After six weeks of intensive training, the nine filmmaking students and 10 screenwriting students taking part in the 4th annual Institute of American Indian Arts/ABC-Disney Summer Television and Film Workshop are ready to show off their skills. On Friday, July 27, at 6:30 p.m. the LTC auditorium on IAIA’s campus (83 Avan Nu Po Road in Santa Fe) will host a free public screening of five short films produced by Native American filmmakers in the program. There will also be a “table read” featuring some of the screenwriting students’ work. For directions, visit www.iaia.edu or call the school’s information line at (505) 424-2300.
Back in the day, the No. 1 source in town for Psychotronic movie rentals was a little shop on Lead called Wavy Brain—which was owned and operated by none other than local filmmaker Scott Phillips (creator of The Stink of Flesh and the upcoming Gimme Skelter). Every week, I would make the trek into town from Los Lunas in order to soothe my burning desire for all things trash cinema. One fateful day, I asked Scott if he could help me find the title of the film Patricia Arquette’s character was watching on TV in True Romance. I can still remember that day like it was yesterday. It was the day everything changed for me—as if I had undergone some sort of cinematic revelation. It was, of course, the day I was introduced to John Woo films. (She was watching A Better Tomorrow II, by the way.)
As a filmmaker, Werner Herzog is noted for his attraction to epic stories of men and their single-minded (some might say obsessive) quests to conquer and/or overcome their surroundings. This isn’t all that surprising, given that Herzog himself is often categorized as a man on a single-minded (some might say obsessive) quest to conquer and/or overcome his surroundings. With classic adventure dramas films like Aguirre: the Wrath of God, Cobra Verde, Where the Green Ants Dream and Fitzcarraldo, Herzog gained as much of a reputation for the lengths to which he was willing to push himself, his cast and his crew as for the stunning, primal images he captured.
Late summer isn’t traditionally the time of year for quality TV. Right about now, the networks are dragging out their fourth round of reruns and as many singing/dancing competitions as schedules will allow. But this year, a number of channels (basic cable channels, anyway) have decided not to abandon their audiences to the vagaries of beach weather and cineplex blockbusters. Last week alone, FX cranked out its fancy new legal thriller “Damages” (with Glenn Close, no less) and AMC launched one of its rare forays into weekly drama, the innovative period piece “Mad Men.”
“Who Wants to Be a Superhero?” (Sci-Fi 7 p.m.) Who would have thought a show about ordinary people dressing up in tights and trying to act like superheroes would be so oddly touching? And yet, last season had plenty of teary moments. Let’s hope this new season proves equally silly and heartfelt.