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Martha Colburn At Sundance

By Mike Everleth ⋅ January 27, 2007

Destiny Manifesto

No stranger to the underground film scene, and one of our finest experimental animators, Martha Colburn has had one of her short films, Destiny Manifesto, screen at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. As with many of the shorts playing in Park City, you can watch it online, which I highly recommend you do.

I actually meant to put this up last weekend when I found out about it, but out of all the short films playing online, Martha’s never worked until today. Sundance is just about all wrapped up now and I don’t know how long they plan to have the short films accessible, so I suggest hustling over there now just in case they take it down.

Destiny Manifesto is an animated painting that compares the settling of the American west with the current war in Iraq, although it’s message isn’t heavy-handed. It’s more of a humanitarian film, than a political one. The Sundance website doesn’t do it much justice. It’s an epic animation that probably plays out much better on a big screen, so the people actually attending the festival were in for a real experience. I kinda wish the Sundance flash player had at least a full screen resizing like they offer on YouTube. (It would also be nice to embed it here and I think it would do great on political blogs all over the web if it were able to get that exposure.) Also, beware of the volume when you play it. The discordant soundtrack blew me back a few inches in my wheeled office chair. It’s a film that’s going to rattle you a little bit.

For more on Martha: Her official site looks like it hasn’t been updated in awhile, but if you want to catch more of her work online, her filmography page has excerpts from most of her work. Also, the Sundance Channel website has some pictures of Martha doing what she does best: animating. Finally, The Reeler chats with Martha about Destiny Manifesto and the motivation behind her current work:

But my two new films really have much more to do with my interest in making animation as a kind of fictional documentary. I mean, it’s a documentary of something that people can write about but there’s no way to film it, really, other than animation. The same way they used animation to illustrate things in outer space, or before they had microscopes.