DC Shorts Film Festival and Screenwriting Competition

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Uncovering Scarce Art Forms: Films about Lost Crafts

The world is becoming increasingly industrialized and mechanized as each year goes by.  Miscellaneous trades, crafts and art forms have become lost with the advent of our technological age.  This topic of lost crafts was of particular concern to three filmmakers who created films that serve to challenge a world of stock imitation.

The first of these films is Look to the Cookie; screening in Showcase 4, this film takes a look at the family owned and century old Glaser’s Bake Shop in Manhattan, NY.  Glaser’s is one of the few scratch bakeries left in the city and a jewel in the crown for that reason.  The astute direction of filmmaker Lindsay Lindenbaum brought the nonfiction narrative to the screen.  In the documentary short, Lindenbaum conducts a personal interview with the now 3rd generation owner, Herb Glaser, and chronicles the baking ace in his workshop/confectionery.  Lindenbaum describes Glaser’s laudable process,

“The way Herb Glaser maneuvers his way around the kitchen, deftly shaping each piece of dough for his Apricot Butter Crunch Squares, and meticulously icing his infamous Black and White cookies is truly an art in itself, and one that I tried to capture on film.”

 

 

Lindenbaum believes that the film’s subject matter is redolent of a bygone way of life, and the film’s “universal themes” are applicable to many.

“While this film takes place in New York, one need not have to be a New Yorker to relate to these themes of feeling lost in such an increasingly modernized world and longing for the past. While businesses that rely on mechanization are essential to our day-to-day lives, I do feel like in many cases, there’s something that gets lost in the process. Even if something takes ten times longer to create by hand, there’s much more of a connection between the consumer and the creator of the product as well as a deep appreciation of the craft. I think we’ll really be missing out if we lose that.”

In Everything is Incredible, included in Showcase 7, three visionary craftsmen, Tyler Bastian, Trevor Hill and Tim Skousen, delineate the true account of an indigent Honduran man named Agustin who has devoted his life to the fanatical dream of building a helicopter.  Agustin has faced a life of ridicule for his steadfast commitment to erecting this personal grail.  Bastian attributes the consistent condemnation to the fact that Agustin’s “success was measured as flying and not persevering.”  Agustin has certainly persevered in keeping his dream alive for the last 53 years.  Bastian cites a “loss of patience and a loss of the ability to keep at tedious tasks” with the plight of an ever-expanding world based on industry and uniform efficiency.

 

 

Accompanying Everything is Incredible in Showcase 7 is Paul Houston’s documentary short, McKenzie, which follows veteran silkscreen artist Jeff McKenzie at work in his small Oklahoma City, based screen-printing business, McKenzie & Company.  McKenzie got his start in screen-printing in the early 1970’s.  In the film, he expressed his amazement at how little the trade has changed in the last 40 years.  And while the art form has been challenged by the development of automated technology, McKenzie has successfully withstood any mechanized competition in order to carry on the cultivation of a personal passion and art form.

 

 

These films extend an appreciation for the artistic wonders still abiding in a world regretfully falling victim to insipid homogeneity.

 

By:  Hadley Fielding

 

 

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences Copyright 2012 DC Shorts/DC Film Alliance

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