Reader Reactions & Anecdotes

03 May 2008

Der Ostwind

In all my years as a journalist, editor, and novelist, I’ve encountered or dealt with uncountable pursuers of the literary arts. Among these legions I’ve espied all levels of creativity and talent, ranging from a handful of geniuses through many ranks of journeymen, to the tail-end dilettantes — the sideline dabblers who want not to create but to have created, and thereby, without much effort, to be included among the doers they admire. And what separated the stellar few from the mass of generics was invariably a consuming dissatisfaction with the usual and a driving need to push out its borders. These were the writers and artists whose inventive brilliance more often than not made them objects of derision as nut cases, or, at best, dismissed as “egotistical” and “controversial.”

Happily, though, a satisfying number of innovators have survived the quicksand and have gone on to wide and favorable recognition. And one of the most recent in my personal experience is Kohl Glass, who, while a student at Brigham Young University, used five years of his own time and virtually all of his meager savings to create, produce, and direct Der Ostwind, a short film, a morality tale based on World War I aerial combat, which ingeniously combines live actors and dialogue with animation and computer-generated backgrounds.

Kohl, in our phone chats, comes across as an amiable self-effacing young man who today supports himself as a roofer in Arizona while practicing his first love — the creation of motion pictures that are more than the standard Hollywood fare. For Der Ostwind, he assembled a cast and crew from his most talented pals at Brigham Young and prevailed upon them to provide the acting, music, photography, animation, and computer magic for his tale of Wolfgang von Kellermann, a German ace of great renown who seeks to cap his career as victor over a mysterious, incredibly skilled American pilot, but, in the process, learns the onerous personal price exacted by vanity.

And, guess what: Kohl and his extraordinary gang — actors Patrick Rosier and Alexander Schmalz, animator Rob Au, producers Christina Lyon Cline and Kimball Maw, photography director Travis Cline, music composer Angus McKay, and a platoon of other enthusiasts — have, in the past year, walked away with awards from more than two dozen international film festivals, including the most prestigious, Robert Redford’s Sundance Film Festival.

For me, Kohl’s achievement is about as heart-warming as they come: the courageous individual who throws all of his modest means on the line to realize a dream. It’s the kind of stuff that builds empires, continents. It’s the kind of stuff that reassures me that, for all its crass insensitivity and preoccupation with dumbing down, our society still contains gutsy, indomitable, creative spirits who refuse to be intimidated by the ordinary.

(Follow these links to see the ingenious work that won world-wide recognition for Kohl and his wonderful crew.)
The Trailer
Kohl Glass
Other projects by Kohl Glass

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new By the way, you’ll notice there’s a new entry called “Suspense Samplers” on the navigational line at the top and bottom of each page of my website. That link will take you to the archives of excerpts of some of my novels. A new selection will be added every few weeks, so y’all keep coming back, hear?

Jack

Copyright © 2008 by Jack D. Hunter.  All rights reserved.  No part of this document may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the author.

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