Your new documentary James
Bearden: Man of Metals - in a few words, what is it about?
It is my interpretation of the art and mind of metal sculptor, James
Bearden. So it is sort of like a documentary, but there is a lot more to
it. James is sculptor who creates very abstract pieces that each come from
a different reality inside his brain.
could you personally relate to Bearden's sculptures, and in what way did
they influence the style of your documentary?
from an alternative reality. As if there is a simultaneous reality
happening side by side with our own reality. He and I talked about people
from these alternative realities and how the people would influence the
pieces. There is also the heavy influence of the female figure and how they
inspire our own work. You notice the curves and shapes of his pieces and
you can see the echo of woman's figure within them. I really wanted to
of style: In James
Bearden: Man of Metals you took a rather unusual, almost abstract
approach to your subject - could you elaborate on that?
Well, firstyou notice that there is very little on camera interview
happening. We shot a teaser trailer to attempt raise money with a
Kickstarter campaign and it was a huge struggle to get him to talk
directly about anything. I knew going forward that it couldn't be done
that way. I was given a television interview he did back in 2011 and I
extracted the audio from it. I really liked the way he answered
questions and explained things on it. The rest of the audio came from a
recording session we did together in his gallery that is located in the
Western Gateway area of the Des Moines. I had him explain theories
behind his work without a camera on him. I held a microphone and asked
The use of microscope footage happened out of boredom. I showed up for a
shoot with James and he wasn't ready. I believe it was the day we were
going to shoot with his daughter (the young girl who is walking through
his studio). I showed up with my gear and she wasn't there. So I decided
to just fool around with different things. I recently had purchased a $6
microscope lens attachment for my iPhone 4S on amazon. With the lens
attached I would just run the camera along the surface of the
sculptures. When I played the footage back I got really excited. I
thought to myself, "Just imagine all of these pieces that you can
see..." It reminded me of the film work of Stan Brakhage, who has
been a huge inspiration of mine.
One other thing I would like to mention is that this movie is very
similar to a lot of the music I make. I love noise music and the use of
noise in commercial recordings. I feel like the noise brings out a
deeper understanding of what is being portrayed.
far as I know, over 70% of James
Bearden: Man of Metals were shot on the iPhone 4s - now how did
that work out as a filmmaking tool, and would you shoot any more movies on
The iPhone is an amazing filmmaking tool. With the Filmic Pro
app I can capture 1080hd, raw uncompressed audio, and it encodes at
50mb per second (Blu-ray is encoded at 40mb per second). All of the
microscope/psychedelic footage was shot on the iPhone. As a matter of
reference, the first 2 minutes and 15 seconds is all iPhone. The shots
with him showing his sketch book is all iPhone. I shoot on a 4S but
you can do even more amazing things on the iPhone 5 or 5S.
I would totally shoot more films with an iPhone. In fact, some of
my earliest test footage was on a project I have been working with my
girlfriend on Pioneer Cemeteries. We shot a bunch of stuff back in the
fall of 2012, and those shoots convinced me that the iPhone is a suitable
camera option for movie making.
As far as I know, it took about 2 years to shoot
this from start to finish - so do talk about the shoot as a whole for a
In reality, it should not have taken that long. But a few things
happened: I was hired to make the Templeton Rye documentary, Capone's
Whiskey. Then Bearden's career took off and he was making pieces for all
sorts of clients. He now sells his work all over the world and his
commissioned to make furniture and other custom pieces. It was a lot
about time availability. When we did shoot it was for only a few hours
at a time. I think the longest session we had was the gala celebration
because we had all those people there. The girls really didn't take that
long to shoot. The longest part for them was getting the make up on.
Each girl took about three hours to do up ahead of time.
Also getting the right direction was hard because you had James and I
both coming up with ideas and bumping heads. His mind would change often
and making it very difficult to figure out how to make this piece.
Finally I had to just stop listening to him and go my own way with it.
How did you get involved with the project in the
My first feature length film, Brent
Houzenga: Hybrid Pioneer screened at a coffee house here in Des
Moines called Mars Cafe. Bearden's representative, Stephanie O'Neal was in
the audience and loved it. She wanted me to come meet James at his old
studio in what was considered the Market District in downtown Des Moines.
It was a weird experience. We had some beers, he smoked some grass (I
don't smoke weed), and talked about HIM. Later that night I got an email
from Stephanie asking if I wanted to do this project.
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
The $64 question of course, when and where
will the movie be released onto the general public?
all the DVDs have been pressed and are actually stacked 10 feet from where
I am sitting now. They should be live on amazon to purchase by September
24th. We are going to start our gallery tour next month. It will be
similar to what I did with Hybrid Pioneer. This one may
actually get some festival play.
future projects you'd like to share?
Well just that my
first movie theater is opening on September 27th in Fairfield, Iowa. You
can check out the FB link here:
website, Facebook, whatever else?
for the interview!