Where Dale Angell fits in the spectrum of independent short filmmakers is arguable - his movies aren't easily pigeonholed.
On the one hand his low-key, slightly bizarre sense of humor shines through even his more serious films. Yet his movies are quite accessible to the mainstream viewer; even his more abstract offerings are easily deciphered.What Angell perhaps lacks in sophistication, however, he makes up for in his ability to entertain.
A program of short films by Salt Lake filmmaker Dale Angell will be presented by the Utah Media Arts Center Friday at 8 p.m. in the Salt Lake Art Center auditorium, 20 S. West Temple. Angell will introduce and discuss the films with the audience. Admission is $4. The program is supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Salt Lake Arts Council and the Utah Arts Council. For further information phone 534-1158.
From an early (1975) abstract experimental film called "Cathode Ray," made by manipulating circuitry in TV sets and photographing their malfunctions; to a slight documentary (1984) about the Salt Lake, Garfield and Western Railroad that has serviced Saltair for nearly a century, titled "Saltair Railway"; to a brief animated piece, "Later On That Afternoon," which ends with nuclear destruction, Angell takes the audience on a zany mind-trip through imagery and sound that come together as quite unique in structure.
One gets a taste of Angell's humor immediately when the credits reveal he calls his company Madame Woo Productions. And the zaniest show of the lot is "Mr. Dobbs and the Men From Mars," a wacky little skit with Keith Nelson (who possesses a most manipulable face) as an old rural drunk who has a close encounter and learns that even aliens like a drink now and then (produced in 1976, well before the Dr Pepper commercials it seems to invoke).
Angell even turns self-critic in his own synopsis of "My Kind of Town," an off-the-cuff home movie that resulted when a planned film fell through in Las Vegas. In his program notes, Angell describes "My Kind of Town" as "truly tasteless and tactless." And the credits for "Mr. Dobbs" indicate that Angell is responsible for directing, writing and producing the "tacky music and tacky effects."
Moviemaking entered Angell's life in 1973 when he bought a Bolex Super-8mm camera from a friend at a party just because the friend needed $50. Angell, a Salt Lake native, was an art student doing sculpture and drawing when he made the purchase, and since he had the camera in hand he decided to try some amateur moviemaking.
Needless to say he was bitten by the bug.
He entered the University of Utah's film program, where he is now a teaching assistant, and eventually became a respected sound and sound effects editor, working for Sunn Classics and other movies and television programs, making his own proj-ects on the side.
Angell moved to Los Angeles for a time but returned to Salt Lake City when he became convinced he would be slotted as a sound man forever there; he wanted to get back to the business of making his own short films, with the goal of making his own independent features eventually.