EIKK logo © EIKK

Europäisches Institut des Kinofilms Karlsruhe

(European Institute of Cinema Karlsruhe)

The EIKK is a lander-government-sponsored film institute in Karlsruhe, and is the yearly sponsor of TransFest (and thus of my trip!). EIKK's web site is located here. EIKK is located in a perpetually remodeling building near the ZKM in Karlsruhe. One of EIKK's greatest virtues is that it's located over "the best Italian restaurant in Karlsruhe" and so a number of our group dinners were held there! Below is the group at one the first big dinner after we all arrived...

(from L to R): Bart Cheever from D.FILM; Brent Sims, director of "Gutter Punks"; Robert Miller, director of "Mail Bonding"; Lothar Spree, co-director of EIKK; Gideon Bachman, co-director of EIKK; Kay Hoffman, pr director for EIKK; Harlan Hussie, director of Cinequest; Katherine Powell, also from Cinequest; and Monika, EIKK's essential administrator! The wrecking crew all in one place

The Program at TransFest

"Mail Bonding" by Robert Miller
"Mail Bonding" ©1995 Robert L. Miller
Robert Miller presented a retrospective on film and image reproduction, and showed a bunch of demonstrations of the newest digital betacam technology. I hadn't seen these demos before, and the reproduction was amazing -- it does have resolution in the neighborhood of 35mm film; but the trippy thing was the total absence of film grain, which is just not an image we're used to seeing. The other thing that part of Robert's presentation brought home was how technology companies need to light and produce their demo footage better! Robert then presented his film, "Mail Bonding", a wryly funny (but not comic) piece about postal carriers and the people along their route. "Mail Bonding" was shot on digibeta, and the editor was present on-set with an Avid to enable real-time prevues of the takes. Robert talked about how this technology affected his approach to directing. The home page for Robert's company, Pure Grain Digital Productions, is here.
Brent Sims presented "Gutter Punks", his shot-on-video documentary about homeless teens in New Orleans. Brent didn't talk much about his film -- and didn't need to. The film is a powerful, very affecting piece about the teenagers drifting through life on the street in New Orleans, the police's attempts to make them invisible, and their plans, dreams, and pasts. One of the biggest surprises for me in watching the film was how many of them either really were -- or at least claimed to be -- homeless by choice, and figuring they would "re-enter the normal world" eventually. Amazingly, Brent has gotten distribution for this film throughout western europe and in several other markets, but not in -- you guessed it -- the U.S. of A. Brent was asked how the new filmmaking technologies that were the focus of TransFest this year affected his filmmaking; he had a great answer for that. "Well, when you're trying to run from the cops because they're trying to arrest the kids you're interviewing, not having to shoot with lights or have a big camera setup is really important." Brent's company, Cactus Pudding Productions, has it's home page here.
"Gutter Punks" © 1997 Brent Sims Ted Baldwin

Bart Cheever presented an edited, between-last-year's-and-this-year's version of D.FILM, the digital film festival. This is a program of short films that all have been made with some sort of new digital video or animation technology. I saw last year's version of D.FILM in SF, and it's great (of course, as with all short programs, not every piece is great). The best films, I thought, were Chris Romero's "Dreamboy" and the Star Wars fan documentary "????", but there are a bunch of good pieces. Don't miss D.FILM when it comes to your town! Their web site is here (although it was down when I last tried it).

"Conceiving ADA" was presented -- unforuntately, the director Lynn Hershman Leeson couldn't make it. I actually didn't like "Conceiving ADA" at all, finding it pretentious and the plot preposterous. However, it's use of technology was pretty successful, enabling her to make a period film on a very small independent film budget (through the use of virtual sets shot in San Francisco B&Bs). Although the virtual sets were hardly undetectable, they worked well enough to allow you to focus on the movie itself, and did carry the mood and time of the period she was aiming for; in that regard I was impressed with what they were able to accomplish on their budget.

"Geri's Game" ©1997 Pixar Animation Studios
I presented two Pixar short films (on glorious 35mm!): "Luxo Jr." and "Geri's Game", and talked about the process of making Geri's Game. The presentations seemed to go well and to be well understood despite the lingo and the fact that my talk (like all of the talks at TransFest) was in English to the German public!
"Luxo Jr." ©1986 Pixar
previous Start map Karlsruhe next ZKM
  © 1998 Leo Hourvitz