BROOKINGS – Cable Hardin, a South Dakota State University associate professor of graphic design, continues to gain recognition for his filmmaking abilities.
In February one of his productions will be shown at the Beloit International Film Festival in Beloit, Wisconsin.
“White Out” runs a few seconds over five minutes.
Short films, as described by Hardin, may be anywhere from about one minute to five minutes.
“That’s what I do as an animated film maker,” he explained. “I make short films. Lately they’ve been animated, to the traditional drawn stuff, experimental things that are a combination of a variety of techniques.”
Hardin’s film gained entry into the BIFF via Adam Fogarty, a former student of his at SDSU and a four-time BIFF program director. He sat on a pre-screening committee that selected “White Out.”
“It gave the film very high ratings,” Fogarty said. “It caught our attention. … It was really enjoyable.”
“He took a film class from me years ago,” Hardin said of Fogarty, who graduated in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in geography. “Although there’s no formal path of film study at SDSU, he was determined to be involved in it some way.
“In the months following his graduation, he was involved in festivals in Los Angeles and he’s involved in this one. He told me he was interested in stuff (for the festival).
“Particularly he was interested in children and family-friendly programming. So I gave him some leads and I also mentioned that I had some materials that had been programmed in similar events in the past.
“He encouraged me to submit, which I did. I submitted several of my shorts of varying scopes; some may be more appropriate, some of them probably were not appropriate for family stuff.”
‘Wood, wire and wool’
Hardin calls “White Out” “my stop-motion short from a couple years ago.” In the film, a lone pilot is faced with desolation on a cold, dark world.
“It’s two little characters and they sort of interact,” Hardin explained. “It’s a very wintry scene. It’s a very family-friendly presentation with some appealing characters and some beautiful music and a nice little message.”
Noting that “it’s all animation,” he added, laughing, “There are no living humans in it. They’re little puppets, made of wood, wire and wool, shot and photographed on a miniature set with lights.
“There’s wind noise and real snow in the film, real blizzard footage outside my back door in Brookings. I didn’t animate it.”
The films music was done by former SDSU saxophone teacher Nate Jorgensen and Mary Ermel Walker, a doctor of musical arts at SDSU.
The project work was done on the SDSU campus and in some independent studio space Hardin had in Brookings; it took over a year of part-time work during 2014 and 2015, “in between some teaching and real-life stuff.”
Festivals like it
“It was my first foray into traditional stop-motion with characters,” Hardin said of “White Out.”
“I’m really glad it has had the success that it has. And it still has an appeal and a market in venues like this (the BIFF).”
During 2015 through 2017, “White Out” was screened a total of more than 20 times in the United States and abroad – including Athens, Ohio, and Athens, Greece.
At the St. Cloud (Minnesota) Film Festival in November 2015, it took first place for best animation. At the Fargo Film Festival in March 2017, it received honorable mention for animation.
Noting that the film has been viewed during the past three years, Hardin added, “Usually such films have a life-span of about two years and are then put out to rest.”
Laughing, Hardin said that he has produced other shorts that he likes better than “White Out.” He submitted some of them to the BIFF, but it was “White Out” that made the cut.
“But this one is more programmable,” he admitted. “Festivals like it, especially when they want more family-appropriate content. They want the one with the little fuzzy critter in it.”
BIFF is one of many such exhibits all over the United States and the world that “showcase stuff that we don’t normally see, stuff that’s usually not at one of our big movie-plexs.”
“It’s made by people like me,” he explained. “Made by people like me who just want to make their own things. It might have some mainstream influences like I do, but they’re independently produced.”
Hardin is an East Coast native and grew up in Tennessee, Maryland and Virginia. He attended college at James Madison University (Virginia) and then did graduate work in film production at Ohio University (Athens).
He did some live-action film production but realized he wouldn’t be another Steven Spielberg. But he was drawn to animation, which he called “my mode of film-making.”
He’s in his 11th year at SDSU, teaching animation, motion graphics, and film studies in the School of Design.
For now Hardin is finding fulfillment in teaching, doing his own creative research and working on short films.
“It’s pretty satisfying. It informs my teaching. It keeps me engaged. It allows me to experiment and make some really cool, weird stuff. Thank goodness, there’s people and places all over the world interested in showing independent films and animation.”
Hardin’s work, including “White Out,” can be seen by going online to cablehardin.com and then clicking on “Cable Hardin on Vimeo.”
Contact John Kubal at [email protected]