Rebecca Summerton is producing Sam Klemke’s Time Machine.
Yet another hard drive of footage arrived from the “extraordinary nobody” that will be the star of Australian filmmaker Matt Bate’s next film, Sam Klemke’s Time Machine, which is about to go into pre-production.
Oregon-based Klemke travels around the US painting portraits and caricatures but, more to the point, he has obsessively filmed himself and his loved ones, and created annual video reports about pop culture, for the past 40 years or so.
Adelaide-based Bate struck an agreement with Klemke to repurpose this footage into a documentary feature after seeing a clip that became an online phenomenon of Klemke “growing younger”. It helped that the American admired Bate’s first feature, Shut Up Little Man! An Audio Misadventure, which was in the documentary competition at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.
“When you witness someone aging you can’t help but think about memory and mortality,” said Bate of the themes he expects to explore. “His pets die, his parents grow old and get sick, everything changes and withers.”
But Bate is also still wrestling with how to tell the story – and whether to meet Klemke in person for the film.
“It could disrupt the home movie aesthetic … It is not that he was gathering material to make Citizen Kane. It was more like he had a compulsive need to talk about his own life. And there is something to be celebrated about the everyday antihero.”
Rebecca Summerton is producing Sam Klemke’s Time Machine and Bryan Mason, winner of the 2012 AACTA Award for best editing on Shut Up Little Man! will be editing. Summerton, Mason, Bate and Sophie Hyde are the four directors of Adelaide-based Closer Productions.
Sam Klemke’s Time Machine is an Australian film that tells a US story. Screen Australia’s “signature program” and the South Australian Film Corporation’s documentary innovation fund are the financiers. No sales agent or distributors have yet signed on.
Shut Up Little Man! is also an Australian film that tells a US story. It was made for A$475,000 and was released theatrically in 20 US states by Tribeca Films, with Madman distributing in Australia. Negotiations continue with a UK distributor.
“It broadens the palate for documentary makers who, more than ever, are storming the boundaries of form in order to tell their stories,” said Bate of the interesting way in which he used motion graphics in that first feature.