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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Experience 'Utopia' at Penny Stamps talk

'U' alum's film
presented with
live soundtrack
By DANIEL CARLIN
Daily Arts Writer
After a star-studded week
of film shootings in Ann Arbor,
one would expect things to cool
down a bit.
But thanks to Utopia in Four
the Ann Arbor Movements
Film Festival,
which began Tomorrow at
this week, 5:10 p.m.
filmmaking
will remain Michigan Theater
a focal point Free
on campus.
Tonight, the Penny W. Stamps
Lecture Series will welcome 'U'
alum and Academy Award nomi-
nee Sam Green to share his film,
"Utopia in Four Movements."
Green premiered the piece at

the 2010 Sundance Film Festi-
val and spent the last year trav-
eling around the world - from
Turkey to Boston - screening
the film. "Utopia in Four Move-
ments" allows audiences to think
about the future in a more posi-
tive light.
"The purpose of the piece - in
sort of a poetic way - is to try
to examine the question of why
we are living in an anti-utopian
time," Green said in an inter-
view with The Michigan Daily.
"Today, most people probably
don't think that the future is
goingto look that great, so we are
examining that (idea)."
The film looks at four exam-
ples, as hinted in its title, that
have tried to demonstrate some
sort of utopian vision. For exam-
ple, it examines the language
Esperanto, which was created in
the late-19th century under the
belief that a universal and neu-
tral language could potentially
prevent war. It was a utopian

idea that may not have succeed-
ed, but many people did (and
some still do) believe in the lan-
guage's power.
Though Green's other films,
like his Academy Award-nom-
inated "The Weather Under-
ground," are presented in a
more traditional fashion, "Uto-
pia" acts as a theatrical perfor-
mance and a film. Green narrates
each screening live alongside
Brooklyn-based band The Qua-
vers and sound artist/musician
David Cerf who synthesizes the
live documentary's soundtrack
together. Ann Arbor's perfor-
mance will also feature Brendan
Canty on the drums, who is noto-
rious for his association with the
punk-rock band Fugazi.
While "Utopia" is breaking the
mold of the familiar film-going,
Green is not pretentious or even
stuffy about this experimental
way of sharing cinema.
"I am excited to do this in the
Penny Stamps lecture because

this is a fancy-ass lecture, you
know?" Green said. "When's
the last time you saw someone
give a lecture and saw them
bring their own live band to do a
soundtrack?"
Green first became interested
in filmmaking while at the Uni-
versity. As a student of the Resi-
dential College, he spent time
working for a group called Mich-
igan Media, which consisted of
students going into classrooms
and lectures to help set up pro-
jectors and other equipment to
share multimedia with students.
Though the technology at the
University has developed since
Green's time here, he is still
interested in the connection
between live engagement and
multimedia.
"Live performance made me
realize that in the world today, as
a filmmaker, you need to accept
that people are going to watch
your films on a laptop while
checking their email - where

a

Sam Green premiered "Utopia in Four Movements" at Sundance in 2010.

people don't need to give their
full attention," Green said.
With limited distractions for
moviegoers, Green hopes view-
ers will experience the content
in a new and exciting way.
"I love the theatrical experi-

ence of going to a theater, sitting
with strangers, lights go down
and the magic of the cinema,"
Green said. "You lose yourself
in something. I wanted to make
something that would be seen in
a theatrical context."

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