Fifth-year senior and film studies major Jim Babb makes films that span genres from narrative to avant-garde and incorporate an array of media and techniques.
One of the themes Babb is interested in is the public’s relationship to the media and pop culture.
“I’m interested in low art, low culture – pop television shows, pornography, terrible things like that. They’re not terrible, but that’s the value that we put on them,” he said.
He explores these interests through films that incorporate a mixture of live action, archival footage and snippets of campy movies – a pastiche of elements our culture has dismissed as low brow but which Babb contends carry deep meaning.
Babb and his production team, GlobalProbing, recently won first place at the Boulder Shoot Out 24 Hour Film Festival. The contest required participants to make a seven-minute film in 24 hours or less, editing entirely on the camera.
GlobalProbing’s winning film, “To Catch a Giggler,” tells the story of a man who travels back in time to prevent a mysterious and insane “giggler” from blowing up the Boulder Theater. Babb directed the film and co-wrote the screenplay with Tanner Ringerud.
“We tried to make it as epic as possible,” Babb said.
This was the second consecutive first-place finish for GlobalProbing in the film festival.
“(This year) it was more of a test to see what we could do. We had twins, explosions, underwater shots, special effects, drama, comedy. It was really fun to make,” he said.
Babb’s interest in film began when he was in his early teens, playing with his parents’ video camera.
“I made all sorts of weird things. It’s very interesting how much the medium shaped my childhood,” he said. “It’s definitely why I became a filmmaker.”
Originally from Fort Collins, Babb began his college career at the University of Wyoming studying environmental engineering.
“I kind of use an engineering approach to filmmaking,” he said. “I try to communicate ideas through symbols. Sort of a film engineer.”
Much of Babb’s personal work is avant-garde and experimental, influenced by filmmakers such as Kenneth Anger and George Kuchar. In one film, “Left Behind,” Babb physically manipulated VHS tape with his fingers and magnets to produce certain visual effects. “Left Behind” won two awards at CU.
Babb, who is graduating this year, plans on pursuing film in the future but is unsure of exactly what he wants to do with his degree.
“Maybe I’ll try to get an industry job in Toronto or New York, maybe San Francisco,” he said. “Do editing, continue making my own movies, maybe go to grad school and teach. It’s all kind of up in the air right now.”
Babb’s films “Master of Beats, Y’all,” “Holy Contrapasso, Mister Miyagi,” and “To Catch a Giggler” can be viewed online at http://youtube.com/globalprobing.