Category Archives: Blasto from Pasto

A Study in Brown

This one is an old video, from maybe a year ago so not too old, that I had thought I uploaded here but apparently I didn’t!  So here it is now, A Study in Brown:

A Study in Brown from Vvinni Gagnepain on Vimeo.

I like to see my data bending work as gradually improving, and this marked the point where I was confident in creating these bent images, and wanted to begin pushing the boundaries further.  So For “A Study in Brown”, I not only had numerous versions of the main chick video on top of each other, but I also had a separate, also brown, video that was overlayed of sand falling (both videos were taken during a visit to the Museum of Science and Industry here in Chicago).  I think it’s a successful experiment and a good mile-marker for me as a growing experimental artist.

As an actual film to be seen online?  Eh, I’d put among my “Cat Video”, as something to watch keeping in mind that it’s an experiment.  A fuller experiment than my other bends, but still an experiment.  I do think the Brazillian Jazz adds a much more relaxed feeling than some other works, and mimics well the sleepiness of the chicks seen beneath the fraying video, and so perhaps this is all a way of visualizing the fraying of reality as a chick goes to sleep and enters the dream world?  Or maybe I’m just reaching too far.  I leave it to you, Comments!

I’m Tired and My Head Hurts

Here’s a seldom seen one from my time in Boulder.  Part of that is because I’ve never thought very highly of it, part of it is because it’s completely made up of copyrighted material that I don’t necessarily want to break the copyright on. At any rate, it’s a “Film Essay” that I made about the themes of loneliness and alienation in “Meshes of the Afternoon”, “The Cool World”, “Ornette: Made in America”, and “Jeanne Dielmann 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles”.  Let’s take a look at it and see if I’m right about it being sort of boring:

I’m Tired and My Head Hurts from Vvinni Gagnepain on Vimeo.

No I’m not.  The disjointed nature of the film not only helps keep something like this interesting (I had never heard of film essays before, since then I’ve seen a few and so I know it’s a thing and something that could be sort of neat), but it also helps convey a lot of the ideas on these films and how they can connect visually and metaphorically in a scattered but understandable approach.  Outside of the realm of Video Essay, though, I also think that if nothing else this is a good study on alienation through information, as I included so many layers of video, audio, and text, that it overwhelms the viewer when they can’t keep up with everything (plus, the minute in complete blackness is a nice touch).  So in the end, I suppose I learned today that one of the films I had previously thought was pointless is actually sort of nice.  What did you learn today?

Once Upon a Time in Wisconsin

I hate Kraft American Singles.  They are not cheese. They are some sort of hideous amalgamation of chemicals that taste horrible, just awful.  So I decided to animate a story on them.  This came form a writing warm-up I did on my own time, I can’t even remember when or what larger piece I was working on at the time, but I remember that I just wrote this quickly in an afternoon.  Later I decided to adapt it for a class on narratives; I’d tell you the exact assignment but I can’t really even remember that anymore.  But I do remember this piece, and I do remember the horrible smell of cheese as I scanned each horrible sliver.  Was it worth the torture?  Let’s take a look:

Once Upon a Time in Wisconsin from Vvinni Gagnepain on Vimeo.

Yes. Yes it was.  I enjoy this piece immensely, and I’d put this in my “under-appreciated and unseen classics” category.  First I actually enjoy the weird effect the paint on cheese has, as it gives it a strange bit of depth, like acetone sheets if they were yellow blocks of maybe-milk.  I also think the narration adds a nice touch to the story (I have a love-hate relationship with my performances, but this one is alright), adding a menacing twilight-zone-esque feel to the tale of Marty turning into cheese.  I’m not sure if there’s anything I’d change about it , it’s far from perfect, but for a project made for an unknown assignment it turned out just fine. It’s also a style, the photomontage, that I’d like to revisit with another story.  I think it’s a form that could use another go around and certainly something easy to do now that I’m all on my own.  How about you, internet?  How do like this odd little cheese-story?  How do you like Kraft American Singles?  What do you think the title of this piece should have been, because I’ll admit the title is pretty terrible?

|Square|

One of the last films I made of my sophomore year of college was meant to be a documentary project (I don’t remember the exact assignment, but at that point it didn’t really matter).  Mind you, this was when my school had gone completely bankrupt and had, for all intents and purposes, closed down and so this was also looking like it’d be the last film I’d ever make at CSF.  So I decided to make a documentary on carpet. I also wanted to merge this documentary with my own growing form of non-linear story-telling to create something as scattered as the square patterns on the floor.  Let’s take a look at what I did, shall we:

|Square| from Vvinni Gagnepain on Vimeo.

So that’s that.  The reason I chose this carpet, if you didn’t catch it, is that it was  not only something unique to the school (the place) but it was also a suitable enough anachronism to fully capture every bit of  my time in New Mexico and at the College of Santa Fe.    To the extent of capturing a time and place, I’d say the film is a success.  To the extent of capturing a bit of what makes this carpet so interesting, I’d say it does half of the job.  Having three people talk somewhat confusedly I’d say sort of captures the confusion of it, and the movement over the carpet was a good idea in theory.  However, once again, my tendency to play fast and loose with color correction sort of ruined the psychedelic  scheme of the flooring, which is one of the things that makes it most interesting (I’m also not sure if I was sold on white balancing yet.  I am now, don’t worry).  The sound also sounds rather muffled, and I’m pretty sure it has to do with my technical lack of understanding (this is just one step in the journey that showed me its better to work with a crew of people who knew what they were doing, rather than alone).  It’s still a neat piece, and currently its the last documentary I made (though there are some others I’d like to make eventually), and after returning to CSF I was told that many people thought this documentary should be required viewing (and I’d also say that the larger and more immersive you can get this piece, the more spectacular it will be).

Lamplight Breakfast on a Burning Kitten

Ladies and gentlemen, this is it. This is the greatest film I ever have and ever will make. I hope you enjoy it.

Lamplight Breakfast on a Burning Kitten from Andrew Gingerich on Vimeo.

I enjoy this piece mostly because of the odd manic energy it manages to exist in.  It’s a movie about High School, first and foremost, and I don’t think it ever takes its concept of Prom or its characters as seriously as the characters themselves seem to take it, which I feel is perfect for a movie about high school.  This is also the piece that has a cartoon frog spitting on the protagonist’s shoe, one of the most half-hearted and fantastic song-and-dance sequences ever, a character who enters and exits by exploding, a character who enters and exits by pelvic thrusting, a character played by a stuffed wombat, and several dance sequences that aren’t so much dancing than a  surreal glimpse into these characters minds.  To top it all off, it’s shoddiness, it’s location work of all being shot inside and outside of Andrew Gingerich’s grandmother’s house, and the putrid color work all make this into one of the most oddly surreal pieces about a kid falling in love with a wombat ever.   As I said, it’s the best thing I ever have or ever will make.

Also, I really enjoy the line “This absolves Teff of all his previous social faux-pas”.

Help! My Lawn Ornaments Been Taken by ROBBERS!

Another one of my impossibly punctuated and long titles, as well another testament to my cinematic crimes, we’ve arrived at another pretty definitive piece in the Vvinni Gagnepain oeuvre. It’s also one of the most beautiful, silly, and incomprehensible pieces I’ve made. Let’s take a look at it:

Help! My Lawn Ornaments Been Taken by ROBBERS! from Vvinni Gagnepain on Vimeo.

Lawn Ornament falls into a category of films that I call “The Beautiful Mess”, and it represents everything about this category that I love: It’s a wonder to look at (even if some composition choices are strange ones, I feel like everything mushes together into a wonderful surreal soup), the plot is all over the place (It’s essentially a “Crime Movie”, taking bits and pieces of genre conventions without really doing anything to put them together. This may sound like a criticism, but it’s most certainly not), and all of the performances are greatly sincere and take this odd world they’ve been thrown into at face value (I really do enjoy the performance of everyone in the film, give or take a Vvinni Gagnepain).  The only few thing’s I’d change if I were to release a “special edition director’s cut” would be to fix the aspect ration and the freeze frames (I made this before I really understood what an aspect ratio was, which is why the film has some weird letterbox issues), and I’d probably re-do the sound mix (Rigsby’s screaming scene peaks and there’s not much to do about that, but the knocking on the door in the house is nearly inaudible, and Mr. Henry’s song gets a bit drowned out by stock music in the background).

Nevertheless, I consider this film a huge success. What about you? Do you feel like eating a money omelet now?

Call to Forehead

When I told Andrew that I wanted to shoot on 16mm for my thesis project but had never shot on film before, he revealed to me that he had some film in his freezer.  Thus began the night-long shoot of “Call to Forehead”:

Call To Forehead from Andrew Gingerich on Vimeo.

This and “Plastix Ultimate” occupy a similar space, as both were shot on the fly with a significant reason for their existence being that Andrew and I were bored.    That being said, I think both projects turned out stupendously (In fact, SPOILER ALERT, there are some murmurs in the wind that there may actually be a “Call To Forehead” feature coming soon).  Andrew did the majority of the editing of the piece, and it responsible for so much of its grindhouse charm. Even though we had a  whole short worked out and shot, I do feel like the boiling down of the piece into a 1 minute teaser not only serves the story, but also covers up some problems we may have had with lighting, acting, overall production.

This is also perhaps the spookiest film I’ve made so far, and thus begins out foray into October: The Spookiest of all month.  Stay tuned for more of out Spook-tacular.

About Film, Time, and Pumas

I keep a log of my dreams. Most of them, anyways.  Well, okay, fine, a hefty handful of them.  The number’s not important, what is important is that my obsessive logging proved to be useful for once when I was given the assignment during my time at CU Boulder in 2009 to make a film exploring the dreamscape.  There are so many different styles and types of dreams, and I do think everyone dreams different as dreams are merely firings of electrical synapses (This doesn’t mean they’re meaningless, it just means that they’re not as nice and relevant as sometimes we’re led to believe), so I decided to focus on the filmmaker’s anxiety dream as well as my own experiences in semi-lucid dreams.  The result is below. Let’s watch, and stick with it because it gets pretty great:

About Film, Time, and Pumas from Vvinni Gagnepain on Vimeo.

What to say about this film?  I still greatly enjoy it, even some three or four years and a lot of technical honing later.  I think it not only provides a good cap to my Basement and Colorado film years, but it also features some of my favorite quotes (“The Key is inside the Puma, here take my knife!” , “Candy Town Forest!”, and “Heidegger fails to incorporate cube time which makes him stupid and false and wrong” all spring to mind. I’d love to hear some of your favorites) and it encapsulates a lot of the vividness and mundanity of our dreams: Both with the candy colored lighting schemes, the strange and often sluggish editing, and especially the minute straight of watching an egg white drip down a sign.

In spite of all of this, there a few issues.  Although the pacing at times works, a lot of the line delivery can fall flat and there are some gaps where actors are searching for lines that could have been edited over.  Some of the filmic gags didn’t come through in part because of my own color correcting and in part because of the lack of light (Mostly I’m speaking about the Greeking gag with the coconut, which no one will ever be able to understand or see), and in general the demeanor of Mike never quite gets through (I blame myself and my directing of Mikhail for this, mostly because Mikhail’s performance as Milk is spot on).

However, in spite of all of the flaws, I do deserve a bit of a break.  After all, this is the movie that ends with a person fighting a puma that’s also themselves that’s also a goat. Oh, and the camera is falling asleep at that point. So, I think that at least helps cover for the lackluster beginning, doesn’t it? DOESN’T IT?!

Skin Removal Cream Ad

Many times during the summer when both Andrew and I were out of Film School we got bored and decided to make a movie.  One of those turned out to be “Plastix Ultimate Meets his Maker”, a story of a person who is unstoppable and indestructible and under the advising from the dark lord of finance.  At some point, he decides to watch and/or invest in Skin Removal Cream (although Pepsi Throwback is really where it’s at), at any rate we needed an ad for Skin Removal Cream.  So, We shot the ad on wonderful VHS, I edited it together, and here we are: Skin Removal Cream.

Skin Removal Cream Ad from Vvinni Gagnepain on Vimeo.

I never get tired of this piece, and apparently neither do a lot of other people as  ever since it was released into the digital realm it has been one of my top viewed videos and I am more than happy to be known as “that guy who did Skin Removal Cream”.  I think the piece is a fantastically surreal version of a late-night infomercial ad, and the VHS and yellow bland typeface only add to that.  The VHS also did a great job of picking up the sickly green cream and  the bright red poppies, and Andrew got wonderfully into the role of this mysterious Skin Removal Cream Salesman, demanding that I continue to film him as he washed out the horrid cream from his teeth (which is where we got the astute observation that “…you can really taste the pepper”.

Unauthorized Vehicles Will Be

Here’s a rather obscure one from my time at CU Boulder.  We were to explore a place through video, and I decided to do an old abandoned pool (although it may not have been abandoned, only out of season).  The result is an eerie exploration of a space outside of its purpose that is filled with sadness and a playful energy. It also ended up being a bit of a precursor to a lot of my experimental work, and you can see bits and pieces of “No!”, “Powerful Magics” and even a little of “In Fridge” spread throughout.

Unauthorized Vehicles Will Be from Vvinni Gagnepain on Vimeo.

I always feel like this is one of my more underrated works.  Its not perfect by any means, and I feel like in a few places I could have used some more aggressive editing .  However the balance between play and melancholy not only captures the feeling of the old pool perfectly, it also communicates a lot of what I was going through during the time of this piece’s creation.  I also think the sound (though some bridges needed to be fixed) adds another layer to help the viewer get fully immersed in the place, and a lot of the visual effects that I played with helped tie together the surreal nature of where I was filming (and the overlay of the zoom shot is still pretty damn cool, even three years of craft-honing later).