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News Archive

Dino flick lands local student in flying film fest

January 11, 2005

BY RUMMANA HUSSAIN Staff Reporter

When Columbia College grad Jason Klamm needed to demonstrate how dinosaur fossils form for a student film, he found a little dated inspiration in a certain wholesome Mormon family who once proclaimed they were a "little bit country" and a "little bit of rock 'n' roll."

Two plastic toy dinosaurs named "Donny" and "Marie" duke it out in Klamm's seven-minute "Dinosaurs: They Certainly Were Big." "Marie" is fatally mauled and a bespectacled Klamm deadpans: "Little Marie here would soon begin to decompose, her bones being the last remaining evidence of her once shining career."

The quirky film, which is currently one of knowitallvideo.com's most popular clips, was selected to air on Frontier Airlines free in-flight television network's "Cloud 9 Short Film Festival" this month.

Klamm's film, which he wrote, directed and acted in for a science class while at Columbia two years ago, spices up the subject of paleontology with dry humor.

"It's a combination of being serious, informative and funny at the same time, and that's hard to do," said Eric Alterman, the founder of knowitallvideo.com, which accepts submissions from registered users. Klamm wrote "Dinosaur" in two hours and shot it in five hours with his cinematographer friend Chad Newman.

The movie, mostly shot along the Chicago River, Lake Michigan and at the Field Museum, features Klamm as an egghead host who ponders how the 14th century Chinese believed dinosaur bones were left by dragons and why the massive beasts became extinct.

In one scene Klamm, now 24, points to Field Museum's T. rex "Sue" and says "To look at 'Sue,' here, you say 'dinosaur.' Well, maybe not say it out loud, but you'd certainly think it. I hope."

Alterman contacted representatives from Mphasis, the marketing firm that created "The Wild Blue Yonder" channel for Frontier, and directed them to the most creative videos on his Web site, including Klamm's.

'Well-produced'

"They liked it because it's a cleverly made, well-produced 'mockumentary' of the kind of education films you saw in high school and elementary school," Frontier spokesman Joe Hodas said.

Klamm, who now lives in Hollywood and has appeared in television's "Alias" and "Crossing Jordan," says the Frontier screening is "exciting" because it will reach thousands.

"That kind of exposure is next to impossible without a production company behind you," said Klamm, who credits his Columbia instructors for teaching him how filmmaking can be both "painful and fun."

"That I can reach that many people in that short a time, and simply because I'm funny, is one of the greatest things that's ever happened to me."

And although Klamm's idol, Martin Scorsese hasn't called yet, the attention hasn't hurt.

Alterman has drafted Klamm to do a weekly video segment for knowitallvideo.com, and the Laurens, N.Y., native has gained at least one prominent fan: Paleontologist Sue Hendrickson.

Hendrickson hailed the video as the best piece done on her famous T. rex discovery.

"He made science palatable to the public, which is the mission of scientists that they seem to fail at and he succeeds. I hope to shake his hand someday," she said.

"Dinosaurs: They Certainly Were Big," can also be viewed on stolen dress.com, a Web site founded by Klamm and Newman.

 
 













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