The Widow’s Tea is an experimental short film shot in 2009. Original vision by cinematographer Nishell Falcone and director Sydney Del Monte, it was inspired in part by Japanese and American folklore. The film follows the story of an curious and innocent girl drawn to the Widow’s lair by a seemingly innocuous picnic among the dead. Be careful to not become ensnared by the Widow’s web.
The Widow’s Tea was edited by Rina Svet while studying at SVA.
According to Wikipedia, an AMV is “a music video consisting of clips from one or more animations set to an audio track (often songs or movie/show trailer audio); the term usually refers to fan-made unofficial videos.” But an AMV is so much more than that simple definition.
I made my first AMV a long time ago. It was a sad little thing with terrible quality and editing – made in Widows Movie Maker when I had just turned 16. If you were to show me this video today and ask me to claim it, I would deny its ownership totally and completely, but that badly edited little video was the beginning of everything for me. Jumping forward seven years, I took my camera to New York Comic Con last weekend where I shot a little exposé about their AMV contest. The room was jam-packed with only standing room left and I could barely navigate through it with my gear. The AMV contest is popular to say the least.
The AMV community, known collectively as “the .Org” is large and rich and fascinating. It’s full of gifted editors of all ages, races, religions and nationalities who are striving to make a name for themselves; to achieve something; to always improve; to tell a story. In short, editors who love to edit. The lifetimes of their videos are filled with contests and big screens. With large audiences and fans. And their shelves are lined with trophies – proofs of their winnings.
The process of making an AMV is long and painstaking and the results are as different as the editors who create them. There are AMVs specializing in effects or 3D animation. There are videos centered on storytelling. Videos that are dramas or comedies or action adventure pieces. There are videos that are terrible and videos that are so amazing it’s hard to believe they weren’t made by a pro. And the outlets for these videos are endless. The screenings at conventions are only the tip of the iceberg.
As AMVs took me along the path to editing and filmmaking seven years ago, they are still bringing hundreds of young editors into this movement today.
CrystalWilliams performed “In Search of Aunt Jemima” at the semi-finals of the 1995 National Poetry Slam in Ann Arbor, MI. She received the only perfect 30 of the event (back before the phenomenon of score inflation in poetry slams).
I had recently made the pilot Slammin’ at the Nuyorican Poet’s Café in New York. Very excited about slam poetry, I decided to expand my interest and to introduce myself to the National Poetry Slam organizers, with the idea of making a TV series.
In Ann Arbor, I met slam founder Marc Smith and slammaster Steve Marsh for the first time. They were very suspicious of me! Slammin’ was slick and MTV-like and they were concerned about someone from New York sweeping in and co-opting their movement.
After some negotiation, they allowed me to shoot the event. But only under the condition that I give all the tapes back to the organizers. For me it was most important to get the event documented, so I agreed.
I hired a crew to shoot multi-camera coverage of the semi-finals and finals at the venerable Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor (a homecoming for me – I went to undergrad at University of Michigan.) I also interviewed many poets who went on to become slam celebrities. Eventually, I gained Marc Smith’s trust and went on to make SlamNation.
So there is great material from the 1995 Nationals – as this video demonstrates – but none of it has ever been released. Until now.