I'll make this intro simple and just say that I'd like to see more film portraits by Jonathan Frey, whom you may know best as a photographer (he has a studio at the Harrison and recently participated in the center's India-Indiana cultural exchange/show). His short film about Kipp Normand — the local artist, architecture expert, amateur historian and found object collector — was given a Festival Award by Heartland Film Festival, putting it in the running for a grand prize award that eventually went to the animated short Head over Heels.
Kipp Normand screens in a shorts program with Head Over Heels (among other films) at 11:30 a.m. on Oct. 26 at Castleton 14, and at 11 a.m. on Oct. 26 at Traders Point 12. Here's more about it, from an e-mail interview with Frey.
NUVO: Why Kipp?
Jonathan Frey: Kipp Normand, at face value, is enthralling. His glasses, his beard, his apparel, his art, his hoarding, his genuineness all have a mystery about them. I was drawn to him at an inquisitive level.
NUVO: How does your practice as a photographer inform your approach to motion picture-making?
Frey: The transition into film was daunting at first. I quickly, however, learned that all of the skills I gained from photography easily applied to film. The only new thing I had to understand was motion and how motion would affect my style. But rather than develop a new style or approach to light or the framing of a subject, I decided to fit film into my photography.
I shoot portraits. A person says a lot without saying a word with just their face. It's powerful. It's striking. Every picture I take I want for it to carry that power and strikingness. Now when I film, I'm looking to accomplish the same things. I want every scene to be memorable and to tell the viewer something whether it's their face or them simply walking.
NUVO: Were you surprised your work was selected by Heartland?
Frey: I was very surprised the film was selected by Heartland. And I was very, very surprised that it won a Festival Award. Shooting films is a relatively new endeavor for me. So the fact that I had not submitted anything to Heartland before (or to any film festival for that matter), shocked me. I was pleasantly shocked.
The film Kipp Normand is as much about him and my work as much as it is about the community of Indianapolis. Family, friends, and perhaps strangers have encouraged Kipp and me in many fabulous ways. They have supported him and his art. They have supported me in my photography and films. Ending up in Heartland acted as the culmination of many parts coming together for something wonderful. For that, I am grateful.
As Heartland leadership told us last week (in our cover story, very much still available at nuvo.net), part of the draw of the Heartland Film Festival, is, in short, the money. Sure, they treat the filmmakers well, show their films in ideal conditions and curate with an attentiveness to the needs of the human animal at all ages, but $100,000 can encourage even coast-huggers to migrate inland. And, so, the awards are a big deal, and more than just an opportunity to throw some laurels on a poster. Here, then, are this year's winners, along with their remaining screenings.
Grand Prize Winner for Best Narrative Feature ($100,000): Cairo 678, screening Oct. 26, 6 p.m. and Oct. 27, 9 p.m. @ Castleton 14
Best Documentary Feature ($25,000): Rising from Ashes, screening Oct. 26, 1:30 p.m. @ Traders Point 12; Oct. 27, 6:15 p.m. @ Castleton 14
Vision Award for Best Short Film ($10,000): Head over Heels, screening Oct. 26, 11:30 a.m. @ Castleton 14; Oct. 27, 11 a.m. @ Traders Point 12
Daily Heartland screenings continue through Oct. 27 at AMC Castleton Square 14 and AMC Showplace Traders Point 12.
Closing night (Oct. 27) begins with a screening of Under African Skies, the new documentary by Paradise Lost director Joe Berlinger about Paul Simon's Graceland, at The Toby (7 p.m., $15). Then comes the closing night party, beginning from 9:30 p.m. at The Jazz Kitchen ($15). $25 gets you into both events.