Mike Olenick and Nanette Hayakawa in Spaceboy.

Mike Olenick
's SPACEBOY is a glammed up rendition of a 1970s short by Renate Druks. It's a kaleidoscopic fantasia on an outer space siren and the boystronaut who falls for her. It's good!

I wrote a story about it for The Lantern below. It's not too great - my interview with Olenick was accidentally erased before I could write it.

Here is Melissa Starker's better written story for the Alive.

The Lantern version.

                                         Production Stills:

For Mike Olenick, work isn’t much different from play.

Olenick is the Wexner Center for the Arts’ Art and Technology studio editor, which means that he works with artists in residence to help create and edit their films. He has done post-production work for artists such as Jennifer Reeder, Lucy Raven and Sadie Benning. These films range in style from Benning’s animation to the collection of finely edited photographs in Raven’s “China Town.”

But that is just his day job.

Away from work he creates his own films that often interact with pre-existing films.

In one project he traced Kirsten Dunst’s film career through kissing scenes, from pecking her mother in “Bonfire of the Vanities” to making out with Spiderman in the rain. With
“For a Blonde . . . For a Brunette . . . For Someone . . . For Her . . . For You” he turned a scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s “Vertigo” into a karaoke experience for the audience.

So it is no surprise that Olenick’s new film “Spaceboy” is also an interpretation of an earlier movie.

However, the original “Spaceboy” by Renate Druks is something that only film buffs would be aware of.

Druks was known more as a painter during her lifetime and only sporadically made films. Though “Spaceboy” initially came out to some acclaim, being nominated for Best Short Film at the 1973 Cannes Film Festival, it has since been largely forgotten.

Until Olenick decided to resurrect it.

Described by Olenick as a “a sci-fi opera set in outer space” the film tells of an astronaut who is seduced by an outer space goddess played by Nanette Hayakawa, a woman Olenick met during his undergraduate studies at The Columbus College of Art and Design. While it isn’t a satirical treatment of the material, there is some tongue in cheek humor involved.

Despite being about outer space, the budget for the film was down to earth. The special effects make no attempt to hide their do-it-yourself roots.

There are papier mache planets, sparkly plastic jewelry, and cut out stars. The soundtrack was made by Jeremy Boyle with a hacked video game cartridge and Jenny Lute from the Wet Darlings singing through a 20-foot long PVC pipe.

Olenick says he is inspired by both ends of the filmmaking spectrum – the high art films of Jean-Luc Godard and Alain Renais as well as B-movies with no budget. He thinks that both styles force directors to innovate formally.

Olenick’s plan for distributing his short film centers on film festivals. “Spaceboy” has already been shown at The PDX Film Festival last May and is currently being sent out to other festivals. In the past Olenick’s films have shown at the Chicago Underground Film Festival, the Cinematheque Francaise and the Brooklyn Underground Film Festival.

He will also send “Spaceboy” to film curators throughout the country who work at contemporary art museums similar to the Wexner Center.

If “Spaceboy” sounds interesting to you, Olenick is currently finishing a video that he calls an experimental essay on photographs in film called “All the Memory in the World.” A trailer can be found at http://www.allthememoryintheworld.com/.

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