Spotlight: Motion Highlights from September

By David Schonauer   Wednesday October 11, 2017

What happens when filmmakers focus on photographers?

Among the motion pieces we spotlighted in September were a quartet of films exploring the creative processes and visions of photographers Daniel Arnold, Mark Romanek, Daido Moriyama, and Robert Whitman.

We also featured a short film about Gui Martinez, in an in-demand photographer from Brazil who has made Tokyo his home, as he sets out on a motorcycle to clear in mind and rewire his creativity on motorcycle road trip across the country.

Another road trip — this one captured with drones — captured the landscape of Tuscany. And speaking of Italy: We also featured a shift-tilt time-lapse film backed by music from Rossini’s “Barber of Seville” that took in the cityscape of Naples.

Meanwhile, another time-lapse film took us on a remarkable 30-day journey aboard a cargo-container ship. We got a visual thrill with a film about one artist who attached LEDs to pigeons, and we contemplated the power of creativity while watching a short film about an illustrator who has grown famous doodling characters with big eyes. Here are those and other highlights from September: 

1. The Story of a Doodler and Illustrator, Told in Leftover Photos

Jon Burgerman says his pictures are about fun. That, and a lot of "googlie eyes." The New York cit-based "illustrator and doodler" is the subject of short film by photographer and filmmaker Bas Berkhout, but it's not your typical artist profile. "In this film I focused less on 'the artist creative process,'" Berkhout told us. His film came about after the artist asked Berkhout to shoot photos of him for a new book. Later, Berkhout used his leftover images to create a motion piece delving into Burgerman's past.

2. Four Short Films About Photographers and Photography

It's not surprising that filmmakers are interested in photographers as subjects: The interplay and contrasts between the cousin mediums are complex, we noted  by way of introducing short films about four photographers — Daniel Arnold (seen here), Mark Romanek, Daido Moriyama, and Robert Whitman — that were featured at Nowness.

3. A Photographer On the Road in Japan

Gui Martinez is an in-demand photographer from Brazil who has made Tokyo his home. But it’s a chaotic home. The documentary Gui Martinez: A Short Film and Photo Essay  follows the artist as he takes to the road on a solo motorcycle journey deep into the Japanese countryside, looking for inspiration and a new outlet for his creativity. Directed by Jeremy Rubier, the film is an impressionistic study of Martinez told in moving and still images.

4. Tuscany Dawn, by Drone

The beautiful landscapes of Tuscany, Italy — rolling hills, vineyards, olive groves, cypress trees, and ancient villages — come alive in Tuscany Dawn, a short film from filmmaker Bjarke Hvorslev shot entirely with a DJI Mavic Pro drone. Hvorslev notes that the film, a Vimeo Staff Pick, was shot over the course of a two-week vacation with his family. Hvorslev has also created an inspiring aerial travelog about Iceland.

5. A Tilt-Shift Tour of Naples, Rossini Included

To speed you along his four-minute time-lapse tour of Naples, Italy, Berlin-based filmmaker Joerg Daiber  has included the famous “Largo al factotum” aria from “The Barber of Seville.” Daiber's film, Nothing But Naples, features hyperlapse as well as tilt-shift lens views of construction workers, dogs and cats running along rooftops, ladies taking in laundry, cityscapes, seascapes, and more, with cuts perfectly cut to Rossini’s music. See it at Vimeo.

6. A 30-Day Journey at Sea, in 10 Minutes

Jeffrey Tsang is a photographer, YouTuber, and a sailor who works on a container ship that travels around the world, and he used that unique access to create a memorable 4K time-lapse video: Over the course of a 30-day voyage from the Red Sea to Hong Kong, Tsang shot 80,000 stills using a Nikon D750 and Rokinon 12mm f/2.8 lens placed on his ship’s deck. “Sailing in the open sea is a truly unique way to grasp how significantly small we are in the beautiful world,” he notes.

7. This Artist Mounts LEDs on Pigeons

The short documentary Fly by Night  follows artist Duke Riley as he undertakes a noteworthy project in 2016: training thousands of pigeons outfitted with tiny LEDs to “twirl, swoop, and glide over the East River at dusk from a decommissioned naval vessel in the Brooklyn Navy Yard.” The documentary, commissioned by the public arts nonprofit Creative Time, was made by Olivia Loomis Merrion, a filmmaker based in Oakland, CA.

8. The Herstory of the Female Filmmaker

Women were among the pioneers of filmmaking — though that fact came to be overlooked later on. Filmmaker Kelly Gallagher's short The Herstory of the Female Filmmaker is an excellent primer on the subject, notes NoFilmSchool, even though Gallagher made it seven years ago. (The film predates Kathryn Bigelow’s Best Director Oscar win for The Hurt Locker in 2010 and of course doesn’t reference director Patty Jenkins’s recent big-budget breakthrough with Wonder Woman.)

9. What Lies Under the Ice in Longyearbyen?

Part travelog and part science documentary, the nine-minute film Nobody Dies in Longyearbyen may leave you with the polar bug — that is, the urge to get yourself at once to arctic climes, such as those in Longyearbyen, a town on Spitsbergen Island, in Norway's Svalbard archipelago. But the appealing video may also leave you worried about “something deadly, long buried in the permafrost.”

10. Examining Domestic Violence Native American Communities

One in two Native American women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. One in three will be raped. U.S. Government policies, judicial loopholes and prejudice stereotypes are directly responsible for the epidemic in American Indian communities today, says photographer and filmmaker Marlon Krieger, who has spent five years putting faces to those number in his short documentary Hearts In the Ground, which we featured.


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