the lead role?

Liakesha Dean in “Giant”, 2013. Oil on canvas, 36″ x 48″.

Julia Dean Portrait, 2013. Oil on canvas, 24″x 20″.

“I would argue that in today’s culture portraying women without objectifying them is an intentional and political act,” said House. “The art historical and current cultural norm is to portray women to extol their sexual beauty and to encourage possessiveness. For centuries men have painted images of women for men. Now that women have access to education and training, women are painting women as we see ourselves.”

House uses her female gaze and voice to create strong, female heroes in environments we all know, reestablishing our connection to the well-known historical settings. Working with the idea of a hero, House paints her portraits larger than life. She encourages the viewer to look up and become dwarfed by the women and their power, hoping this change in physical perspective might encourage a change in mental perspective as well.

Several of House’s female portraits are currently in the group exhibition Sight Unseen at Abend Gallery in Denver through March 25. Pieces from her Re-Western series will be included the upcoming exhibition Woman as Warrior at the Zhou B Art Center in Chicago in August. You can see more of her work on her website and Instagram. (via The Creators Project)

Karan and Nanc in Open Range, 2015. Oil on canvas, 36″ x 60″.

Virginia Eastwood in “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”, 2013. Oil on canvas, 62″ x 80″.

Rebekah Wayne in True Grit (Study), 2014. Oil on canvas, 30″ x 24″.

Krimmie Wayne in “The Searchers”, 2013. Oil on canvas, 60″ x 40″.

Liakesha Cooper in “High Noon”, 2013. Oil on canvas, 36″ x 48″.

Virginia Wayne Portrait, 2013. Oil on canvas, 30″ x 24″.

Stasha Dean in “Giant”, 2013. Oil on canvas, 90″ x 60″.

 

 



Animation Art History

Full Trailer for ‘Loving Vincent,’ a Feature-Length Film Animated by 62,450 Oil Paintings

January 20, 2017

Kate Sierzputowski

The full trailer for Loving Vincent (previously here and here), a film examining the life of Vincent van Gogh, has finally been released after nearly six years of creative development. Each of the 62,450 frames for the feature-length film were hand-painted by 115 professional oil painters, and will integrate 94 of Van Gogh’s paintings into the animation. First captured as a live action film, the final oil paintings replicate each shot, recreating the entire film frame-by-frame. Loving Vincent is written and directed by Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman, and produced by Poland’s BreakThru Films and UK’s Trademark Films. You look behind-the-scenes of the film in the video below, as well as keep up-to-date with release information on the film’s Twitter and Facebook.

 

 



Animation

A Behind-the-Scenes Timelapse Captures the Extraordinary Physical Labor for the New Stop Motion Film ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’

August 25, 2016

Christopher Jobson

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This fantastic timelapse gives a stunning behind-the-scenes glimpse of animators working on the set of the new stop-motion film Kubo and the Two Strings. The film is the latest movie from animation studio Laika, who previously made Coraline, The Boxtrolls, and ParaNorman, and is the directorial debut of Travis Knight who worked as an animator on all of their previous films. You can watch an even longer version here, and the studio made a similar timelapse for the Boxtrolls.

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