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(1964– ). American artist and filmmaker.

Wrote, directed, produced, and provided voices for: Guidolon the Giant Space Chicken (animated short) (2007).

Provided art for: Earthlings: Ugly Bags of Mostly Water (documentary) (Alexandre O. Philippe 2005).

For obvious reasons, an encyclopedia like this one must devote the bulk of its attention to those creative personnel who work for major studios and television networks, those who have access to millions of dollars and those who attract millions of viewers. For better of worse, these people create the works that are most familiar and, hence, most interesting, to most readers. However, while the tools of filmmaking were once accessible only to persons with cash, clout, and/or obsessive determination, modern technology now makes it possible for almost anyone to make a film. True, the resulting films may look crude and cheap, and they may find only a handful of viewers who browse through YouTube, but they collectively represent a vast new underground film industry that, amidst its inevitable legions of forgettable fumblers, may also nurture genuine, distinctive talents who merit some attention. As one representative of these unheralded masses outside the circle of professional filmmaking, let us consider Frank Wu.

Although he primarily supports himself with a day job, Wu has long been appreciated as a science fiction artist, twice winning the Hugo Award for Best Fan Artist, and his connections have led to a few film assignments—providing artwork for the documentary Earthlings: Ugly Bags of Mostly Water and playing a small role in Saving Pockets (2005), a "mockumentary" about the terrible health care given to homeless people. But a desire to make his own films led him to start his own company, Gadalin Productions, and produce a memorable short film, Guidolon the Giant Space Chicken —announced as the pilot for a television series, though the implausibility of this outcome leads one to suspect that this description is just another one of the film's sly witticisms.

Guidolon should not be overpraised: its limited animation is extremely limited indeed, and the film is oddly fragmentary, inspiring the feeling that one is watching brief excerpts from a longer film that would more fully and more coherently tell the story of Guidolon, the giant monster who failed to become a star after one disastrous film in the 1960s and is now struggling to revive his career by making a new movie about himself. But the visualizations of Guidolon and other monsters are delightful, and the film offers some inspired commentary about the reasons why we can no longer make the sorts of charmingly inane monster movies that dominated the 1950s and 1960s—reasons which range from the pretensions of contemporary film auteurs (at one point, Guidolon hires a Shakespearean actor to play himself, so as to make his saga a true Shakespearean tragedy) to the damaging influence of modern studio executives, who hire so-called experts (here personified as another monster) to save films but only end up ruining them.  Among many other things, Guidolon the Giant Space Chicken might be viewed as an extended explanation as to why Roland EMMERICH's American version of Godzilla was such a lamentable failure.

Whatever success Guidolon might achieve, it manifestly is not going to enable Wu to give up his day job, which means that his film career may long be limited to occasional short subjects, gradually crafted during evenings and weekends. But during a month when the mighty voices of the major media were insisting that we waste our time viewing inept monstrosities like Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, it was refreshing indeed to spend eleven minutes watching Guidolon the Giant Space Chicken, and all one can wish for in conclusion is: more power to the anonymous minions like Frank Wu who are reinventing film at the ground level, and less power to the famous celebrities who, now, this encyclopedia must necessarily turn its attention to again.

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