The four filmmakers behind Galatrax Pictures — director Brian Klemesrud and producers Steph Johnson, Julie Hammerle and John Hammerle, Butler graduates all — will be hosting a screening of their four shorts at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4, at Hollywood Bar and Filmworks.
At $40 a head, the price is indeed steep, but this is primarily a fundraiser for their next project, Static. The fee also includes food, drink and a one-year membership to Hollywood Bar and Filmworks.
The only dull spot in the four shorts is the opener, Two, which is vague and overly familiar, but still shows a strong grasp on atmosphere. Bloodnog, a grotesque comedy about feuding hitmen on Christmas. The premise sounds a bit tired, but once you get to a couple of assassins in Christmas sweaters and aprons arguing the merits of the Wonderknife, you realize that we’re well beyond post- Tarantinoism and just roll with the craziness.
And then there’s Exit, taking three college students to the brink of madness. Shot for no budget on a camcorder and then run several times through the Gauntlet of the Mad Editor: Onscreen charts, De Palma-style multiple angles, a pulsing techno soundtrack, even inexplicable German subtitles keep things moving along so briskly you barely notice how tightly constructed it is.
Their longest piece, The Death of Noir, is a lush, atmospheric take on 1940s noir films. In their most daring move, they forego editing tricks completely and let the imagery tell the story, which really shows their flexibility. It’s a long, long leap from Exit to this.
With a strong ensemble of players, led by Ahrens and Johnson, and a wide array of tricks and tools at their disposal, Galatrax has established themselves as a potent filmmaking force. Even if you don’t catch these shorts this weekend, you’ll be hearing from them again soon enough. For more info: Brian Klemesrud (773) 480-5289 — Paul F. P. Pogue