Thursday, 20 November 2008

Steve Katz "Protest"

Protest directed by Steve Katz (1999) is a combination of CGI and live action photography. The two minute film highlights the threats to the elephant in eye-catching style. The action is deliberately far removed from the African savanna, based in a city of tall buildings against which one finds the arresting image of the elephant set against the skyline, perched precariously on the edge of a skyscraper precipice. We follow the heavy foot of the beast, then see its now tiny form and those of its family as they crash down from the giant buildings to the pavements far beneath - to the amazement of the urban citizens. Thereafter our eyes are at gutter level as workmen hose the streets and we see the detritus of life washed away. The music accompanying this powerful piece is the richly textured Alfredo Catalani ‘s aria from the opera, La Wally, that adds immeasurably to the drama of a powerful movie. Animation and filmed footage act in unison here. Following the water as it flows into the drains allows one just time enough to consider the plight of the elephant in our modern world, a metaphor for what we place at risk. The concept did not initially set out to be a campaigning video; rather Steve had an image of a falling elephant that he wanted to explore. He is a director at New York’s Pitch Animation Studio and an author of a book on my Christmas list, Film Directing Shot by Shot. An alternative screening for the movie is the excellent Sputnik 7.

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