B I O
Chel White has been making films for 30 years. Described as a cinematic poet, he sites dreams and the subconscious as his greatest influences. His films paint indelible pictures of the human experience, often depicting the perspective of the outsider looking in. Black humor sometimes plays a major role in his work.
He is the recipient of a Rockefeller / Ford Foundation Media Arts Fellowship. His museum screenings include MoMA, the Van Gogh Museum (Amsterdam), the Smithsonian, the Brooklyn Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and a 2012 career retrospective at the Northwest Film Center.
White has screened his films in nearly every major film festival including Berlinale, Tribeca, SXSW , Rotterdam, Hong Kong, Chicago, Annecy, Ann Arbor, Seattle, and three films in the Sundance Film Festival. His awards include Best Short Film from the Stockholm Film Festival, Best Animated Short from the Florida Film Festival, and the EMPA Work Life Award from the Ann Arbor Film Festival.
In addition to films, Chel White is a world-renowned director of commissioned work. In 2007, he created “Wind,” a short film on the topic of global climate change commissioned by Live Earth. The film premiered opening night at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival, introduced by Al Gore.
“Harrowdown Hill,” White’s groundbreaking music video for Radiohead’s Thom Yorke, won Best Music Video at the 2007 SXSW Festival. MusicVideoWire called the piece “a visually compelling bird’s eye view of some of the biggest challenges facing our society today, including global warming and petroleum consumption.” In 2012, White created “Bird of Flames,” an experimental video for filmmaker David Lynch and his elegant chanteuse Chrysta Bell. The piece made its festival premiere in the 2012 Woodstock Film Festival, and Spinner Magazine says, “It will definitely freak you out.” Chel’s most recent music video, “Tami,” is a layered and impressionistic mood piece for Los Angeles-based folk artist Tom Brosseau (a frequent collaborator with actor/musician John C. Reilly).
Chel White has directed two comedy shorts for NBC’s Saturday Night Live. As a commercial director, his clients include; Nike, Starbucks, The American Indian College Fund and anti-smoking ads for the Washington Dept. of Health. As Visual Effects Supervisor, Chel has worked with filmmaker Gus Van Sant on several of his films, including the Academy Award winning “Milk.”
“Bucksville,” Chel White’s first feature film (Best Narrative Feature from the 2012 Kansas City Film Festival), is a story about a man caught inside a secret brotherhood with a violent and disturbing political agenda. Jamie S. Rich of the Oregonian calls it, “An insightful portrayal of an extreme point of view without the expected self-righteous critique.”
Chel White lives in Portland, Oregon, where he is a co-founding partner of the film studio Bent Image Lab.
In addition to filmmaking, Chel White is an accomplished musician and sound artist. His music can be found in a number of short films, including Joan Gratz’s Academy Award winning “Mona Lisa Descending a Staircase.”
“I have been amazed at the stylistic and thematic diversity in (Chel White’s) films. Surreal, ethereal, wistful, and witty are some of the descriptions that come to mind. Mainly I just allow my imagination to be taken into his complex, mysterious worlds.” – Chale Nafus, Austin Film Society
For more info on Chel White see WIKIPEDIA.
- BUCKSVILLE [live-action feature film] (release date 2014)
Best Narrative Feature Film — 2012 Kansas City Film Festivalf
Platinum Award, First Feature — 2012 Worldfest Houston
- TAMI [Tom Brosseau music video] (2014)
- BIRD OF FLAMES [David Lynch & Chrysta Bell music video] (2012)
Festival Premiere – 2012 Woodstock Film Festival.
Audience Award, Best Experimental Film — 2012 Northwest Filmmakers’ Festival.
- HARROWDOWN HILL [Thom Yorke music video] (2007)
Best Music Video — 2007 SXSW Festival
- WIND [short film for Al Gore climate change event] (2007)
World Premiere — 2007 Tribeca Film Festival
- A PAINFUL GLIMPSE INTO MY WRITING PROCESS (IN LESS THAN 60 SECONDS) (2005)
International Premiere—2006 Zagreb Animation Festival
Jury Selection — SXSW Festival
- MAGDA (2004)
World Premiere—2004 International Film Festival Rotterdam
Best Animated Film — 2004 Florida Film Festival
- ECLIPSE (2003)
Jury Award — 2004 Ann Arbor Film Festival
- NEW YORK [short film for Sept. 11th Memorial Charity] (2002)
- PASSAGE (2001)
Frontier Section — 2002 Sundance Film Festival
- SOULMATE (2000)
Best Narrative & Audience Award — 2000 Northwest Film Festival.
Jury Selection — 2001 London Int’l Film Festival
- DIRT (1998)
Best Short Film — 1998 Stockholm Int’l Film Festival
Jury Selection — 1999 Sundance Film Festival
- CHOREOGRAPHY FOR COPY MACHINE (1991)
Jury Selection — Berlin Film Festival, Rotterdam, Sundance.
- MACHINE SONG (1987)
- CHEL WHITE ON SOUND CLOUD
- 40 YEARS 40 FACES LOOKING BACK
- NW FILMMAKERS’ FEST AWARDS
- EMMY AWARD WINNING “IN CONTEXT” INTERVIEWS CHEL WHITE (2006)
- CHEL WHITE TALKS: WHY PORTLAND?
- CHEL WHITE’S OFFICE FOREST – VFX/PDX
- OREGON ART BEAT (2001) (Chel White interview begins at 11:52)
- AUSTIN CHRONICLE (2003)
- KLRU IN CONTEXT (2010)
- KLRU IN CONTEXT “WIND” (2012)
- PORTLAND FILM FAMILY TREE (2012)
- CHEL WHITE ON VIMEO
Screenings, Awards and Work Highlights:
Chel White’s “Magda” selected as Short of the Week.
“Choreography for Copy Machine (Photocopy Cha Cha) screens in a special program Prints in Paris: Cracking the Frame at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.
“Magda” included in a curated program of short films launching America’s first Microcinema at the Portland International Airport.
A public service announcement for the American Indian College Fund, directed by Chel White, makes its world festival premiere in the Annecy Animation Festival (France).
Chel White’s feature film “Bucksville,” co-written by Laura McGie, and starring Thomas Stroppel, Tom Berenger, Ted Rooney, and Allen Nause, is released on DVD and digital download via iTunes, Amazon, Vimeo on Demand, and more.
“Tami,” Chel White’s music video for folksinger Tom Brosseau, is released online.
“Bucksville” makes its final festival screening in the 2013 Berlin Independent Film Festival (concurrently with the Berlinale).
“Bird of Flames,” Chel White’s video for David Lynch and Chrysta Bell, screens in the 2013 Ann Arbor Film Festival, the 2013 Portland International Film Festival and the 2013 Arizona International Film Festival (where it wins Best Music Film).
Chel White gives a 20-year retrospective of his media work at the Northwest Film Center in the Portland Art Museum.
“Bird of Flames” makes its festival premier in the 2012 Woodstock Film Festival. It also wins the Audience Award for Best Experimental Short at the 39th Northwest Filmmakers’ Festival.
“Bucksville” wins the prize for Best Narrative Feature at the 2012 Kansas City Film Festival. The film also takes the Feature Film Silver Award from the 2012 Lucerne Independent Film Festival, Second Place for Feature Film from the 38th Athens International Film Festival and Best Lead Actor from the 2012 Madrid International Film Festival and the Platinum Award for First Feature from the 2012 Worldfest-Houston.
“Bucksville” screens in the 2012 Brooklyn Film Festival, the 2012 Arizona International Film Festival and the 2012 Ashland Independent Film Festival.
Chel White directs a stop motion animated, children’s TV Holiday Special, “Jingle All the Way,” for BENT. Of the 2012 holiday fare, The New York Times calls it, “By far the best of the bunch.”
Chel White designs main title sequence for “Virginia,” written and directed by Dustin Lance Black (Oscar winning screenwriter “Milk”).
Along with his writing partner Laura McGie, Chel White completes a feature film script, “Bucksville.”
Chel White is awarded the annual filmmaking grant from the Oregon Arts Commission for the production of a feature film.
Chel White is Visual Effects Supervisor on Gus Van Sant’s Academy Award winning film, “Milk,” starring Sean Penn.
Chel White is awarded a Rockefeller Foundation Media Arts Fellowship (through ReNew Media) for the production of a feature film.
White’s film Wind, a poetic look at global climate change, premieres opening night at the Tribeca Film Festival with keynote speaker Al Gore.
“Harrowdown Hill,” Chel White’s music video for Thom Yorke, wins Best Music Video at the 2007 SXSW Festival.
A Painful Glimpse Into My Writing Process (In Less Than 60 Seconds) wins Best Animated Film at Kansas City Filmmakers Jubilee.
Chel White supervises visual effects on Gus Van Sant’s feature film “Paranoid Park,” and directs animation for Todd Haynes’ Bob Dylan biographic film “I’m Not There.” White also directs visual effects for Gus Van Sant’s Cannes Film Festival short, “First Kiss.”
“Fever Dreams and Heavenly Nightmares”, a DVD compilation of short films by Chel White, is released and distributed by Microcinema International.
Chel White directs “Harrowdown Hill,” a music video for Radiohead front man Thom Yorke. It is included in ResFest 2006.
A Painful Glimpse Into My Writing Process (In Less Than 60 Seconds) makes its international premiere in the Zagreb Animation Festival, Croatia. The film also wins the jury award for Best Short Film in the Bend Film Festival, Oregon.
A Painful Glimpse Into My Writing Process (In Less Than 60 Seconds) screens opening night in both the Florida and Nantucket film festivals. The film also screens in competition at the Los Angeles Film Festival, the Seattle International Film Festival, and the SXSW Festival.
“Park” and “Rec Room”, two anti-smoking public service announcements White directed for the Washington Department of Health win a Gold Plaque for Best Campaign at the Chicago International Film Festival.
Chel White is awarded the Regional Arts & Culture Council’s Individual Artist Fellowship for Media Arts, Portland, Oregon.
Magda receives the EMPA Work Life Award at the Ann Arbor Film Festival, and ties for Best Animated Film at the Big Muddy Film Festival.
A television commercial White directed for OfficeMax is included in the permanent collection at The Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Magda makes its world premiere in the Rotterdam International Film Festival, and its North American premiere in the Portland International Film Festival.
Magda wins the Grand Jury Award for Best Animated Short in the Florida Film Festival.
Eclipse screens at the Images Festival in Toronto, and wins jury prizes at the Kansas City Filmmakers Jubilee and Ann Arbor Film Festival.
Two televison commercials directed by Chel White are included in the Annecy Festival of Animation in France.
Chel White gives a retrospective of his films and lecture as a part of the Humboldt Film Festival.
Magda wins Best Animated Film and Best of Festival in the Northwest Film + Video Festival. The film also plays a run of International Film Festivals, including Clermont-Ferrand, Stockholm, Brussels, Seattle, Calgary, Chicago, L’Alternativa (Barcelona), Hamburg, Portland, and the World Wide Film Festival in Toronto.
Passage awarded Best Experimental Film in the Kansas City Filmmakers Jubilee, and a Silver Award from Worldfest-Houston.
Chel White goes on the Southern Circuit tour of colleges and universities with a retrospective of his short films.
Chel White’s film New York airs on The Sundance Channel as a part of “9 Views on 9-11”, corresponding with the one year anniversary of the tragedy. New York is also included in “Underground Zero” a touring program of films by several artists made in response to the events of September 11th, 2001. The profits from screenings raise money for September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows.
Passage screens in Frontier Shorts as a part of the Sundance Film Festival, and is featured as a part of the Cork Film Festival in Ireland.
Chel White is commissioned by Do Jump to create moving image works for live performance.
Passage awarded Best FilmScape in the Arizona Int’l Film Festival, and a Silver Award from the Big Muddy Film Festival.
Chel White is awarded a Creative Capital grant for the development of a feature film script.
Passage makes its world premiere in the Oregon Symphony’s Film Harmonic, a performance of silent films with live orchestral accompaniment.
Choreography for Copy Machine screens in a special program of Portland Animation at the Sundance Film Festival.
Soulmate awarded Best Narrative Film in both the Big Muddy and Humboldt Film Festivals. The film’s lead actress Vana O’Brien wins Best Actress at Big Muddy. Soulmate is also awarded Best Experimental Film in the Convergence Festival, Providence, Rhode Island, and wins a jury prize in the Ann Arbor Film Festival.
Peace Out, a television commercial White directed for Lugz shoes, wins Honorable Mention at the British Design & Art Direction awards.
Chel White is nominated for both a Rockefeller Fellowship and an Alpert Award in the Arts.
Soulmate receives award for Best Narrative Film and Audience Award in the Northwest Film & Video Festival.
White curates Naked Cinema, a screening of short independent films, including works by Jay Rosenblatt, Matt McCormick, Lorelei Pepi, and Leighton Pierce. Northwest Film Center, Portland, Oregon.
Dirt screens in competition at the Sundance Film Festival.
White is awarded an Oregon Arts Commission grant and a Regional Arts & Culture Council grant for the production of Soulmate.
Dirt awarded Best Experimental Film in the USA Film Festival.
Chel White produces Poetry and the 1950’s: Homage to the Beat Generation, an audio disk of spoken word, read by writer Robert Briggs.
Dirt takes the prize for Best Short Film in the Stockholm International Film Festival.
Chel White gives his first formal retrospective screening at the Northwest Film Center, Portland Art Museum.
White is awarded a Pacific Pioneer Fund grant for a documentary project.
Choreography for Copy Machine shows at the Stuttgart Festival of Animation Film as part of 10th Anniversary Highlights program.
Love and Other Difficulties screens at the Smithsonian Museum, through the Black Maria Film Festival, where the film also wins a Director’s Award.
Choreography for Copy Machine airs on the acclaimed PBS television series Alive TV.
Cottonmouth, Texas (trilogy) receives Judge’s Award in the Northwest Film & Video Festival.
A television commercial White directs for Fila wins a Clio Award, and is included in the permanent collection at The Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Chel White creates visual effects scenes for Gus Van Sant’s feature film To Die For.
Joan Gratz’s Mona Lisa Descending a Staircase, a film Chel White created music and sound design for, wins the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Subject.
Choreography for Copy Machine screens in the Berlin and Rotterdam International Film Festivals.
Choreography for Copy Machine is featured in the Zagreb and Hiroshima Animation Festivals.
Chel White works as the visual effects supervisor on Gus Van Sant’s Even Cowgirls Get the Blues. He also plays the role of a brain surgeon opposite Uma Thurman.
Choreography for Copy Machine awarded Best Animated Film in the both the Ann Arbor Film Festival and the USA Film Festival, and wins the Gold Plaque in Animation at the Chicago International Film Festival.
Choreography for Copy Machine tours theatrically in the 23rd Tournee of Animation.
Funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, White is commissioned by Oslund & Company Dance to create moving image works for live performance.