MARCH/APRIL 2010
MIKE PLANTE

THE HEALING MACHINE

DIY FILMMAKER BRENT GREEN BUILDS AN ACTUAL TOWN IN SERVICE OF LOVE AND A BIZARRE FORM OF THERAPY

DISCUSSED: Real Bees, Home Fires, Giant Stars, Car Crashes, Tom Waits, Love, Puppets, Gravity, Moons Made of Balsa Wood, Wooden Pianos, Black and Decker Sponsorships, Towns Within Towns, Dilapidation, Homemade Cassette Tapes, Real Time Fairy Tales, Two-Dimensional Reality, Purposeful Imperfection, Obsessive Construction, Heartbreak, Random Chaos, Winding Staircases, Treacherous Towers

1.

The animated shorts of Brent Green have played at a variety of venues: in film festivals like Sundance, in museums like the Hammer in L.A., in bars with both Green and a band providing a live soundtrack. Self-taught in his artistic pursuits and collaboratively minded, Green has always made things by hand. His aesthetic privileges imperfection over slickness. The tape holding together his animation cels, for example, is often visible; the light changes dramatically between frames. In Hadacol Christmas (2005) and Paulina Hollers (2006), Green used his signature handmade puppets and animated pen-and-ink drawings. With Carlin (2007) he got “big,” using a life-size puppet, a real wheelchair, and real birds and bees. Tinkerer Used to Be a Trade (2009) incorporates a person for the first time (Green’s girlfriend, Donna Kozloskie); she’s placed in minutely adjusted positions for each individual frame, treated as though she were a 2-D animation.

In addition to Green’s narration, supplemental audio support is provided by various talented musician friends, including Califone, Brendan Canty, and Howe Gelb.

Echoing this homegrown spirit, Green recently erected, on his family’s land, an actual town in which to shoot his first feature film, Gravity Was Everywhere Back Then. Last July, I went to see this town. I flew into a large city, took a train to an old stop, and drove over rolling hills until I arrived at the refurbished barn where Brent and Kozloskie live. Beside the barn is Green’s childhood home, still damaged from a fire that burned years ago.

We hope you enjoy this excerpt.

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Mike Plante interviews filmmakers and takes photos at iblamesociety.com.

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