Short of the Week

Idiot with a Tripod

The film Roger Ebert declared should win the Oscar, this video essay is a homage to Vertov’s classic, “Man with a Movie Camera”.

It surprised me to see that we haven’t yet covered Idiot with a Tripod considering the impact it had on the world of online short films. The short film essay is a genre that’s a tried and tested method by young, up-and-coming amateur filmmakers around the world as a way to hone their skills and aesthetics.

But somehow filmmaker Jamie Stuart managed to capture the events around him, namely the big snow storm in New York in December 2010, with an artistic ability almost unknown for such a piece of work. to create an ode of film that garnered a wide amount of praise and coverage by the mass media. Legendary film critic Roger Ebert even wrote on his blog that Idiot with a Tripod should win the Academy Award as Best live Action Short Film “(1) Because of its wonderful quality. (2) Because of its role as homage. […](3) Because it represents an almost unbelievable technical proficiency.“

Jamie Stuart is maybe best known for his interviews and film festival videos for Filmmaker Magazine. But with this film, his vision rises above the growing crowd of HDSLR filmmakers, in capturing random images and moments around them. As director, (although he just credits his work as “photographed and edited by Jamie Stuart”) he’s created something part documentary, part essay. As an homage to Dziga Vertov’s Man with a Movie Camera, Jamie Stuart’s short unfolds like a poem of impressions edited to a piece of music from Trent Reznor’s and Atticus Ross’ enigmatic score for The Social Network. Seemingly unrelated sequences showing the impact of the blizzard build into much more than just a visual document of a particular time and space. Stuart intercuts three different “storylines” of a car, a moped and a dog stuck in the snow, to create a strange filmic passage of humor. It’s a major achievement for Jamie Stuart to work in a field with thousands of people and still find a way to rise above the rest.

Georg Csarmann is a filmmaker, media academic and writer based in Vienna, Austria. Grounded in his own creative work as well as his experience as a curator and his enthusiasm for the moving image, Georg dedicated his main focus to the possibilities of expression for independent content creators.