Bruce Bickford is best known for his claymation work and animated performace in Frank Zappa's movie "Baby Snakes".
2004 saw the release of "Monster Road", a documentary about
Bruce Bickford by
Brett Ingram & Jim Haverkamp.
The Amazing Mr. Bruce Bickford was a special guest at Zappanale 20
the press release said:
Bruce is bringing lots of his work over to Bad Doberan where you can see his creatures right at the exhibtion. He
also brings along a couple of his newest pictures and his new film.
Bickford was born in 1947 in
He graduated from high school in 1965; and engaged in military service from 1966 to 1969. Upon his return he resumed animation,
did his first line animation in 1970, then in 1973 he went looking for
worked for him from 1974 through 1980. Afterwards, he returned to
"Monster Road", the documentary about Bruce Bickford by Brett Ingram & Jim Haverkamp, got released on DVD in 2006.
The DVD-release features over 30 minutes of extras, including additional rare Bickford animation, plus deleted scenes & bonus material.
Bright Eye Pictures presents MONSTER ROAD
Featuring BRUCE BICKFORD & GEORGE BICKFORD
Music composed & performed by SHARK QUEST
Animation by BRUCE BICKFORD
Produced & edited by JIM HAVERKAMP & BRETT INGHAM
Photographed & directed by BRETT INGHAM
In 2008, "Monster Road", the documentary about Bruce Bickford by Brett Ingram & Jim Haverkamp, got released as a "Collector's Edition".
"The new Monster Road Collector’s Edition DVD offers greatly improved encoding on a dual layer disc, plus 45 minutes of “extras,” including previously unreleased animations, deleted scenes, and the Monster Road trailer."
Prometheus’ Garden (28 minutes, 1988) is the only
film over which Bickford maintained complete creative control. Bright
Eye Pictures is thrilled to release Prometheus’ Garden, making it
available to the public for the first time since its completion two
decades ago. The DVD features a commentary track by Bickford plus the
documentary featurette, Luck of a Foghorn.
Luck of a Foghorn (28 minutes, 2008) is a
documentary featurette exploring the creative processes behind the
making of Prometheus’ Garden, an original masterpiece of stop-motion
animation. Interweaving Bickford’s wildly imaginative animation with
outtakes, interviews, home movies, and revealing cinematography,
Director Brett Ingram takes viewers deep into the real
|Below is a sample of the material that Bruce brought to
the Zappanale Festival in 2009.
It features a clay figure in a polystyrene block, signed and dated by Bruce Bickford.
what follows is a short essay from Gerald Fialka,
reprinted without permission from:
Larger musical compositions usually contain elements that
operate to unify the piece. These elements might include themes, chords,
orchestrational textures, or repeated rhythms... or other things. In
constructing a film along the lines of a larger musical composition, the same
unifying concepts are used. Some of the themes of Baby Snakes includes a plastic
tlaking toy police car, a war surplus gas mask, and an inflatable vinyl female
personage. For chords (the harmonic climates in which melodies function) we have
the generalized color-scheme areas of the film (like stage light, dressing room
light, and special lights on the clay animation).
Orchestrational textures include musical performance, speech, speech overlays, and different types of orchestrated sound effects. For repeated rhythms, these can be taken literally from the musical performance or observed in the rhythm of the cuts from one camera angle to the next (a rhythmic counterpoint to the various audio sources). So much for that.
Baby Snakes is a movie about people who do stuff that is not normal... actually it is a tribute to people who do stuff that is not normal, for, without the activities of the Not Normal people in every town, life would be pretty boring... and the way things are now, we could use a few laughs, so, on behalf of those wonderful people the Normal Community despises and fears, we present Baby Snakes... a movie for them wierdos that don't particularly get off on car crashes 'n famous names cavorting in the midst of multi-billion dollar splendor.
One of the Not Normal people in the film is Bruce Bickford, a person who animates lumps of clay and makes them do things you won't believe. In one scene (and you won't believe this if you haven't seen it yet) two clay people are wathcing a movie. One guy really likes it. He likes it so much his head turns into a hamburger. He turns to the guy sitting next to him and uses his hamburger-head to bite the face off the other guy, allowing the upper bun to close on the remnants of the victim's features. When it opens again, a tiny version of the victim appears in the middle of the murerous burger patty. Behind the little victim a building grows up (a disco) and dozens of tiny cars (about the size of eraser crumbs) drive through a portal in it.
Basically, this is a Not Normal kind of situation, especially when you think that it's all made of clay, and in most people's imagination, clay animation conjures up images of the ancient "Gumby" TV show. What Bruce Bickford does has nothing to do with "Gumby" (or the Pillsbury Doug Boy)... but, unless you've seen it, there's no way to describe it to you.
Besides showing Bruce's work, hearing him speak in the film opens up new areas of sociological speculation. Witnessing the behavior of the various musicians involved tends to lead in the same direction, as does the behavior of the people from the audience who become involved in the story.
I believe Normalcy Can Be Cured. Baby Snakes might show how this can be accomplished to those people who haven't yet opted for The Bleak Life.
Being different can be fun, once the fear of hostility from Normal People has been dealt with. Without deviation, progress is not possible. Normal People should see Baby Snakes so they can find out what they've been missing. - Frank Zappa To multi-media artist Frank Zappa, clay animation juxtaposed with live action renders a vibrancy he dubs "the ultimate carnival of the eye." In Baby Snakes, his new theatrical film, Zappa proves his claim by including some of the most remarkable metamorphic clay animation you'll ever see.
"Baby Snakes is a movie about people who do stuff that is NOT NORMAL," says Frank Zappa, the musical mastermind who created the Mothers of Invention - a psychedelic '60s rock group. At a cost of a half-million dollars, Zappa's 163-minute cinematic carnival offers something for everyone: animation, live music, strange dialouge, gas masks, Frenchy the Poodle, Ms. Pinky's larger sister, New York's finest crazies and even a killer hamburger.
Ever since Zappa began shooting Regular-8 in 1958, he has been actively exploring visual media. Using his father's movie camera, young Zappa would run around the backyard like a maniac, spinning in circles. The colorful swirling image that resulted on film was further altered with ink, nail polish and air brushing.
Zappa's first feature, 200 Motels (1970), a dazzling orgy of optical effects, was the first theatrical movie to be transferred from original videotape to film. In 1974, Zappa produced an hour TV special, A Token of His Extreme, in which cincert footage was combined with the clay animation of artist Bruce Bickford.
In Zappa's latest movie, Bickford had developed an exceptional style of clay animation, characterized by imaginative insights and meticulous detail. For one scene in Baby Snakes, Bickford constructed over 30 different clay figures to illustrate a man shrinking inside a car. In another clay scene, two men are watching a movie when suddenly - one guy's head turns into a hamburger patty. The hamburger turns to the other man and begins to eat him, while a building starts growing in the background.
Soon dozens of tiny cars, about the size of erasure crubs, drive through the building entrance (now a disco). The homoicidal hamburger continues to digest it's victim and then... well, you get the idea.
"One of the NOT NORMAL people in the film," explains Zappa, "is Bruce Bickford, a person who animates lumps of clay and makes them do things you won't believe."
Zappa's creative challenges to the film medium are undeniable and a catalyst to all filmmakers. I highly recommend Baby Snakes, a film that is both a statement and a real good time.
- Dec 1980, Gerald Fialka, Super-8 Filmmaker
Subject: Bickford lives
Thought people might like to know he hasn't shriveled into nothingness/morphed into a carnivorous hamburger. Just spent a week at his house taping for a documentary about the Amazing animator, who was pretty damn nervous about Y2K. He's still drawing whacked line animation and making little clay dudes galore....he just doesn't know how to market his work, so it collects dust among the thousands of gladiators/miniature cities/evil robots/etc. in his stuffed-to-the-gills garage.
It was quite a trip to hang out with Bruce for a week. I'm helping a friend of mine, Brett Ingram, do a documentary about him, and I really hadn't known anything about him before, but I can understand why he and his work fascinate people (well, a few people anyway...). Brett's hoping that through the documentary, Bruce's work might get a little more exposure & appreciation. If nothing else, finding out a little about his life might make people look at his work a little differently. We're doing this as an independent project, so it'll take some time, but we'd like to have something done by this time next year.
From: Ebay Seller "giveitalisten.com"
Die-hard fans of Frank Zappa know the name: BRUCE BICKFORD!! Bruce was the genius behind the clay animation in the Frank Zappa film/video productions of BABY SNAKES (1978), THE AMAZING MR. BICKFORD (1989), THE DUB ROOM SPECIAL (1983), and VIDEO FROM HELL (1984), and is still actively animating in Seattle! His work is incredibly intricate and distinctive, and is an acknowledged influence on fellow animators the bolexbrothers ('The Saint Inspector, The Secret adventures of Tom Thumb). To quote Frank Zappa himself from the AMAZING MR. BICKFORD videosleeve: "Bruce Bickford is a genius! I had the pleasure of working with him for about 8 years on various projects. Do you have any idea what it takes to make a lump of clay do the things that Bickford makes it do? Years of painstaking, isolated work, and an imagination that defies description. Few other home video products can compare with the years of effort and attention to detail contained in less than an hour of THE AMAZING MR. BICKFORD. It is a show that will be watched again and again, freeze-framed, and gasped at for years to come." High praise, indeed, from a man often criticized for not giving credit where credit is due... Bruce has contibuted his wild visions to videos for the bands CARNIVAL ART and CRITTER'S BUGGIN, and graced the cover of the LISTEN cd (1999, see scan below) Bruce's upcoming film, his largest career production: CASTLE (2001) is in the editing process and is slated to be released on DVD in late 2001!!! In anticipation of CASTLE's completion he has decided to post 1 (that's ONLY ONE) of his hand-made plasticine clay figures on eBay, a GUARANTEED Collector's Item in the years to come! A caveat: only 1 of the Conquistadors in the scan below is up for auction...NOT ALL THREE!!! Also, the bidder should understand that these figures are still MALLEABLE and EXTREMELY FRAGILE (it takes over 50 YEARS for this type of clay to completely harden!), as these are actual figures used in the animation of CASTLE, and were not destroyed during the filming process (unlike their less-fortunate cohorts...) so prepare a place for a delicate clay figure to be displayed for a long time... The figurine will come with a signed Certificate of Authenticity. I am a friend of Bruce's and am doing this posting for him, as he is known for animating incessently for 20 hours straight, and doesn't have the time to eBay. The winning bidder and I will have to contact each other, as special shipping arrangments will need to be discussed (anticipate @ $20 for shipping). As my feedback will attest, you can take comfort in the shipping process. Once you get your hands on it, it's your concern! I don't want you to think the figurine is as delicate as blown glass, it is semi-rigid and firm, but squeeze too hard and your fingerprint WILL imbed into the texture...HANDLE WITH CARE!!! I accept PayPal, money orders, personal checks will have to wait to clear before we actually ship. Check out my other auctions (the LISTEN cd is there), or go to www.giveitalisten.com for the full shaBANG and a recent photo of Bruce. OWN A GENUINE PIECE OF FILM HISTORY...A BRUCE BICKFORD ORIGINAL!
patrick neve forwarded the following message to alt.fan.frank-zappa:
Date: Tue, 28 Jan 2003
From: Brett Ingram & Jim Haverkamp <email@example.com>
Subject: "Monster Road" update #1
"Monster Road" Update #1
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Hello and welcome to the first e-mail update on "Monster Road," an independent documentary about underground animator Bruce Bickford being produced by Brett Ingram and Jim Haverkamp of Bright Eye Pictures of Durham, NC <http://www.brighteyepictures.com>. We are sending this to folks who signed up on our e-mail list and our circle of colleagues and friends. If you'd prefer not to receive future e-mails, just reply and let us know.
About the film:
"Monster Road" is a feature-length documentary exploring the life and work of Bruce Bickford, a a man who may be the only
outsider/visionary/folk artist working in the medium of animation. He's best known for the psychedelic and relentlessly dynamic clay animation he produced for Frank Zappa's films "Baby Snakes" (1979), "The Dub Room Special" (1982), and "The Amazing Mr. Bickford" (1987). Bickford has been producing his dark and magical work for 40 years, but very little
has been seen by the public.
Where we are now: The journey down "Monster Road" began on New Year's Eve 1999, when we shot our first footage, and the final phase--editing and post-production--began in fall, 2002. We are now assembling a rough cut of the film and planning a final production trip to Bickford's home near Seattle.
What's been happening? Plenty of big news. First of all, we are excited to announce that we have found a non-profit agency to act as our fiscal sponsor. DADA, the Durham Association for Downtown Arts <http://www.durhamdada.org>, has generously agreed to take on "Monster Road" as one of its projects.
What does this mean? That anyone who contributes money to the film, in addition to earning our heartfelt and lifelong gratitude (which, along with a couple of bucks, will get you an espresso), will also be able to use the donation as a tax deduction. This is truly the help we have needed to get the film completed, and we can't express our thanks to the good folks at DADA enough.
And because DADA uses the online payment service Network for Good,
donations can even be made via the Internet (yup, this is the part
where we ask for money--but it's brief). There's a link on the Bright
Eye Pictures web site <http://www.brighteyepictures.com>
that can take
you through the process, if you'd be inclined to make a contribution to
help complete the film. Every bit counts, and we truly appreciate all the support and encouragement we've gotten from all of you (Okay, end of plea for money).
In October, North Carolina State University's Independent Film Series
sponsored a visit by Bruce Bickford to Raleigh. An hour's worth of
Bruce's animation was shown, accompanied live by a stunning original
score composed and performed by Merge Records recording artists Shark
The evening was
dubbed "Monster Quest," and was capped off by a Q&A session with the normally soft-spoken Bickford, who was inspired to perform an impromptu blues "rap" with the band. David Fellerath of the Independent Weekly wrote a nice article about the event that you can find here: <http://indyweek.com/durham/2002-10-23/movie.html>.
We are hoping to present "Monster Quest" again in some form in the near future, we'll definitely keep you posted.
That's it for this update. Thank you very much for your continued support, and if you have any questions or would like to be removed from the list, please get ahold of us:
Brett Ingram <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Jim Haverkamp <email@example.com>
2003/10/20: message from Jim Haverkamp: "Monster Road" is nearly complete !!
2004/01The Bruce Bickford documentary "Monster Road" is going to premiere at the Slamdance Film Festival in Park City and it looks like Bruce is going to attend!
There is more info on: http://www.brighteyepictures.com
To all in the Chicago area, Monster Road will be playing at the Chicago Underground Film Festival,August 21. http://www.cuff.org/2004/2004_fest.html MONSTER ROAD Brett Ingram Documentary 80:00 Video 2003 Chicago Premiere
From Brett Ingram & Jim Haverkamp
September 8, 2004
Fw: Monster Road update: Bickford on NPR today!
An urgent update from your friends at the film "Monster Road"--an interview with underground animator Bruce Bickford and the director of "Monster Road," Brett Ingram, will be airing today, Wednesday, September 8th, on the national NPR radio show "Day to Day."
For the overseas folks on the list, or those whose local
NPR station does not air "Day to Day," you can listen to a live stream from our
hometown station, WUNC, from 1 to 2 pm Eastern time (5 to 6 pm GMT) here:
Alex Chadwick, host of the show and a longtime Bickford fan, interviewed Bruce and Brett this summer while they were attending the Los Angeles Film Festival. We just heard from Day to Day's producer that the piece will run about 7 minutes. If there's breaking news, the piece might get bumped back a day or two, but if you miss it, you'll also be able to hear it archived at Day to Day's web site:
To find out more about the film and check out our new trailer, please visit our web site:
Also, the band that did the amazing score for the film, Shark Quest, has just released their new CD on Merge Records, "Gods and Devils", which features several songs inspired by the film (as well as several equally amazing new tracks). You owe it to yourself to check it out!
We also have quite a few screenings coming up over the next several months, so with any luck you or your peeps will be able to see the film at one of these fine venues--please spread the word if you can! (And for the NYC folks on the list, we've got a Big Apple screening brewing for early December--more details soon!)
2004/09/17-25 "Antimatter Festival of Underground Film & Video", Victoria, BC, Canada
2004/09/23-26 "Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival", Birmingham, AL, usa
2004/09/22 & 25 "Ottawa Animation Festival", Ottawa, ON, Canada
2004/09/23 "Space 538", Portland, ME, usa
2004/09/23-27 "Red Vic Movie House", San Francisco, CA, usa
2004/10/02 "20,000 Leagues Under the Industry Film Festival", Cleveland, OH, usa
2004/10/03 "New Genre Festival", Tulsa, OK, usa
2004/10/05-16 "Flanders International Film Festival Ghent", Ghent, Belgium
2004/10/08-10 "Red Bank Film Festival", Red Bank, NJ, usa
2004/10/14-24 "Starz Denver International Film Festival", Denver, CO, usa
2004/10/29 & 31 "Cleveland Museum of Art", Cleveland, OH, usa
2004/11/04 "Get Real Film Festival", Minneapolis, MN, usa
2004/11/04 "Asheville International Film Festival", Asheville, NC, usa
From Brett Ingram & Jim Haverkamp
October 11, 2004
Fw: Monster Road update: NYC Party & more
Time for another dose of news from the documentary film
Things are getting hectic this fall!
For those in the New York City area, please block out some time to party with us this Wednesday & Thursday, because "Monster Road" and Shark Quest, who did the utterly amazing score for the film, are in town for the CMJ music and film festivals.
First up, Shark Quest performs Wed, Oct 13 at 9 pm at the
Merge Records showcase at the Mercury Lounge, 217 E Houston, along with
Richard Buckner, David Kilgour, and Lou Barlow--what more could you want?
Then on Thurs, Oct 14 at 4:30 pm, join us at the Two Boots
Pioneer Theater, 155 E 3rd St (at Avenue A) for the New York premiere
of "Monster Road"! The screening starts at 5, come early and stay late for free
pizza and sodas, and after the film Shark Quest will do a live set too. Bring
More info on the Pioneer Theater:
Also, you owe it to yourself to check out Shark Quest's new
Merge Records CD, "Gods and Devils," which features 7 astounding
instrumental pieces, including some music inspired by the film:
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If you missed hearing Bruce Bickford on NPR's "Day to Day" program September 8th, listen to a streaming version of his interview with Alex Chadwick:
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And there are all kinds of screenings coming in the next few weeks too:
Ghent, Belgium - Flanders International Film Festival Ghent - Oct 13 & 15, 2004
Lausanne, Switzerland - Lausanne Underground Film Festival - Oct 13-17, 2004
New York, NY - CMJ Music Marathon Film Festival - Oct 14, 2004
Kansas City, MO - FilmFest Kansas City - Oct 15 & 17, 2004
Denver, CO - Starz Denver International Film Festival - Oct 20 & 21, 2004
Memphis, TN - Indie Memphis Film Festival - Oct 22-28, 2004
Cleveland, OH - Cleveland Museum of Art - Oct 29 & 31, 2004
Lexington, KY - Midwest Entertainment Industry Conference - Nov 4-7 2004
Asheville, NC - Asheville Film Festival - Nov 6, 2004
Minneapolis, MN - Get Real Film Festival - Nov 6, 2004
Detroit, MI - Detroit Docs International Film Festival - Nov 12, 2004
Daytona Beach, FL - Daytona Beach Film Festival - Nov 11-18, 2004
For more details, come to our web site: <http://www.brighteyepictures.com>
Thanks very much, and we hope to see you soon!
November 2004 - "Monster Road" update by Brett Ingram and Jim Haverkamp:
A quick note to end 2004 to let you know that "Monster Road" will be screening in New York City at a "Best of Slamdance" showcase on Tuesday, December 7 at 7 pm at the Two Boots Pioneer Theater, 155 E 3rd St (at Ave A). Jim Haverkamp will be there at the screening, so please come say hello if you are in the area. After the screening, the Slamdance crew will be announcing the lineup for the 11th annual fest, to be held January 21-28, 2005 in Park City, Utah, so stick around for the celebration.
We really would like to pack the house for this show, so if you have friends, neighbors, students, podiatrists, or any other living human connection in the NYC area, please let them know or better yet, bring them along!
We're very happy to be ending the year the way we began it, with the fine folks at Slamdance. We were honored to premiere the film this past January at the 10th annual Slamdance Film Festival, and were totally floored to garner their Jury Prize for Best Documentary. In the intervening months we've screened at over 50 film festivals around the world and have garnered several more awards, most recently the Best Documentary prizes at the Red Bank International Film Festival and the Indie Memphis Film Festival. It has truly been an amazing year for us, and we thank you, our friends old and new, for your support and encouragement along the way.
We are still entering the film into festivals and are pursuing distribution, so we'll definitely keep you appraised of the latest developments. For now, thank you very much, and have a terrific holiday season.
-- Brett Ingram
-- Jim Haverkamp
"Monster Road" web site: <http://www.brighteyepictures.com>
Two Boots Pioneer Theater: <http://www.twoboots.com/pioneer/>
Slamdance Film Festival: <http://www.slamdance.com>
May 2005 - "Monster Road" update by Brett Ingram and Jim Haverkamp:
Warmest Greetings (on this chilly spring night) to our Friends, Neighbors, and Supporters:
Just a friendly reminder...
IF you're not busy at 10pm on June 20th and...
IF you or a friend subscribes to the Sundance Channel and...
IF you're not as sick of the darn movie as we are already...
...Please tune in to see the Cable TV premiere of Monster Road.
Monday, June 20th
is Doc Day on the Sundance Channel and Monster Road airs at 10pm.
It repeats on June 21st at 2pm and then again on June 27th at Noon.
We're still working on the DVD thingy. More on that later.
We can never thank you all enough for all the love, support, money, sandwiches, and good advice you've given us over the past five years.Thanks for being a big part of our little dream.
Brett Ingram and
First, the sad news:
For those who have not yet heard, George Bickford passed away in his sleep on October 9, 2005.
He was ninety years old and had battled Alzheimer's disease for more than a decade. Mr. Bickford was an ingenious builder, an accomplished architect, and a brilliant aerospace engineer.
He was also a true original. George Bickford will be sorely missed.
In memory of George Bickford, we are pleased to announce that the Monster Road DVD will be released sometime during the month of February, 2006, from the Bright Eye Pictures web site:
Monster Road has screened at more than 50 film festivals, museums, and alternative cinema venues in 12 countries, winning more than a dozen awards. The movie is currently playing periodically on the Sundance Channel. However, our hopes of securing a commercial release of the DVD by a large scale distributor have fizzled, the dust has settled, and now it's time to DIY this thing.
The DVD will feature a load of extras, including deleted scenes and previously unreleased Bruce Bickford animation clips.
We apologize for the delay of this release and greatly appreciate your interest and patience.
excuse for taking so long with this thing?
First, we'd hoped to have secured a "deal" by now. Second, it's taking a while to get all the DVD extras together and (the animation clips) approved by Bruce Bickford. Finally, E-commerce and DVD authoring/replicating/packaging are new territories for us, and are, frankly, not the most enjoyable aspects of indie
filmmaking, especially when one is knee-deep in a new creative project.
Brett Ingram is currently working on a new feature documentary - a portrait of another unheralded creative genius, scientific illustrator and outsider artist Renaldo Kuhler. Stay tuned to the Bright Eye Pictures web site for more info on this project.
Jim Haverkamp is working on a new short narrative film in collaboration with Don Baker, a writer/director/actor and a longtime supporter of Monster Road.
I appreciate all the support we have received from each of you.
Without your help, Monster Road would still be just a dream. By purchasing one or more copies of the Monster Road DVD upon its release in February, you can help us with our new projects.
Thank you for your continued support.
Brett Ingram and Jim Haverkamp
TO THE BRIGHT EYE PICTURES NEWSLETTER:
In fond memory of the late George Bickford (1915-2005), we are happy to announce the official release of the MONSTER ROAD DVD!
The DVD includes six deleted scenes from the documentary, four previously unreleased Bruce Bickford animations, and the Monster Road trailer.
A Huge Thanks to:
1. Jim Haverkamp for authoring the DVD and designing the Bright Eye Pictures site
2. Stephen Van Vuuren for solving the mysteries of e-commerce
3. Trailblazer Studios for the beautiful color correction and sound mix
4. The North Carolina Arts Council for its generous support
5. The Durham Arts Council for its generous support
6. The Jeff Leighton Memorial Film Fund for its generous support
7. Bruce and George Bickford for allowing us into their lives
8. Dorothy Hans for her continual support
9. Everyone else who helped make this possible
Your purchase of one or more DVDs helps allow us to keep making movies here at Bright Eye Pictures. Please help spread the word about the new DVD to any friends who may be interested. We are also looking to have the DVD reviewed at sites and publications frequented by the Monster Road demographic. If you have any idea what that demographic is, let us know!
Bruce Bickford is working away in his studio on new projects. Visit Bruce’s official site for more information: http://www.brucebickford.com/
Brett Ingram is currently working on a new documentary, a feature length portrait of scientific illustrator and visionary artist Renaldo Kuhler. For more about the project:
If you liked Monster Road and/or would like to make a tax deductible donation to the new Renaldo Kuhler documentary, follow the directions on the above url.
Jim Haverkamp is currently working as a freelance editor and finishing up a narrative film he is co-directing with Wilmington, NC writer/actor/director Don Baker.
That’s about it for now.
Thanks so much for your continued support of Bright Eye Pictures.
2006 12 04
a message from Brett Ingram:
MONSTER ROAD DVD $17.50 USD
I'm happy to announce the launch of the newly re-designed Bright Eye Pictures website ( http://www.brighteyepictures.com/ ), as well as the brand new dedicated site for MONSTER ROAD: http://www.monsterroad.com/
sites - as well as the new BEP logo - were designed and implemented by Stephen
van Vuuren of SV2Studios: http://www.sv2studios.com/
the MONSTER ROAD MySpace, YouTube, and imdb pages, cast your vote, and/or become
a friend of MONSTER ROAD:
slowly been making progress on ROCATERRANIA, my new documentary feature about
scientific illustrator and visionary artist Renaldo Kuhler. No estimate yet for
a completion date, but a work-in-progress screening will be announced soon. Once
again, the instrumental band Shark Quest is working on what promises to be a
terrific soundtrack for this new film. For more information on ROCATERRANIA go
to You All and Best Wishes for a Peaceful Holiday Season.
2007 05 12
ROAD IS "BIG IN JAPAN"
2007 12 01
has been a busy year, so I have several announcements to make. First, thank you
all for your continued support. Generous donations and sales of Monster Road
DVDs have greatly helped fund the completion of my new documentary ROCATERRANIA.
In other news...
EYE PICTURES soon to RELEASE BRUCE BICKFORD'S "PROMETHEUS' GARDEN" on
the next few months, Bright Eye Pictures will release Bruce Bickford's
PROMETHEUS' GARDEN, the first film over which Bickford maintained 100% artistic
control. PROMETHEUS' GARDEN is a 28-minute stop-motion film utilizing clay
puppets and sets, cutouts, replacement series, aluminum foil,
"strato-cut" slices, molten wax, and other techniques. The film is
(very) loosely based on the Greek myth of Prometheus - an immortal who (in some
versions of the story) created the first mortals out of clay. He also stole fire
from Zeus and gave it to the people. Zeus exacted revenge by ordering Prometheus
chained to a mountain where an eagle ate Prometheus' liver. Since he was
immortal, Prometheus' liver grew back after each daily visit by the eagle,
forcing Prometheus' to face horrific pain for eternity. Bickford's incorporation
of this myth into his animated film includes appearances by Vikings, cowboys,
Vietnam War era mercenaries, imps, elves, fairies, and countless other
historical and mythological creatures.
GARDEN, like most of Bickford's later films, is an unscripted stream of
consciousness animated over the course of years. Bickford began work on
PROMETHEUS immediately after the release of Frank Zappa's film BABY SNAKES in
1980; BABY SNAKES featured a sampling of Bickford animation edited and scored by
Zappa. The only other extant films featuring Bickford's stunningly original
animation - THE DUB ROOM SPECIAL and THE AMAZING MR. BICKFORD - were also
edited, scored, and released by Zappa. PROMETHEUS' GARDEN was completed by
Bickford in 1988 as a 16mm print with optical track, but never properly
recently recorded Bickford's (characteristically dry-witted) commentary tracks
for the upcoming DVD and began production on "extra" elements -
including the documentary featurette, LUCK OF A FOGHORN. Stephen van Vuuren of
SV2 Studios is authoring the DVD. I hope to have the DVD ready for sale on the
Bright Eye Pictures site (along with MONSTER ROAD, the documentary feature I
made about Bickford) no later than February 1, 2008. Bickford has several films
that have hovered near completion for years. Hopefully, the release of
PROMETHEUS' GARDEN will spark a chain reaction so that Bickford's recent work
can find the audience it deserves. Please spread the word!
OF A FOGHORN (documentary featurette) release:
am currently editing a 30-minute documentary "featurette" that will be
included on the upcoming exclusive Bright Eye Pictures DVD release of Bruce
Bickford's PROMETHEUS' GARDEN. This new half hour documentary will take viewers
behind the scenes and into the mind of Bickford, creator of PROMETHEUS' GARDEN.
I shot miles of film while making MONSTER ROAD and most of this footage has
never seen the light of day. LUCK OF A FOGHORN will unearth these images along
with footage from the making of PROMETHEUS. Carrboro, NC musician Laird Dixon
(from Shark Quest) has created an original score for LUCK OF A FOGHORN and it is
hauntingly beautiful. The title of the featurette originates from a surreal day
dream Bickford had while hovering near death with pneumonia in hospital. In
addition to releasing this featurette on DVD, I am also planning a festival,
museum, and gallery tour of exhibitions. Please let me know if there is a
festival, museum, university, gallery, art cinema, or other venue in your locale
that might be interested in screening this half-hour documentary.
Production Status (trailer now online!):
also currently editing a new documentary feature, ROCATERRANIA, a portrait of
scientific illustrator and visionary artist Renaldo Kuhler. When he was a
teenager, Renaldo Kuhler's family moved from just outside New York City to a
remote cattle ranch in Colorado. The sudden vacuum of social stimuli caused
young Renaldo to retreat into his diaries and notebooks where he invented an
imaginary country called Rocaterrania. What began as an escape from an isolated
existence became a lifelong obsession. Hundreds of illustrations created over
half a century tell the history of Rocaterrania, the sublimated life story of
Renaldo Kuhler. ROCATERRANIA will chronicle Kuhler's journey, revealing a secret
and stunningly beautiful body of art work to the world. I hope to have the film
completed by March, 2008, for submission to festivals. I am also planning to
pursue the creation of a book version of ROCATERRANIA in the next couple of
soundtrack for ROCATERRANIA is being composed and performed by SHARK QUEST, the
North Carolina based instrumental band that scored MONSTER ROAD. Sara Bell,
Laird Dixon, Chris Eubank, Chuck Johnson, and Groves Willer (joined by violinist
Gabriel Pelli and many other talented musicians) are creating an otherworldly
score for a film about an otherworldly man. Shark Quest's score is integral to
the film and I am forever grateful for their collaboration. A big thanks to all
of the talented musicians who have contributed to the score. Another big thanks
to the Southern Documentary Fund for their sponsorship and to the Mary Duke
Biddle Foundation for their recent generous grant to the ROCATERRANIA project,
funding the completion of the soundtrack.
production of ROCATERRANIA has been made possible by a Fellowship from the John
Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, a services grant from Alpha Cine Labs in
Seattle, additional support from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro,
private support from Patrick and Suzanne Helmick, a project grant from the Mary
Duke Biddle Foundation, as well as DVD sales of MONSTER ROAD. I began filming
Renaldo Kuhler almost ten years ago (February, 1998), so this project has been a
long time in the making. Thank you, Dorothy, for unconditionally supporting my
obsession to tell this story.
preliminary trailer for ROCATERRANIA is now available online:
WEB SITE LAUNCH COMING:
a new web site for each film I make is becoming cumbersome, confusing, and
expensive. So, with the help of Stephen and Marie van Vuuren (of SV2 Studios), I
will be launching a new web site in early 2008: www.brettingram.org
new site will include a DVD store (with MONSTER ROAD and PROMETHEUS' GARDEN,
etc.) as well as information on past, current, and future projects from BRIGHT
about it. Thanks again for your support. I wish you all a peaceful and joyful
winter of holidays.
2008 04 02
Bright Eye Pictures has two new DVD releases...
PROMETHEUS' GARDEN (28 minutes, 1988) is the only film over which Bruce Bickford maintained complete creative control. Bright Eye Pictures is thrilled to offer an exclusive release of PROMETHEUS' GARDEN, making it available to the public for the first time since its completion two decades ago. The DVD features a commentary track by Bickford, an alternate score by Laird Dixon, and the half hour documentary featurette, LUCK OF A FOGHORN: the Making of Bruce Bickford's Prometheus' Garden, directed by Brett Ingram. Best known for his collaborations with rock iconoclast Frank Zappa in the 1970s (THE DUB ROOM SPECIAL, BABY SNAKES, THE AMAZING MR. BICKFORD), underground animator Bruce Bickford has influenced generations of artists with his startlingly original vision. What the critics are saying: "Wildly imaginative and morbidly funny" - SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE "Surreal, absurd and metaphorical" - ANIMATION MAGAZINE "Psychedelic metamorphosis" - ANIMATION WORLD JOURNAL
We are also happy to announce the exclusive release of the new MONSTER ROAD "Collector's Edition" DVD. This new version features a DVD-9 encode for superior image quality, plus the movie soundtrack by Shark Quest and 15 additional minutes (45 min. total) of extras, including rare Bickford animation and deleted scenes from the documentary. MONSTER ROAD is a feature length documentary exploring the wildly fantastic worlds of legendary animator Bruce Bickford. Tracing the origins of Bickford's iconoclastic worldview, the film journeys back to Bickford's childhood in a competitive household during the paranoia of the Cold War and examines his relationship with his father, George, who is facing the onset of Alzheimer's Disease. What the critics are saying: "Fascinating, disturbing, and often hilarious" - SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE "Oddly hypnotic" - BIRMINGHAM WEEKLY "A detailed and intelligent portrait" - SENSES OF CINEMA "A must see" - ANIMATION MAGAZINE ****1/2 - FILM THREAT
hope you will take the time to explore the new BrettIngram.org website, view the
trailers, and buy the DVDS. When you buy the MONSTER ROAD or PROMETHEUS' GARDEN
DVDs from BrettIngram.org, you directly support Bruce Bickford.
Bickford needs your support to keep making the most original animation on the planet.
Eye Pictures Team
Cinefamily is an organization of movie lovers devoted to finding and
presenting interesting and unusual programs of exceptional, distinctive,
weird and wonderful films. The Cinefamily's goal is to foster a spirit
of community and a sense of discovery, while reinvigorating the
movie-going experience. Like campfires, sporting events and church
services, we believe that movies work best as social experiences. They
are more meaningful, funnier and scarier when shared with others. Our
home is the Silent Movie Theatre, one of Hollywood's most beloved and
beautiful cultural landmarks. There, The Cinefamily will provide a
destination spot for Los Angelenos and others to rediscover the
pleasures of cinema.
@ 7:30 & 9:30pm
Zappa's The Amazing Mr. Bickford
title is not an exaggeration. Bruce Bickford's art--a hallucinatory
stop-motion amalgamation of Peter Pan, Ray Harryhausen, and The Wild
Bunch--is nothing short of amazing. Frank Zappa first used the
incredible talents of self-taught claymation wizard Bickford as visual
companions to his music in the film Baby Snakes, and continued this
collaboration in The Amazing Mr. Bickford. On the film's original VHS
cover, Zappa exclaimed, "Bruce Bickford is a genius!...Few other
home video products can compare with the years of effort and attention
to detail contained in less than an hour of The Amazing Mr. Bickford. It
is a show that will be watched again and again, freeze-framed, and
gasped at for years to come." Bruce Bickford will be in attendance
for a Q&A after this incredibly rare screening.
Bruce Bickford & Frank Zappa, 1987, digital presentation, 60 min.
Tickets - $14/ $10 for members
and Other Unreleased Bruce Bickford Films
the greater mass of animator Bruce Bickford's work seen by the public
consists of the films he made while working for Frank Zappa, he never
stopped working, either before or after his employ. We will screen some
of Bruce's early Super-8 experiments as a teenager, as well as his
unfinished 45-minute opus Cas'l, the inspired result of years of
solitary work, featuring a live score by The Gaslamp Killer. Also,
Bickford will perform on of his "blues raps", with musical
accompaniment by Gerry Fialka.
additional info: Warren Cuccurullo will back up Bruce Bickford, and then play a short set after after the screening.
2010 03 11, Cinema Nova (in Brussels, Belgium) will be screening
"Monster Road" and "Cast'l".
"Monster Road" is the Brett Ingram documentary about Bruce Bickford, "Cast'l" is one of Bruce's short-movies.
Tomorrow, Bruce Bickford will be hosting a workshop at the RITS acadamy in Brussels.
Bruce Bickfor on tour
- animated model cars and crude clay figures on 8mm film. 10 minutes.
- Tree clay animation. 2.5 minutes.
with several other minor clay efforts; first attempt at morphing and
free form psychedelic movement.
- clay battle scene with more detailed figures. 2.5 minutes
wax on glass to simulate a lake of flowing lava.
attempt at line animation.
- Last Battle on Flat Earth clay animation. 4 minutes
the "The Northwest Artist Award" at the Bellevue Arts
animation: first attempt at animating the lave tornado image.
- Castle stuff and bar room scene. clay animation. 15 minutes.
- Start of the Quest clay animation short. 3 minutes.
lava animation done in wax.
(early) -Little Boy in School ( featuring Gus Reeves as a child) clay
animation short. 4 minutes.
extensive line animation images of the lave tornado.
1974 - Moved to LA to work for Frank Zappa; turned over to him most of the
films done in the early 1970s.
Token of His Extreme concert video with animated scenes. (later remastered a
the Dub Room Special)
occasional line animation scenes.
extensive replacement animation series.
heavily involved in morphing clay.
- Premier of Baby Snakes in New York city
(early) - Zappa release of Dub Room Special and Video From Hell (featuring
some animation scenes)
- Bickford completes Prometheus Garden 27 minutes. (with sound track and
line animation intro).
- Release of Zappa's The Amazing Mr. Bickford
the 1990s Bickford continued doing a work in progress called Cas'l' 39
minutes (to date)
- Spent two weeks in LA doing preliminary work for a feature called Ecotpia
an animation segment for a music video entitled "Mr. Blue
Veins" by the LA group Carnival Arts.
- 25 second line animation for a television commercial.
- Bickford made an appearance in a documentary about animators.
- Animated a few scenes for a live performance kiddies musical Searching for
second spot for MTV Latino with music by Dweezil Zappa.
- Work was begun on Monster Road a documentary about Bickford by Brett
- Monster Road won various awards traveling the film festival circuit
Arbor Film Festival
Film Festival of Boston
Bank International Film Festival
Memphis Film Festival
Best Documentary Runner-Up
North Carolina Filmmaking Award
International Film Festival
Independent Spirit Award
Valley Film Festival
Present - For the past two decades Bickford has done various line animation
sequences which could be used in various projects or combined into one film.
pieces in progress:
"Boar's Head/Whore's Bed" (line animation, 4500+ frames and counting..)
"Tales of the Green River"