Filmmaker gets creative with space "mockumentary"

Friday, April 13, 2007

Interkosmos filmmaker Jim FinnORANGEBURG – The I.P. Stanback Museum and Planetarium at SC State will present Jim Finn as part of the Southern Circuit tour of independent filmmakers in the final installment of its inaugural Films at the Museum film festival.

The screening of Finn’s mockumentary Interkosmos will be held in the Barbara A. Vaughan Recital Hall in the Fine Arts Building on SC State’s campus on Sunday, April 22, 2007, at 5 p.m. At a reception following the screening of the mockumentary, Finn will engage the audience in a discussion of the films and his work as a filmmaker.

Jim Finn’s mockumentary Interkosmos, follows an East German secret space mission to colonize the moons of Jupiter and Saturn. This cosmonaut romance, told through photographs, test and training footage and a series of infectious, specially recorded German pop songs, weaves together the styles of a 1970s documentary, Hollywood musical and dry-humor comedy. Finn admitted, “The story is a little ridiculous. I mean, the inmates are really running the asylum in this film.” He added, “I wanted a communist love story; I wanted guinea pigs and a space capsule; and I wanted the radical artistic energy of the 1920s and the 60s. This is what came of it.”

Interkosmos began originally as a short film about an East German space mission whose communist mascot was the “meerschweinchen” or guinea pig. Finn’s project began to grow into a hilarious, communist, musical extravaganza. “In the US, our image of communists was always so dour,” said Finn, “If they were having a good time, it was in that psychotic alcoholic way. I wanted to show something different – some of the love.” A film that may have been utterly taboo during the space-race era is now, according to The Guardian, “a serious rib-tickler that will undoubtedly become a cult classic.”

Director Jim Finn calls himself both an artist and a director; “I have been making small movies with miniatures, found footage, my animals, and myself as a performer for a few years. I have also established myself as a video artist.” Indeed, his award-winning films have become festival-favorites and timeless cult-finds at the International Film Festival Rotterdam, New York Underground Film Festival, and Museo Tamaya de Arte Contemporáneo in Mexico City. Next, Finn plans to direct a documentary about his recent series of needlepoint pillows: Communist Heroes of South America.

The screening is free and moviegoers will have the opportunity to speak with the filmmaker. Space is limited; reservations are encouraged. To make reservations, or to receive additional information, contact the I.P. Stanback Museum and Planetarium at (803) 928-6851. The film is presented as a community service of SC State.

Created by the S.C. Arts Commission in 1975, Southern Circuit takes independent filmmakers on a journey into communities across the South. Chosen by a panel of experts for the quality of their work, the filmmakers screen their recent films for local audiences. Produced without studio backing and struggling to secure a distributor, many of these films would never be seen on a screen in this area of the country without the film festival tour. In July 2006, the Southern Arts Federation adopted the Southern Circuit with the intent of fostering the next evolutionary stage of the program.