One of the most popular and best attended screenings for Wis-Kino each year is that featuring music videos. Local filmmakers respond with gusto to the optional theme, sharing everything from spoofs to short works set to tunes by Madison bands to more experimental twists on the concept. Due to ongoing winter weather headaches, this year's screening was rescheduled and the audience was thinner than usual. There were still fun music videos to be found there, though.
"We saw a lot of abstract films that made use of color and texture to express the chosen music," noted a Wis-Kino organizer in an update that followed the March 20 screening at Escape Java Joint & Gallery on the near east side. "The music styled from mysterious sounding to down right funky beats thanks to the addition of music by Madison's own VO5."
There were nine shorts screened at the March gathering for Wis-Kino, with all entries formatted thematically as a music video. A list and brief descriptions of the shorts follows:
- Shelby & Drew by Shelby Floyd
Created just before the screening, this low-key music video shows the two titular musicians performing on an electric guitar and upright bass, as seen from a very low angle. They're playing a catchy and swingy tune, recalling the music performed by Floyd in his group The Cowboy & The Frenchman.
- Being Green by Aaron Catalano
Set to a Van Morrison song, this video is split into two parts visually, the first featuring images of a large turtle and a variety of hikers passing by on a woodland trail. The second portion ranges wider, meanwhile, with shots of purple mountains majesty and other landscape scenery along with a menagerie of animals -- antelope, wolves, moose, deer, and more -- iconic in the American West.
This amusing video features a collection of regular Wis-Kino contributors performing a snowballing symphony of scat singing while riding together in a minivan.
- hovercraftin' by John Feith
Both the music and the video were created by Feith in this short, which sets a funky tune to images of a hovercraft spinning about the frozen surface of Lake Mendota late in the winter. "It's kinda like riding with a leaf-blower next to your ear," he notes.
- Apophysis Animated by Ken Kubos
This is a brief computer animated film, with a colorful and trippy sequence of abstract images and optical effects set to a solid beat.
- Tommy's Shop by Sherman Funmaker
Tommy Lee of Wisconsin Dells is introduced in this documentary, which focuses on his work of crafting Native American flutes in his small studio. Set to the melody of one such instrument, the film shows the artist working on flutes in various stages of construction, and ends with him performing on several of his completed piece.
- V05 by Eric Allin and Natalie Hinckley
The Madison disco superstars V05 perform Michael Jackson's "I Want You Back" at the Majestic Theatre in this live music video, broadcast on the Mad Music program on WYOU.
- (T)BD by Heidi Johnson
A trio of live dancers performs in a gallery before a live audience in this video, with the filmmaker also doing duty as a performer and the choreographer of the show.
- petition... with prayer... by Van Ness
A stylized dance is stripped down to an abstract sequence of waves in this short film, set to music from the new album Ghosts I-IV from Nine Inch Nails. Shortly after its release, Trent Reznor invited fans to pair images with his music, offered for use to the public under a Creative Commons license, in a non-competitive online film fest on YouTube.
- Heart's Desire by Blame Society Productions
Jokesters Matt Sloan and Aaron Yonda rock out in this spoof music video for the hair-metal song "Let Me Find the Way to Your Middles," complete with lots of makeup, unbuttoned shirts, feather boas, and big, big hair. Laughing at and with classic '80s imagery never fails to satisfy.
Wis-Kino returns this weekend with the 2008 Spring Kabaret, which kicks off on Friday, April 18 with the regular monthly show. The optional theme is "Angst/Popsicles/War" and the screening starts at 7 p.m. in the North Lounge at Sundance Cinemas, located next to the ticket counter.
Though Kabarets have previously featured a single required theme for all participating filmmakers, this spring's edition will have a different format. Each team creating a short film over the weekend will randomly select a unique challenge from a variety of options provided by organizers, and could be a theme, a prop, a sound effect, or something else. All of the films completed over the following two days and nights will then be screened in the Kabaret closing party, which will be held at 7 p.m. on Sunday, April 20 in a Theatre 2 at Sundance Cinemas.
"Let us reiterate," conclude the organizers, "anyone can participate, even if you have never shown a film at Wis-Kino before, we are inclusive of all skill levels, and more than anything want people who are new to this stuff to join in and learn!"