Detroit-based production company, Gold House Media premiered a short documentary at Southwest Detroit’s Matrix Theater Company on March 30th. The Seams features Metro Detroit Ice Carver Jeff Prather, chronicling his attempt at completing and hopefully winning a national ice carving competition at the Bay Harbor Ice & Spice Festival in Northern Michigan.
“I’ve always liked sculpture. I’ve actually been trying to get into some other stuff. I’m losing a little bit of interest in having all of my work completely just literally go down the drain after I’m done with it.”
–Ice Carver Jeff Prather
Kevin Eckert of Detroit’s Gold House Media shot, directed, and edited this entertaining documentary featuring his childhood friend/Ice Carver Jeff Prather. Gold House, which has been in existence since 2010, has worked with local breakout performer Tunde Olaniran. The company is headed by partners and media artists Eckert and Natasha Beste, both originally from suburbs of Detroit.
Jeff Prather works in real estate and general contracting by day, but given the chance, he would do ice sculpting full time. The sculpting bug bit Prather back in 2004 at Dearborn City Hall outside of Detroit where he met his soon-to-be mentor. Prather went on to win multiple awards, provide the Henry Ford Community College Ice Carving Club with the much needed walk in freezer they would need to compete, and maintain their place as high level competitors in Metro-Detroit and abroad.
The Matrix Theatre Company in Detroit’s Mexicantown was a great choice for the premier of the film, bringing an intimacy that was very much appreciated especially after the film was over. Guests were treated to a variety of Prather’s home-brewed beer which of course was kept on ice below by a five foot sculpture of Oscar.
The Seams begins with Prather checking the condition of his tools and readying his gear for the start of what is going to be a two-day competition in snowy Bay Harbor. As Parther thoughtfully checks drills, chainsaws, extension cords and connections, he talks to the audience describing his fictitious, but well thought out, swallow-type sculpture.
As the film continues, the audience begins to enjoy watching Prather and his partner Scott Janowicz work on the ten-foot piece being carved out of 2,400 pound blocks of ice. The positivity and enthusiasm shown in this “bizarre” art keeps all eyes glued to the screen, not knowing what is really going on. Through these scenes with Prathers help you begin to understand what “The Seams” are. Feelings of pressure and excitement are mounting as night falls. Prather and Janowicz kick into high gear as the piece begins to take shape. It’s during this point of the film that you are able to get up close and personal with Prather and his piece.
Day Two begins with Prather readying himself for the the day that lie ahead and the final push to complete his sculpture within the time allowed. Aiding the tension of the soon approaching judging period is the most unsettling and distressing music albeit an original score. Composed by Mike Burridge and The Bean Stalkers, the delay laden music is appropriate and adds to the originality and credit of a well made production but at times can feel a bit heavy.
As the sculptor and partner rush to finish, twenty minutes before the judging is to take place, the distressing music begins again and the following shot shows a pile of crumbled cubes of ice. The demise of the piece is unknown.
Words by Robert-David Jones.
If you would like a copy of The Seams film contact email@example.com.
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