Friday, December 27, 2013

Polaroid Transfer Photography 

1995 - 1996

I created these dye and lift transfers from 
transparencies I shot across the country and 
 around the world.

For more images, log onto:
Aix-en-Provence, France

Fontaine de Vacluse, France

Barjol, France

Chicago Tribune, Chicago, IL,

Carpathian Mountains, Ukraine

Fancy Dancer, Killing Bear, East Tennessee

Minneapolis, MN

Pear, Minneapolis, MN

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Because it's the holidays, I'm reposting an article on foreign films and two of my favorite 2012 film reviews. 

Look for the films on cable, satellite, or digital networks.

Around the World in Film

Getting lost inside the lens of foreign cinema is still my favorite thing to do in the world. It's a habit I began at the age of 17, after finishing high school. That summer and thereafter, my friends and I would walk, hitchhike or bike to the University of Minnesota's, Nicholson Hall, to view the immortal works of our favorites: Federico Fellini (Satyricon), Lina Wurtmuller (Seven Beauties), Rainer Werner Fassbinder (The Bitter Tears of Petra Van Kant), Francois Truffot (Jules and Jim), Wim Wenders (Wings of Desire), and of course, the enigmatic Ingmar Bergman (Scenes from a Marriage).

It was the 1970's and film was made of acetate or polyester and projected onto something called the silver screen. At Nicholson, the projector broke down at least once during a viewing, and the seating often consisted of folding-like chairs on a flat floor.  But once the screen began to glow with exotic creatures and tiny, cramped subtitles, we felt the immediate enchantment of being swept off into other worlds.

Nothing has changed for me. Except the venues. There are more of them, the seating is marginally better and the films yet, occasionally, mess up - digitally now - or they don't show up at all (as tends to happen at big international film festivals).  But foreign films continue to diverge enough from typical American fare, that it is still possible to become spellbound and transformed. So far, this year, I attended the Cuban, Italian and Minneapolis St. Paul International Film festivals, and hit the Landmark Theaters a few times. These days, I'm most in love with Latin American/Spanish filmmakers such as, Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu (21 Grams), Guillermo del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth)Alejandro Amenabar (Open Your Eyes), Alfonso Cuaron (Y Tu Mama Tambien), and one of my all-time favorite directors: Spain's irrepressible, Pedro Almodovar (All About My Mother).

The other-worldliness found in the films not only provides an escape from my sometimes stale life and narrow sensibilities, but shows me hidden avenues scored with beliefs and institutions that connect me to the planet, and its people - wherever they may roam. 

Mostly, I confess, I go because I DO NOT know what I will encounter.  I love immersing myself in randomness. Even if I read a few reviews first, a true, other-cultural experience will always be waiting for me - a mystery, a discovery in-the-making. And isn't that the most delicious sort of engagement? After it's over, the experience always seems to linger madly for some time to come.  So, that does that mean there are no bad foreign films? Beats me.

Recently, I saw two film gems that blew me away.

1) As some may well remember, A Separation, directed by Asghar Farhadiwon the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film.  It should have garnered Best Picture. 

From the first scene to the moving and cryptic finale, I was at the edge of my seat, worrying myself into a stupor.  Only a great movie can do that to me. Basically, this is the story of what happens when someone inside a tight-knit community steps out of bounds and makes a controversial decision. Afterwards, when the dominos begin to topple, more than one family faces unexpected changes, sudden betrayal and a confusing array of choices. This film taught me so many things about Iranian culture, its traditions, relationships, the generosity of the people.  Based on an intelligent and raw screenplay, A Separation, is a fast-paced lesson on the sweeping range of emotional and behavioral possibilities. 

2) Return to Aeolian Islands or Fughe E Approdi, directed by Giovana Taviani, is a feast for the senses.  Twenty six years after her father, Paolo Taviani, shot the acclaimed film Kaos, on the islandshis daughter returns to the volcanic archipelago north of Sicily, to remember.  She and the crew set sail on the same boat that long ago transported her family to those rocky shores.  Along with the sailor, that was then, and would become again, the guide to the terrain and the history of places called Vulcano, Stromboli and Salina.

I've never seen this kind of narrative filmmaking applied to a documentary feature.  Layer after layer of factual history gets peeled back to expose something even more stunning: Italy's cinematic history on the islands.   The film is a film inside film(s). Imagine, revisiting the places where generations of Italian filmmakers found their inspirations: Rosellini, Stromboli,AntonioniL’Avventura, Michael Radford, Il Postino. These enigmatic islands were also home to WWII prison internments, deadly pumice-mining and luscious winemaking. Most documentaries cover the history and culture and vagaries of their subjects.  Return to Aeolian Islands  bows in respect to unseen forces that continue to awaken and renew creativity in artists.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

\\\ My Life Moves On ///

I can't believe how lucky I was/am this year. Not only did I participate in a few profoundly creative and energizing projects--a mix of narrative and film endeavors--I have become giddy with glee, because after a two-minute conversation with my former film-producer friend, Margaret Ford Rogers, I got back into filmmaking mode. BACK. Full speed ahead!

Mickie and Margaret

Long story short. Margaret is the screening director for the prodigious Charleston International Film Festival and moi, the screener for Edina Film Festival (EFF). We are old friends and old film business partners. Last month, Margaret came down to our frozen tundra to visit me and  check out our film festival. That first morning I remember walking from the living room into the kitchen, and saying very quietly: "I think it's time I made another film. It's been too long."

The words weren't even out of my mouth when I heard, "Alone?"

I took a few steps back and said, "You don't like fiction. I want to do fiction." For years, Margaret has been dreaming about returning to Cuba to film a documentary on the settlement of the first American colony in the east.

"Yes, I do," she said softly. Wow, how could I forget Margaret's multiple awards for screenwriting (all for narrative scripts).

Seaweed and Viennese Liqueur
"Well, you won't like this idea. It's based on the story I wrote for the Festival in Crime anthology. Six people read it, four loved it, one didn't. You were on the fence. Remember?"

"What are you talking about? I loved your story. I couldn't put it down. But I was confused in some places. You know very well Ms Mickie that I'm a concrete thinker, you are more abstract . . ." Margaret was being nice. For her, 'abstract' is a euphemism for 'muddled'.

And just like nothing, my butt was once again seated in the living room, across from my concrete-thinking pal.  For the next two hours we ate seaweed and drank creamy white liqueur out of tiny round bottles that came all the way from Vienna. At the end, Margaret had nailed down the script for the trailer. And I loved it!!!

Not only are we the co-directors and co-producers of a new short film called The Lightness of Pins, but we are planning to shoot the trailer in May 2014. (Stay tuned for more about the film and upcoming website.) I am so happy I could spit. And now the work begins. Script and grant writing, deal making, hiring crew, auditioning actors, and best of all--watching film after film after film after film. I even signed up for Netflix.

I'm still writing and reading but have added at least one film or television show--or two--a day to my research/entertainment schedule. I continue to read--as many film reviews as book reviews.  I will never stop loving books, but I've been reunited with my soulmate--film.

So what does this mean for my blog and followers. You guessed it: film reviews. I'm going to start by reposting  earlier film and television reviews. After that, I will write up something short and spiffy about anything and everything I've been watching lately. I will continue to post some of my work: excerpts from novels, entire essays and memoirs, other people's writing and art, photos, etc.

The Lightness of Pins

In the summer of 1965, a boy and a girl shared an exquisite moment. For one, it left a lifetime of soul-crushing shame. For the other, an indelible exhilaration.

One can’t forgive and the other can’t forget.

Forty-three years later, they agree to meet and re-enact the singular episode. As both adults scramble to make sense of the mysterious past, slowly, inexorably, grief and strange compulsions begin to tear at the seams of their neatly hidden lives.

Friday, December 20, 2013

A Carol Banks Art Photo

I printed Carol Bank's sweet still life on watercolor paper for her new client. I love the grainy, painterly finish. A puzzle to  figure out the medium. 

Of course, one has to start with a good, strong  photo - and Carol is one of the most talented photographers in town! 

Stay tuned for images of my earlier Polaroid Transfer work - yes, all on watercolor paper. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Ghosts of Mardis Gras

(written in 2006 after Katrina)

            Rex floats along familiar passageways, past curious faces, in a city that begs to be reborn. Once King of Carnival, this self-conscious parade looks out into the scant, fawning crowd and turns away. Who are these tiresome crashers, always spilling beer and crying out for beads?
           He and the others weren't always like this. They used to make room for the strangers. And sure liked showing them a good time. And then they disappeared. In the night, after the disaster, carrying their own wreckage, they fled into the shadows. Now banished from the open shelter of the nation’s biggest party, they are traveling on.
            Here, it’s your turn.  Dry your cheeks and throw down that tissue. Make merry, fearsome reveler! Slip on a party mask and raise your go-cup.

Monday, October 21, 2013

FAR - Official Festival Trailer (HD)


 a Film by Brian Crewe

Coming to Edina Cinema on November 8, 8 PM

After a bad day at work, David (Andre Hall - Tyler Perry's LOVE THY NEIGHBOR TV series) literally runs into Hannah (Marion Kerr ...

Saturday, October 19, 2013


Shaded Desire
By Mickie Turk
            Hypnotized by so many flavors of ice cream, they pressed their bodies to the front of the counter.  The taller, more buxom of the two, removed her sunglasses and began twirling them like pompoms.  A muscle in the boy’s jaw strained like whipcord.  She twirled harder.
            They walked out with their selections into a bleached sweltering world.  Hot wet air dissolved and partitioned.  Beneath faded patio umbrellas, the soaring heat made peace with the inhabitants, allowing their body temperatures a few degrees of détente.  Everywhere else, it wrapped and sealed the skin like cellophane.
            The boy slid into a white plastic chair next to an umbrella table and began spooning the melting confection into his mouth.  Mercifully, she had perched the sunglasses back on top of her head. A leopard-framed, jewel encrusted, cat-like tiara, now reigned above a poofy Julie Newmar do.  A desperate awareness hung between them and teetered like a block of lead. Readying to plunge through the table, through the ground, all the way to the center of the planet.
            “I already told you. No.”  She was striking, even at her age.  Unlined tanned face, leggy.  A body that only punishing hours at the gym could forge.
            “But I really do love them.  And . . . sorry for poking fun earlier. I was a little jealous, that’s all.”
            “Tough, you still can’t have them.  You can’t wear them.  Mother of god, find something else.”
            His glare made her want to scream.  Some days she just couldn’t stand looking at her son’s face.  Sharp featured, straight nose, pouty mouth.  And those sleepy, mascarred china blue eyes beneath dark-arched brows.  The same damned face she saw each time she looked in a mirror.
            A sharp gust of wind swept across the patio bringing with it scorched earth that sprinkled and settled on every surface.  Dust particles cankered their pink and green treats. Without another word, she got up and threw her cone into a trash bin.  He followed close behind her, happy just to watch sunlight play with the tiny crystals on the side of her head.

            That night downstairs, the house band played the usual standards.  Upstairs, 70’s pop icon impersonators sat on folding chairs.  Onlookers watched while stylists ratted, shaped, and streaked their hair, and make-up artists painted glam and polish onto their faces. 
            They came to study one boy. The one with penetrating china blue eyes.  Who wore his pompadour the way the king used to.  And poured his body into a red, white, and blue striped leotard. With ripped gold lamé tights molded to buttocks and legs. A shimmering lightening bolt shot through the right eye completed the graven image.
            The boy jumped up on stage and grabbed the microphone. An enormous disco ball suspended from the ceiling and spinning like a top, weaved its magic spell over the tiny crystals on the side of his head.  

Friday, October 18, 2013



Then come see the entire breathtaking film HERE:


Friday, November 8, 8 p.m.

BRIGHT carries us into the life of Troy, played by Eric Nenninger (Malcolm in the Middle, Generation Kill, Glory Daze), a character who has built a world to protect himself from a paralyzing fear, and is encouraged to become brave by his blind adopted father Irwin, played by Robert Wisdom (The Wire, Prison Break, Burn Notice). It is a story that we can all live in. The cast is a stunning collection of actors to include Emmy Award Winner Glynn Turman (The Wire, In Treatment), Andre Royo (The Wire), Barry Kramer (Seinfeld), and Marc Menchaca (Generation Kill). BRIGHT is a contemplative film built for interpretation on several levels: that of a simple human drama, as a metaphor for the impossible search for childhood, as a metaphor for a spiritual journey, and as a story about the conflict between the natural and the artificial. The dialog is carefully crafted, sometimes cryptic, and there is weighed symbolism in every frame. The film plays against the bias of sex, dissolves race, and refuses to answer questions. It restores wonder to the film experience. Edited to move at the pace of real thought, it was made for an intelligent viewer to experience and go home discussing. It also happens to be beautiful. Made for $10,000 and shot in five days, it is a film created in the truest independent spirit. 
(From YouTube)

Get your tickets today and we'll see you at the Edina Film Festival!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Dunn Bros. Coffee Literary Event

If you're out and about tonight, come over to Dunn Bros. Coffee in Eden Prarie, 8107 Eden Prairie Rd, and listen to Rich Thompson, Judy Borger, and me speak about inspiration, journeys, and the writing process. It will be cozy and literate!  Ha!

Monday, October 14, 2013

 Announcing 3rd Annual Edina Film Festival

November 7, 8, 9 Landmark Edina Cinema

We are so excited to roll out the yearly Fall Tradition at Edina Cinema.

This year we are presenting a parade of features and shorts that showcase the finest in cutting-edge artistry and storytelling. From
 rich and moving documentaries to quirky and cult dramas; shorts that illuminate the dark corners of life and those that inspire and exhilarate. Minnesota Made, foreign, and classic. A compendium of life. We have something for everyone.
Check out our website for film descriptions, clips, and times and dates. Visit our Facebook page for updates. 
Tickets can be purchased online October 15.  Choose between individual tickets and festival passes. You will also be able to purchase tickets at the door.  

      When you have a moment, please LIKE our FB page.