DANNY PLOTNICK FILMS - WARTS & ALL (1986-2008, 104m) July 22th at 7:30pm.
"Plotnick's films are funny and very important." - NY Underground Film Fest.
On Friday, July 22 at 7:30pm (rescheduled from June), Subversive Cinema (212 Pier Ave) in Santa Monica will be presenting Warts and All: The Films of Danny Plotnick. Microcinema DVD released this compilation of Plotnick's films in 2008 that includes 10 of his films, director, cast and crew commentary for all films, over 60 behind the scenes photos, flyers & posters, complete technical specs for all films including fetishistic photos & illustrations of equipment and an 8 page booklet of insights and anecdotes. Danny has produced some of the more well-received underground videos to ever see the light of day. He has put in his due diligence and by all accounts, he is well-respected by his filmmaker peers and the people who view his work. The business of getting shorts out for public consumption is so different from the days when much of his fine early work was filmed, but Danny's vision is a tasteful, imaginative look at the slice of history his early work documents which is well covered in Warts & All.
Danny Plotnick roared into the underground film world in the 1980s. Fueled by his love of punk and alternative culture and infected with d.i.y. spirit, he started making films that captured a similarly snarly attitude. His films were pegged as bawdy, bad-mouthed and beautiful, straddling the line between high-brow and low-brow art. It’s no surprise that his work has screened from the MOMA in NYC to mortuaries in Baltimore to the Independent Film Channel to MTV. With little opportunity to screen this type of work in the 80s, Plotnick took to the road, projector and films in trunk, screening in bars, warehouses and cafes. Plotnick trail blazed a path for the underground film world that exploded in the early 90s, a scene that championed his work. Strangely, or not, his 1986 short, Skate Witches, has become an internet sensation in skateboard and trash culture circles. The film has a robust YouTube following, it has been sampled in song, had comics drawn about it and appeared on Red Eye and MTV.
Plotnick received the Grand Prize at the Underground Filmmaker Festival, an award based on his body of work plus a new film Out of Print (2008). Out of Print is a sweet little ode to the counterculture of the 80s and 90s, a time when unearthing quality culture was a real treasure hunt.
Talking to Danny Plotnick
Recently, I had the opportunity to ask Danny a couple questions relative to the underground film festival world, that underappreciated lifestyle that far too often goes unrecognized, and worse, sits unseen by the masses.
Q: I'm really interested in the world of underground film festivals. Are you current on the current state of film festivals (outside of those mainstream ones...)? What are some of your favorite film festivals?
A: I've always been a fan of Chicago Underground. It's an amazing fest and has been one of the underground festival trailblazers for years. I'm not so up to date on the state of festivals. Though strangely, with the advent of the ability to watch films on the internet, the concept of underground might be a bit outdated. Everything is accessible. You don't have to dig as much.
Q: Any particular moment/experience with film festivals that stands out above the others?
A: I was at SXSW one year and did a panel on alternative distribution. My dog and pony show was a pretty big hit and as a result the festival was fun. I had a film screening of HARDCORE LOGO dedicated to me and I didn't even know the filmmaker. As a result I met Tarantino over some enchiladas. That was pretty cool.
Q: How long have you been making films? What is your opinion of the state of local underground film making in Los Angeles? Is it an accessible scene? Any local favorite film makers we may not otherwise hear of?
A: I've been making films since 1986. Not being from LA (ED: He lives in San Francisco...), I'm not so up on the scene these days, but I spent a lot of summers working on the Cal Arts campus, and I will say there are some strong films, both live action and animation, coming out of Cal Arts. Lee Lynch, Lori Damiano, Mike Ott are some of those folks.
Q: What are some of the difficulties with film festivals today? Is there a vision you have of the underground film maker for the current and future times?
A: I guess the question is do you really need festivals anymore. There is a comraderie there. You meet like minded people. It makes you part of a scene. But when I finished Out of Print, within one month of it being on the Current TV website, it had nearly 10,000 hits. It played around 15-20 festivals and I'm sure the number of folks who saw it that universe pales in comparison. So for shorts, festivals are no longer the only game in town.
Out of Print Screenings:
• Athens International Film Festival, April 2008, received honorable mention in the Short Documentary Category
• On-Line Audience Prize, MetaFest, November 2008
• Revelation Film Festival, Perth, July 2009
• Maryland Film Festival, May 2009
• Florida Film Festival, March 2009
• Boston Underground Film Festival, March 2009
• Ann Arbor Film Festival, March 2009
• Muddy River Film Festival, March 2009
• Chicago Underground Film Festival, October, 2008
• CineVegas Film Festival, June 2008
• Edinburgh International Film Festival, June 2008
• Super Shorts Film Festival, London, June 2008
• Other Cinema, San Francisco, May 2008
• San Francisco International Film Festival, April 2008
• Underground Filmmaker Festival, January 2008
• Zetigeist Film Festival, July, 2008
Danny Plotnick’s other Awards & Screenings
• Plotnick was awarded top prize in the Underground Filmmaker Festival (2008), a recognition for his body of work.
• Swingers’ Serenade aired on the Independent Film Channel (2000-2003).
• Pillow Talk screened at the Museum of Modern Art, NYC as part of the Big As Life exhibition.
• Swingers’ Serenade received special recognition from Alexander Payne at the Humboldt Film Festival (2000).
• Steel Belted Romeos, Best Film, Ann Arbor Super 8 Film Fest (1990)
• I, Socky, Grand Prize, Brainwash Film Fest (1999).
• Retrospectives of work screened: Humboldt International Film Fest (2001), Maryland Film Fest (2000), American Underground Film Fest (Manchester, England) (1999), Göteborg Film Festival (Sweeden) (1998), MicroCine Festival (Baltimore) (1997).
Plotnick recently completed a series of music videos for Chuck Prophet and kids band, The Sippy Cups. He is also produces the popular art/culture/comedy/storytelling podcast Nest of Vipers and the blog Plotbox (plotbox.blogspot.com).
All things Danny Plotnick can be found at his well-developed web home dannyplotnick.com.
When: Friday, July 22th, 7:30 PM
Where: SUBVERSIVE CINEMA at 212 Pier Coffeehouse, 212 Pier Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90405, http://www.212pier.com/