Entries are videos only, with no audience participation. This includes animations, and linear and nonlinear narratives.
Jury Chair: Jonathan Munar
Art21, New York
GOLD: Buck Ramsey’s Grass: Anthem
Nevada Museum of Art and FLF Films Inc & UeBersee Inc.
Judges said: An absolutely beautiful video, the Nevada Museum of Art has created a moving piece which effectively transports the viewer right into the West. Really lovely introduction to a genre unfamiliar to many. Stellar editing and beautiful art direction. We loved hearing the three poets collectively recite the work with such genuine passion, and the film made us want to discover more cowboy poets.
This was the only entry where the entire room of jurors sat silent from beginning to end. Though clearly a polished production, it was the power of the readers’ voices combined with the beauty of the poetry that won us over.
Producers said: Much like visual art, the enduring tradition of cowboy poetry is a rich and vital form of cultural expression in the American West. This film, created and produced for the 2009 exhibition Between Grass & Sky: Rhythms of a Cowboy Poem, is inspired by the widely-celebrated poem Grass, which was written by legendary Texas poet Buck Ramsey. The exhibition featured a selection of historical and contemporary paintings, photographs, and sculptural works combined with the spoken voices of renowned cowboy poets in the film, this unique exhibition offered insight into the varied experiences arising from life in rural and ranching communities. Artistic production by FLF Films; Artistic Direction by Nik Hafermaas.
SILVER: Making a Spanish Polychrome Sculpture Video
J. Paul Getty Museum and Dynamic Diagrams
Judges said: This is a fine example of technology effectively used to clearly demonstrate an intricate artistic process. It’s the combination of the digital imagery with the live footage of an artist that makes this video exciting and fascinating for all kinds of audiences.
“Incredibly technically informative and fascinating. It would be great for students, especially because of the thorough descriptions and visual representations of traditional practices. Great motion graphics in the intro. The entire film really promoted a deeper appreciation of the art form, far beyond what a viewer might get from just seeing the work in a museum. The footage of the artists’ hands creating the pieces was really magical to watch.” “The computer-generated animations were really just the icing on the cake for this video. To see the traditional process put into use in a contemporary is what put this video above typical “here’s the process”-type videos.”
Producers said: In conjunction with a long-term didactic exhibition on the J. Paul Getty Museum’s sculpture Saint Ginés de la Jara by Luisa Roldán, we produced a video comprised of animation and live action to demonstrate the carving and painting techniques used in Spain hundreds of years ago. Seventeenth-century Spanish polychrome sculpture was intended to appear as lifelike as possible. Compared to bronze or marble statues, painted wooden figures—often with glass eyes and wigs—achieve a remarkably realistic effect. The film explores particular Spanish polychromy techniques, such as estofado, painting and incising to represent rich silk fabrics with raised patterns in gold and silver, and encarnaciones, applying and blending oil paint for lips, hair, and skin. Presented in-gallery and distributed online on www.getty.edu, ArtBabble, and YouTube, we intentionally approached the subject in a manner that would make it a relevant resource for understanding the methods used to create any Spanish polychrome sculpture. Consequently, this video has been featured by museums in London, Spain, Indianapolis, and Washington, D.C., as well as by the Getty Museum.
BRONZE: Sonabai: Another Way of Seeing
Mingei International Museum and Stephen P. Huyler
Judges said: A wide-open window into a world of dazzling color and delicate beauty. “Sonabai: Another Way of Seeing,” had a really dynamic energy and flow, and we appreciated the insight it offered into the culture of Indian women and their creative channels. It was beautifully shot and we also enjoyed the diversity of the expert interviews and the varied perspectives offered. Interesting because it documents an art form otherwise unknown to the general public.
Producers said: While imprisoned by her husband for fifteen years, a woman in central India invents an entirely new art form that expresses life’s joy. Through stories, documentation and evocative images, Sonabai: Another Way of Seeing conveys Sonabai’s life and that of her family and community, the artwork that resulted from her isolation and the other artists whose work she has influenced. “Her story expresses the capacity of human beings to meet their challenges head-on and to draw from deep within their inner resources to change their lives,” says Huyler, who also designed and curated the exhibition. The film confronts us with our own choices: do we allow ourselves to be victimized by our current issues or can we use our own inner resources to find creative solutions?
Art, such as Sonabai’s, which seemingly springs from little beyond sheer will, astonishes through its ability to invent an entire world from almost nothing.
HONORABLE MENTION: The Fiery Trial
Chicago History Museum and Zero One Projects
Judges said: “The Fiery Trial” had some strong educational, historical content and we appreciated the artistry in the illustrations, paper puppets, and motion graphics. Reminded us a lot of Sandow Birk’s work, he creates equally effective films loosely based on history using a similar method. It was well produced and kept our attention.
Producers said: The Fiery Trial, a 7-minute film that was part of the “Abraham Lincoln Transformed” exhibit at the Chicago History Museum from October 10, 2009 through April 12. 2010, examines how Lincoln grappled with the issue of slavery. It tells the story of Lincoln’s profound transformation from his inaugural promise of “leaving slavery untouched” in the South to arriving at the radical decision to free the slaves by executive order via the Emancipation Proclamation.
A true collaboration between the Chicago History Museum and the filmmakers at Zero One Projects, the goal of the film was to take a contemporary cinematic approach to the subject matter so that the audience could connect emotionally to the story as much as rationally understand the historical narrative. This was achieved in the vivid visual treatment of historical imagery, the use of voice actors, the sound design and the use of Zoe Keating’s captivating cello music as soundtrack.
Kristin Farr, KQED Education Network, San Francisco
Josh Lucas-Falk, Museum of Arts and Design; New York
Todd Florio, Brooklyn Historical Society, New York
Nora Gomez, Queens Museum of Art, New York
Daniel Incandela, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Indianapolis
Francesca Merlino, Guggenheim Museum, New York
Dan Shields, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Koven Smith, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Hrag Vartanian, Hyperallergic/Art21 Blog/Brooklyn Rail, New York