Blaze Orange

Street musicians are occasionally viewed as unemployed bums and social disturbances. In “Blaze Orange”, Kevin Kilduff takes a more personal look at one musician’s struggle with surrounding venders and the law that forces viewers to recognize a contrasting perception.

Tom Ryan plays his piccolo on State Street in Madison, Wisconsin that is designed to showcase musicians and rhetoricians. He’s no ordinary street musician; he wears loud orange clothing and plays a high-pitched instrument. Some people, like Kilduff, find him interesting. However, the street venders that occupy this street find Ryan’s style of music to be annoying. They have also been successful at getting the law involved in convicting Ryan of “unreasonable noise.” Kilduff digs deeper into Ryan’s personal life and the cases brought against him to produce an intriguing yet disorganized storyline.

Kilduff does a great job of allowing the viewer to see deeper into Ryan that builds compassion and attachment. He attempts to show an unbiased perspective with vender interviews as well as people that are in favor of Ryan’s music.

Weakness lies in the structure of the story, which lacks elevation and flow. The story dives deeper into Ryan’s life without suspense or careful timing. Another issue is the integration of venders’ comments throughout the story. The story would benefit more if the venders were simply a set-up instead of an element that is continually revisited.

Kilduff’s camera shots for the interviews is consistent, which is nice, but it comes across as uncreative. An oddity of Kilduff’s style is his use of black and white at the closing of the film. First instincts would say it’s unnecessary, but the second is that it’s a creative way to fade out of a film.

Kilduff’s idea to explore deeper into a life of a street musician, especially one with such an interesting lifestyle, is commendable. He takes the viewer into another world, informing us of a local fame and possibly alters viewers’ thoughts on street musicians.

"Blaze Orange" is won the Best Student Film Documentary at the 2005 Wisconsin Film Festival. View Kevin Kilduff's film: http://www.kevinkilduff.com/blazeorange/


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