Sunday, November 8, 2015

Indie Memphis 2015 Day 6: Experiments and Pathos

Posted By on Sun, Nov 8, 2015 at 4:16 AM

Sunday brings two films featuring Kentucker Audley, the Memphis filmmaker, actor, and indie film advocate whose films Open Five and Open Five 2 both won Hometowner awards at past Indie Memphis festivals. 
Olly Alexander, Kentucker Audley, and Joslyn Jensen in Funny Bunny
  • Olly Alexander, Kentucker Audley, and Joslyn Jensen in Funny Bunny

In director Allison Bagnall's Funny Bunny, Audley plays Gene, whom we meet going door to door trying to sign up people for a clearly doomed campaign against childhood obesity. Audley's performance, which finds the unsettlingly funny territory explored by Bill Murray in What About Bob?, is one of a trio of great turns in the film. Olly Alexander (Enter The Void, Penny Dreadful) plays Titty, an apparently insane twenty-something living in an empty mansion who is the only person who responds to Gene's pitch. Titty is obsessed with webcam girl Ginger, played by Joslyn Jensen, whose prickly, manipulative exterior is slowly revealed to be a front to hide deep, disconnected pain. The story of three misfits finding solace in each other is one of festival's major highlights. 

Kentucker Audley in Christmas, Again
  • Kentucker Audley in Christmas, Again

Audley also appears in Christmas, Again. Director Charles Poekel made the film based on his own experiences as a Christmas tree salesman in Brooklyn, and Audley spent the 2014 season alternately shooting scenes and actually selling Christmas trees on the New York streets. Shot on actual 16mm film, the photography helps imbue the story with a sense of pathos and beauty. 

Laura Jean Hocking's "Andromeda and the Sea Monster"
  • Laura Jean Hocking's "Andromeda and the Sea Monster"

The Experimental and Animation shorts block is consistently one of the best programs at Indie Memphis, or any other festival. This year's block includes a pair of short works by Laura Jean Hocking (full disclosure: I'm married to her). In "Double Feature", she and Ben Siler shared a common pool of footage but edited two very different takes on the material. The second one, "Andromeda and the Sea Monster", is an experimental animation piece that claims to be the credits to a feature that never materializes. But with credits such as "Fiji Vulcanologist" and "Technological Futurist", you'll wish you see the nonexistent full length. 

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