The Pander Bros discuss their new film SELFLESS
SELFLESS screened to a full house yesterday, and prompted a lively Q&A after the show. Tomorrow, Saturday, SELFLESS screens at 9:15pm at the Santa Fe Film Center, 1616 St. Michael's Drive. We hope you'll join us then for the final screening of SELFLESS at the Santa Fe Film Festival.
The brothers will be guests for an in-store signing of their graphic novels at TRUE BELIEVERS COMICS, Saturday, Dec 6th from 12pm to 3pm. 801 Cerrillos Rd., STE B, Santa Fe, NM (505) 922-8783
While still in their teens, the Pander Bros. helped forge the independent comics revolution with their high-style artwork that pushed the boundaries of the medium on such breakout series as GRENDEL: Devil’s Legacy and Triple X. The legendary artists behind 65 books to date, their portfolio includes three graphic novels, ten series, and 15 stand-alone issues for such major publishers as Marvel, DC Comics and Dark Horse. They’ve also served as the creators and writers of Batman: City of Light and Batman: Apocalypse Girl, and most recently their new graphic novel, ACCELERATE, published by Image Comics.
The Panders Bros.’ work in film includes 15 music videos (seven of them for Palm Pictures); the concept for Gus Van Sant’s “Runaway” video for Deee-Lite; the award-winning cult classic, “The Operation”; the feature-length documentary, “Painted Life”; and a series of shorts.
The sons of prominent Northwest painter Henk Pander, who emigrated to the U.S. from the Netherlands in the 1960s, and a mother who received her masters degree in fine arts, the brothers were encouraged to explore their creativity from the time they could hold a crayon. As kids, they were back-stage regulars at Portland’s landmark Storefront Theater, where their father designed installations and stage sets. By their preteens, Arnold was consumed with drawing ‘superheroes’ and Jacob, though equally gifted with a pen and brush, was already plotting out his first movie, inspired by such late night TV serials as “Flash Gordon.”
Their first 8mm film, “War is Hell,” was directed by Jacob at age 12, and starred Arnold, 10, as an ambushed soldier. (To his teacher’s horror, Jacob poked holes through the film stock to create the illusion of gun fire flashes.) Their first 16mm film, “Time Gate,” two years later, found Arnold stranded in an apocalyptic future. Their first pen-and-paper collaboration, around the same time, was the comic strip, Gamma World, which ran in their high school newspaper. Their first after-school jobs were in the Future Dreams comic book store (Arnold) and at a local art house theater (Jacob).
Indeed, it was as a result of Arnold leaving one his drawings behind at Future Dreams, when he quit the job, that their first big break came only a year out of high school. Popular comic book author Matt Wagner spotted it and had Comico sign them to create the covers and inside illustrations for his GRENDEL: Devil’s Legacy series. Overnight, they went from “selling Christmas cards out of our shoulder bags” to being able to afford a trip to the family homeland when it was over. The 12-issue series set a new sales record for an independent comic book (on a par with Marvel and DC Comics), merited nominations for the coveted Eisner and Manning Awards, and scored the industry’s top fans-choice award for the duo.
While working on the 4-issue mini-series, Ginger Fox, for Comico, the brothers spent much of the next two years in Amsterdam, developing their own monumental work, Triple X, published by Dark Horse Comics in the mid-1990s.
The futuristic 7-issue series and its 1997 graphic novel were hailed by critics on both sides of the Atlantic. Among them, Huh Magazine in the U.K. called Triple X “a global comic book piece de resistance…It reads like an illustrated James Bond novel…The brothers’ previous work inspired a bunch of well-deserved acclaim, but nothing quite matches the cinematic scope utilized throughout XXX. This ain’t your typical comic. It actively engages the reader in the story, making it something of an interactive comic adventure.” Spin magazine labeled it “a wild agitpop thriller,” and Anodyne declared: “When it was all said and done, Triple X challenged people’s perceptions of what comics could be.”
Among other notable projects, the Pander Bros. created the groundbreaking “Secret Broadcast” comic book/companion audio CD tribute to renegade radio. Designed to function as a soundtrack to its published counterpart, the album featured tracks from such artists as reggae-rapper Jamal-Ski, DJ and musician Zeb, hip hop electronica artist Supersoul, and producer/songwriter Mark Pistel. With the Dark Horse mini-series, Exquisite Corpse, the first comic book designed to be read in any order, they were thrust into the middle of an international controversy, when it was banned in several countries.
After studying 16mm filmmaking at the Northwest Film & Video Center and serving as an apprentice editor on the 35mm feature, “Shadow Play,” Jacob launched his professional career in the 1990s with a series of shorts infused with rebellious humor. Among them, “The Spirit of 76” featured painter and sculptor Tom Cramer, whose volatile and unpredictable interview style keeps the viewer on constant edge as the artist probes the meaning and American zeitgeist of the early 1990s ; “Media Hijack” was a 20-minute visual narrative blending repurchased media images and sound; and “The Other Side of the Tracks” chronicled a day in the life of three heroin addicts.
In 1992, Jacob was hired by Frontier Records to shoot his first music video, “Light in You,” for Dharma Bums, which received extensive play on MTV. Among the others, the brothers conceived, directed and produced Hitting Birth’s “Drive On,” the winner of the Oregon Cascade Award, and the half-hour concept film, “Suck it and See,” for Palm Pictures, which featured such international electronic artists as Howie B., Fantastic Plastic Machine, Spacer, and DJ Miku.
In 2002, Jacob’s “Painted Life” provided a riveting look into the creative process behind his father’s internationally-celebrated work in still lifes. Filmed over a period of seven years and funded in part by a grant from the Oregon Arts Commission, the feature-length documentary became an official selection of the Northwest Film Festival and was screened at Seattle’s prestigious Fry Art Museum.
Long fixtures on Portland’s cultural scene, the brothers co-founded the landmark FUSE Gallery during the 1990s. Patterned loosely on Andy Warhol’s Factory, the non-profit collective of art studios was a showcase for eclectic, artist-driven dance, theater, and alternative music and film events. Among them, Gus Van Sant premiered his short film, “God Bless America,” written by and starring William S. Burroughs.
As fine artists, they also frequently exhibit at one of the city’s leading venues, the Mark Woolley Gallery. Jacob has also shown in New York – when a collaborative media installation he produced with noted experimental filmmaker Steve Doughton, featuring music by acclaimed electronica artist Aphex Twin, was mounted at the Mary Ann Boesky Gallery in Soho.