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This unusual narrative takes a ride with a strange man named Jim and his “friend”, Alex, as they pass through rural Illinois. Drifting along, the film becomes uncomfortably funny as we realize Jim may not be all there, and neither is his friend. The concept for the film came to director Chad Schneider during a melancholy moment at an Italian fast food restaurant in St. Louis, where he composed the rough draft on a paper napkin.
Wanderlust 2: Thunder on the Track
Walter Forsberg, 2004, 5 min., documentary
Creelman, Saskatchewan, Canada
from RRFF ’07
Inspired by stock car crash videos, this micro-documentary gives a 1980s glance into the sensational Saskatchewan Lawnmower Racing Circuit. In the hallowed Winnipeg tradition of image degradation, this work demeans cinematic imagery into a bygone videoscopic era of the movies.
Each November for 44 years Bob Chase has cleaned his gun, donned an orange cap, and set out into the Pennsylvania woods hot on the trail of the black bear. Each year he’s come home empty-handed, until now. The Bear Hunter is an intimate portrait of one man and the complications that come with success.
Charlie Cline, 2005, 4 min., narrative
Braxton County, West Virginia
from RRFF ’06
Enjoy this document of life on the farm – a timeless scene that could be occurring yesterday, 100 years ago, or 100 years from now. Follow this pillar of the American work ethic as he feeds the chickens, chops the wood, digs up the garden, and deals with incursions from other realms into his idyllic world.
Alice laments the loss of her view of the universe, one of her initial reasons for living in the country. The change in her environment is the result of “security lighting” for a large corporate storage facility. Gerstein’s piece is a craftily put-together ode to the dark, full of a variety of visual tricks and film artistry. We are presented with a simple case of light pollution that points to a universal concern – many people now live under lights so bright their eyes can no longer adjust to natural total darkness.
Coming Down the Mountain
Colin Spoelman, James Ponsoldt, and Joshua Newman, 2002, 25 min., narrative
Letcher and Harlan Counties, Kentucky
from RRFF ’03 (Best Narrative)
Coming Down the Mountain confronts prescription drug abuse in rural Kentucky on beautifully shot 35mm. In a dysfunctional home, an Appalachian father and son sit on opposite sides of a malcontent mother. Each maintains a closeted, private life, but allusions from one to the other make certain that neither man’s affairs are secret.
A short glimpse into the life of Siberian folk artist, Polikarp Sudomoikin, who worked for a collective farm for most of his life, and the many ‘vocal’ peasant women of the village. Situated 300 miles from Baikal Lake, the village, Bichura, is dwelt by traditional old believers, who where forced to Siberia during Katharine the Great and still preserve their traditions.
Sobre La Tierra traces the path of two boys crossing the Puna Juje–a desert in northwest Argentina. Each carrying a bag, the boys enter an abandoned house from two different roads and collapse from exhaustion. The next morning they meet, and to their surprise the two bags have become one. The gritty nature of their argument is reflected in the texture of Super 8 cinematography.
High Plains Winter (the final installment of an experimental outdoors trilogy) is a film about winter landscape and how it affects the human spirit on the high plains of Montana. The American/Scandinavian sport ski joring, which involves a horse & rider pulling a skier, is the centerpiece of this visual study. Alongside the sport imagery are majestic, winter landscapes and signs of domestic life: horses, dogs and people. These elements weave together to explore the nature of human life in this environment, the mythologies and the realities.
A toy cowboy writes postcards to his lost love in the suburbs. Can he win her back, or is he just being played with?
In the small town of Nemaha, Iowa a new dance craze has emerged. All you need is a shiny red tractor with power steering.
Meet dental farmer Dr. Art Rybeck, a man who combines his passion for organic farming with dentistry. Rybeck sees no reason why the less fortunate should go without dental care, so he has set up a second clinic in a farmhouse with a pay-as-you-wish policy. Director Ellen Brodsky follows this “radical” dentist as he works and ponders life. The film is both entertaining for its peculiar subject matter, and inspiring for Rybeck’s vigor and good nature.