Watch It ‘Or Else’: UW-Stout Prof‘s Production Nabs Experimental Film Award
Shot in and around Menomonie, ‘Oppure’ had a good showing at the Solaris Film Festival
A short film operetta directed by Peter Galante, a UW-Stout professor and director of the university’s video production major, has won the experimental film award at an international festival.
Oppure, which is Italian meaning “or else,” took the award at the Solaris Film Festival in Vienna, Austria. The festival was founded to bring the most original filmmakers together with diverse audiences. The name is an homage to the iconic Andrei Tarkovsky film Solaris.
“Oppure” is 20 minutes with only singing, no spoken word. Galante and the cast and crew started working on it about five years ago. It started out of Galante’s concern about women having so many negative experiences through harassment or assault. The operetta follows women as they deal with those experiences. The self-funded film mostly was shot in the Menomonie area, including the historic Mabel Tainter Center for the Arts and the Red Cedar Trail.
“We spent several years making it and shooting scenes when we could, so it’s great to see it get some traction and recognition after all of the mental and physical effort put into its development.”
uw-stout video production lecturer
There’s a scene on the stage of the Mabel Tainter of a cellist who comes on the stage nude, Galante said. “She doesn’t think she is ever seen,” he said. “She thinks she is just a body. The cello is a metaphor for the human body and her voice. It is quite an intellectual film. I really consider myself a feminist. I really support women’s rights and equality.”
Another scene is of a woman riding a bike along a trail tossing roses in the river, Galante said.
Keif Oss, senior lecturer in video production, edited and was a cinematographer for the film, along with Ed Jakober, senior media specialist at UW-Stout.
“We spent several years making it and shooting scenes when we could, so it’s great to see it get some traction and recognition after all of the mental and physical effort put into its development,” Oss said.
Oss built a human-powered dolly cart out of a small boat trailer and fashioned a drone launching platform to create a long, slow shot of a woman riding a bike across a bridge – a shot that culminates in a seamless launch to an aerial shot.
“I had never done that before,” he said. “Doing something you never, or rarely, do is rewarding. Even if it is quite difficult and painful to achieve.”
“Oppure” was to premiere this summer in Menomonie at the second annual Red Cedar Film Festival, which had to be canceled because of the pandemic. If possible, Galante, who is founder and executive director of the festival, plans to have a film festival next year.
Watch a teaser for the film on Vimeo.