By Hook or By Crook

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BY HOOK OR BY CROOK (2001, 98 min, color, Steakhaus Productions) is a buddy film that chronicles three weeks in the life of a handsome, gender-bending, small-town butch with a nagging messiah-complex. Emotionally defeated since the death of her father, SHY heads to the big city to sink herself into a "life of crime". She is quickly distracted by VALENTINE, a deliriously expressive, wise-acre adoptee on a misguided search for her birthmother. The two freaky grifters join forces and learn the true meaning of "poise under pressure" in this visually stunning and wonderfully acted, anti-authoritarian tale of friendship, trust and redemption.

A true tragic-comedy, BY HOOK OR BY CROOK is like a female version of MIDNIGHT COWBOY—hilarious, poignant and brave, bringing grace and humor to its socially insightful subjects. It is also the first of its kind: It’s a movie about butches by butches and gives voice to a powerful new creative sensibility.

Shot at over 64 locations by indie vet D.P. Ann T. Rossetti (Go Fish) and directed with lush detail by first-time directors—the artist/rockstar duo Dodge and Howard—BY HOOK OR BY CROOK opens a carnival peephole into a world almost never before captured in a narrative film: the lives of real, working class butches (and the ladies who love them). A lucid piece of cinema verité with fearless moments of magic realism, this film is as rowdy as it is tender in its groundbreaking gender exploration and treatment of human fallibility, resilience and dignity. Sketches of mental illness and money troubles are made fresh with the rough and touching combination of rusty hot-rod glamour and unselfconscious vulnerability.

Exploiting the full potential of digital video, the film’s vibrating colors and luminous presence sustain a photographic vision, relaying imagery from an American gothic landscape without dipping toward sentimentality or the voyeur’s wink. The main characters, SHY and VALENTINE, live in and around this world with the intimacy of insiders, as well as the wariness of those who have been relegated to the outside. These characters are thus hauntingly familiar and completely original. With acutely unique stories and styles, this film deftly circumvents stereotype and posturing and rises to the task of portraying gorgeous human intricacy, with the incisive, self-reflective wit and generosity of a great novel. The premiere feature from Steakhaus and NGB Productions, the film also introduces acclaimed writer/performer Stanya Kahn, who brings original dialogue and a powerful performance as BILLIE. True grit and the sexiness of a naked landscape: BY HOOK OR BY CROOK is utterly post-post-modern, a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll.

Cast

Writer, Director, Co-Producer, Editor and "Valentine" - Harriet "Harry" Dodge is a visual artist, director, writer and performer whose work has shown in venues and galleries nationally including Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (SF), P.S. 122 (NY), Los Angeles MOCA, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, The Getty Research Institute and Elizabeth Dee Gallery (NY).

By Hook or By Crook, a narrative feature written and directed by Harry Dodge and Silas Howard was an official selection at 2002 Sundance and has garnered numerous awards including seven "Best Feature" honors. Hook is currently showing on the Sundance Channel and available in most video stores.

After earning her MFA at Bard College, Dodge is working on sculpture/installation; a project exploring matter, the object and nameability. Also current, in collaboration with Stanya Kahn, a series of experimental humorous video shorts including WINNER and official Sundance selection Let The Good Times Roll. Dodge has featured in numerous independent film and video projects, including John Waters’ Cecil B. Demented and Jenni Olson’s brand new Joy Of Life. Her work has been reviewed in numerous publications including Art Forum, New York Times, Variety and The Village Voice.

Dodge’s recent short story, HIGH FIVE FOR RAM DASS (A Work In Progress) was published in LTTR #4 and Soft Targets Journal of Theory, Art and Literature. Upcoming, in spring ’06, a collaborative show with Stanya Kahn at Elizabeth Dee (NY).

Dodge is also currently teaching visual art and screenwriting at University of California, San Diego.

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