My name is Jeffrey Collins. I am an artist who about 5 years ago began wondering if it might be cool to make a a 21st century version of the legendary 1972 film Painters Painting by Emile De Antonio.
Emile De Antonio wanted to make a film about the friends he had in the art world. He called it Painters Painting, and featured historical interviews with the greats of past generations: Newman, De Kooning, Motherwell, Noland, Stella, Olitski, Poons, Rauschenberg, Johns and Warhol. De Antonio was making a film as an outsider—and it shows—however, the documentary’s unique insight into the featured artists’ work and lives caused it to become a film that just about anyone in the art world has seen at least once. I’ve personally watched it over 100 times. Nearly every instance in which I put on Painters Painting, I’ve had the inkling to make a film like this, instead featuring artists from the contemporary moment. That thought stayed with me until about a year ago when I finally sat down and began getting in touch with various people in the art world. I felt no one was in any hurry to do a documentary film like this, so it was up to me to be the one that put it together.
I began with a person whom I already knew: Joseph Marioni, a painter perpetuating the High Modernist tradition of his predecessors. Once I talked with him, I came away with many ideas that multiplied. Though De Antonio was already well acquainted with his group of participants, I would be learning about mine for the first time while filming, which is an experience I have come to enjoy. There’s nothing like sitting with someone and hearing the story of his or her life firsthand. I felt lucky to hear Karen Wilkin’s stories about Caro and Olitski, to go through a Matisse show at the Modern with Ken Noland, and to hear a painter speak about paintings without the museum’s usual curatorial categorization. I went to Peter Reginato’s and heard him talk about meeting John Chamberlain for the first time—and similarly learned of his desire for Barnett Newman to come see his work. John Zinsser talked to me about the first time he visited Marioni’s home, and how the environment was so different from his paintings and personality. Stories like these don’t appear in many art books—even less so in art documentaries.
It is difficult for a Columbus, Ohio-based painter like myself to work on a documentary filmed in New York, as I have to arrange initial meetings through phone, email, or Facebook. I have already travelled as far a New Hampshire to visit curator Carl Belz, to hear his stories of how he began as an athlete and wound up becoming one of the most beloved curators of art in the country. It was quite an amazing interview, and what a trip.
If I obtain my necessary funding, I will be able to travel to the New York area and thuroughly carry out 15 or more remaining interviews. I hope that with help, I will be able to create a valuable art historical document for many generations to enjoy.
Stories like these deserve to be heard by many. I don’t know what my life would be like had it not been for that day in the Columbus Metropolitan Library, when I found a copy of De Antonio’s legendary documentary. Hearing words straight from the artists, untainted by anyone else, gave me a feeling that I knew a bit more about them. I hope I can pass on this unique knowledge to future generations. One of the main reasons I wish to finish this film is because I also want to make two other films like it, with participants from the western section of America, and with participants from Europe. Quite an undertaking I know, but I firmly believe in myself and know that I can do it. And with your help I WILL be able to do it.
MAKE SURE TO CHECK OUT THE GALLERY TAB AT THE TOP OF THIS CAMPAIGN!!!
Participants already interviewed at least one time. In Order of when.
Carl Belz (Director Emeritus of Rose Art Museum @ Brandeis University)
Peter Reginato (Sculptor)
Karen Wilkin (Curator/Writer...including the new Jules Olitski travelling show)
John Zinsser (Painter)
Klaus Kertess (Curator and Director of legendary gallery Bykert)
Michael Brennan (Painter/Writer)
Ronnie Landfield (Painter/Curator)
Ruth Ann Fredenthal (Painter)
Participants included but I've yet to interview...
Larry Poons, Pat Steir, Joseph Marioni, Forrest "Frosty" Myers, Stephen Bennett, Robert Sagerman, Danielle Frankenthal, Kevin Finklea, Matthew Deleget, David Anfam, Hrag Vartanian, Max Cole, Sandi Slone, and more to come.
What We Need & What You Get
I am asking for $5,000 for this particular campaign even though I really do need more than that. It ends up costing usually way more than you think when you start these projects. Especially if it's a labor of love for the director...ME.
The thing I need the most money for is travel. As I live in Columbus Ohio. I have to travel back and forth to NY to get the bulk of my footage. I am hoping that with your help I'll be able to arrange a long term stay in NY so I can be much more available to get as many interview opportunities with the participants as possible. I want to be able to film them in museums, in galleries, and especially hanging around with the other artists and curators in the film. And I certainly can't do that one week at a time.
Most of the rest of the funds involve renting video equipment. Especially an HD camcorder so I can do better quality moving shots of the artists in action. I tried filming some action footage with the 5D MK2 camera I have, but it doesn't do moving video too well...unless you have a camera crew, and even then, a camcorder with auto-focus can still do better. I have noticed that two camera angles make for much better interviews, and renting an HD cam these days is a much better value than buying, for the truly independent filmmaker.
I am setting this campaign up for what they refer to as FLEXI-FUNDING, which means that unlike other crowdsourcing places, any funds I raise, I will be able to receive. So you can donate with the comfort of knowing that either way, the film will get it's funding. And you will have helped a great documentary get made.
I am going to be focusing a lot of attention of distribution in the near future. I know many museums these days have film theaters, and I hope to bring this film around to 50 museums in 50 states. I'm sure there will be more, but it's nice to know that I could get the film shown in all 50 states. I am also going to be doing screenings at art schools around the world. So many places this can be screened that it's giving me so many more ideas. And that's outside of selling DVD's and VOD (video on demand) and Digital Downloads.
Other Ways You Can Help
If you would like to help out, but don't have the funds available. You can help by simply sharing this on your blog or your Myspace or Facebook or Google+. So many places I'm sure you know about that I don't. Like I always say, any help is appreciated. If you are around me in Ohio or surrounding states and maybe want me to come and do a talk with some of the footage I have at your college. I would be happy to, I only ask for gas money.
Don't forget, Indie GoGo has plenty of sharing tools to let your friends know about this particular campaign, so a lot of time can be saved on your part. And you've helped promote for the film. YEAH!
This project has been written about in a few online publications including.
Be sure to check them out!!!
Director, Campaign Manager