Filmmaker To Know: Mike Rollo

Mike Rollo is a Montreal-based experimental documentary filmmaker who specializes in making films that deal with issues of geography and identity. For example, his award-winning Ghosts and Gravel Roads features photographs placed in and around abandoned homes out in the middle of nowhere. Viewers are left trying to determine what relation, if any, there is between the people in the photos and the locations.

Rollo is also a founding member of the Double Negative Collective, a group of Montreal artists who both produce and curate experimental media shows. Plus, he teaches film production at Concordia University.

Learn more about this filmmaker at Bad Lit: The Journal of Underground Film.

Visit the filmmaker’s website.

Short Film: Patience (2006):

Filmmaker To Know: James Fotopoulos

James Fotopoulos is an incredibly prolific filmmaker who has been turning out dozens — actually probably hundreds — of experimental and avant-garde feature films and shorts since the early ’90s. He made a huge splash in the underground film world in the late ’90s and early ’00s with a trio of acclaimed feature-length movies — Zero, Migrating Forms and Back Against the Wall — shot on 16mm film and which took semi-familiar concepts, such as the romantic drama and the gangster thriller, and twisted them through an unconventional prism of storytelling, disturbing visuals and unflattering characters.

Many of his short films and his more recent work are highly experimental in nature, shot on video and have been collaborations with other filmmakers and artists such as Raymond Pettibon, Ben Coonley and Cory Arcangel.

You can learn more about this filmmaker at his official website and on Bad Lit: The Journal of Underground Film.

Films Available:
Zero (Amazon | Netflix)
Migrating Forms (Amazon | Netflix)
Back Against the Wall (Amazon | Netflix)

Migrating Forms movie trailer (NSFW):

Filmmaker To Know: Todd Verow

Todd Verow is a prolific filmmaker working out of Maine through Bangor Films, the production company he runs with James Derek Dwyer. Verow has been directing digital video dramas, mysteries and comedies since the late 1990s. His films are typically intense character studies about people living in extreme situations, from an aging female punk rock almost-star in The Once & Future Queen to a gay man, devastated by the death of his lover, who goes on a chaotic tour of Europe with an Italian scream queen in The Boy With the Sun in His Eyes.

Most of his films are available on DVD, while A Sudden Loss of Gravity and The Once & Future Queen can be streamed on Netflix.

For more info and the full catalog of Verow’s films, please visit the website of Bangor Films.

You can also read more about Todd Verow on Bad Lit: The Journal of Underground Film.

Watch a clip from The Once & Future Queen (audio NSFW):

Filmmaker To Know: Martha Colburn

Martha Colburn is an experimental animator who has been making wildly creative short films since 1994. Her favorite technique is to manipulate found images cut out of magazines, newspapers and other printed sources by moving them around frame by frame and painting directly on them. Her films are colorful, chaotic and manic, but all usually grounded in complex historical, political and social themes.

Her films, including Triumph of the Wild, Myth Labs and Don’t Kill the Weatherman!, have screened at underground film festivals all over the world, as well as mainstream indie fests like Sundance and at numerous museums and art galleries.

In addition, she also collaborates on live expanded cinema performances with noise rock bands, such as Deerhoof, for whom she’s also made a music video.

You can read more about Martha Colburn on Bad Lit: The Journal of Underground Film.

Music video for Deerhoof’s “Wrong Time Capsule”:

Still from Myth Labs:

Filmmaker To Know: Deborah Stratman

Based in Chicago, Deborah Stratman makes poetic documentary films that are concerned with place and the struggles humans have with each other over the specific locations of their lives.

Her films have screened at numerous underground film festivals, such as Antimatter, Onion City, PDX, Images, FLEX, the New York Underground Film Festival and more.

A trio of her films — How Among the Frozen Words, It Will Die Out in the Mind and The Magician’s House — can be seen on the Cinemad: Almanac 2009 DVD.

You can read more about Deborah Stratman on Bad Lit.

Some of her films include:
Shrimp Chicken Fish (2010)
O’er the Land (2009)
Kings of the Sky (2004)
Energy Country (2003)
From Hetty to Nancy (1997)
Palimpsest (1993)
Possibilities, Dilemmas (1992)
My Alchemy (1990)

Still from The Magician’s House: