Stella Starr

THE ADVENTURES OF STELLA STARR OF THE GALAXY RANGERS IN THE 23rd CENTURY, Chapter 7: “Falling Starr!” (1994, 16mm, 16mins, B&W)

I quite naturally wanted to make another film quite quickly after the enjoyably speedy experience of The Exquisite Corpse. I’m not sure now how it eventually took shape, but the initial impetus for that next project was an old desk chair in the cramped office of  Winnipeg Film Group Cinematheque Programmer Dave Barber. By this time I had moved across the hall from Video Pool to the WFG, where I was working as the Training Coordinator. Dave, hidden behind mounds of files and boxes overflowing with old newspapers, posters, and dog-eared books, sat on a heavy gray chair that looked like something from a military base in an old ’50s sci-fi movie. It got me thinking, and I began to notice other things – an old upright microfilm reader, hulking disused 35mm projector lamp housings … somehow out of this detritus, a plucky heroine named Stella Starr emerged. I wrote a script in the form of a middle chapter in an old cliff-hanger serial and applied for funding. I was modest at first, asking for a small grant from the Manitoba Arts Council. I was turned down. I worked on the script some more, applied again at the next deadline, asking for much more money – and received a grant big enough to shoot the film, if not finish it. Drawing again on friends and acquaintances, I ended up with a large set which filled the Film Group’s studio (spilling over into the office – something which wouldn’t be permitted these days), using every piece of equipment they had available (plus all the lights I could get from Video Pool), and shot over a grueling ten day schedule during an atypical Spring heatwave which made things hard on everyone, though I was in such a manic state that I barely noticed (my camera assistant told me years later that he called in sick one day because he just couldn’t stand it any longer).  I spent the rest of the year working on the various effects, figuring out ways to shoot models and miniatures, doing some stop-motion, almost setting fire to the studio …

Festivals:    Brandon Film Festival, Brandon, Manitoba; Crossing the Border, Minneapolis; Salon de Refuse, Toronto; Festival de court-metrage, Clermont-Ferrand; Staged Cinema, Rotterdam; L’etrange Festival, Paris

Television:  Canal+, Paris; Space–the Imagination Station, Canada

Making of Stella Starr


Blasts from the past

Terry Gilliam’s Jabberwocky (1977): Criterion Blu-ray review

Podcasting again …

Found-footage addendum

Criterion Blu-ray review: Fellini Satyricon (1969)