I found myself watching Chouette: Portrait of a School Teacher and an Artist first thing on an early Sunday morning and it was the perfect short film for that scenario.
I found “Chouette” to be a delightful project from start to finish. As usual, I had no idea what the project was about. I don’t conduct any prior research or ask any questions about the projects that are submitted. I usually type out my thoughts as I watch a project and with this one I gave up shortly into it, because I just wanted to sit back and watch.
Chouette: Portrait of a School Teacher and an Artist is about… any guesses… a story of artist and school teacher, Sébastien Biétrix, and his passion to create reconstituted works of art in order to help with his concerns of consumption and waste. In Sébastien’s own, sub-titled translated, words, “Everything became disposable! a business! Money comes before people and as a human, I’m a bit worried”.
Sébastien explains how an invitation to a neighbor’s party, and a desire to “avoid buying” a gift for the event, led to him creating a cute repurposed golden owl (chouette in french) as his offering. This event, led to a couple years of producing golden owl figurines, out of repurposed materials, from many requests, and apparently a documentary about his craft and his attempt to bring awareness to his concern for global environmental issues.
Besides Sébastien’s story, director Elliott Beatrix does a fantastic job of capturing beautifully crafted visuals of the art, the interview and the french countryside, on land and in the air, with drone footage, winding it’s way along a river and in between the mountain sides.
The only complaint I have with the project is there are little technical deficiencies with the edit. For example, I really don’t know what the project is called officially; “Chouette”, “Chouette: Portrait of a School Teacher and an Artist”, like shown on the video I watched, or “Chouette: Portrait of an Artist” from a poster for the project I saw online, when trying to figure out whom the subject of the video was, because nowhere in the movie was this shown either.
But basically, Chouette: Portrait of a School Teacher and an Artist was a really nice, interesting, thought provoking, easy watch and I highly recommend it.
Again, so the camera work was great. The shots were crafted and made a simple documentary feel like art. The score was wonderful and it blended the story and visuals together perfectly. I think this project might have been part of a larger project or festival or contest, so maybe this explains the lack of credits and information on the project directly edited into the video, but this would be the only negative about the project. Everything else is great, so hopefully whomever can go back and do another edit on the project to correctly title the project, add a name graphic for the artist, maybe color correct the visuals a little more and tweak the edit here and there, in the couple spots that I saw some hiccups, and add some end credits; for as few as there might be.