Heartland Film Festival 2015: Shorts Program 7 – Art Appreciation

your catfish friend

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This review is part of my coverage of 2015’s Heartland Film Festival in Indianapolis. Click here for more of my coverage of the festival. You can find my coverage of other Indianapolis area film and TV events here.

Art Appreciation was the first shorts block I got to see at Heartland this year. It was a collection of 6 short documentary films all centered around artists with unique projects. Here is my breakdown of each short in the program.

THE ART OF RICHARD THOMPSON (2015)

  • Documentary Short/USA
  • Director: Bob Burnett
  • Featured Subject: Richard Thompson

Richard Thompson is a gifted cartoonist whose Parkinson’s diagnosis forced him to retire in 2012. The Art of Richard Thompson is a moving celebration of a man’s brilliant work cut short by a debilitating illness.

What I loved about Bob Burnett’s film was that the focus never broke from the artwork. The Art of Richard Thompson isn’t a lamentation of Thompson’s disease. It’s all about the artwork. The film is a wonderful showcase of creativity and celebration of genius.

Obsessive Grade – 8.0/10

ELGIN PARK (2015)

  • Documentary Short/USA
  • Director: Danny Yourd
  • Featured Subject: Michael Paul Smith

Elgin Park takes viewers into the mind of artist Michael Paul Smith, who created a world of beautiful scale models and photographs them. The stunning imagery of Elgin Park pairs well with Smith’s candid interview in which he goes into detail about what inspired him to do the project. The subject matter is interesting and the sound effects added to the images elevate the overall experience.

Obsessive Grade – 7.0/10

FINDING BEAUTY IN THE RUBBLE (2015)

  • Documentary Short/Japan
  • Director: Matthew T. Burns
  • Featured Subject: Mrs. Fukuoka

Finding Beauty in the Rubble is a documentary short about a Japanese woman who creates necklaces from debris after the tsunami in 2011. We learn a lot about her grieving, her relationship with her dog, and how her work helps her cope with the tragedy of the tsunami. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much emphasis on the actual art she was creating and it made it difficult to get into.

Obsessive Grade – 5.5/10

THE GNOMIST (2015)

  • Documentary Short/USA
  • Director: Sharon Liese
  • Featured Subjects: Robyn, Parker, Tyler, Kelly, Evie

The Gnomist is the incredible story of a mysterious model village called “Firefly Forest” that popped up in Overland Park, Kansas. The film shows several different people who have all been affected by the model village. The way the village touched people’s lives moved myself and many others in the theater to tears. The Gnomist is a beautiful documentary about something wonderfully sweet and kind.

Obsessive Grade – 9.5/10

NEFERITI’S DAUGHTERS (2015)

  • Documentary Short/Egypt, USA
  • Directors: Mark Nickolas, Racha Najdi
  • Featured Subjects: Bahia Shehab, Mira Shihadeh, Salma Samy, Shahira Amin, Christiane Gruber

Neferiti’s Daughters shows the Egyptian revolution of 2011 through the perspective of street artists. The film takes a very journalistic approach to its subject matter and successfully communicates the importance of what revolution meant for Egypt. However, it’s a very long 40 minute short that moves away from the artists’ story and influence and focuses on the revolution as a whole.

Obsessive Grade – 6.5/10

YOUR CATFISH FRIEND: PHILIP CAMPBELL (2015)

  • Documentary Short/USA
  • Director: Kurt Lee Nettleton
  • Featured Subject: Philip Campbell

Philip Campbell is a local artist who was commissioned by iMOCA to create a wood-carved piece for a large wall space in the Murphy Art Center in Fountain Square. Your Catfish Friend was a piece that took a year to complete and the documentary features a candid interview with Campbell detailing his process and how much of himself he poured into the piece. The film features many shots of the piece up close, showing the texture and detail that went into crafting it.

Obsessive Grade – 7.5/10

Shorts Program 7

Average Score – 7.3/10

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Art Appreciation Heartland 2015 Screenings:

  • Wednesday, Oct. 21 – 5:15pm Castleton Square
  • Saturday, Oct. 24 – 3:00pmCastleton Square

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