: Joel Fendelman
Official Film Festival Selections include:
Made in Miami Festival, 2004; Zimbabwe International Film Festival, 2004; Savannah Film Festival, 2003; GenArt Shorts in the Park, 2003
Factory worker at night. Father during the day. The poetic journey through the life of RenaZance – a man who uses the spoken-word to express himself and to communicate with others about his daily struggles to rise above poverty and the streets where he was raised, as well as his determination to be a good father.
Joel Fendelman is an award-winning film Producer and Director. He has directed several short films, including “Painter of the Land”, “The Box”, “Tuesday”, “Writing Through”, “Band of Sisters” and his latest work, “Eleven Candles”.
His films examine communication in all its forms: ritual, isolation, speech, folklore, and protest. The power of Fendelman’s works lies in its simplicity and relevance to today’s world. His films have screened and won awards at such prestigious festivals as Cannes, Chicago, Miami, Zimbabwe. His short “Writing Through” was distributed with Hart Sharp video. “Band of Sisters” won 1st prize at GenArt shorts on the Beach and he was just recently chosen as the GenArt Filmmaker in Focus.
Joel Fendelman received a BFA in Film and Television from the Savannah College of Art and Design in 2004. He has since lived in New York City where he and cinematographer James Adolphus have collaborated in forming a production company Season of Light pictures. Joel is producing their first feature film set to come summer of 2007 about the dying art of Kung fu. He is also in development on three feature film scripts. In addition to directing Joel freelances as a cinematographer and editor for various productions in the city.
Official Film Festival Selection: Made in Miami Festival, 2004; Zimbabwe International Film Festival, 2004; Savannah Film Festival, 2003; GenArt Shorts in the Park, 2003
What inspired you to make this piece?
I went to an underground spoken-word poetry slam one night. It was my first time seeing something like this. Many of the of the poets were quite animated and entertaining. The event was just about over and I was very content with night but not blown away. Then in from the dark night walks in tall man. He weaves or more like floats through the crowd. As people recognize him, they pardon ways. The host of the event immediately announces him inviting him to come speak. The Man leans over to mic and “spits” (as they call it some of the most amazing poetry I had the blessing to witness. The one image I remember from the night was the shadow of his body and form on the back wall. The way it bounced and swayed with his movement was imprinted on my mind. I wanted to re-create that.
Briefly tell us about how you made your film or video: what camera and format did you use to shoot your piece, and what system did you use to edit it? What is your working process? Did you use any special techniques to make this work?
I made it through a series of expeditions with poet. I originally thought to film all aspects of his life but what ended up being most interesting was him performing, him at work (graveyard shift at chemical factory and him with his daughter. I shot the film with the DVC-PRO camera. I edited it on an AVID MEDIA COMPOSER. For this work I re-staged some of the scenes, It’s a mix between real documentary footage and staged scenes mixed together.
Do you have any interesting behind-the-scenes stories about the making of this particular
Being in the chemical factory was quite an interesting experience. It must have been 2am, with all these machines in movement in the background while I was wearing a hard hat. I remember all the other workers quite interested in why I was filming him. I am not sure how many knew he was a poet.
What is the relationship between your work as a video/filmmaker and life in the New York
I think New York has it all. I think o myself sometimes it would be nice to go some place and capture a small town story or something unique. But then I tell myself if I can’t find it in New York don’t even bother looking somewhere else.
What films/videos and makers have inspired you or influenced your work? And why?
Well Larry Clark with his Movie Kids, I always felt very inspired by. I like how gives space to capture the poetry of a scene of a moment. I always reflect back on his work when thinking about film or art.
If viewers are interested in obtaining copies of your work for rental or purchase, whom
should they contact and at what address and phone number?
They can email me at