"I was going to remodel my kitchen, but decided to make a movie instead."--Carole Holliday
Disney animator and story woman Carole Holliday has made her first live action short film, Witt's Daughter.
Now, while a forty minute live action short film may sound like a big jump for someone who designed Roxanne for A GOOFY MOVIE (and animated in my unit in Paris), storyboarded on DreamWorks' PRINCE OF EGYPT and did character designs for JOHN HENRY (Disney) it really isn't that different. Live action has been using storyboards ever since Alfred Hitchcock's time (Hitch drew his own boards and also worked with animator Saul Bass on the shower scene for PSYCHO). The new movie and editing software and high powered computers means that you really can edit and mix an entire film on a Mac or PC yourself and achieve professional results if you know what you are doing.
Carole wrote the screenplay, produced, directed, designed the costumes, and did the sound editing. She had a large crew working in other capacities, and Alia Margaret, a truly amazing little four year old star of the show.
Here's a blog Carole made about the process. You can see her laughing and joking with the crew in one of the clips.
WITT'S DAUGHTER is the tale of Witt Stringfield, a Korean War veteran who returns home to his family after three years overseas to find that his four year old daughter does not remember him. She also does not care to know him. She is afraid of him. Instead, little Catherine is friendly with all the other male characters who obviously have come to her home during Dad's absence... her rakish Uncle Gus and his poker playing buddies all receive the attention that Dad desperately craves.
The film's atmosphere is well researched, which is what I expect from a writer/director who is also an experienced story and development artist. You feel that you are in the period from the first frame. Even the actress playing Mama (Mandy Henderson) has a period look to her face; she's not fashionably emaciated. The camerawork has a golden look to it that tells us that this is 'a past time'. We are, and yet are not, there with the characters since manners have changed as much as the cars, clothing, and home furnishings. The past literally is another country.
The film takes place in a time when people did not talk about sex in public (my father insists that no one talked about it anywhere) but there is an undercurrent there just the same. Witt and May rush into one another's arms but not right into the bedroom. (Catherine is present; they must behave.) Every other family in the film has five or six children. May has agreed to babysit a friend's brood of five when Child Number Six falls seriously ill. Witt demands that he is more important, that the wife's place is home with him. This, too is 'period' (depressingly so.) But the urgency of the friend's need (and Witt's selfishly not informing May that he was returning home) takes precedence.
Witt not only connects with his daughter, he learns that his own wishes are not necessarily the most important.
Witt's Daughter is an enjoyable, nice film about a father reconnecting not only with his daughter, but with his family and himself. It is a positive, optimistic film. Carole plans to make more. Good on ya!
I bought my first digital camera today. It's a Panasonic Lumix, with a touch screen. Quite futuristic really.
Ironically enough I had to use my 1958 Contarex this morning to shoot the boats being lowered into the water at the Oakville marina by a huge crane. I'd promised Larry the harbourmaster that I'd do this, and the Contarex was not only the only camera I had available...it was the only camera there, period. The crane swung each boat out in a sling, for all the world like a giant playing in the bath with some very expensive toys. Everyone else was told that the crane crew would start at nine...I was told they started at seven, and so I was the only one there at the proper time.
I shot three rolls of film with the gorgeous (still functional, and extremely heavy) old German camera, then took them to the local camera store and bought the Lumix.
I'm about to try the new one out. It also takes movies, so let's see if I can get it to work!