A scrappy local film series signs off with a feature directed by its creator, Brandon Colvin. Info
Appropriately, the farewell screening of Micro-Wave Cinema Series will be the most recent feature written and directed by series curator Brandon Colvin. Sabbatical, which had its world premiere at the 2014 Wisconsin Film Festival, is a somber film in the auteur spirit of Robert Bresson's ascetic minimalism.
Robert Longstreet stars as Ben Hardin, doctor of religious studies, who returns to his former home on leave from university to serve as a caregiver for his ailing mother (Rebecca Koon). While Ben is impelled by genuine feelings of love in his tending to landscaping and escorting her to and from church, the prevailing mood of the film increasingly leans towards vexing obligation and aimlessness as the professor struggles to re-assimilate and devote time and focus to academic writing. The disquieted dynamic is further compounded by the presence of Ben's ex-partner Sarah (Rhoda Griffis), who he initially (and mistakenly) seeks out for consolation, and his aloof younger brother Dylan (Kentucker Audley).
Amidst much tacit dysfunction, the director and cinematographer Aaron Granat go to great lengths to evoke the muted painterly aesthetic of Danish interior painter Vilhelm Hammershøi, not only through color grading but long camera takes and character framing.
Colvin, of course, will be present to answer questions about the inspiration and process behind his sophomore effort; and he'll likely share what's next for him in Arkansas with his production company, Moss Garden, and the planning of a third feature, tentatively titled A Dim Valley. Also, be sure to thank him for his tenure and contributions to the local film scene as well as his national support of independently minded micro-budget cinema these past four years. —Grant Phipps