You’ve all heard of that nasty Honey Badger, of course. Well, prepare yourself for the HOOLIGAN BADGER!!!
Benita Raphan is a prolific filmmaking talent with whom we’ve had the pleasure to collaborate on some really cool films through the years. One such project is “The Critical Path,” an experimental documentary about the life and works of R. Buckminster Fuller, a renowned 20th century inventor and visionary.
“The Critical Path” originally debuted on the Sundance Channel and at the Tribeca Film Festival. This month, the film will make a very special premiere at The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, screening daily at the gallery through October 27th. For those not familiar with the work and who ‘Bucky’ is, we thought we’d revisit “The Critical Path,” with Kane Platt, the film’s editor, and inspire you to go see it.
So what did you discover about Bucky working on the film?
“It was an absolute pleasure making this film with Benita and learning about Bucky. He was a fascinating human being – way ahead of his time on so many things. His approach to engineering and science was holistic as he sought to unify a whole concept of society serving the universe. His ideas were utilitarian. All the themes he explored fit together to form a complete “dymaxian” concept of utility and efficiency serving humanity. He wasn’t a traditional architect, but would take on projects like the Dymaxion house to translate his philosophy and experiences into practical applications. Fuller was also very generous. Altruistic characterizes his life and work. He wasn’t inventing to make a fortune, but rather to serve the universe and mankind. He constantly reached out and explored different platforms to do that, through his writings, structures – even lecturing at universities. He had a following of college kids who related to his deeply intellectual but highly (sometimes) practical ideas.”
The Critical Path is visually poetic – surreal yet biographically grounded in way that offers a uniquely authentic impression of Fuller. Discuss the concept behind this unorthodox approach to biographical filmmaking and the editorial techniques you applied to create such a narrative.
“Benita’s concept was all about creating visual representations of Bucky’s mind at work as well as his personal story and achievements. This film presented some unique challenges that allowed me to try many things for the first time editorially. The images in the film are representations of an abstract mind. We treated and layered them to represent an internal dialogue. We spent many months working and experimenting with the footage. The challenge was creating effective interpretations to communicate the ideas and events our three narrators hint at. We also broke the film into three segments to conceptually represent the triangular elements fundamental to much of his work, including the Geodesic dome, a marvelously strong structure that is known for enclosing the greatest volume with the least amount of material and is still used in construction today.
Discuss collaborating with Benita.
“Benita is open-minded and willing to combine ideas. She will do whatever it takes to make the film great – start to finish – no matter what. Say a great idea for a shot comes to us while we’re editing. She will schedule a shoot and go get it.”
Presented // The Sundance Channel / Director of Programming / Larry Greenberg /
With the narration // Don Moore // Allegra Fuller Snyder // Ed Applewhite // Nick Coombe / RIBA, MA (RCA) /
With // Blanche Hampton / Olivia Morabito / Charlie Catchpoole /
Editor // Kane Platt /
Director of Post Production // Rosemary Quigley /
Composer // Pierre Földes /
Sound Design // Marshall Grupp /
Director of Cinematography // David Morabito /
Director of Cinematography // Joe Collins /
Additional Cinematography // Scott Kincaid / Alex Catchpoole /
Gaffer (San Francisco) // Jon T. Fontana / Kate Fontana /
Directors of Special Effects // Alex Catchpoole / Paul Agid /
After Effects / Animation // Wesley Waldron /
Hand Lettering // Julia Rose Rock / James Early Richards /
3D // Hoon Chong / Mike Citarella /
Mix // The Sound Lounge / Engineer / Paul Weiss /
Buckminster Fuller’s Projects Courtesy of //
The Buckminster Institute //
The Buckminster Fuller Estate //
Stanford University Special Projects //
The Henry Ford Museum & Greenfield Park //
The Harvard Film Archive //
WGBH // Boston //
Brandeis University Libraries // Robert D. Farber University Archives and
Special Collections Department //
The American Museum of Natural History //
Shoji Sadao // Director / The Noguchi Museum //
The Minnesota Film & TV Board // Northwest Airlines /
Produced in cooperation with the Partners at Chinagraph, Inc. /
Buckminster Fuller Archival Footage transferred // Nice Shoes /
Legal // Thomas G. Rock /
© Copyright MMV Benita Raphan
All Rights Reserved.
Solar Generation PSA
Editor Thomas Ostuni cut a hugely successful PSA via Blake + Company for Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), a non-profit trade group that aims to bring solar energy to the forefront of mainstream consciousness. The PSA tours major venues across the nation that are currently harnessing the sun’s warmth for energy, from Giants Stadium in S.F. to the Crayola Crayon factory in Pennsylvania. You can read an article about the SEIA initiative and the success of the campaign HERE.
Hooligan Editor Peter Mostert recently collaborated with Director Benita Raphan to create “From Dark to Light,” an experimental short film commissioned to honor Marshall Arisman, painter, illustrator and Chairman of the M.F.A. degree program, School of Visual Arts. The film debuted in New York City, at the Art Directors Club Hall of Fame Gala on November 10, 2011, among a series of screenings introducing fellow inaugural inductees John C. Jay, Joe Pytka and Ruth Ansel.
A filmmaker’s profile of a fine artist, “From Dark to Light” elicits a profound journey into Arisman’s world, rendering a subtle yet powerful impression of his sensibilities as a renowned artist, both creatively and personally. The film taps stylized shots of Arisman in the studio painting, set to his off-screen narration.The fragmented narrative combined with abstracting cinematic techniques foster an intimate experience that is robust to the senses, as the film itself becomes as much an abstract portrait as the artistry of its tributary subject. Composer Robert Miller worked to carry the tone of the three chapter drama.
“We wanted this intro piece to be more like a short film and Benita gave me a lot to make that happen in terms of the edit,” remarks Mostert. “The film is interesting because Arisman’s narration is somewhat unrelated to the action seen in the film. We took this unusual back story about how one of his paintings came to be, and told it in a non-linear fashion to create a defined impression of Arisman and his body of work.”
“Peter did a great job of working with the footage to stay true to who Marshall is as both a renowned storyteller and artist. This film is as much a vision of who Marshall is as any of his self-portraits.”
Mostert concludes, “I made choices that I thought would work well with Benita’s aesthetic: overlapping voices, speeding up footage and doubling of images to encompass the dark tone of Marshall’s work, which also tied the piece together perfectly, from the aura-like appearance of the artist up front through to the end.”
Director: Benita Raphan
Production Company: Pete the Dog Productions
Director of Cinematography: David Morabito
Composer: Robert Miller
Editor: Peter Mostert
Editorial Company: Hooligan
Producer: Rosemary Quigley
Audio Post Production: Sound Lounge
Sound Design: Marshall Grupp
Sound Re-recording Mixer: Juan Acevez
Mix: Sound Lounge
Color Grading: Nice Shoes
Colorist: Gene Curley
Legal: Mike Frankfurt, Frankfurt, Kurnit, Klein & Selz, PC
About Benita Raphan:
Benita Raphan is a Director and Designer for print and television. She was represented briefly by Joy Films, in London, and returned to NYC to open Pete the Dog Productions in 2000. SHOOT Magazine featured her in their “New Director’s Issue” in 2008. Another Sundance Channel film that she produced and directed, was featured in “Creativity Magazine’s No-Spot Short Film Festival.” Raphan has produced and directed a series of original content documentaries in collaboration with the following leaders in the post-production world; Nice Shoes; jumP; Manic; Crew Cuts; Hooligan; SUSPECT; Coda and Sound Lounge. Her films have been presented on HBO, The Sundance Channel, Channel Four Television, UK, PBS, and at The Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Benita has worked as a designer for clients as diverse as Yves Saint Laurent, Issey Miyake, Yohji Yamamoto, Wieden + Kennedy, Deutsch, Inc., Knopf, and The New York Times Op-Ed Page. She has received Gold medals from The Art Directors Club, Le Club Des Directeurs Artistiques, Paris and The Broadcast Designers’ Awards. London Film Festival.