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Elisabeth Bartlett is blogging the festival scene from Cannes to Los Angeles.
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Crazy & Thief @ Los Angeles Film Festival

Last night at the Los Angeles Film Festival I almost went to a gala screening of BRAVE. Pixar is God, but I'm so glad I went to see the last screening of CRAZY AND THIEF instead! Wow it was inspiring and beautiful.

I mean, it has baby subtitles. That's right, the baby language of a 2 year-old translated clearly for the audience via subtitles throughout the 50 minute piece. If there weren't subtitles none of us would have any idea what Thief says, at all. How does the director know? He's their dad.

"I wanted to make an honest portrait of childhood," says Cory McAbee, father of the two 'lil actors. "Most movies about kids are sentimental; from a parents point of view." As Thief and his 7 year old sis Crazy troll the streets of NYC together cameras are brought down to their level, and show us life from their view. The 2 follow a star chart to see where to go next, catch flies for direction, feed piegons, and generally bumble around. It's punk rock and magical. "I wanted to erase the wall between the adult viewing experience and a 2.5 year old's mind...because kids do have sophisticated thoughts they just can't express it."

McAbee, who appeared nervous in front of the small crowd, seems quietly brilliant. He said he also playing with the idea of time. He wanted to capture his son's view as a 2 1/2 year old, before that changed. The film takes place in the streets, with the backdrop of advertisements, in a always changing city. "Kids will grow, things change, the film will change as it grows and everything that created it won't exist anymore," he said.

Leaving space for improv, McAbee wrote a 1/2 Hr screenplay for a 1 hour movie. "I knew that from trying to achieve what's on paper other things would unfold," he says. 

CRAZY and THIEF was made on a $1,500.00 budget. "My goal was to make it with $1,000.00." They used two 7Ds, mp3 recorders from radio shack, and shot it in ten days, taking breaks for naps. McAbee says it was definitely guerrilla filmmaking. "We became like sheepdogs - we would corrall around the kids but block each other out." 

Maybe that's why it feels like a documentary. In a good way. Messy shots represent feelings and transitions, unobtrusive cameras and handheld action make for a more personal feel. 

You can watch the trailer here

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About Elisabeth

Bartlett Elisabeth
Blogging about the festival scene from Los Angeles

Los Angeles

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