Monday, May 15, 2006

Getting "Suspicious"

It's only fair for me to do what I've asked you to do as well, right?

My name is Jeff Middents, and I'll be your tour guide through what I'm calling "A Short Course About Short Films" this summer. I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Literature at AU, having been here since 2001. My specialty interest is in narratives of the 20th Century, particularly Latin American cinema and I'm writing a book (hopefully to be finished this summer) on film criticism and Peruvian cinema from the 1960s to the present. Believe it or not, this course is inspired by some of the research I have done on that project and may inspire a future larger project as well -- we'll see. In terms of my personal life, all you need to know is that I'm married and have a 14-month-old son who has just started to walk... so, basically, my life is now over, heh heh.

My research is not how I originally came to short film, however. My biggest experience with shorts came from working for the Telluride Film Festival where I encountered an amazing short film called "Suspicious," written and directed by David Koepp, most famous for writing Spielberg flicks like Jurassic Park. He is more known as a screenwriter, though he has directed a couple of interesting features such as The Trigger Effect (1996), Stir of Echoes (1999) and Secret Window (2002). My favorite, however, is still this little film featuring comedian Janeane Garofalo as a girl in a car. Among other things, this was the first time I had ever seen Garofalo in a role where she wasn't funny. The film has since shown on the Sci-Fi channel, but I have been unable to find a copy of it again, alas. Still, the film made quite an impression -- and showed me the potential power of shorts.

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