Fever Dreams and Heavenly Nightmares is the long awaited DVD compilation of independent filmmaker Chel White's visionary work. Spanning 20 years, this collection is an hours worth of award-winning short films, astonishing animation, and more.
From a story about a man who is obsessed with soil to an expressionistic choreography of photocopied bodies, Chel White's films defy easy categorization. Exploring love, obsession, memories and dreams, his work is sublime and intricately beautiful. Chel is often describes as a cinematic poet, and many of his films have a darkly humorous edge to them. The Austin Chronicle says, "Chel White's work seems to dispatch itself in some secret, subversive code, flashing messages amid animation, obscure stock footage, and actors with crazy eyes."
The Fever Dreams and Heavenly Nightmares disk features Magda, Dirt, and Soulmate, three adaptations of stories by long-time monologist and radio artist Joe Frank.
Fresh from its run of over 50 film festivals, Magda is a tale of a young man who joins a traveling circus after falling in love with the enigmatic contortionist. The film's actors are wooden literally. Using pose-able artist manikins in stop-motion animation, the film has a surprising emotional depth. To date, Magda has collected several first place awards, including the Grand Jury Prize for Best Animated Short from the Florida Film Festival. The Minneapolis/St. Paul International Film Festival describes Magda as a "truly astounding short film".
The newest film on the DVD is A Painful Glimpse Into My Writing Process (In Less Than 60 Seconds). It is black humor tour de force derived from a poem by Scott Poole. The International Film Festival of Boston describes the film as a "dark comedy (that) captures the humiliating process of wracking your brain for something original to say."
Producer and indie film maven Christine Vachon (Far From Heaven, Boys Don't Cry) described Chel White's Dirt as "a post-modern Invasion of the Body Snatchers." The film won the award for Best Short Film from the Stockholm International Film Festival and played in competition at the Sundance Film Festival.
Other films featured on the Fever Dreams and Heavenly Nightmares DVD are Passage, described by the Willamette Week as "an eerily beautiful rumination on the passage between birth and death", and Eclipse, a haunting examination of the often-controversial subject of the right to choose, told from a perspective that is pointedly more personal than political. Also on this new DVD compilation are two of White's early animations, and a plethora of bonus material that includes glimpses behind-the-scenes, out-takes, experiments, an interview, a sampling of a few of White's artful commercials, and more. In addition to the DVD itself, the package comes with a 12-page film book with images, descriptions, and press quotes on the films.
Chel White, whose oeuvre includes narrative, abstract, animation and live-action, says, "I consider myself a moving-image alchemist. I get great satisfaction from being relentless in exploring new territories as I work to push the limits of my filmmaking, from the look of a film to the content below the surface." He adds, "Most of my film themes reside just between consciousness and dreams, where I find the most interesting stories".
Film titles include: A Painful Glimpse Into My Writing Process, Photocopy Cha Cha, Magda, Passage, Soulmate, Dirt, Eclipse, and Metal Dogs of India.
About Chel White:
Chel White has been making films independently for over 20 years. He got his start making films in high school and college. In his early 30's, he worked with filmmaker Gus Van Sant on three of Van Sant's films, including To Die For (starring Nicole Kidman) and My Own Private Idaho (starring River Phoenix).
From Berlin to Sundance, Chel White's films have been shown in film festivals all over the world, and recognized with many awards (including EMPA Work Life award from the Ann Arbor Film Festival). His work has screened at the Smithsonian and Brooklyn museums, and two commissioned projects he directed are in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
In addition to his work as an independent filmmaker, Chel White is a world-renowned commercial director. His work in this realm reflects his belief that the medium can be an art form. White is a partner in the commercial production company BENT, founded in 2002, and has directed parody shorts for Saturday Night Live and others. For the past 20 years, Chel White has been a vital part of the Portland Oregon filmmaking community.