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The Survival of the Wildebeest
(DVD)

DIRECTED BY - Joe Wolf


Stuart Ross, an inner city public high school teacher by day and a guerrilla artist by night has discovered the delicate balance of a nine to five and his passion, art. Avid dumpster diver and self proclaimed engineer and inventor, without even a day's worth of formal art training, he is nothing short of a phenomenon. The Survival of the Wildebeest is a compelling documentary about life, passion, curiosity and learning that depicts 8 months of intense "Ross-reality." A wildebeest in the jungle of Manhattan, Stuart Ross most show us what makes him different than the thousands of other emerging artists all around him and survive the treacherous elements that he will encounter on the creative journey of a lifetime. In just 80 days, he must prepare for the largest showcase of his artistic career.

 

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Film Info

RUNTIME - 88 minutes

RATING - Not Rated

YEAR - 2008

FORMAT - DVD Region All

COUNTRY - United States

LANGUAGE - English

ATTRIBUTES - Widescreen, Color, Stereo

Director

Joe Wolf

Subject

Stuart Ross

Cinematographer

Jonathan Wolff

Cinematographer

Andrea Restivo

Executive Producer

Abe Wolf

Press

"SURVIVAL OF THE WILDEBEEST, director Joe Wolf's first film since graduating from Chicago's Columbia College, features the idiosyncratic artistic styling of self-proclaimed sculptor Stuart Ross. The film opens with a graphic look at the inside of a slaughterhouse where animals are unceremoniously sliced in pieces, hung from the ceilings, ground into chuck, and squeezed into sausage. This emblematic opening is clearly attempting to make a statement about teacher/artist Stuart Ross; he is the wildebeest, trying desperately to stay afloat in the worlds of art and life.

The premise of the film (devised by Joe Wolf) focuses on the eighty days before the opening of Ross' art show. His careful mastery of the inter workings of light, wood, and metal lends itself to the creation of truly unique, interesting, and virtually indestructible finished products (as seen in the film when a friend attempts to drive a nail through one of his metal pieces). Ross is the epitome of entrepreneurial artistic genius; his quirky socially conscious, lets-go-nail-pieces-of-wood-to-stop-signs-and-light-posts, style is a pleasure to witness on the screen. However, Ross is more than his work, and it is this aspect that makes him a truly relatable and interesting person to behold. Everything from his conversation with a cell phone company representative to his troubled relationship with his father makes us understand him as more than an artist--the film successfully captures Ross as a dynamic and multi-faceted person.

Although the film is a times painfully slow and somewhat longwinded, it is well worth the occasional tedium. Survival of the Wildebeest is a story about a real man with real failures and real successes. It delightfully depicts the essence of personal and financial struggle, while maintaining a certain measure of hope. Stuart Ross is a surviving artist, teacher, friend, son, and human."

-Meghan Riordan, Beyond Race Magazine

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