Monteque Pope-Le Beau
Rocketship is award winning filmmaker Alfred Thomas Catalfo’s artistic statement about love, loyalty, friendship and trust. It is a beautiful simplistic masterpiece.
When did we stop dreaming and when did we stop creating vehicles for our dreams to take flight?
This is the theme of the short film “Rocketship”. Henry Dunbar (Russell Doucet) a lonely young boy befriends a older man by the name of Robert Braddock (Tom Dunnington) a former Astronaut; who’s dreams of going into space were dashed in his youth. Now Robert creates rocketship masterpieces out of old vacuum cleaners. Meanwhile Henry’s home is not a happy one; so he seeks solace working with Robert on a new rocketship, but when Henry’s parents forbid him to see Robert again thinking that the old man is filling Henry’s head with falsehoods a tragedy strikes. Henry loses the one true friend he had and it forces him to take matters into his own hands to ensure that his friend finally gets to realize his dream, but in a different way.
“Rocketship” is inspired by the rocketship sculptures of artist David Random, who fashions them from repurposed artifacts.
Here is artist David Random thought about his art work:
Reclaimed from antique mechanical and architectural parts, my creations evolved after years of collecting. From heating grates and lawn sprinklers to kitchen utensils, I collected them because I enjoyed the detail designed into something so utilitarian. After appreciating the individual pieces, I realized that many seemed to fit together almost as if they’d been made to. That’s when things took off. My “Antique Airships” and “Retro Rockets” have been an evolution of this process of fanciful combinations.
Combining parts requires special attention to the details of conformity. If a piece includes a lot of beautifully tarnished silverplate you can’t just throw in a piece of brass, even if the shape is perfect. That same sensibility does not permit a component from the 1950s to be used in combination with one from the 1890s. The whole credibility of a piece would go out the window with that type of inconsistency. These aren’t supposed to look like patchwork quilts. They must have an integrity that allows one’s imagination to see them as something designed and made with a single aesthetic and purpose. When components need to be fastened by means of screws or bolts I go to my stash of salvaged fasteners. It would destroy the effect of a finished piece to use new hardware, no matter how inconspicuous.
A few words about welding: I don’t do it. Welding forces together pieces which do not naturally join. I like to use pieces that fit together as if they had been made for each other. That’s why these can take so long to create. In some cases I may wait a year or more for the right artifact to turn up at an antique shop or flea market.
An artistic perspective:
Look at almost anything designed a century ago. It has a sense of aesthetics that transcends it function. Compare a toaster made in 1922, for example, with a new one. They both make the same toast, but the old one does it with style. The metal sides aren’t simply straight and smooth. They are embellished with incised designs of geometric or flowery motifs. The control knobs do not have the blank stare of today’s. They are detailed with carvings and shaped to make a beautiful statement on their own. But yesterday’s frills and flourishes disappeared with the last automobile tail fin when we were forced to embrace a more generic, and unimaginative standard of beauty. It’s this sense of embellishment from an earlier age that attracts me. When artists at the turn of the last century imagined space travel, it was with an aesthetic flourish that often defied aerodynamics. That’s what I like about it. It made room for an artistic sense which today seems to get in the way. So when I design my fantasy sculptures, it is with a nod to the early artists who went into space long before any scientist. It is with a flourish and sometimes a whimsical eye. And, yes, it is with a tiny, imaginary me on board, hurdling through space thinking, “Now I’m flying in style.”
Rocketship 14:46 min Film Website: http://rocketshipmovie.com/
ALFRED THOMAS CATALFO • Writer / Producer / Director
Rocketship is the fifth short film from Writer/Producer/Director Alfred Thomas Catalfo. In 2006, Catalfo’s film The Norman Rockwell Code, a 35-minute spoof of The Da Vinci Code, made The Must List (“Ten Things We Love This Week”) in Entertainment Weekly, had more than one million online views in less than three months, and was selected by the Library of Congress for inclusion in its Film Collection that features works by American filmmakers chosen on the basis of their historical, cultural or aesthetic significance. Catalfo, an attorney and member of the Screen Actors Guild, has been a winner or finalist in 25 major screenwriting competitions with four different feature film scripts.
David Random graduated in 1969 with a Fine Arts degree from The Massachusetts College of Art. Since that time, he has been prominent in the Boston advertising community, and is currently retired from his position as Executive Creative Director at DiBona, Bornstein, & Random, the advertising agency which he co-founded in 1989.
David is currently a resident of the New Hampshire seacoast area. His studio is at the Mills at Salmon Falls in Rollinsford, New Hampshire, a mid-nineteenth century mill complex with one hundred resident artists.
David is also the author of two books — “Defying Gravity and other Short Stories from a Long Career in Advertising,” and “Gullible’s Travels — Stories from a Naive and Innocent Childhood.”