DIRECTED BY JIM BLASHFIELD
Basement Suite 2018 / Live Action / 30 min.
Writing instruments frustrate small appliance evaluator Ramon (Devin Robinson) when they fall through the floor, and his downstairs neighbor's tuba solos provide their share of irritation as well. Below, in his basement apartment, Carl W.F. Bollinger (Vernon Cleve Luce), 65 year old compulsive
Like a combination anthropological study and industrial documentary, BUNNYHEADS opens a window into a mysterious underground world, both unnervingly familiar and absolutely strange. Here we explore the fate of the hapless and inexpressive "bunnies" and their tutu-clad fetal compatriots, the "ballerinas", as they are processed through their life cycles.
These beings are barely conscious a individuals, but they are part of an organism which, like a termite colony, seems to have its own principles of organization-- and perhaps some similarities to the world we know.
SuctionMaster: Triumph of Science 2006 4 minutes / Digital Video / Live Action
This film involving a steaming vessel, two men who seem to be trying to control it and some cowboys pursued by a dematerializing Chevrolet suggests both the Frankenstein story and the biblical story of the burning bush while retaining its own odd agenda. Director, Editor, Sound Designer. Images from thePrelinger Archives.
St. Helens Road 2004 / 11 minutes / Digital Video / Live Action
In this survey of a mile long stretch of downtrodden commercial development, a century of modest business undertakings overlap and abut one another, leaving droll evidence of attempted, achieved and abandoned aspirations. The music, which morphs from abstract to rhythmic and raunchy, links with the images to uncover pathos imbedded in cinderblock, relentless joy in sunburned grass and chainlink fence. Music by the Land Camera Micro Orchestra. Director, Photographer, Editor
The Lone Ranger 2002 / 7 1/2 min. / Live Action / Digital Media
This interpretation of the Bill Frisell composition creates a graphic and emotional landscape by turns comforting and unsettling. The images-- clearly of this world but not immediately identifiable-- merge with the soundscape to create a sometimes tumultuous, dreamlike state that seems to hover in space between the preconscious and the conscious. From the album "Before We Were Born." Commissioned by the Experience Music Project Director, Editor
Fragmentovision 2002 / 6 min. / Live Action / Digital Media
Includes the 3 short films “The Levitation Sleeve", “Wheat Germ— Go Ahead”, and “Barbarians at Versace’s Gate”. Experiments in fragmentation, repetition, rhythm, patterning and audio-visual scratching. Director / Editor
The Tasseled Loafers 2001 / 11 minutes / Film / Digital Media / Animation / Live Action
The Oregon Symphony and Northwest Film Center commissioned original films by Jim Blashfield, Gus Van Sant, Joan Gratz and Chel White. Each film is an interpretation-- or in this case, reinterpretation-- of an orchestral work, with the scores played in concert by the symphony during the screening of the four films. Blashfield's film "The Tasseled Loafers", is ostensibly a tale about a handyman who, compelled to watch 4 hours of industrial test footage while waiting for his pipe sealant to dry, becomes fascinated with the tasseled loafers of a dead man found in a nearby restroom stall. Accompanied by Berlioz' "Dream of a Witch's Sabbath". Writer, Director, Cinematographer, Editor
Suspicious Circumstances 1984 / 12 minutes / 16mm / Photo-cut out Animation
Called "a detective story ala Salvador Dali and Betty Crocker" this animated film chronicles a midnight visit to the home of Herbert and Lenore by a pair of flying hands bent on mischief, destruction, and what appears to be a bit of a wine tasting. Herbert will have none of it. Writer, Director, Art Director, Animator, Editor Official U.S. entry in many international festivals.
The Mid-Torso of Inez 1978 / 28 minutes / 16mm Film / Live Action
In this noirish comedy masquerading as a detective story, Grandfather tells Lois Ann an oblique and possibly unreliable tale about some events in his life that he would apparently rather not remember. A sheep, some mysterious photographs and an industrialist named Magpie figure in. Writer, Director, Cinematographer. Co-producer Vernon Cleve Luce.
The completion of Bunnyheads marked the end of a long-- and frequently interrupted-- production process which began when Blashfield saw a show of sculptures by artist Christine Bourdette.
"I was immediately attracted, intrigued and touched," says Blashfield. "I thought: These are refugees from another world. What is that world? What happens there?"
To begin answering those questions, Blashfield and co-producer Lourri Hammack enlisted a talented crew of artists and animators-- Aaron Brown, Joe Mello, Tracy Prescott, Sally England, Edward Gustamante, Sarah Hall, Doug Cohen, Daniel Riddle and others-- who began the laborious process of creating the world that became Bunnyheads.
Director of photography Mark Eifert created the lighting design that defined the subterranean look of the hive's many chambers. Bjorn Lynn provided the music for the film. High definition post production was provided by Mike Quinn at Mission control, with the sound mix by Lance Limbocker of Downstream. Downstream's Jake Buff did the telecine. Additonal production funding was provided through a media arts fellowship from the Regional Arts and Culture Council.
Vanity 2010 / 2 1/2 minutes / Digital Video / Live Action
A 1950s film promoting "better living through chemistry" is transformed into a funny, provocative, and slightly disturbing meditation on... the pursuit of beauty?... dueling aspects of a guilt infested self?... yoga for the genetically modified? Director, Editor. Sacrificial footage obtained from Prelinger Archives.
Bunnyheads 2007 / 5 minutes / 35mm / Animated
A film about a strange hive of archetypal beings who inhabit a netherworld reminiscent of both Fritz Lang's Metropolis and some mysterious place under someone's basement stairs. Writer, Director, Editor.Collaboration with sculptor Christine Bourdette
NY Filmmakers Expo
I think there was one bona fide masterpiece in this year's Expo and this is it.
Billed as "an investigation into the disappearance of Herbert Emilio, Jr." Suspicious Circumstances is best approached as avant garde film noir. Here the "examining officer" is filmmaker Blashfield and the cause for disappearance could well be listed as "entering into another dimension."
When we last see Herbert he flies through the kitchen on a death-potato shooting mustard at a pair of flying hands. He pursues his target into a fuse box-- a world of even stranger goings on where we've previously encountered a dancing nose-- and Lenore, his wife, jumps up and clamps the door shut. And that's the last we see of Herbert.
The film has a stunning visual quality, made all the more so by Blashfield's penchant for domestic surrealism-- images that often provoke chuckles: Donald Duck heads lurking behind couches, magazine pictures falling off the printed page, Herbert's mind opening like a radiator grill... Add to these a delicatessen of crisp, evocative sounds of household knick-knacks dripping, burning, fluttering, tearing, smashing, and clanking in the night, and a musical soundtrack as brooding and full of menace as anything by Bernard Hermann, and you have a modest description of Suspicious Circumstances, a fully mature, fully conceived, and perfectly executed work of art.
In The Tasseled Loafers, Jim Blashfield reconsiders a revered 19th century composer's mad orchestral masterpiece, Hector Berlioz' "Dream of a Witch's Sabbath”. The result is a funny and unexpected reinterpretation of the Berlioz work, performed here by the Czech Philharmonic.
The Tasseled Loafers is a tale about a handyman compelled to watch four hours of animated industrial test footage while waiting for his pipe sealant to dry. First he becomes hypnotized by the events unfolding on the screen (an explosion of dancing shoes, crashing anvils, strolling baby bottles and ominously advancing alligators). He then turns his attention to a dead man he has noticed in a nearby restroom stall and becomes fixated on his lustrous footwear.
Blashfield's approach to the work-- by turns absurd comedy and avant garde meta-film -- is to tightly join Berlioz' famous sonic twists and turns to both the images of the film-within-a-film and to the actions and psychology of the protagonist, an obedient soul apparently unable to resist whatever is demanded of him.
In many of his films, Blashfield has explored the depiction of common objects and the associations that can be extracted from them through juxtaposition with contrasting (or complementary) sound and images. Here this interest finds its way into the core concept of the film and can be seen for the alchemical experimentation it is as Blashfield subjects his protagonist to his own filmmaker's fascinations.
BUNNYHEADS was produced by Lourri Hammack and Blashfield Studio.
SUSPICIOUS CIRCUMSTANCES Melissa Marsland was Executive Producer with partial funding from the Oregon Arts Commission.
THE TASSELED LOAFERS was produced by Bill Foster and the Northwest Film Center.
diarist, self-imagined business visionary, and stifled tuba virtuoso, receives a long awaited rotational device which, when activated, reveals a revolutionary business concept involving inverted cattle. Delinquent pets and a misused bow and arrow play a part. Writer,
Director, Cinematographer, Editor