Sometimes in our lives, we probably all feel as if we are merely characters in someone else's novel, hunched over his desk, grappling with the material of our stories -- a writer who is himself a character in another novel, a reflection of a reflection of a reflection extending on into infinity. Well, maybe not, but it's a weird idea. It's also the central idea in the latest short film from Pants Shorts, a Denver filmmaking project that has been releasing one per month for exactly six months now -- and while the Tsar's Film Collective, the folks behind the project, is no stranger to experimental material, this one is probably the most likely to pop your mind grapes.
If you just smoked a joint, you might want to sit down before you watch this:
That narration, says collective founder Chris Gilmore (though he notes that no one really has titles), comes from Joe Frank: "He put out a really strange radio program from the early '80s to the early 2000s, this super surreal conceptual storytelling. He's a huge inspiration to me." But as for how it got there, that was sort of an accident.
"This last movie was probably the most stressful that we've done," says Gilmore. "I think we went through like three ideas for projects in February. We had a couple of actors fall through, changed ideas, and finally the end of the month was a few days away, so we just went out and shot as much as we could and then brainstormed what we could do with the footage." At first, they thought they might put together a sort of travel narrative. "Then one night we were editing, and me and the editor looked at each other and we just thought, this feels like it could be a Joe Frank thing. Then we put in some John Zorn -- we just thought it fit."
It's the sixth film in this project, which collective founder Chris Gilmore says the group has loose plans to stick to for a year -- meaning the group (which was formalized after the members of the group worked together on the 48 Hour Film Project this summer) is halfway to its goal. And it's done some really cool stuff so far; probably the best was "I'm Sorry," which just has a bunch of people saying, you know, "I'm sorry."
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If all goes according to plan, the next installment will come out on April 1 -- until then, check out the whole series on thePants Shorts Vimeo channel