41 films into a year of women directors and I’m thrilled to finally have the opportunity to feature a personal friend–Director/Writer/Editor: Logan Kibens. Logan is a fellow-Midwesterner and a CalArts alum who had already made a series of excellent shorts and was raising money for OPERATOR–a script she co-wrote with her wife, Sharon Greene–when I met her. I hired her to direct my short film, HARMONY, and read her script at that time. It’s been a roller coaster ride for them to get OPERATOR made but, with the help of Film Independent, Sundance, and a slew of other programs and patrons, OPERATOR premiered at SXSW this past summer to enthusiastic audiences and critics.
OPERATOR follows Joe, a programmer and obsessive self-quantifier, and Emily, a budding comedy performer, who are happily married until they decide to use one another in their work. Set and shot in Chicago, the film stars Martin Starr, Mae Whitman, Christine Lahti (stealing every scene she’s in), Retta, Nat Faxon and Cameron Esposito in some really great performances. It also features the outstanding NeoFuturists theatre ensemble in some of the movie’s funniest moments.
Logan has a signature style that’s hard to put my finger on but it has to do with an understated approach that allows her scenes and characters to look and feel very real, without artifice. Both the humor and the pathos is organic and I always feel, when watching Logan’s films, that I’m eavesdropping on people I know. She also has a unique and lovely visual approach. One of my favorite moments in the film is a photo montage of Lake Michigan that contrasts subtle changes in the landscape while simultaneously highlighting the evolution of her characters.
OPERATOR is available to rent today on VOD! It’s a great way to unwind while waiting for election results to come in. Also, don’t be fooled by some early Amazon reviews. There is, unfortunately, another recent movie called The Operator which is an inferior film and apparently the Amazon reviewers thought they were reviewing that one…
Please support OPERATOR since it’s opening on such a complicated day. If you want a Kibens double-bill, you can start with our short film, HARMONY. And for more on my talented friend and her work, please VISIT HER WEBSITE.
17/52 SPEED DATING.
Happy Friday! This week’s film is a bizarrely funny & beautiful animation/live action short directed by Meghann Artes.
Artes is an Emmy and Peabody award-winner for her work on Sesame Street and who has also worked with Dreamworks, Nickelodeon, Bix Pix, Nick Jr., NBC and ABC. She studied animation at UCLA and now teaches at DePaul University in Chicago. This film was produced by DePaul’s Project Bluelight production company. I’ve seen some of their shorts before and they’re often quite good.
While I’ve never gone speed dating, I’ve certainly experienced enough cringe-worthy dates to find this film entirely relatable and funny. Artes takes an awkward situation to its extreme; her characters are unique and wonderful and the artistry with which she combines human performances and animation is truly stunning.
Enjoy a light ending to your week and watch the film here: https://vimeo.com/145154247