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Short Takes

Pat Doyen's short-film explorations won't make her rich, but that's OK.

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Filmmaker Pat Doyen knows the routine very well. Newly transplanted from New York, Doyen has wasted little time in getting her work out there. Her short films, from two to 12 minutes, have screened around town at Flicker, Egg Space and Hole in the Wall. Recently at the Shockoe Bottom Art Center, Doyen showed her six-minute film "Singsong," a fluid and complex collage of layered images, scenes of little girls dancing on a sepia summer's day, uncles and dads watching.



One thing is clear — the narrator's voice. "When I was little," she says, "I used to love to dance" — this over a nebulous chorus of singsongy voices. Then a few frames later, the same little girls dancing, the same daddies, the same voice, but the words "When I was little, I used to hate to dance. My father used to make me dance at parties for everyone." Mixed messages; did I hear that right? Is that an uncle sunning on a towel in the yard?



Can you roll that one more time?



Doyen says, "It's about how we remember things, how they look and change over time." She discovered the old home movie at a garage sale. "Some images are gorgeous," she says. She re-shot it, used an optical printer, slowed the motion, freeze framed, scratched, tinted and manipulated the film, and mixed the sound. Created one frame at a time, the six-minute film took a year to complete.



Doyen holds a degree in film and a master's degree in media arts from the State University of New York at Buffalo. Her work has screened worldwide at Black Chair Productions in Seattle, the Millennium Film Workshop in New York City, the Milwaukee Film Festival, the Super 8 Festival in Canada and festivals in Mexico and Bosnia.



She served a residency at the Experimental Television Center in New York and was the education coordinator of the New York Animation Festival. She has taught at SUNY Buffalo and workshops to disadvantaged middle school students.



She loves teaching the art of filmmaking to young people. She shows them how to draw and paint on film, scratch with a paper clip, use rubber stamps and hole punches. "It's like a movie painting," she says. "Now with video being really cheap, it opens up new areas of thought. We are programmed to sit and receive. It's empowering to let kids know they can be on the other side of the 'magic box.'"



Doyen, whose film studio is in her Church Hill home, works at a library. She and her partner Ward Tefft will be opening a used book store this month, Chop Suey Books at 1317 W. Cary St. They plan to provide space for poetry and fiction readings and, of course, film screenings.



Doyen says there is one main disadvantage to her work; she can't sell anything. "It's not like a painter or photographer; it's more like a job that's temporary." At most, she says, "I might make fifty or sixty dollars for a screening, maybe a little more."



But then, Doyen knows, it's not about the money, is it? True art never

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