David Russo: Smart People and Dumb People

By Warren Etheredge October 20, 2009


In filmmaking, you can do things the right way, the wrong way or David Russo’s way. Choose the latter and you may not be richly rewarded (money’s tight for conceptual artists), but your audiences will be (trippy visuals + trippier story = cinematic high).

Russo established his auteur status with a series of unorthodox shorts including Populi, Pan With Us and I Am (Not) Van Gogh, all of which I screened at the 1 Reel Film Festival at Bumbershoot when I was its Curator. I have been a fan of David from the outset, though I'm fully aware his approach polarizes. It's a fine line between genius and madman, I suppose.

In today's inaugural edition of The Warren Taste Test, I ask David just enough questions for him to reveal how firm his grasp on sanity may be and why, oh, why in his first feature-length film, The Immaculate Conception of Little Dizzle, did he choose to tackle world religions, corporate conspiracies and men's confounding, yet life-affirming rectal delivery of fish-like creatures.

Little Dizzle was well-received at Sundance this year, though it has yet to receive theatrical distribution in the States. His next project, however, will be clearly on display. Collaborating with the Blue Man Group, Russo is set to shoot a 40-minute exploration of the human brain in the IMAX  3-D format. The $10 million production—which sounds like a peyote-tinged hybrid of Being John Malkovich and Bill Nye, The Science Guy—will shoot in Seattle and may enjoy its world premiere at the Boeing Imax Dome at the Pacific Science Center.

Russo has passed The Warren Taste Test. Watch today's video clip and check back throughout the week for more moments of movie-making madness. Oh, and please note, the blindfolds won't be necessary.
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