Sunday, January 02, 2011

Blizzard video - Oscar-worthy?

On December 26, 2010, New York filmmaker Jamie Stuart spent a few hours documenting the blizzard that hit New England. The next day, he edited together a short film, uploaded it to YouTube, and he emailed the link to a number of people, including Chicago movie critic Roger Ebert.

Ebert loved the film and wrote a column about it. He thinks it's a masterful example of film-making, deserving of an Academy Award for live action short subject. Here it is:

What do you think?
For the most part, the visuals are beautifully shot. I liked some of the editing, but not all of it. I don't mind that it doesn't tell a particular story, but I thought that parts of it, particularly the first half, was cut very choppily. I don't know what the deadline is to submit a short film for consideration by the Academy, but if there's still time, Stuart should certainly go for it. I'm sure he wasn't aiming for an Award when he posted it, but he will certainly get a job offer or two based on all the attention he's getting, and that probably is what he's aiming for every time he uploads a short film to YouTube.
One of the reason's Ebert liked it was that he considered it an homage to Russian filmmaker Dziga Vertov's 1929 feature "Man with a Movie Camera." Ebert posted the complete silent film, just over an hour long, on his website. I watched a few minutes of it, and it seems like an interesting experiment and a nice documentation of life in the young Soviet Republic. The film is respected, at least in part, because of the variety of in-camera effects, trick photography, and cinematic techniques developed and/or used by Vertov. Stuart's short really doesn't have a unique style that really stands out.
You can read Ebert's complete article, including a Q&A with Stuart, and watch Vertov's film at Roger Ebert's Journal on the Chicago Sun-Times website.
For myself, I was just as entertained by this timelapse that shows the blizzard's effects in New Jersey. Photographer Michael Black set his camera to take a photo every five minutes for about 20 hours.

Watching this video makes me glad I live in Florida!

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