Stop By, Shoot Film, Drive Art

Ann Arbor Film Festival welcomes Art Car
Ann Arbor Film Festival

Randy Tack of Eastman Kodak provides technical assistance shooting a vignette on South State Street.

On Saturday morning, as The Chronicle shot photographs on South State Street just outside the UM School of Art and Design’s Work Gallery, a young pair walked past: “Ann Arbor is not a photo opp,” said one. “It is if you’re not from around here,” replied the other.

It wasn’t clear if they meant The Chronicle, or Randy Tack, who works with Eastman Kodak as a cinematographer, training people to use 16mm cameras. Tack was setting up a shot with some folks who’d responded to an announcement for Stop By Shoot Film, a program specifically designed to introduce people to the cameras.

The vignette they were working on Saturday morning involved a skateboarder who glides past a young woman who was standing amongst some slightly larger-than life straw men.

Tack explained that Kodak, as a sponsor of the Ann Arbor Film Festival, used the Stop By Shoot Film program as a way to promote one of the festival’s main formats: 16mm. The vignettes that he helps people make shooting out on the street will be included in a DVD that the festival produces. Tack drove to Ann Arbor from Rochester, New York, where Eastman Kodak is headquartered.

Back it up

A city parking enforcement officer (left) brings the Art Car a little further back to ensure sight lines to the stop sign. At right is Russ Collins, director of the Michigan Theater,

A second Stop By Shoot Film crew was working outside the Michigan Theater later in the day, and documented the arrival of the Art Car, which was created in connection with the Midwest premiere of Harrod Blank’s film “Automorphosis.” The film looks at the automobile as a vehicle for creativity. The car was designed and created by Blank in collaboration with  Zack Jacobson-Weaver, materials fabrication coordinator at UM School of Art & Design. Construction took place from Wednesday night through Saturday at the school’s studios.

The Art Car arrived at Michigan Theater about an hour before the scheduled showing of “Automorphosis,” driven by Blank with Michael Flynn as a passenger. Flynn said he’d helped only a bit with the construction of the car.

When a community standards officer (parking enforcement) from the city of Ann Arbor strolled over to the car, there was momentary uncertainly about whether the Art Car would be given a parking ticket. But the officer quickly established that his only concern was that the car blocked sight lines to the stop sign at Liberty and Maynard. Blank complied with a request to move the vehicle 10 feet backwards.

Perhaps by now you’re wondering where Harrod Blank slept while he was in town. Answer: at the home of Susan Wineberg and Lars Bjorn, who have hosted film festival folks for the last three years. They said they had not seen much of Blank, because he’d been working pretty much straight through on the car construction.

The Ann Arbor Film Festival continues on Sunday, March 29, its final day, with programs in the early afternoon, plus a presentation of awards starting at 6 p.m.

Ann Arbor Film Festival

Heads made of straw need protection, too. Part of the vignette set up for the Stop By Shoot Film project on South State Street.

Ann Arbor Film Festival

The straw man shot was filmed from across the street. With his back to the camera is John Philips, who helped on the vignette.

We picked this photo among many other possible shots.

We picked this photo among many other possible shots. In the background, Harrod Blank talks to a parking enforcement officer about where he needs to move the Art Car.

Susan Wineberg Lars Bjorn

Susan Wineberg and Lars Bjorn pose in front of the car that their house guest, filmmaker Harrod Blank, constructed over the last three days.

Is anybody Twittering?

The Stop By Shoot Film cameraman films The Chronicle photographing him filming The Chronicle photographing him filming the Chronicle photographing ... Asked Michael Flynn about the scene: "Is anybody Twittering?"

Film Festival Art Car

The construction crew on the Art Car.

One Comment

  1. By Mark O'Brien
    March 30, 2009 at 9:03 am | permalink

    Very cool story. It’s refreshing to see Kodak as one of the sponsors. As a long-time film user (still photography), it’s worth noting that film is very much alive, and that 16mm is very popular in Europe.