Gimme the Mermaid is presented as part of Portlander Matt McCormick's most recent installation of Peripheral Produce, in which he screens experimental films from all over the US underground. He began Peripheral Produce in 1996 to a crowd of 15 people, and four years later, he's co-sponsored by the Northwest Film Center, travels the film festival circuit, and had a speaking spot on BBC's Short Attention Span, in a program about the New York Underground Film Festival. (McCormick spoke, and they showed segments of his own films, including the exquisitely tragic Sincerely, Joe P. Bear, and his smartly funny the Vyrotonin Decision. Portland performance illustri-ess Miranda July was also featured.) The latest edition of PP continues McCormick's tradition of showcasing some of the most innovative filmmakers in the country.
In The Manipulators, by Philadelphians Andrew Wright and Clare Rojas, magazine images are challenged with the use of stop-motion animation. They revamp the traditional knee-jerk "The Portrayal of Women in Media is Deplorable" response, however, by flipping through a Marie Claire and drawing on all the glistening models. Claudia Schiffer's eyes are made to bleed, Christy Turlington becomes Bart Simpson, and women are made to fart grotesque men out of their bums. It's a fabulous parody.
McCormick's last-minute coup is titled The Drowning Room by Reynold Reynolds and Patrick Jolley. The short, filmed entirely underwater, depicts a family eating dinner and arguing. The actors, unable to breathe, are stifled and rigid, and make for compelling, conceptual images. The viewer, too, feels breathless, as the claustrophobia of a modern family unfolds into bubbly violence.
Others include: Emily Hubley's Pigeon Within (featuring music by Hubley's daughter's band, Yo La Tengo); The Bats and The Moschops, Discovery Channel parodies by Jim Trainor; HKG: aircraft and Hong Kong by Gerard Holthuis.
For more information about Peripheral Produce, visit www.jps.net/perph