Saturday, November 10, 2007

Beifuss on Morgan Jon Fox's 'omg/HaHaHa'

Go here to check out John Beifuss' story on Morgan's new movie premiering tonight at the MeDiA Co-op. Excerpts:
As co-founder of the Memphis Digital Arts Co-operative and a do-it-yourself writer-director who has achieved some national attention for his highly personal movie projects, Morgan Jon Fox has become a youthful mentor to many in the local film making community. ...

"omg/HaHaHa" is an intimate, earnest and at times essentially documentarian peek into the lives of several troubled, confused, restless and proud Memphians, most of whom appear to be residents of Midtown in general and Cooper-Young in particular.

... the movie makes artful and honest use of digital video, exploiting the format for its strengths and embracing its limitations rather than trying to pass it off as a cheap substitute for film stock.

"omg/HaHaHa" employs a large ensemble cast in a loose storyline that finds room for gay and transgender characters, a young woman who finds herself pregnant, a "family planning" center that is a front for a Christian conservative ministry, white hip-hop-stylin' thugs, a man abandoned by his wife, an older woman in rabbit ears (popular local actor Helen Bowman) and a young man (Jake Casey) whose "stupid video blog" monologues provide a loose framing device for the movie, which opens with a shot of letters appearing on a computer screen as they are typed. ...

... much of the film was improvised and shot documentary-style, leaving Fox with 20 to 30 hours of footage, which he sculpted over the course of a year into its current "multilayered" 95-minute form in the manner of a woodcarver fashioning a sequence of nesting dolls from a tree trunk.

The film is presented as a project of Fox's Sawed-Off Collaboratory Productions company and the MeDiA Co-op, with thanks to, a Web site devoted to local arts, and Makeshift Music, a record label whose artists contribute several songs to the film, which is thick with the sound of melancholy indie pop.

The event is tonight at 7 in a free public screening at the MeDiA Co-op theater at First Congregational Church, 1000 S. Cooper. A reception begins at 6 p.m., and a Q&A follows.

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