LA Weekly: No Satisfaction Yet in the Search for Captain Henry Morgan’s Satisfaction

| JANUARY 18, 2013 | 7:00AM
The Unsinkable Henry Morgan isn’t your typical documentary. Following the search for the eponymous Captain Morgan’s lost flagship, The Satisfaction, the film reads more like an episode of MTV’s Laguna Beach or The Hills than anything you’d see on The History Channel. But that decision was intentional on director Michael Haussman’s part: to treat these eight specialists, led by underwater archaeologist Fritz Hanselman, like characters in a feature charged “to move the storyboard” along.

This approach fits with Haussman’s goal of finding the narrative in any medium, be it music videos (such as Justin Timberlake’s Sexyback or Kanye West’s Jesus Walks) or commercials. But also, when Michael first got the call about directing the 30-minute film, he thought he was going to be making a mockumentary. “I didn’t even know Captain Morgan was real,” he explains to a small audience that’s gathered at the film’s pre-Sundance screening at the Downtown Independent on Jan. 15.

Like many, he thought the pirate was simply a fictional figure chosen by the rum company, who helped fund this project, to represent their brand. So, the central question of the film became: “How do we put a true identity around him?”

Hoping to avoid the unnecessary drama and gravity of many documentaries of this nature, Haussman intentionally introduced these experts in a comedic fashion. “The point was to knock the pretentiousness out of [the documentary],” he tells the Weekly. “So let’s make everyone fuck up in the beginning — not in a clichéd way. Make everyone unknowing.” We see the archaeologist Hanselman struggling to describe his feelings over finding Captain Morgan’s guns, the biographer snoozing on the boat, and the model maker asking everyone the same question, “How long is The Satisfaction?”

At first, you wonder why the documentary would feature a model maker or Academy Award winning costume designer Colleen Atwood painstakingly creating imagined replicas of Henry Morgan’s ship and coat. Wouldn’t actual artifacts be preferable? They would.

But, by the end, you realize that these recreations are necessary to augment the quest for Morgan’s flagship and its related contents during this two-week shoot. Because the sunken ship they excavate proves to be not The Satisfaction after all.

Archaeology is a waiting game. And by endearing Hanselman and his team to the audience, the director hopes we will remain invested as the archaeological team optimistically returns to Panama next summer in search of The Satisfaction. Hopefully, this time, they will be more successful in their treasure hunt.

In the meantime, though, we’ve still got the rum. (“Drink responsibly. Captain’s orders!”)

The Unsinkable Henry Morganairs this Sunday, Jan. 20, on the Sundance Channel at 9:35 p.m.

You can catch Haussman’s art show, Gravity, starting Jan. 17 in the Pacific Design Center.

Read the full article on LA Weekly

Haussman’s ‘Unsinkable Henry Morgan’ featured in Sherrie Li’s LA WEEKLY Blog

No Satisfaction Yet in the Search for Captain Henry Morgan’s Satisfaction

Click here to read the article.

Michael Haussman’s “GRAVITY” featured in LA Weekly

10 Great Artworks at Art Platform Los Angeles Art Fair
3. Michael Haussman at Young Projects Gallery

This dispatch from the ugly/sexy aesthetic wing of modern art comes courtesy of video-centric Young Projects Gallery, which presented a series of large-scale video pieces distributed throughout the fair. Considering his career as a commercial, video, and fashion editorial director, it is perhaps not surprising that Haussman would utilize both cutting-edge software and his up-close look at body-image obsession to create this super-creepy video work that transforms footage of a model jumping on a trampoline into an unsettling meditation on the effects of gravity (and by extension, the ravages of aging) on the female body.

Click here to read the article.

Madonna: Songs We Love – Hear Some Of The Singer’s Greatest Hits, With Commentary From NPR Staffers

August 16, 2011 12:06 PM ET

Keith Jenkins, NPR Multimedia Senior Producer

  • Take a Bow
  • from Bedtime Stories
  • by Madonna

As a magazine photographer who came of age in the 1990s, I owe a debt of gratitude to Madonna. If Michael Jackson introduced us to the concept of music video as short film, then Madonna raised it to high visual art. Just as her music evolved into lush, ever-changing canvases for her various incarnations, the “pictures” of her metamorphoses were often re-created in her videos. They never left much to the imagination; rather, they became your imagination, with Madonna’s vision for her songs drilling into your brain, unlocking your waking eye. Director Michael Haussman’s 1994 “Take a Bow” does that for me; its rich, sensually framed sepia tones only partially obscure the song’s meditations on love, sacrifice and death. Because of its Spanish, Catholic and bullfighting themes, many read it as Madonna’s attempt to lock up the role of Eva Peron in the film version of Evita. I, however, think Carmen, as Madonna gives us a four-and-a-half-minute opera channeling Bizet’s classic, at least in my eyes. “Take a Bow” is a slow, smoldering visual feast, and its music washes over you and gets your blood boiling. You may not walk on water after hearing it, but you may want to get your focus back by walking on broken glass.

Read the full article from NPR 

The Last Serious Thing

Last Serious ThingThe Last Serious Thing follows the lives of two of Spain’s most famous matadors, Francisco Ordonez and Emilio Munoz, as they compete during the 1999 Bullfight season. It contrasts the difference between art and sport and rides the tension of one on his way up and the other near the end of his career.

Click the image above to view the trailer.