Underground Film Journal

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Martha Colburn: Full Shorts Online

By Mike Everleth ⋅ October 29, 2008

Well, here’s a real treat. Animation maestro Martha Colburn has put up two of her full-length shorts on YouTube, Don’t Kill the Weatherman and Destiny Manifesto. I’ve embedded Weatherman above and Manifesto below for your easy viewing pleasure.

I saw Manifesto before when Sundance had it online for a brief while, so I was particularly thrilled to finally catch Weatherman, which has screened at dozens of film festivals and museums, but I never got to make it to any of them. Previously, Martha only put up clips from her films and her full music videos, but I suppose as these two films have made the screening rounds, it’s worth it now for her to put them up for the whole world to enjoy.

Don’t Kill the Weatherman is a real trip. I’ve watched it a few times and I’m still trying to figure it out. Nuns with chainsaws cutting down the Garden of Eden, St. Francis running over deer in an SUV, Noah’s Ark turned into a renegade speedboat and a war against snowmen are just some of the highlights — and some of that is just my interpretation of events. In typical Martha fashion, the action zips by at a rapid pace, so it’s nice to have the film in a format where one can pause and marvel at all the elements she’s crammed into every nook and cranny of each scene.

If Weatherman is Martha’s religious epic, then Manifesto is her political one. In it, she equates the settling of the Old West with military action in Iraq. The film starts with the symbolic scene of a pioneer digging a hole in the earth, out of which springs a military fighter jet while various scenes of raging death and destruction follow in Martha’s hand-painting style.

Both films also share a similar style of soundtrack, giving both films an original, operatic score that add a heightened air of gravitas. While the animation zips around from one surreal tableau to another, the music forces the brain to absorb the visual information at a more mellow pace than the eyes can take it all in.

These are really two stunning pieces and I’m glad they’re available for all to see now.

For more info, please visit Martha Colburn’s official site.

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