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“Painting John” (by Dear Friend Audrey Hall) Nominated for Award at Big Sky Documentary Film Festival


Painting John Nominated for Coveted Big Sky Award at Big Sky Documentary Film Festival

Painting John

Running Time: 10:28

MONTANA—January 26, 2012—Photographer Audrey Hall’s elegant film making debut, Painting John, screens at the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival in Missoula, Montana on February 21, 2012 at 9PM in the Wilma Theater and is nominated for a coveted Big Sky Award.

The documentary follows nomadic portrait painter Hugh Wilson, formerly of Wall Street, as he travels through the depths of winter to the solitary Montana ranch of senior bachelor John Hoiland. The men feed Hoiland’s Hereford cows in the snow-laden landscape, then Hoiland sits for his portrait. As the two unlikely friends interact we glimpse the painter’s creative process and his subject’s life.

Shot by Hall, a 20-year veteran of still photography, with the assistance of one camera intern, on a “budget of gas and tuna fish sandwiches,” Painting John illustrates Hall’s ability to exploit the possibilities and limitations of her equipment. Using two digital single-lens reflex cameras (the Canon 5DMarkII and Nikon D7000), minimal tracking shots, a short depth of field, natural light, little dialogue, and one shotgun microphone, the effect is like stepping into a Winslow Homer painting—vivid, crisp, serene.

Hall’s light and deft touch reflects her decades spent behind the lens, and also her worldliness. Born in Brazil, she split her childhood between Bozeman, Montana, and her family’s “fazenda” in Latin America. Imprinted with agricultural landscapes and people, she portrays their character and texture through her work.

With a sound track by Moby and local Montana musician Stuart Weber, Painting John is a homegrown masterpiece, an unsentimental, yet beautiful portrait of two lives and the landscape that binds them.

While in Missoula, Hall will be participating in the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival’s Filmmakers in Schools program.

-Seonaid B. Campbell

Big Sky Documentary Film Festival

BSDFF 2012 Film Selections:

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