Hand / Eye Coordinations

2004, digital, 96 min.

Anthony's friends have decided that they need to hold an intervention on him. They arrive at his apartment early before his flight arrives, and get ready: they put the chairs in a circle and practice what they are going to say. While they are waiting, they make breakfast for him and neaten the place up a bit.

But soon it becomes apparent that they do not all agree that they should be there. The friends begin to turn on each other as they debate the real motivations for the intervention. Meanwhile, Anthony misses flight after flight, and then his girlfriend - that none of them knew about - shows up to move in with him.

Soon they have spent the whole day in his apartment waiting for him, cleaning the place, arguing, and making meal after meal for him and then eating it when he's delayed. One faction tries to hold a counter-intervention on the other. They begin to break into the liquor that he was meant to throw away in the intervention.

In the end Anthony's friends have to decide whether they will stay and intervene on him, or leave quietly without him ever having known they were there.

The first Hand / Eye feature. The Intervention

2001, digital, 31 min.

A struggling theatre company is losing money on a disastrous production of Agamemnon. Desperate, and without telling the cast, the Manager brings in a professional Plant - someone who sits in the audience and uses their subliminal and hypnotic influence to convince everyone that they're seeing a great show.

Everything works for a while - until the Plant notices that, despite his "enjoyment" of the show, people still seem to be bored by it. He realizes that there can be only one answer - the theatre company has an "Anti-Plant" working against them. It is up to the Plant to find his invisible foe and take him on in a showdown to make the production successful.

Prequel to One Man Home Delivery Dinner Theatre. Screened at the 2002 Moonlighter Festival. The Plant

The Fourth Wall
2000, Hi-8, B&W, 60 min.

Making a "foreign" film is not a rite of passage that every filmmaker goes through, but some seem to have a definite need to get that Bergman / Fellini homage out of their system to move on. The Fourth Wall is the official Hand / Eye foreign film.

The pensive Sven - the foreign everyman - wants only to be left alone in the park to enjoy his deep, meaningful inner monologue. Unfortunately, he is frustrated by a host of foreign movie icons, including suicidal clowns, militant mimes, and a playful Death. The story begins when a mime runs into Sven at the park, and gives him an "invisible box." Sven dismisses him rudely as a pretentious performance artist until - blasphemy! - the mime speaks. He shoves the "box" into Sven's hands and runs away.

Later, the mime returns to Sven's apartment to retrieve the invisible box. He tells Sven that he is a part of a mime resistance organization called "the Fourth Wall" that is fighting for the right to speak. His job is to take the box and its mysterious contents to the resistance leaders. But before he can, he is gunned down by a mime assassin's invisible, silent bullet.

Sven is then embroiled in the resistance between the Fourth Wall and those that would keep them silent, as well as the eternal mime / clown conflict - until Death himself, who has picked Sven as his favorite game opponent, takes them all to the Other Side. The Fourth Wall

One Man Home Delivery Dinner Theatre
1999, Hi-8, B&W, 15 min.

An arrogant Actor is simply too good for any director in town - so he has devised a way of presenting his one-man version of Hamlet, HIS way: he brings it to your home and performs it there, while simultaneously preparing a meal for you. The problem is that he chooses to do his Hamlet in its full, four-hour uncut form, performing every single part by himself. And he will NOT TOLERATE any distractions from his audience.

Screened at the 2000 Chicago Short Comedy Film and Video Festival. One Man Home Delivery Dinner Theatre

The St. Gladys Situation
1997, Hi-8, 15 min.

Gladys is a woman who has a special talent. If something is wrong with your pet, just bring it to her, and she'll make it well again. Whether it's a cat with distemper, a dog that's been run over, or a gerbil that got sucked up into the vacuum cleaner - Gladys can work miracles, bringing your pet back to the way it was.

But the powers that be over at Holy Mother of God don't like this lady moving in on their territory - miracles and resurrections are THEIR business. So before Rome can get wise, the Cardinal dispatches three gun-wielding priests to Gladys' apartment to verify whether this lady is the "real deal" or not. What they find makes them take steps to shut her down... PERMANENTLY.

Gladys was the first official Hand / Eye movie, and the first to draw its cast from the actors of Stone Circle Theatre Ensemble.

Screened at the 2001 Around The Coyote Arts Festival. The St. Gladys Situation

Blades of Grass
1999, Hi-8, 15 min

Some background: The Fourth Wall was edited at a public access facility in Chicago, CAN-TV. Because CAN-TV requires (rightly so) that their producers turn in a completed show for every eight hours of editing time, and because Fourth Wall would take many hundreds of hours to edit on their antiquated linear editing system, some kind of finished product was needed to prove that all that editing time wasn't going to waste.

The solution was to shoot thirty minutes worth of nature scenes and B-roll at Humboldt Park, divide it into 15 two-minute segments, then invite actress Jessica McCartney in to improv some "Deep Thoughts" style voice-over. Then, after every eight hours of editing Fourth Wall, I would turn in another "completed" Blades of Grass episode. CAN-TV would graciously accept the episodes, probably with complete awareness of my strategy, and occasionally to their credit extend kind offers to help me with my editing skills, since it was apparently taking me eight hours to complete a two-minute segment.

Alternate Route
1996, Hi-8, 20 min.

A man makes one small deviation from the directions on his way to a friend's house, and finds himself in a strange nightmare world where only he exists. Able to speak to his friends by phone, they puzzle out that he has somehow entered a parallel dimension - one that is slowly fading out of existence. McCaleb's first movie in Chicago, and the first produced in partnership with Ethan Einhorn and Bill Castrogiovanni.

Good Monday
1992, 16mm, B&W, 45 min.

Good Monday is the story of what happens to St. Christopher after his de-canonization. After being drummed out of the sainthood, the disgraced Christopher is forced to take small jobs performing miracles on the side - he uses his gifts to repair small appliances and minor car problems. But then the despotic football coach of the local University (realize that this film was made at the University of Alabama) makes him an offer he can't refuse: use a miracle to make sure the football team wins the big playoff game, and he can get his halo back.

An epic by 16mm student film standards, Good Monday bravely takes on the twin evils of college football and the Catholic church in a way that only a senior thesis project can. Having not gotten enough of the "illegal miracle" idea, McCaleb would revisit it in The St. Gladys Situation, and probably will again in the future.

Bad Day At The Lab
1991, 8mm, 10 min.

Chris McCaleb's first film - shot as a part of the "8mm Production" course at UA - is a silent creature feature with crawling pieces of meat and a few splashes of gore. A Pasteur-like scientist is attempting to disprove the theory of "spontaneous generation" - the theory that microbes and microorganisms grow by themselves on a piece of meat left exposed to air - only to find that his experiment fails. His subject - a bloody piece of steak - becomes spontaneously animated, and escapes from its laboratory jar and lies in wait for the scientist to return, so that it can attack its "creator." This minimalist re-telling of the Frankenstein story got McCaleb an "A."

Hand / Eye Coordinations
chris (at) handeye (dot) net