Chel White
 

CheL WhitE
  b i o g r a p h y

  (click on mugshot to enlarge)
 

"(Chel White's) work seems to dispatch itself from some secret, subversive code, flashing messages amid animation, obscure stock footage, and actors with crazy eyes." -Austin Chronicle

"Chel White is a cinematic poet, a grand one at that, with a surrealistic visual sensibility..." -The Clarion-Ledger
 
Rockefeller Fellow Chel White has been making independent films for over 20 years. His work has been shown in film festivals all over the world and recognized with numerous awards.

Chel's work explores love, obsession, alienation, memories, and dreams. He often uses allegory and black humor to paint indelible pictures of the human experience. His narrative films are told from the perspective of the estranged individual, the outsider looking in. Described as a cinematic poet, his work is intricate, sublime, and beautiful. Dreams and dream-influenced imagery are ongoing resources in his work. With a background in experimental film and animation, his short films consistently defy categorization.

From Sundance to Berlin to Hong Kong, Chel White's films have been exhibited in film festivals the world over. His work has screened at the Smithsonian Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and the High Museum in Atlanta. Two commissioned projects White directed are in the permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

His film, Magda, made its world premiere in the 2004 Rotterdam International Film Festival, and took the Grand Jury Prize for Best Animated Short from the 2004 Florida Film Festival. Shown in over 60 film festivals, the film also won the EMPA Work Life Award in the 2005 Ann Arbor Film Festival. An earlier film, Dirt, received the prize for Best Short Film at the 1998 Stockholm International Film Festival, and was a jury selection in the 1999 Sundance Film Festival. Soulmate won the Best Film Award from the 2000 Northwest Film Festival. Magda, Dirt and Soulmate are based on stories by monologist and radio artist Joe Frank.

Based on a humorous essay by Northwest poet Scott Poole, White's film A Painful Glimpse Into My Writing Process (In Less Than 60 Seconds) was opening night short in both the Florida and Nantucket film festivals and awarded Best Short Film at the 2006 Bend Film Festival, and Best Animated Film at the Kansas City Filmmakers Jubilee. It also screened in competition at the 2006 Los Angeles Film Festival, the Seattle International Film Festival, and the SXSW Festival.

An early film, Choreography for Copy Machine (Photocopy Cha Cha), won First Place for Animation in several film festivals, including the USA Film Festival and the Ann Arbor Film Festival. The film also screened at the 2001 Sundance Film Festival.

Chel's short film, Passage, made its world premiere in Film-Harmonic, an evening of short films with live musical accompaniment performed by the Oregon Symphony. In addition to White, the other filmmakers commissioned to create short works were Jim Blashfield, Joan Gratz, and Gus Van Sant. The film has since been shown in the Frontier Section of the Sundance Film Festival and the Cork Film Festival in Ireland.

In addition to his Rockefeller Media Arts Fellowship, Chel White is the recipient of a Fellowship from the Regional Arts & Culture Council (Portland, Oregon). He has also received grants from Creative Capital (New York), the Oregon Arts Commission, and the Western States Regional Media Arts Fellowship (through the National Endowment for the Arts, the American Film Institute, and the Northwest Film Center).

Retrospective screenings of Chel White's work have included the Northwest Film Center / Portland Art Museum, Southern Circuit, the Austin Film Society, the Ann Arbor Film Festival, the Big Muddy Film Festival, the Humboldt Film Festival, Den Haag Film + Video Festival in Holland, and the Retina Festival in Hungary.

In addition to filmmaking, Chel White is a world renowned director of commissioned work, including television, music videos, commercials, feature film effects, audio, multi-media and performance. Chel's commercial and public service clients include Memorial Blood Centers, OfficeMax, Reebok, Fila, Adidas, Lux, Honda, Coca-Cola, and kids' anti-smoking ads for the Washington Department of Health. His television projects include satirical shorts for Saturday Night Live. In the summer of 2006, Chel directed Harrowdown Hill, a music video for Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke.

In 2007 he was commissioned to create a film, titled Wind, for the organization Live Earth in connection with Al Gore. The film premiered opening night in the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival and was a part of S.O.S., a concert and rally on the topic of global climate change.
  "Chel White's 'Wind' is beautiful film, very moving, set to a poem by Antonio Machado and narrated by Alec Baldwin" - The New York Times

White is currently in production on his feature film Bucksville, co-written by Laura McGie.

Chel White is a graduate of Antioch University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Visual Arts. He lives in Portland, Oregon.



f i l m o g r a p h y

2007 - WIND

2005 - A PAINFUL GLIMPSE INTO MY WRITING PROCESS

2005 - DREAM #631

2004 - MAGDA

2003 - ECLIPSE

2002 - NEW YORK

2001 - PASSAGE

2000 - SOULMATE

1998 - DIRT

1991 - CHOREOGRAPHY FOR COPY MACHINE (PHOTOCOPY CHA CHA)

1987 - MACHINE SONG


a w a r d s . & . w o r k . h i g h l i g h t s

2010
Chel White designs main title sequence for "What's Wrong With Virginia," written and directed by Dustin Lance Black (Oscar winning screenwriter "Milk").

2009
Chel White directs his feature film Bucksville, co-written by Laura McGie, and starring Thomas Stroppel and Ted Rooney.

2008
Chel White is awarded the annual filmmaking grant from the Oregon Arts Commission for the production of a feature film.

Chel White supervises visual effects on Gus Van Sant's "Milk."

2007
Chel White is awarded a Rockefeller Foundation Media Arts Fellowship (through ReNew Media) for the production of a feature film.

White's film Wind, a poetic look at global climate change, premieres opening night at the Tribeca Film Festival with keynote speaker Al Gore.

Chel White's music video for Thom Yorke, "Harrowdown Hill", wins Best Music Video at the 2007 SXSW Festival.

A Painful Glimpse Into My Writing Process (In Less Than 60 Seconds) wins Best Animated Film at Kansas City Filmmakers Jubilee.

Chel White supervises visual effects on Gus Van Sant's feature film "Paranoid Park," and directs animation for Todd Haynes' Bob Dylan biographic film "I'm Not There." White also directs visual effects for Gus Van Sant's Cannes Film Festival short, "First Kiss."

2006
"Fever Dreams and Heavenly Nightmares", a DVD compilation of short films by Chel White, is released and distributed by Microcinema International.

Chel White directs "Harrowdown Hill", a music video for Radiohead front man Thom Yorke. It is included in ResFest 2006.

A Painful Glimpse Into My Writing Process (In Less Than 60 Seconds) makes its international premiere in the Zagreb Animation Festival, Croatia. The film also wins the jury award for Best Short Film in the Bend Film Festival, Oregon.

A Painful Glimpse Into My Writing Process (In Less Than 60 Seconds) screens opening night in both the Florida and Nantucket film festivals. The film also screens in competition at the Los Angeles Film Festival, the Seattle International Film Festival, and the SXSW Festival.

"Park" and "Rec Room", two anti-smoking public service announcements White directed for the Washington Department of Health win a Gold Plaque for Best Campaign at the Chicago International Film Festival.

2005
Chel White is awarded the Regional Arts & Culture Council's Individual Artist Fellowship for Media Arts, Portland, Oregon.

Magda receives the EMPA Work Life Award at the Ann Arbor Film Festival, and ties for Best Animated Film at the Big Muddy Film Festival.

A television commercial White directed for OfficeMax is included in the permanent collection at The Museum of Modern Art in New York.

2004
Magda makes its world premiere in the Rotterdam International Film Festival, and its North American premiere in the Portland International Film Festival.

Magda wins the Grand Jury Award for Best Animated Short in the Florida Film Festival.

Eclipse screens at the Images Festival in Toronto, and wins jury prizes at the Kansas City Filmmakers Jubilee and Ann Arbor Film Festival.

Two televison commercials directed by Chel White are included in the Annecy Festival of Animation in France.

Chel White gives a retrospective of his films and lecture as a part of the Humboldt Film Festival.

Magda wins Best Animated Film and Best of Festival in the Northwest Film + Video Festival. The film also plays a run of International Film Festivals, including Clermont-Ferrand, Stockholm, Brussels, Seattle, Calgary, Chicago, L'Alternativa (Barcelona), Hamburg, Portland, and the World Wide Film Festival in Toronto.

2003
Passage awarded Best Experimental Film in the Kansas City Filmmakers Jubilee, and a Silver Award from Worldfest-Houston.

2002
Chel White's film New York airs on The Sundance Channel as a part of "9 Views on 9-11", corresponding with the one year anniversary of the tragedy. New York is also included in "Underground Zero" a touring program of films by several artists made in response to the events of September 11th, 2001. The profits from screenings raise money for September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows.

Passage screens in Frontier Shorts as a part of the Sundance Film Festival, and is featured as a part of the Cork Film Festival in Ireland.

Chel White is commissioned by Do Jump to create moving image works for live performance.

Passage awarded Best FilmScape in the Arizona Int'l Film Festival, and a Silver Award from the Big Muddy Film Festival.

2001
Chel White is awarded a Creative Capital grant for the development of a feature film script.

Passage makes its world premiere in the Oregon Symphony's Film Harmonic, a performance of silent films with live orchestral accompaniment.

Choreography for Copy Machine screens in a special program of Portland Animation at the Sundance Film Festival.

Soulmate awarded Best Narrative Film in both the Big Muddy and Humboldt Film Festivals. The film's lead actress Vana O'Brien wins Best Actress at Big Muddy. Soulmate is also awarded Best Experimental Film in the Convergence Festival, Providence, Rhode Island, and wins a jury prize in the Ann Arbor Film Festival.

Peace Out, a television commercial White directed for Lugz shoes, wins Honorable Mention at the British Design & Art Direction awards.

2000
Chel White is nominated for both a Rockefeller Fellowship and an Alpert Award in the Arts.

Soulmate receives award for Best Narrative Film and Audience Award in the Northwest Film & Video Festival.

White curates Naked Cinema, a screening of short independent films, including works by Jay Rosenblatt, Matt McCormick, Lorelei Pepi, and Leighton Pierce. Northwest Film Center, Portland, Oregon.

1999
Dirt screens in competition at the Sundance Film Festival.

White is awarded an Oregon Arts Commission grant and a Regional Arts & Culture Council grant for the production of Soulmate.

Dirt awarded Best Experimental Film in the USA Film Festival.

Chel White produces Poetry and the 1950's: Homage to the Beat Generation, a compact disk of spoken word, read by writer Robert Briggs.

1998
Dirt takes the prize for Best Short Film in the Stockholm International Film Festival.

Chel White gives his first formal retrospective screening at the Northwest Film Center, Portland Art Museum.

White is awarded a Pacific Pioneer Fund grant for a documentary project.

Choreography for Copy Machine shows at the Stuttgart Festival of Animation Film as part of 10th Anniversary Highlights program.

1997
Love and Other Difficulties screens at the Smithsonian Museum, through the Black Maria Film Festival, where the film also wins a Director's Award.

1996
Choreography for Copy Machine airs on the acclaimed PBS television series Alive TV.

Cottonmouth, Texas (trilogy) receives Judge's Award in the Northwest Film & Video Festival.

1995
A television commercial White directs for Fila wins a Clio Award, and is included in the permanent collection at The Museum of Modern Art in New York.

1994
Chel White creates visual effects scenes for Gus Van Sant's feature film To Die For.

1993
Joan Gratz's Mona Lisa Descending a Staircase, a film Chel White created music and sound design for, wins an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Subject.

1992
Choreography for Copy Machine screens in the Berlin and Rotterdam International Film Festivals.

Choreography for Copy Machine is featured in the Zagreb and Hiroshima Animation Festivals.

Chel White works as the visual effects supervisor on Gus Van Sant's Even Cowgirls Get the Blues. He also makes his one and only screen appearance as a brain surgeon in the film.

1991
Choreography for Copy Machine awarded Best Animated Film in the both the Ann Arbor Film Festival and the USA Film Festival, and wins the Gold Plaque in Animation at the Chicago International Film Festival.

Choreography for Copy Machine tours theatrically in the 23rd Tournee of Animation.

Funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, White is commissioned by Oslund & Company Dance to create moving image works for live performance.