The Western

I had wanted to make something that could play a festival.  All my films had been too long to be easily programmed, and my tendency to always want to do things I haven’t done before meant that I had never completely nailed a film.  I decided to stick to what I was good at and try to keep something around ten minutes.

The Western is the result.  It turns out what I thought I was good at is pretty weird.  Personification, scraps of poetry for dialog, surreal imagery, and a bit of blood. 

My goal to play a festival was successful too.  The Western played South Texas Underground Film festival in their inaugural year.   I suspect I could have played more, but never put much time or money into pursuing things.  Instead I had set out to make the Three Sisters project, of which only two parts were ever finished.

Kriemhild’s Dream

Kriemhild’s Dream from James Brittain on Vimeo.

In the summer of 2008 we decided to shoot a feature film.  I cobbled together a script and longtime Brittainfilms collaborator Mike Walsh agreed to produce.  We found an defunct pasta factory that a couple of eccentric business men owned and used to stash all their oddball stuff, from piles of ceramic molds to rows and rows of doors they had salvaged from other projects.

Filming dragged on through the summer and into the fall and winter.  Editing dragged out another two years.  The footage we had shot bore some relation to the script I had written, but there were plenty of areas where plans fell through, extras never showed up, or what we shot just didn’t work as originally anticipated.

I’m quite proud of the result.  Sometimes a psychedelic freak out, sometimes a slow, meditative drama.  I don’t think there is anything else quite like it out there.

Ninth Through Twelfth

Ninth Through Twelfth is a free form experimental sort of affair.  I was trying desperately to get Colleen’s Story made, to complete the Three Sisters project, and was being stymied and frustrated every moment.   I never did get Colleen’s Story made, but I did shoot a bunch of random bits and pieces of things.

Part of the idea was to do a body project.  I wanted to interview people about their bodies, have them take me on a tour.  I did three of these.  The interviews were rather free form.  Nothing was agreed before hand and nobody was pressured into doing anything.

Interspersed with these interviews are various small projects.  Germs of ideas that we went and shot without thinking about them too carefully.

I quite like the end result.  It’s an odd movie that plays with the viewer’s expectations and juxtaposes disparate concepts.