Santa Cruz Good Times

Wednesday
May 06th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Wild Tiger

wildtiger1

How former Santa Cruzan Aaron Platt nabbed an Independent Spirit Award nomination


The phone rang at 8:30 in the morning in November 2006. Aaron Platt roused himself from sleep and grabbed it. On the other end was his friend and movie-making cohort, Cam Archer, “freaking out on the phone,” Platt says. Still in a sleepy stupor, it took Platt a little time to catch on to what Archer was so excited about. “It was straight out of that movie, For Your Consideration, where the kid is not expecting the Oscar nomination and he’s in his apartment passed out,” Platt says. “Cam said I got nominated for something. I had no idea what he was talking about.”

The nomination was for an Independent Spirit Award in Best Cinematography for Archer’s feature film, Wild Tigers I Have Known. The awards show airs at 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 24 on the Independent Film Channel, the evening before the Academy Awards. For those who aren’t familiar with this awards gala, the fact that Platt, a UC Santa Cruz graduate, was nominated, is an enormous accomplishment. The awards honor films that are truly independent in spirit and in budget. Eligible movies must clock in at 70 minutes or more, and have a budget of $20 million or less. In addition, the films must have either played in a theater or made it into one of a handful of prestigious film festivals.

wildtiger2Platt’s nomination slides right into these requirements. Wild Tigers is a visual masterpiece, with a budget of about $75,000. The film was screened at last year’s Sundance Film Festival, and the Independent Film Channel recently acquired distribution rights to the film.

While Wild Tigers is Archer’s brainchild (he wrote/directed/edited the piece), it’s Platt’s handiwork with the camera that has earned this film, and Platt, a notable nomination. For both men, this is a distinct honor. And for Platt, it’s a startling entrance to the big world of Hollywood.

Being the down-to-earth former Santa Cruzan that he is, Platt is still reeling about his nomination. He’ll be competing alongside the cinematographer for Pan’s Labyrinth, along with three other nominees. Also at this awards gala will be the likes of indie movie darlings like Robin Wright Penn, Steven Soderbergh, Robert Altman, Michelle Williams, the people from Little Miss Sunshine and numerous others in the low-budget/high-quality filmmaking scene. Not bad company for a 25-year-old.

“I feel a little foreign to the industry talk that might happen at one of these events,” Platt admits. “I can’t do that whole Kevin Bacon thing.”

After all, he’s an indie filmmaker. He’s not particularly concerned with celebrity status and the Hollywood who’s who game. But get the man talking about the craft and the creative process of filmmaking and cinematography and he’ll happily indulge you in a good conversation.

Platt’s work on Wild Tigers has been dazzling people at film festivals. In March, the movie will be released to limited theaters in Los Angeles and New York, with possible openings in Chicago and San Francisco. Following that, it will be available with on- demand purchase on television and will be released in Blockbuster stores in May or June, Platt says.

wildtiger3While Platt may still be new to the awards scene, it’s no particular surprise that he received a nomination. Check out wildtigersfilm.com for proof. There, anyone can see a quick trailer of the film and get a glimpse into the photographic eye of Platt. His work is undeniably appealing. Each frame is composed as if an artist were constructing a painting. Rich colors and dynamic images are his trademarks. Even if there’s no dialogue in a particular shot, the visuals themselves tell a story.

The story in Wild Tigers is a compelling look at a young boy named Logan who begins to explore his sexuality while enduring the pains and tribulations that accompany going to junior high school. At 13, Logan has a crush on a boy, Rodeo. What plays out from there is an original teenage love story. The film stars Malcolm Stumpf who was last seen as Madonna’s son in The Next Best Thing; Hailey Anne Nelson who played Roseanne Cash in Walk the Line; and Fairuza Balk.

Wild Tigers is the first feature film collaboration between writer/director Archer and cinematographer Platt. The pair met, interestingly, in a photography class at UC Santa Cruz.  “We didn’t even know that we worked in film or video, but I think we kind of got on pretty well, personality-wise,” Platt says. “Both a bit of smart asses, and we recognized that there was a little bit of under-the-radar rebelliousness. We ended up taking a film class and [thought] maybe it would be cool to make a film together.”

wildtiger4From there, Platt estimates that the pair has made probably 15 projects together, including a handful of shorts (two of them were accepted into Sundance), some music videos, a public service announcement and now Wild Tigers.

“With cinematography, you’re doing a lot more than lighting and composing shots,” Platt says. “What you’re doing has such a large influence on the movie.”

That influence, obviously, has earned Platt this regarded nomination. It’s one that his friend and colleague, Archer, finds exciting for his friend. “We don’t always agree about how to shoot something, but I think that’s what keeps us working together,” Archer says. “There’s no one way that we go about shooting something. It really does vary from project to project. I think Aaron is definitely multi-talented.”

Nowadays, Platt is living full-time in the Los Angeles area, far away from his college town of Santa Cruz, and his small hometown of Colfax, in the California foothills. He graduated from UCSC in 2004 and since then has been working steadily alongside Archer, as well as carving out his own niche in the world of cinematographers. Platt now has an agent and the projects that are being sent his way for consideration are coming with larger and larger budgets. As his star continues to rise, there’s no doubt that Platt will continue to collaborate with Archer.

Next up? This two-some has another feature in the works, which they hope to shoot soon, about a woman who has a hair-pulling problem. Until then, though, Platt has other projects in the works, but, right now, at the top of his list is the awards show.

Former UCSC student, Aaron Platt, has been nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Cinematography for his work on Cam Archer’s film, Wild Tigers I Have Known. The ceremony airs at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 24 on the Independent Film Channel. For more information, visit wildtigersmovie.com or aaronplatt.com.
Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Mountain Mystic

When Cora Evans died in Boulder Creek in 1957, her thousands of pages of religious writings hadn’t yet been published. More than a half a century later, Evans’ fiery visions and spiritual devotion have inspired a crusade within Catholicism to make her the Santa Cruz Mountains’ first saint

 

Wesak (Water) Taurus Solar Festival, Buddha Blesses the Earth

A most important celebration occurs Sunday, May 3—the Wesak Taurus Buddha Solar Festival/full moon. At the moment of the full moon the Buddha’s presence enters the Earth plane for eight minutes. He brings the Will-to-Good from the Father, which, when reaching humanity becomes goodwill (Mother Principle). Held yearly in a valley hidden deep within the Himalayas, the Wesak festival is prepared for for months in advance (beginning at Winter Solstice). On festival day, amidst pilgrims, disciples and Holy Ones gathered in the valley, the Buddha is invoked through movement, symbols and mantrams. At the moment of the full moon, hearing the words, “We are ready, Buddha, come,” the Lord of Illumination (brother of the Christ) appears in the clouds above the altar to emanate forth the will and purpose of God to earth. The blessing of the father is then held in safekeeping for distribution at the June full moon Goodwill Festival. The day of Wesak (May 3, 8:42 p.m. West Coast) all disciples (east and west) place crystal vessels filled with pure water outside (in gardens, on rooftops, porches and steps) under the heavens. As the Buddha blesses the world, all waters, including waters within our bodies, are blessed. The Buddha is accompanied by the Forces of Enlightenment to illuminate humanity’s minds. Humanity then begins to express new constructive, productive and beneficial ways of the Art of Livingness. Wesak covers five days—two days (before) of dedicated preparation, the actual festival “Day of Safeguarding,” and two days (after) distributing goodwill (the NGWS to humanity). Join us in the Valley by reciting the Great Invocation, mantra of direction for humanity.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of May 1

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Hole in the Wall

Popular Aptos spot opens for dinner

 

How do you connect with the natural world?

My connection to the natural world is through my art. I totally feel it there very physically in nature and even right here on the street. Jonathan Rosen, Felton, Pastor

 

Hess Collection Winery

My friend Emma from London came to visit for a few days in early March, so I took her wine tasting in the Santa Cruz Mountains—a rare treat for her, as there aren’t too many vineyards in the middle of London. Her visit reminded me how fortunate we are to live in this paradise of ultra-fresh produce, with grapes growing in wild profusion.

 

Springtime Walkabout

May Day Flower Festival, free tours of the UCSC Farm, and a nondairy chocolate indulgence