A confluence of events led to not only a weekend spent with some LAMBs (virtually and in reality), but also to the usage of the word “confluence,” which isn’t one that I get to use very often. Let me explain.
To start off the weekend, I got an email from Mikey Filmmaker of Spaghetti Sauce and Sweet Peas. Mikey had seen that I was from Phoenix, and it just so happened that a film he produced, I Saved the World from Global Warming, was being played at the Phoenix Film Festival (which, like the formerly titled Phoenix Open, is actually held in Scottsdale, but whatever). As a bonus, Mikey was planning on road-tripping from the City of Angels with some of his fellow filmmaking buddies to catch the screening. Mrs. Fletch and I were planning on hitting the festival this weekend at some point (since we’re festival regulars these days), but this gave us a perfect reason not to miss it.
Global Warming was playing in one of two “Arizona Shorts” collections, so we headed out Saturday morning to see them. It tells the tale of a man that, some years past, came up with the solution/”cure” for global warming. The only problem is, he was barely recognized at the time for his contribution, and, all this time later, works as a forgotten high school teacher questioning what to do for an encore. It’s a well-written gonzo comedy, with crude (but effective) animation mixed in. The two leads are hilarious, and the production values are high. As an eventual wannabe filmmaker myself, I enjoy watching shorts, mostly for inspiration, but also to see the diversity in quality that can be done on a (relative to features) budget. I can gladly say with no bullsh*t that Global Warming was far and away the best of the seven shorts in the program we saw.
As a result, we were glad to meet up with Mikey (aka Mike) after the screening. The first ever LAMB-to-LAMB meeting (note: not as kinky as it sounds)! Luckily for Mike, the co-directors of the film held a short Q & A session immediately following the screening, so we didn’t have to interrogate him on the whats, whens and hows of his film. But we did get a little background and, more importantly, got to meet a fellow movie lover (and blogger), in what I can only hope will be the first of many meetings between LAMBs. I’d wish Mike much success in his future as a producer, but (seriously) judging by the quality of this one, he doesn’t need my assistance.
To cap off the night, we popped in a recent DVD purchase – the complete works of unHeralded Films, also known as the brainchild of fellow LAMB Shea Sizemore and Paul Metzger. The guys (and gals) of unHeralded have put up their collection of shorts for sale on the site linked above for a modest $10, and I highly recommend it. It features the work of Shea (who serves primarily as writer/director), Paul (actor/writer), another fellow LAMB Adam Frazier (writer/actor/producer), Tim Grant (cinematographer/writer) and Krystal Liner (producer), amongst others.
The feature presentation here is their latest, Occupato. I’ll let them describe it: “Occupato adds a twist on the horror genre. This is a tale of unexpected heroism and courage amidst the strangest of circumstances…and guarantees you will never look at a portable toilet the same way again.” It’s a beautifully shot, 15-minute (or so) film that features Frazier as its star (well, outside of the portable toilet). More importantly, with this being the latest and greatest, and with the rest of the collection on the disc, it gives the viewer an insider’s gaze at the growth of a filmmaking team. From Shea’s humble beginnings as a claymation director (Poo Hero) all the way through to efforts on a music video, documentary and a few 72-hour film contest entries, the progression is clear, as each film seems to add an element previously missing from the one before it, whether that be an original score, added camera angles, or access to greater props. My only complaint? I’d have liked the DVD menu to have presented the films in opposite order, guiding the viewer from oldest to newest, rather than vice-versa. Oh, and how dare they not put Poo Hero on the unHeralded filmography page. A travishamockery, I say!
Could there be a LAMB Film Festival in the future? Who knows, but with talent like this on hand, I’d certainly like to think so.