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New Doug Pray Film is Seismic in Art World

A new film by Doug Pray '83 already is garnering rock-solid accolades. "Levitated Mass," directed and edited by Pray, with cinematography by Pray and Ed Stevens, a member of the Colorado College Class of 2009, focuses on the 10-day journey of a 340-ton rock in Southern California that became a major news event in 2012.

Subtitled "The Story of Michael Heizer's Monolithic Sculpture," the film, which opened Friday, Sept. 5 in Los Angeles, follows the rock's 105-mile journey from a quarry in Riverside, Calif., as it crawls through 22 cities and four counties on a football-field long, 206-wheeled transport to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, where it is installed on the wall of a 456-foot long concrete trench surrounded by 2.5 acres of compressed decomposed granite in the middle of the city.

The Wall Street Journal says the documentary is as much about persistence and bureaucracy as it is about class and art. As the boulder makes its way through the small towns of Southern California-representing every ethnicity and economic group-various locals make observations about the moving rock and project their emotions and visions onto it.

The also will be shown in Pasadena, Calif., Seattle, San Diego, Portland, Ore., Santa Fe, Chicago, and New York.

"Pray and his cinematographers do a superb job of capturing the grandeur of Heizer's work…" writes The Hollywood Reporter. "Nevertheless, the film will not convince everyone that this boulder perched precariously over a walkway at LACMA deserves to be considered the equal of venerated works by Old Masters inside the museum walls. But Pray does not browbeat viewers into applauding the artist's achievement. The filmmaker thoughtfully documents a phenomenon and allows the arguments to continue to rage after the lights come on."

Other documentaries by Pray, a sociology major at Colorado College, include the Emmy Award-winning "Art & Copy," a film about creativity and advertising; "Surfwise," the odyssey of the Paskowitz surfing family; "Big Rig," a 40,000-mile road film about independent, long-haul truck drivers; "Infamy," an intense journey into the lives and art of six notorious graffiti writers; "Scratch," a celebration of hip-hop DJs and turntablism; and his first film, "Hype!," about the emergence and explosion of the early '90s Seattle grunge music scene, and remains on Rolling Stone's Top 10 list of best rock DVD's of all time.

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