Brandon Colvin is fostering an eclectic film culture in his hometown of Madison while simultaneously firmly adding his voice to the texture of American independent cinema.
Pop-up cinema? Filmmakers driving around with projectors in their back seats? Co-opting public spaces for cinematic graffiti? It's the future folks, and our sacred church of cinema is succumbing to the advent of digital technology. Don't be fooled though -- for independent filmmakers, it's a very good thing. Brandon Colvin, the filmmaker behind nascent gems like Frames and now Sabbatical (which landed a spot in my top 20 of 2014) is the man behind the Madison, WI Micro-Wave Cinema series. The series highlights films coming off the festival circuit so local audiences in can get a taste of truly independent American (often micro-budget, often criminally underseen) movies. Using tools like Simple Machine and the good old fashioned cold call, Colvin tries to curate the most exciting American independent cinema he can find.
Colvin is no slouch as a filmmaker himself. With a controlled and effortless minimalism Colvin carves out his corner of American cinema, harkening qualities of Bresson and Bergman. His approach to performance (calling film acting "the final frontier for experimentation in cinema") yields a stilted cadence that provides an entryway into the mind of someone happy to thoughtfully gaze at the canvas of a flawed society.
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"Not everyone can sit around all day reading IndieWire exhaustively, or looking at film Twitter twenty-four hours a day learning about reviews at every film festival. If you're the one doing that in your community, then you have to be the emissary for that kind of film culture."
Watch our in-depth interview with Colvin about SABBATICAL, in which we cover Casting, Acting, Locations, Composition, Lighting, Color, Sound & Tone (use the annotations to browse through the topics).
SABBATICAL is now available to buy or rent online.
My film Menthol screened as part of the Micro-Wave series and it got me really interested in putting together my own screenings. For more on why filmmakers should consider doing this, check out our continued conversation: