Henry Plotnick: Field 5
2014, 6 minutes
In the past couple of years it has been really exciting to see my son, Henry, come into his own as a musician and an artist. As a musician he has been making music under the spell of the the electronic, minimalist masters. He released an album called Fields on the Holy Mountain label earlier in the year. It's been garnering some nice praise. He also loves shooting video. He is fascinated by looping, repetitive structures in the video realm, which serve as a nice compliment to his music. We put this video together for a track of his called Field 5. It's abstract, minimal and trippy. He shot it all and I edited the piece. It's always fun undertaking projects with you son. Enjoy.
Alison Faith Levy: World of Wonder
2012, 4 minutes
I'm really excited about this brand new video for Alison Faith Levy's beautiful new kid's record World of Wonder. It's funny how creative projects come about. Recently, I came into posession of a library of images taken with a super electron microscope. I also have been teaching an experimental film class. It occurred to me that the images from the microscope could be woven into an awesome experimental film. With no end game in sight, I started messing around with some of those images in After Effects. I had been listening to Alison's new record a lot and then it struck me. World of Wonder is all about looking into the heart of the natrual world. Likewise, the electron microscope looks deep into the natural world. And just like that, I knew what I was doing. I was making a music video for World of Wonder. Three weeks later the video was done. Only one image (the frame) remains from the electron microscope, but that's where the inspiration started.
McCabe & Mrs. Miller: Time For Leaving
2010, 4 minutes
A music video for McCabe & Mrs. Miller. Time For Leaving is a beautiful song, filled with longing, heartache, and melancholy. The video was inspired by spending the night at a hotel in Joshua Tree that had seen better days. The bank had foreclosed, the pool was drained, the furniture was stripped bare. Desolation and solitude were all around. KC Smith did the fantastic lighting design on the band footage. Enjoy.
Credits: Directed, Shot, Edited by Danny Plotnick. Lighting Design by KC Smith. Starring Victor Krummenacher & Alison Faith Levy. Music by McCabe & Mrs. Miller.
The Sippy Cups: The Day After Halloween
2008, 3 minutes
Music Video for The Sippy Cups. The Day After Halloween is a dose of autumnal melancholy for kids of all ages. Halloween is a wistful tale of a little boy who can't bear to take off his Halloween costume after the holiday is over. The song by The Sippy Cups is featured on their EP “One Day Soon,” which includes five tracks from everyone’s favorite psychedelic rock band for kids.
Credits: Written, Directed, Shot, Edited by Danny Plotnick. Starring Henry Plotnick. Music by the Sippy Cups.
Dream Syndicate: That's What You Always Say
1986/2008, super 8, 5 minutes
Back in 1986, Dana Mendelssohn and I shot a film of the might Dream Syndicate performing their classic song That's What You Always Say. Due to the technology of the time, we were never able to properly sync up the film. I recently incorporated a bit of the footage in my Out of Print film. That gave me the impetus to try to finish the film. I hunkered down in front of my computer and spent about 10 hours editing it all together. It's a blistering version of the song, with strings shredding all over the place. This may have been the first music performance I ever shot. It's rough around the edges but captures the times better than most of the video and cable access shoots that were used to document the scene at the time. It's from the pit in glorious and grainy black & white super 8.
Credits: Shot by Danny Plotnick & Dana Mendelssohn, 1986. Edited by Danny Plotnick, 2008
Out of Print
2008, 4 minutes
An ode to the counterculture of the 80s and 90s, when finding quality culture was a real treasure hunt.
Credits: Voice Over by Bucky Sinister. Appearance by Eric Grotke. Photos by Murray Bowles. Music by Alison Faith Levy & Mushroom. Sound Engineer: Chris Xefos. Cinematography by Christian Bruno & Danny Plotnick.
Awards: Finalist Underground Filmmakers Festival.
Would You Love Me?
2007, 8 minutes
Chuck Prophet is a master storyteller and has an encyclopedic knowledge of rock and roll trivia. With this video I tried to capture the flavor of Chuck in his rambling glory. The video also gives one a glimpse of watching a song get constructed. You get a peek into the rehearsal version of the track before watching the studio version unfold.
2007, 3 minutes
I had the privilege of being in the studio for the bulk of the Soap And Water recording sessions. The Freckle video captures the energy of Prophet and company pulling the album together and is an assemblage of behind the scene moments filmed during the sessions. The video is sprinkled with a lot of 16mm footage to spice things up a little.
Music video for Chuck Prophet from his Soap and Water cd.
Loud Family Live 2000
2003, 120 minutes
A road doc featuring acclaimed avant popsters the Loud Family recorded on their Attractive Nuisance Tour in 2000. Features 20 songs plus lots of shtick.
Tour Tips: Lesson #14-Beware The Day Off In New Orleans
2001, 2 minutes
Ever wonder what it's like to go on tour with your film, band, poetry or art? Well it's not all glad-handing, schmoozing, free drink tickets and adoring audiences. Along the way there are some dark, dank and humiliating moments. The Tour Tips series will address some of these pitfalls to better prepare the travelling artiste for his or her journey down the wrong side of the road.
Starring: Gil Ray and the Loud Family.
1999, 16mm, 24 minutes
A tawdry tale of suburban sexual malaise plus a lesson in arcane film history rolled into one sin-tillating package!
In the late 1950s and throughout the 1960s, when home movie making was at its peak, this nation's newsstands were filled with amateur movie making magazines. The majority of the articles contained therein focused on the technical concerns of filmmaking. Some magazines, however, would actually provide their subscribers with scripts to shoot-scripts on which these would-be cineastes could hone their filmic chops. In and of itself, there was nothing unseemly about such a service. But upon closer inspection, some of these scripts were, to say the least, rather randy.
One such script, entitled Swingers' Serenade, was published in the July/August 1960 issue of Better Movie Making. The script seems quite ahead of its time, replete with lurid sexual dynamics, hints of loose sexual mores, swinging couples, lecherous Fuller Brush salesmen, voyeuristic suburbanites and more.
The film you're about to see, Swingers' Serenade, offers up both a history of the amateur movie magazine world and a rendering of the original script of Swingers' Serenade, shot, to the best of our knowledge, as the publishers of the July/August 1960 issue of Better Movie Making had intended.
Starring: Chris Enright, Jay Hinman, Alison Faith Levy & Miles Montalbano. Music by the Snugglers.
Awards: Alexander Payne Award Humboldt Film Festival. Best Props & Music Ed Wood Memorial Film Fest. 2nd Prize Athens International Film Festival. Recipient Chicago Underground Film Fund Grant. Judges Commendation Microcine Festival. Screened on the Independent Film Channel.
1998, super 8, 7 minutes
A rogue sock monkey hits the town on a big day out. I, Socky was shot and edited on super 8. The film showcases super 8's rich Kodachrome palette and its guerrilla aesthetic.
Directed by: D. Plotnick & Alison Faith Levy. Starring: Anthony Bedard & Lisa Recker. Sound Mix by Ray Wilcox.
Awards: Grand Prize Brainwash Movie Festival. Honorable Mention U.S. Super 8 Festival.
I'm Not Fascinating-The Movie!
1996, super 8, 49:00
Brace yourselves for one of the most resplendent footnotes of rock 'n' roll anti-history ever to grace the silver screen. I'm Not Fascinating-The Movie! chronicles the pointless shenanigans of San Francisco rock 'n' roll ne'er-do-wells The Icky Boyfriends and their futile quest for rock stardom. Undaunted by the universal hatred of both their music and their look, the band perseveres, netting themselves a hefty major label contract. But stardom proves elusive as they descend into a world of murder, intrigue, nepotism, consumer research groups, excessive use of caffeine-laden soda pop and death. Who kills the Ickys? You'll wish you had!
"A Monkees-meet-Hate-comics slice of cinema non-vérité."
-San Francisco Weekly
"Move over Magical Mystery Tour, take a seat Tommy: San Francisco's Icky Boyfriends and Danny Plotnick have topped the semifictional rock-drama genre with their epic I'm Not Fascinating The Movie! A weirdly beautiful spectacle of self-defeat. An instant classic."
-San Francisco Bay Guardian
Starring: Anthony Bedard, Shea Bond, Chris Enright, Jonathan Swift, Claudia Vlasak & Ray Wilcox.
1994, super 8, 24:00 minutes
A twisted tale wherein lots of little kids with metal teeth and bad ideas terrorize an unsuspecting ne'er-do-well. Pipsqueak chronicles, in painstaking detail, all the crap little kids can get away with. Young at heart and mean in spirit it's a 24 minute joy ride.
Starring: Gregory Geno, Nate Jordan, Dmitry Karpovich, Yaffa Katz-Lewis, Trevor Nilsen, Vlada Skorupko, Apollo Wallace & Ray Wilcox. Music by Alison Faith Levy.
Awards: Special Recognition for Surrealism Humboldt Film Festival.
1991, super 8, 18:00 minutes
Extreme manipulation of filmic time and space combined with an impressionistic lighting scheme help create an urban spaces nightmare. They're fighting downstairs, they're fucking next door, they're stealing your clothes in the laundry room, and you're no better than the rest. Loquacious & lugubrious. Sorta like Jeanne Dielman meets Laverne and Shirley. I personally love this film, but it pushes a lot of folks over the edge. Strangely, or perhaps not, this was the film selected to screen as part of the Museum of Modern Arts' Big As Life super 8 retrospective.
A Film by: Laura Rosow & Danny Plotnick.
Starring: Yoli Acevas, Chris Enright, Claudia Gastaud, Alison Faith Levy, Laura Rosow & Ray Wilcox. Music by Ray Wilcox.
Death Sled II: Steel Belted Romeos
1990, super 8, 10:00 minutes
A tale of backwoods blacktop mayhem--Two dim-witted, lead-footed guidos from Bayonne, New Jersey bust through stoplight after stoplight in their turbo-charged, bad-assed, jet-black Pontiac Grand Prix until their mean machine nearly eighty-sixes another hunk of American steel. And that's just the start of it...A confrontation, an assault, fists-a-flying, and traffic violations.
Starring: Gary Ahuna, Chris Enright, Alison Faith Levy, Elizabeth Rose & Ray Wilcox. Music by the Ramon Wilcrag Disko Arkestra.
Awards: Best Film Ann Arbor Super 8 Film Festival. Honorable Mention U.S. Super 8 Festival.
Flip About Flip
1990, super 8, 4 minutes
A loving tribute to comic genius Flip Wilson. Back before mini dv, making films was a long, arduous, expensive proposition. In reaction to that, I liked making very short films in between longer projects. The idea was that in order to keep the chops honed I would make smaller projects that could be shot in an afternoon on one or two reels of films, thus keeping the costs down. Flip is one of these endeavors. This film was shot in an afternoon with the assistance of Chris Enright handling all the interviews. All told we shot three rolls of film. I think the total cost for the film was $60, a shockingly low budget for the time.
Film Crew: Chris Enright & Alison Faith Levy.
Dumbass From Dundas
1988, super 8, 7 minutes
In the middle of the Nevada desert, two lunkheads get tossed out of separate cars by their so-called friends. One guy is wearing a Twisted Sister t-shirt and one is wearing a Kiss t-shirt. They don't like each other. They have problems.
This film really resonated in the alternative film scene in the late 80s. Very few artsy fartsy film folk were shooting narrative, especially of the angst-filled variety. There was a hunger for this stuff. This predates, but anticipates, the underground film movement that would blossom in the early 90s.
Starring: Dan Day, Joshua Pollock, Ruta Radzins, Betsy Rose & Ray Wilcox. Music by Rabbit Season.
1987, super 8, 3 minutes
We spent all day filming people's butts at a Midwestern art fair. We shot one roll of film over the course of an afternoon. All the edits were done in camera. The sound was recorded via a 2 track film recording function on my Chinon projector.
Rap by: Dave Icikson.
1986, super 8, 2 minutes
A gang of female Skate Boarders and their pet rats terrorize all the boy skate boarders in town. Shot in an afternoon on glorious Kodachrome. The sound was recorded through my Chinon projector. When you engaged the record button, there was an ungodly crackling that recorded onto the film. I figured out how to circumvent that problem on subsequent films. I should have cleaned it up on the dvd, but that wouldn't have been authentic. You can also see an ugly pulsing at the head of each shot which was the result of the lag time in the auto exposure setting a proper exposure. I eventually figured out how to circumvent that problem as well.
Starring: Karen Kibler, Dana Mendellsohn, Jenny Parker, Billy Rivkin, Jon Solomon.