It's been an exciting week for local filmmaker Matt Porterfield (director of Putty Hill and Hamilton)—last Saturday, he won the $25,000 Sondheim Prize, and he's just announced that he's raising funds via Kickstarter to produce a new film, I Used To Be Darker. For the Sondheim competition, he put together an installation of photographs, all taken with his cell phone.
Porterfield explains why he took that approach rather than simply submitting his film/video clips...
When I found out I was a finalist again this year, I wanted to figure out a way to embrace the gallery space and challenge myself, by making new work and pushing the boundaries of the way I’ve worked with the photographic image and time-based media in the past. My love of photography is what got me into film -- and when I approach narrative I usually start with a single frame tied to a precise place and a particular time.
This installation, for me, is a study of the photographic image as a unit of montage. Arranged on the wall in a precise order, and in the video, there are associations, relationships, between the images: graphic, emotional, rhythmic, and thematic. I spent weeks organizing the 72 photos (all taken over the last year with a cell phone) into a grid that maximizes the potential for these relationships to occur in the mind of the viewer. I think the installation encourages the patient to read the work, if you will, and come up with meaning for themselves. So it's collaborative montage! That said, there are a lot of signs and symbols here that have very specific personal meaning for me.
The installation is on view at the BMA to August 7.
And today, Porterfield kicked off a month-long effort to raise $40,000 to produce his next film, which will star former Baltimore contributor Ned Oldham (brother of musician Will Oldham). You can get all the details here, including a synopsis of the film and an amazing video pitch by Porterfield as he gets a tattoo. In fact, if you contribute $1,000 or more, Porterfield will have your initials tattooed on his arm.