Indie Grits Festival | April 12-15 2018

Amarillo Ramp

Saturday, April 14 at 3:10 PM
Sunday, April 15 at 4:30 PM

Shorts Block: Travel the Earth
Bill Brown & Sabine Gruffat | Chapel Hill, NC | 25 min
Genre: Experimental 

In 1973, at the age of 35, pioneering land artist Robert Smithson died in a plane crash on the outskirts of Amarillo, Texas, on the edge of a dried-up artificial lake, while surveying the site of his final earthwork, Amarillo Ramp. Beautifully photographed, this experimental short takes us back to that site to reconsider Smithson’s earthwork within a broader context of environmental degradation and climate change.

Buy Tickets 04/14 Buy Tickets 04/15


Meet The Filmmakers

We asked our filmmakers some questions about them and their work. For further questions, join us at the designated post-screening Q+A!

1. What is your connection to the South?

Bill and Sabine: We’re transplants from Wisconsin who live in the kudzu-twined, magnolia-scented, sweet tea swilling town of Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

2. Where did you get your inspiration for this work?

Bill: I’m from Lubbock, located just down the road from Amarillo, Texas. Years back, Sabine came to visit me, and I hoped to show her interesting stuff in a part of the country that has a reputation for being dull as dirt. We went to Turkey, Texas, and we visited the Cadillac Ranch, and we made arrangements to go out to sculptor Robert Smithson’s Amarillo Ramp, which I’d heard about but had never seen. That was the start.

3. How did you start making films?

Sabine: We visited the Ramp over a number of years. Eventually, we began to shoot film. Each visit, we’d learn a little more and shoot a little more. The film evolved as our contact with and understanding of the Ramp and its context increased over time.

4. Did anything interesting or funny happen on set during the shooting?

Bill: To get out to Amarillo Ramp, you needed an escort provided by the owner, the late Stanley Marsh 3. The first time we visited the Ramp, years back, we were escorted by a young skinny art student wearing a way-too-big cowboy hat. The kid was our tour guide for the day. He picked us up in an old SUV covered fender to fender with American flag decals, and he proceeded to drive us out to the Ramp at breakneck speed. The road to the Ramp gets progressively worse, till it’s just a dirt track littered with cow paddies.The worse the road got, the faster our tour guide drove. When we finally got to the site, we were happy to be alive. A few months later, we heard that our escort flipped the SUV while driving some visitors to the Ramp. Everyone survived, but the car got totaled, and the art kid got fired.

5. What do you look forward to the most during Indie Grits?

Sabine and Bill: Seeing tons of great films & eating boiled peanuts!

6. Why should someone see your film?

Sabine: Our film is an encounter with Robert Smithson’s work of art, but it’s also an exploration of the place where it’s located: the wide-open range country just outside Amarillo, Texas. We made an effort to illuminate the physical and geographical context of the Ramp, as well as the Ramp itself. The Ramp is fascinating, but so is the unlikely cluster of human artifacts that surround it: Cadillac Ranch; the Big Texan Steakhouse; oil pumps and wind farms that stretch off into the distance. It’s an extraordinary landscape.

Film Shorts

“In Dog Beers I’ve Only Had Two”: A Lesson for Beginners
A Name That I Admire
All Fried: Carolina Fish Camps
All The Beautiful Girls
All The In-Between
Amarillo Ramp
An Accidental Drowning
Atlantic City
Baby Oil
below the neck, above the knees
Blanko – “Hallelujah”
Bless These Sounds Under the City – “THE SLEEPING 8”
The BLM Bridge Protest: One Year Later
Can’t Kids – “Coperroni”
The Checkout Line
Cowgirl Up
CPS Closings & Delays
Dishing Out Community
dragons & seraphim
Elizabeth Sees
F E B R A – “Fasterrrr”
Flagged: An American Love Story
Fluid Frontiers
Forgive Me
Fruit Don’t Fall Far
Gays for Trump?
Girls Rock Columbia
Grand Dragon
Growing Girl
Hair Wolf
Hardcore Wrestling Alliance
Kaye the Beast – “HEARD”
Kevin Devine – “Couldn’t Be Happier”
Kim Bush’s Abduction
Levitate, Levitate, Levitate
Lost Touch
me and my army
My Body Is Not My Own
My Name Is Marc, And You Can Count On It
Not For Medical Use
Nothing A Little Soap Can’t Fix
Ol Scratch
Pak Anggir
The Passages of Pride
Post Nuke
Prayer for Roy Moore
Recuerdos de Sangre / Blood Memories
Roadside Attraction
Sequoyah – “Blue Jays”
Serpents and Doves
Siler City: Bienvenido a Trabajar
Skater Boy and Friendly Cop
Socks on Fire: Uncle John and the Copper Headed Water Rattlers
Station 15
Steve’s Kinkoes
Sweet Nothing
This My Favorite Mural
Three Legged Dog
Tiger Toilet
The Traveler Takamure
You Can’t Play With Us