DISCOVERIES: Olympia Stone, “Curious Worlds: The Art & Imagination of David Beck” (3/6)

Olympia Stone-01Olympia Stone grew up in a house where the artworks outnumbered the family-members several hundred to one. Her father was Allan Stone, the Upper East Side gallerist whose talent for discovering talent changed the contemporary artworld as he had serial success knighting new art stars from 60s through 2006 (the year of his tragically premature death). When Olympia got older, she became more and more curious about who made these larger-than-life (some were 15-feet tall!) former roommates, and so she founded Floating Stone, a production company dedicated to making films that permit the public the kind of intimate access to art that she grew up cherishing. Her first three documentaries have been racking up audience awards and critical acclaim on the festival circuit in addition to airing on PBS, proving that she too has inherited her father’s talent for discovery, albeit in her own medium. Having known Olympia since we both played kiddie tennis together, I couldn’t be happier for her—all these years later, I still can’t wait to see what she’ll serve up next!
~Victoria C. Rowan, Ideasmyth Creatrix-in-Chief


The biggest change for me in approaching this film and subject was that I knew I could not film it myself—the limits of my skills as a cameraperson were abundantly clear, and the work of this incredible artist—David Beck—demanded highly skilled filming. Luckily, my cousin and his wife are both Directors of Photography and have years of experience working in LA in the film and commercial world, and they are responsible for shooting about 70% of the film. They did a great job, and I am really happy that I made this decision. However, it did take me out of my comfort zone of having intimate film shoots, where it is just me and my subject, or perhaps one other person filming.

David Beck, the subject of the film, is a wonderful but challenging subject—he is an incredibly private person, and wasn’t eager to delve into his personal life. Having known him almost my entire life (he was another of my father’s artists), we had a pretty close relationship. So that made approaching him about doing a film easier. He was very interested in having his artwork filmed, but I had to convince him that just showing the art without any information about the “maker” would not resonate with people in the same way. He still thinks the film has too much of “him” in it, and not enough about his art…but even so, he likes it!

See more of Olympia Stone’s Featured Creative posts on our Ideablog

OSheadshot2~~~Olympia Stone is an award-winning independent producer, director and editor of documentary films. Her intimate portrait of the artist James Grashow, The Cardboard Bernini, details his exhilarating quest to create an intricately detailed cardboard version of the Trevi fountain, which he intends to abandon to the elements. Broadcast nationwide on PBS in 2013-14, the film also won Best Documentary at the Art of Brooklyn Film Festival 2013, and was an official selection at Sebastopol, Santa Fe and 18 other festivals. Her first independent film, The Collector: Allan Stone’s Life in Art (2007), chronicles the obsessive collecting of her father, a New York art world gallerist whose habits and prescient scouting shaped his life and the lives of many in his artfully cluttered orbit.

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