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Just a Thought: iMovie Film Wows The Crowd At Sundance Film Festival

by - May 21st, 2004

Once we relied solely on words to tell our tales; we chronicled our lives in journals for review and reflection. Sometimes, when we feel a story must be told, we again use words to tell it, forming a book that represents an aspect of our lives. These stories can be horrific, funny, sad, but usually compelling.

The computer has introduced our generation to a new media; digital movies. Just as with words, we can assemble the pieces of our lives into a coherent story, and just as with words to books, the movies made from such digitized glimpses can be just as compelling.

iMovie is great for telling the digital equivalent of a short story, but what if your story needed more than a few minutes of camera action and some nice background music? What if your story was fundamentally important to you, would you trust it to iMovie?

Not only did Jonathan Caouette trust iMovie to tell the story of his life, but the resulting movie is a hit at the 2004 Sundance film festival, according to Wired News. The movie, Tarnation, was completed on a budget of US$218.32. From the article:

When Caouette turned 11, he borrowed his first camera and tripod, intending to translate his strange, painful life into movies. His first short film featured Caouette, in makeup and a dress, playing a battered woman.

Now 31, Caouette continues to depend on the most basic filmmaking tools available. Using his boyfriend's iMac and the editing program iMovie, Caouette distilled his VHS home movies, his Super-8 experimental films, and a suitcase full of photos and audio tapes into Tarnation, a hybrid documentary that premieres this week at the Sundance Film Festival.

Tarnation may be the first feature-length film edited entirely on iMovie, and it cost $218.32 in videotape and materials. Despite its low budget, the film has already earned a high profile. Both John Cameron Mitchell, the actor and director of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, and independent film maverick Gus Van Sant have signed on as executive producers.

Check out the full story at Wired News.

This just goes to show you what you can do given the right tools. In this case, the right tools happen to be a Mac and iMovie.

What's really interesting here is that the movie, Tarnation, proves just how powerful the technology is that we have at our fingertips. While becoming famous as an independent film director is certainly a dream come true for budding Tarantinos, just being able to put together a short movie that features something important to you, your family, or your friends in a meaningful way is a dream come true for many more people. Fame is where you find it, and it seems that a Mac and iMovie can help you seek it.

is a writer who currently lives in Orlando, FL. He's been a Mac fan since Atari Computers folded, but has worked with computers of nearly every type for 20 years.

You can send your comments directly to me, or you can also post your comments below.

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