Charmed, I'm Sure 

The Charm Bracelet Provides an Outlet for Local Filmmakers

WHEN I FIRST MET Brad Adkins, he handed me a flyer and wrote his number on it. It was a poorly punctuated, yellow, photocopied thing that said "the Charm Bracelet exposition of short films and videos portland oregon usa." He wouldn't tell me what the Charm Bracelet was, exactly; just that I should attend their first screening, a week later.

What occurred was an incredible showing of local short film, video, and music in the vein of Portland independent film event Peripheral Produce, but in a venue traditionally reserved for rock shows. Not only was the quality and intricate beauty of the shorts amazing, but also the great number of people were there to witness it, suggesting Portland has a bigger market for "experimental" film than previously thought.

Now, the Charm Bracelet is gearing up for their second and third shows (Sept 8 at the Robot Steakhouse and Oct 6 at Meow Meow). I spoke with Brad (the spearhead, along with partner Jeremy Rossen), and this time he wasn't getting out of telling me everything I wanted to know.

How did you come up with the concept for the Charm Bracelet?

I finished a film and wanted to show it. I figured the options in my life had to be options that I created, so I just went to a person who does booking and said, "can I do a night here?" Then I hustled to get other filmmakers interested. There are so many good things going on that people don't get a chance to see, and I wanted some way to take control of this.

What kind of films are you showing?

Mostly little art projects and homemade crafted items that don't belong in festivals. We deal with experimental film--which has a real questionable connotation--and we align that with animation pieces, from homemade claymation on Super 8, to video animation. They all have value and there's no reason to separate them.

Why should the public attend?

Because it's their neighbors. After realizing my next door neighbor made personal video diaries and I would never get the chance to see them, I felt left out. Filmmakers, video makers, and musicians spend all their effort making something, but not necessarily finding an audience. The idea is that we'll find a venue for your work and allow the public to judge its quality. We allow the artist a chance at the public.

Does that mean being all-inclusive?

Yes and no. We have time limits, because we want to expose as many people as possible per show. 10 shorts gives us a maximum of 10 minutes per film. If a person made a 30 minute film that was really incredible, I'd like to find a way to show it, but what we're doing now is involving as many people as possible.

So what are you showing?

It's a pretty neat program. We have a piece by Natascha Snellman called "the little light bulb movie start," which is really beautiful. There's Dr. Nobody, who works with found footage. It's about man's relationship to animals and it's kind of baffling, but really sweet. We also have a short from Pablo de Ocampo, and a longer piece from Steve Gevurtz, and five others.

What about your future shows?

Someone sent me a whole tape of films from Oakland that are great, and we're showing them at two of our shows. He was involved with an alternative cinema in Arizona, and realizing he was tied into this whole little world, made our idea feel so real because it's also happening in other places. It's the idea that if something is a really good idea, it won't die alone.

For more information about the Charm Bracelet, write elysiasm@yahoo.com

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