Q1 2024

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12 C I N E M O N T A G E U N I O N M A D E By Joel Watson M y f irst memory, whether real or partially imagined, was be- ing carried by my parents into a 1977 screening of "Star Wars." Though I was only three and definitely illiterate, I can remember somehow reading the mar- quee for a seminal f ilm I would end up sleeping through. I can chart the rest of my southern Indiana childhood with movies that left their mark on me. At six, attending "The Empire Strikes Back" at the mall with my father after he treated me to a pop-up book of the very same film at Waldenbooks. At eight, demanding to be dropped o for repeated theatrical viewings of "E.T. the Extra-Terrestial." At nine, being forever beautifully scarred from an over-my-un- cle's-shoulder home video viewing of John Carpenter's "The Thing" and barely sleep- ing the following two weeks. At ten, being absolutely flattened by the twin wonders of "Ghostbusters" and "Gremlins." Shortly thereafter, I learned movies were not the result of a string of synced cameras capturing a live event documenta- ry-style; rather, each shot was painstakingly constructed before being stitched together in a magical process. That led me to realize there were filmmakers working behind the scenes: Steven Spielberg! George Lu- cas! John Carpenter! At that point it was settled — I would make movies like those luminaries. There was simply nothing else that would do. With a handful of friends, I started making a yearly video or 8mm claymation Joel Watson. WIMP TUT STRIKES BACK AN INDIANA CHILDHOOD PROVIDED THE PERFECT PRELUDE FOR A FILMMAKING CAREER SEE PAGE 60

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