After 30 years and multiple Kickstarter campaigns, Phil Tippet’s long-held passion project Mad God is finally finished, and will debut at the Locarno Film Festival next week. It’s rare for these ambitious, independently produced projects to ever see the light of day (see Yuri Norstein’s The Overcoat and Richard William’s The Thief and the Cobbler). Maybe it’s because they’re too idiosyncratic in style or the stop-and-start production process frustrates collaborators and financiers? Still, there’s something irresistibly romantic to me about an artist having a vision persist for so long; sustaining a tone for decades is a proper feat!
I love the handcrafted look of this one. The blending of live action photography with complex, stop motion setups that utilize tracking shots and moving cameras is kind of irresistible to me, especially since it seems to be eschewing heavy plotting for a more free-form experimental mood piece. I hope there’s a way to see it soon, be it on the festival circuit or digitally.
The latest trailer:
My wife was in the editorial department on “Amadeus,” so we got to hang out with Milos Forman a lot, and I asked him if he could give me any advice and what he said was the best advice I’ve ever gotten as a filmmaker which helped chart my course on this film. He said, “If you want to take a good shit, you have to eat a good meal.” The more time you put into something and let it incubate, the better the result, and that’s what that 20-year period did for me.
Here’s a little making-of featurette from a few years back: