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First ‘Open Reel’ at the Crest

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The Crest Theatre’s Screen 3 is where a large crowd viewed 12 three-minute films for the first ‘Open Reel’ competition. The evening began with a few words from Mike Azevedo, gallery manager at the Center for Contemporary Art, Sacramento, and a reminder that all films would be shown Saturday and Sunday at 1020 16th St. as part of the annual Capitol Artists’ Studio Tour.

The screening began with two one-minute films by Adam Bearson that featured Lisa Fernald Barker and Shirley Hazlett in their studios.

Bearson captured the essence of the artists, focusing on their tools and works, allowing the film to say as much as the subjects. Barker spoke mainly of one painting, while Hazlett spoke of her work in general. 

Adam Bearson

The three-minute shorts followed and were varied in theme, style and tone, beginning with “Devil Forgot His Hat” by Lori Blair and Jason Triano. The films following were “Zombie Kickball” by Ann Tracy; the first of Atomic Elroy’s three films, “Beckett’s Autopsy,” which featured puppets of Groucho Marx and Franz Kafka; and Travis VanZant’s “Fliegen,” starring a dead hummingbird and a poem. While the former three films garnered some laughter, VanZant’s film commanded silence, yet nervous laughter was heard at times.

Donald Satterlee’s “Stormscapes” seemed to be a favorite with the audience. Satterlee shot the film through the windshield of his car on a rainy day. The Tower Theatre and Mercury Cleaners were a few Sacramento landmarks in the film. Atomic Elroy’s second film, “The Invention and Demonstration of MONOCYCLE,” was enjoyed by many attendees.

“Close” by Jonathan Joiner included the use of saturated color and ice cubes. One attendee said he had never seen color and ice like that. Next came Tim McHargue’s “The Locust” and Camille Getz’s “The Spider.” The Crest audience seemed to enjoy Getz’s film the most, indicated by their laughter throughout as a woman attempted to capture a very large, very plastic spider that first appeared on the wall above the bed she shared with a sleeping man.

The final two films were by Robert Barbarino: “Land Escapes” and “Green Umbrella.” The judges deemed the latter worthy of the award for best use of color.

“We were looking for the best use of color, not necessarily saturated color,” judge Jenny Stark said. “This film has a strong sense of art direction, and it seemed like the artist was thinking about costume and how that relates to the background, which is not often seen in experimental film.”

Azevedo said the ‘Open Reel’ competition will become a part of the Capitol Artists’ Studio Tour next year.

Filmmakers Travis VanZant, Camille Getz, Jonathan Joiner, Jason Triano, Lori Blair, Donald Satterlee, Tim McHargue, Atomic Elroy

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