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Director John Frame Discusses 'Three Fragments of a Lost Tale'

This week, we're bringing you an exclusive interview with Director John Frame, whose film, Three Fragments of a Lost Tale, was screened as part of NewFilmmakers Los Angeles at Sunset Gower Studios in Hollywood, CA. Get to know Frame and his film, goals and upcoming projects. 
Tell us a little bit about your project and how long you’ve been working on it. 
Three Fragments of a Lost Tale is an ongoing project whose end goal is a feature-length collection of animated and live film vignettes. Over the last six years, with help from only a few family members and close friends, I have created thirty-five individual characters, built the sets, photographed the work, completed and scored approximately twelve minutes of animation, while treating each element as a work of art in its own right. Perhaps unlike many other filmmakers, my inspiration comes from the other arts as much as or more than film. I am driven by the desire to create a completely different approach to making films, one that is based on every element involved being a standalone work of art.  So the characters themselves, are pieces of sculpture that can be and are exhibited in major art museums.  The photographs are individual works of art that are shown in galleries and finally the films themselves are much more like visual poetry than traditional films.

Is there anyone you'd like to thank for helping out with this film?
My Editor and co-animator Johnny Coffeen and the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens which took the exhibition and films before anyone else did.
How does it feel to have your film part of the NewFilmmakers Screening at Sunset Gower Studios?
Good.  It’s our first outing with them and we are looking forward to the experience.
What inspires you?  
I am inspired by the desire to touch people with the work I do.  My primary goal is not to entertain as much as to move the audience in ways that may be unfamiliar to them but meaningful all the same.
Who are your influences and who do you admire?
On the Cinema side I most admire the work of Imgmar Bergman, Kurosawa, Powell and Pressberger, Tarkovsky and Felinni.  In animation, Ladislaw Starewich.  My major influences come from literature, music, dance and poetry.

What lessons have you learned from the industry so far?
In my case, I’m afraid the Industry tells me more about what not to do than what to do.  My interest is exclusively in film as art form and not as entertainment, so I’m at the other end of the spectrum from the industry standards and practices.
If you could collaborate with anybody, who would it be?
The Quay Brothers.
What is the toughest experience you've ever had to overcome?
Finding the correct venues for the work had been a serious problem.  In the end, we have decided that the work does best in the art world (museums) and we may very well be withdrawing the films from the film world altogether.  Other than that, working primarily alone, the technical demands of running Final Cut and Logic have been pretty tough.   Funding has been and remains a serious problem, one that we overcome mainly by donations from people who support what we are trying to do.
What is the best piece of advice someone has given to you?
Can’t think of any.  I live and work in almost complete isolation.  There has been little input to our films in the form of advice.
What advice would you give to new filmmakers starting out in the industry?
Make yourself into someone with something genuine to say.  What we don’t need now is more cookie cutter films made by cookie cutter people. Don’t worry about what you do, concern yourself with who you are.  The work will follow.
Where can we expect to see you next?
Three to five years with Part II of the Tale of the Crippled Boy.  
Let our readers know where they can find more information about you and your projects. 

Want more info?
Visit the NewFilmmakers LA Official Website at for more information on screenings, tickets and more.

About the Author

Formerly an editor at Demand Media, writer at Citysearch, The Examiner, LA Youth Newspaper and proofreader at The Los Angeles Daily News, Christy Buena decided to start Disarray Magazine because she missed writing what she wanted. From hiring writers, to contacting publicists and making assignments, Christy is responsible for the editorial strategy of Disarray Magazine. Get to know the team of talented contributors.
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