Thoughtful reviews, the Boulder film scene

Noi Albinoi

Mystery and ambivalence about this Bleak portrait of isolation are amplified on DVD —Marty Mapes (DVD review...)

Noi the Albino spends winter in Iceland alone

" I lost my position as the team’s water distribution engineer "
— Adam Sandler, The Waterboy

MRQE Top Critic

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Young filmmaker Canaan Brumley, whose first feature documentary is Ears, Open. Eyeballs, Click., was present during a screening of his film at the SDIFF. The film features an intense look at a squad of new recruits stationed in a boot camp. We witness the hardships that they faced while training, without any interviews or narration, a purely visual portrait.

Brumley ended up shooting most of the movie himself
Brumley ended up shooting most of the movie himself

Nick Reed: Do you still talk to the recruits that you worked with?

Canaan Brumley: There are some of the recruits that I still correspond with on a regular basis. They call me sometimes and tell me about their adventures.

NR: Were you ever in boot camp yourself?

CB: I did it when I was 17, I had just graduated from high school. The first chapter in the film is entitled “Taking the Ride; For a Girl” which is kind of a metaphor for how in life, if you ever get screwed, you can say, “Hey, they took me for a ride,” but its also a reference for the bus ride. The second part says “For a Girl” because I did it for a girlfriend of mine, hoping she’d think I was cool, which is, I think, one of the most immature things you can do.

NR: Is that the girl you ended up marrying?

CB: No, not at all. (laughs)

NR: Did you shoot daily and live on the base?

CB: To a certain extent. Sometimes I did sleep out there with them. I initially set out there with four cameramen, but three weeks into it they all started saying, “Uh, I don’t think this is going to work out.” I was in a bind but didn’t want to give up on the project, so in the next eight weeks, I essentially shot the film on my own.

NR: How much footage did you shoot?

CB: I shot roughly 103 hours and the final running time was an hour and 35 minutes. That freed me up tremendously because I could go in and attempt to pull off things that you only see in fiction, and because of the redundancy of the process, I could shoot things on a daily basis, knowing that they’d repeat. I’d shoot things over and over again until I got exactly perfect. The only thing we have in life is time.

NR: What do you want your audience to take away from the film?

CB: I’ve always said the best films that are made are the ones where you put a hundred people in a theater, and a hundred people walk out with different impressions. I got involved in wanting to make this picture, simply because I didn’t want to see a therapist. I saw a therapist once, told him my story, and never went back. This is something I had to do to make sure that make experiences in military could mean something later. If I could tell that story from the point of view of someone who actually went through it, I could find an audience after that.