Jamison Bright – the ‘Auteur’ Theory

What ‘makes’ a film? Is it the writing? Is it the editing? This is the question many have sought to answer. Auteur, a term not so commonly used these days, is defined as a director who so influences a film, that he or she becomes the author, making it what it is. But how can we prove or disprove this? By looking at a handful of short films by one director – Jamison Bright – we can see how each work carries on the director’s film style and personal principles.

Jamison Bright is a young, up-and-coming, film director who has so far built a solid portfolio of live-action and animated shorts. Formerly known as Xavier Vanegas, Jamison is a director, actor, and producer, using all of these positions to create pieces of art that help define the human condition and entertain the world.

Early works

When looking at Jamison’s extensive portfolio to get a clear picture of how he thinks and what messages he wants to give to the world, you must begin with his early works.

One Night Stand shows a young man’s attempt to escape an apartment after spending the night with a woman. Despite being an early piece of Jamison’s work, we can see marked creativity in his shot selection and awareness of location, a favourite part being the use of a mirror to avoid using a standard cut away.

Pass/Fail Episode Two is similar in theme, however this one included dialogue that sounded both realistic to the age group and garnered a chuckle. With more actors and scenery to command, it was a tough job, but definitely shows his progression in skill. The shot selections are textbook, setting the scene and letting the characters tell their stories.

No university film degree is complete without making a zombie film. Zombs focuses on the in-between moments. Minor technical elements such as lighting and sound could have been improved, but it added to the psuedo-normalcy of the event.

Also dealing with death in a mostly comedic way is Remembering Jim Thatcher. Through quick glimpses of Jim’s life at the open of the film, we are instantly connected to him. The use of a green screen, though sometimes very evident, generally worked for the best. We are able to concentrate on the characters and their plight, rather than background stimuli.

Jamison’s focus on his own age demographic highlights his admitted desire to help others define their personal experience. He knows what they are going through, especially at a time when they are searching for meaning and attempting to understand life.

Later works

The first I will discuss here is my personal favourite. Abby and the Lights in the Sky tells of a young mother who is struggling after losing her baby. One night, strange lights appear outside the window, filling her with a sense of peace and closure. It used music in an interesting way, alongside subtle reactions, which often mean more than melodrama.

Just like you’d expect, Jamison’s later works all show a massive improvement in terms of technique. In progressing from short films to a possible future in features, he has begun to release a series of shorts that will combine to create a much larger story. These instalments: Park Bench, Bench Décès, and Statica Segment 1 are just the beginning of the series that promises to get darker. The latter two are in black and white, giving a noir-esque feel. The close framing and odd angles keep you off-balance, adding to the intrigue and showing Jamison, having mastered the basic filmic techniques, has moved onto using the shots to tell the story and not just capture the action.

Another instalment of an ongoing series is the endearing animated film Fink Forest Friends: The Invisible Honk. Though focused to a much younger demographic, it still portrayed a sense of morals, making it not just entertainment.

The Current Beneath is a stand-alone short film that uses an older cast and a more emotional take on death and loss. Telling its story in only a few minutes, the use of quick editing heightened the panic. It is one of the many works that Jamison has added a charity/cause credit to, with this one hitting close to home.

Telling a long tale in a short period of time, Mary Wollstonecraft of Sector Seventeen doesn’t feel like anything is left out. It is both funny and serious, and is similar to the Bench series in it’s use of black and white and shadow.

Common elements

Whether or not we are aware of it, we all have a specific way of seeing the world. After watching a few films by Jamison, you will be able to identify a number of common elements that all illustrate his world view and areas of interest.

All stories tend to have a moral message behind them, and Jamison uses his own age experience to target his messages to young adults. His films include immaturity in relation to sex and relationship, but also the heavier subjects of the shortness of life and how not even the youth are immune to it.

No filmmaker is alone in creating their art. Despite the obvious influence the director has on the film and its meaning, it is the contribution of others and their ideas that make it a more comprehensive product. Some of Jamison’s frequent collaborators include his family, and friends Cody Theilman, Christopher Dinriquez, Evan Muehlbauer, and Lyman Johnson.

The human experience is one of trials and tribulations, with almost everyone just trying to do their best. By helping each other, we can not only ease the suffering of others, but bring joy to our own existence. Over the handful of years that Jamison Bright has been studying and honing his craft, he has done this by outwardly dedicating his works to known and lesser-known causes, and by his film themes. It is only by continuing to watch his creations that we will see his ideas and morals grow, entertaining and positively affecting more and more people around the globe.

You can find his works at the following links:

instagram.com/jamisonbright

vimeo.com/vanegas

www.facebook.com/jamisonbright/

www.youtube.com/channel/UCcQxdn-oNblZlfaAeZHPixw

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The Wayward Kite (2017) – Review

By Michelle Sommerville

There are films where all it takes it one look at the title and you just know what it is going to be about. For me, this was not one of those films. Before I even pressed play, my mind was filled with ideas and guesses, and I was excited to see if the truth would come anywhere near. Would it be straight forward, or an analogy for something greater? This was almost swept from my mind at the first display of animation. It was breathtaking, even in its apparent simplicity. It didn’t detract from the story, however, instead elevating it and bringing it to life.

It is not a good day for that poor kite. With a musical accompaniment but no dialogue, the audience follows the exploits of the title wayward kite. Cut off from the rest, it is hit by a vehicle, electrocuted by power lines, falls into a dumpster, and finds itself among the disgusting refuse at the tip. By this point it is little more than mere tatters clinging desperately to its frame. It breaks free of this too, now unencumbered but further weakening itself. A storm and rain threaten a final defeat, but almost through sheer will the kite perseveres.

The story of the film is simple, but can symbolise much deeper meaning. You find yourself questioning how closely you related to an inanimate object and its harrowing plight.

At this point I usually comment on the acting, which feels strange to do in a film like this. Somehow, the faceless kite was able to emote, and was a great leading man or woman.

Let me get one thing straight: the animation was phenomenal. From the first look at the kites at the beginning, I was brought into the world of the film. That’s what you need to do, bring the audience in, and The Wayward Kite certainly did this. Add to this the cityscape and huge advertisement boards, a-mazing!

The transitions were also flawless, seamlessly moving from one scene and setting to another.

Another unmistakably brilliant addition to this film was the emotional classical music accompaniment. It was not what you would expect in a cartoon, but elevated it from a more child-like target audience to those looking for the meaning behind the images.

In the last few years, animated short films have become a hit. Whether this is due to shortened attention spans or some other reason, it bodes well for this work. Already selected to screen internationally at well-respected film festivals, it seems this is only the beginning of success for both this film and its creators.

Not since Toy Story (1995) have I rooted so hard for an inanimate object. It held such personification and emotion. The animation was brilliant and made it an oddly relatable story. I have no idea how they achieved this, and I don’t really want to know lest it take away the magic.

Bear Designs – Hand-Made Items

*Please note – I am not getting paid for any of these ‘reviews’. They are merely articles to share the love and support small Australian hand-made businesses/hobbies.*

One thing that I have found while researching these Australian Hand-Made Businesses, is that their contribution to society is much more personal. Unlike big businesses that are only out to make a profit, these businesses focus on pleasing others. Here is one such independent business.

Bear Designs

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Who doesn’t like dressing up? I don’t know a kid that doesn’t. But with so many superheroes and characters, it can be difficult to keep up with the cost of buying costume after costume. This is where Bear Designs comes in.

Bear Designs was created by Nadine Bear, and stocks capes with a virtually-endless array of designs. Her product size range includes 1/2 years, 3/4 years, 5/6 years, and custom orders are welcome. Products can also include capes for teddies, and props for photography sessions.

Prices are very affordable, and the capes can easily be tucked away for further use.

I spoke with Nadine to hear how she came up with this brilliant idea.

“I came up with the idea as my son loved dress up and I could never find good quality capes with his favourite theme; so I decided to give it a go myself. I hadn’t sewn in years, and was surprised how much I loved making them.” Nadine told me.

“I first started making capes for my kids, and then friends, which then extended into people requesting all types of super capes. I decided to start up a Facebook page (found HERE) and see how it went.”

When talking about her products, Nadine said: “I do a variety of patterns/favourite characters/themes and custom orders. Basically it depends what people are looking for and their child’s favourite theme.”

Not only does she do individual sales, but also collections, for kid’s birthday parties.

As I said before, independent businesses have a closer link with their communities and and Bear Designs is no different.

“I was recently involved in a massive charity event, which I called ‘Capes for Cancer’. It was for a little boy in my son’s pre-primary class.”

“This is the reversible cape I designed with ‘C’ for childhood cancer on yellow being the gold representation and the other side being the super hero fabric. I made 70 capes for all the kids, and 15 for the teachers. It was a massive event/quiz night, to raise awareness for childhood cancer, and I managed to raise over $7000. All the kids looked amazing in their capes. Shawn Redhage from Perth Wildcats also came out on the day and chatted to the kids.”

Nadine’s final words echo those of other independent Australian Hand-Made businesses: “As I’m still a new business with a young family, I haven’t yet ventured out to the market arena, but I’m hoping to as my business grows.”

 

Zobelle Designs – Hand-Made Items

*Please note – I am not getting paid for any of these ‘reviews’. They are merely articles to share the love and support small Australian hand-made businesses/hobbies.*

Zobelle Designs

From the creative and craft-y mind of Charmaine Riccio comes Zobelle Designs.

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With a stock list that includes hats, necklaces, and home decor, you can find everything you will need for gifts, and yourself! When not proudly displayed at local markets, Zobelle Designs is selling through Facebook, making it easy to shop from the convenience of your own home, while ensuring you are getting quality hand-made items.

What’s even better, is that Charmaine also ‘up-cycles’ items.

UP-CYCLE: to process (used goods or waste material) so as to produce something that is often better than the original

But like all other hand-made and independent businesses, there is a story behind it all.

“I come from a family of crafters – Nanna sewed on her Singer treadle machine, teaching me how to make doll clothes; and mum tried every craft imaginable, eventually settling on pottery and now running her own shop in Perth. “

She continues, “Zobelle Designs was an idea a few years in the making. Just over a year ago, when all four of my children were in school full-time, I felt confident enough to give it a go. Up-cycling and re-fashioning my own clothes is something I’ve done since I started sewing with grand plans of being a fashion designer.”

Though the comfort and style of her items is her first priority, she has adapted to the ever-changing market, supplying something for those with an eye for recycling.

“These days, in the current environmental climate, it is more important than ever to try and live a conscious and sustainable lifestyle. Combining my passions – sewing, op-shopping, and a sustainable way of life for my family – into a business and something I can share with others, is the ultimate dream for me.”

You can also find Zobelle Designs on Instagram.