Wholphin - DVD Magazine of Unseen Films
Issue 1

The second issue of Wholphin includes Steven Soderbergh's intense sci-fi homage to Godard; the Japanese "Bewitched" rescripted by Daniel Handler and writers of the Daily Show; a hallucinogenic tale of murder and absolution, featuring Boris Karloff's melting head; Donald Trump channeling Citizen Kane; two Oscar-nominated shorts; a miraculous, scientific discovery 7000 feet below sea; a gothic horror mystery about an aeronautical navigator, his plague-ridden home, and the blood-sucking beast with the antiserum; American Storage, a short that is soon to become a feature; an instructional video on "poke-poling a monkey-faced eel"; and a special moment with Andy Ritcher.

This issue will also include a free bonus disc containing Part One of Adam Curtis's highly acclaimed documentary, The Power of Nightmares, which follows the simultaneous rise of Islamic fundamentalism and American neoconservative thought.

Born Like Stars


Scientific Discovery

How To: Poke Pole A Monkey-Faced Eel

Instructional Video with KIRK LOMBARD


The Competition

Directed by WHOLPHIN


The Pity Card

Directed by BOB ODENKIRK

Is the best place for a first date really the Holocaust Museum?

Sour Death Balls

Directed by JESSICA YU

A painfully sour attack on your salivary glands.

The Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello


Set in a world of iron dirigibles and steam powered computers, this gothic horror mystery tells the story of Jasper Morello, a disgraced aerial navigator who flees his Plague-ridden home on a desperate voyage to redeem himself.

American Storage



Building No. 7



Home, James, And Don't Spare The Horses

Directed by JOHN DOLAN


The Mesmerist




Directed by MARK OSBORNE


The Movie Movie (An Excerpt)

Directed by ERROL MORRIS


Okusama Wa Majo ("My Wife's A Witch")


Rescripted Japanese Sitcom, with scripts by Daniel Handler, Rich Blomquist, Scott Jacobson, Jason Reich & Dan Kennedy

Bonus Disk: The Power of Nightmares

Part One: Baby It's Cold Outside

Directed by ADAM CURTIS

Liner Notes

The Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello

A Brief Interview with Academy Award nominated director, Anthony Lucas, whose short film, The Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello.

Q: What, or rather Who are you going to wear to the Oscars? Are designers coming out of the woodwork to send you their wares?

A: A suit by Cubec Clothing. They sure were.

Q: What single item do you most hope is in the nominee schwag bag?

A: I didn't know there was a showbag.

Q: Do you get a plus one? If so, who are you taking?

A: Co-producer [wife].

Q: Did you get invited to the Vanity Fair party? I hear that's a real scene.

A: No invite, but I believe if you show up with gold statuette its a breeze.

Q: If you win, what will your acceptance speech be like? Will it be of the "I'd just like to thank God and my agent" variety, or will you do the right thing and rant obscure political views until dragged from the stage?

A: I thought maybe a kind of random sobbing and mumbled words type deal.

Q: What is the next adventure for Jasper? Please, just a hint.

A: What is life really, and can machine be more human than man.

Q: What is the worst disease you've ever contracted?

A: Children.

Q: Are scientists evil?

A: They tend that way- it's an age thing.

Q: Why do you make films?

A: Unemployable.

The Pity Card

"The Celebration", "Husbands and Wives", "The Office (BBC version)"; I like all these things and tried to steal something from each of them for "Derek and Simon". Having said that, mostly I just wanted to work with Derek Waters and Simon Helberg, two really funny actors who really are friends and really are a comically perfect pairing. Having said that, I simply wanted to make some TV that I could watch without cringing, or feeling like I was being yelled at by the TV. The TV yells at me, you see. It doesn't tell me to kill strangers or wash my hands over and over, it just yells "LOOK AT ME, I'M BEING FUNNY, AREN'T I?!!" And I usually yell back (in my head) "Nope. No, you're not." And then we have a stare-off. Having said that, please forget everything I've said and just watch.

Sour Death Balls

So enough years have passed to go on the record. Yeah, it was a struggle to make SOUR DEATH BALLS. The project generated a lot of buzz from the get-go. I was in talks with Warner Brothers for months, but they balked at my insistence on casting unknowns. It would be perfect for Jodie, theyd say. I knew what that meant. Attach the big name and a few months later, SDB becomes A Film By someone else.

With other studios the battle was over the films projected length. Couldnt I just add, say, another 85 minutes or so? No, I wasnt willing to sacrifice my vision so they could sell more popcorn. Sometimes the sticking point was the sour death ball itself. Was its extreme sourness enough to wow the 18-25 crowd? Couldnt it also burst into flame? And was I aware that shooting in black and white would kill box office? The doubters started to line up and take numbers.

I came closest to making the film with Paramount, but that fell apart as well. The film, they felt, was simply too bleak, the sour death ball too relentless in its attack. As one executive infamously protested: Its just that, in the end, the sour death ball is still soń∂ sour. Couldnt it sweeten up a little?

"Look," I said. "Maybe you live in a world where every candy has a soft gooey center, but those arent the streets where I grew up." And I left. Six months and several maxed-out credit cards later, the film showed at Sundance, and from there well, enough said. You dont polish the trophies when companys over.

Director Bios

Rich Blomquist

Rich Blomquist is a writer for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and a regular contributor to Robert Smigel's TV Funhouse cartoons. He lives in Manhattan.

Andrew Jay Cohen

Andrew Jay Cohen studied film at Yale University, worked at Creative Artists Agency, then on the basis of a spec commercial he directed while working at CAA, went on to work for director Adrian Lyne on Unfaithful. He has worked the past three years with Judd Apatow, producing the DVDs for Apatow's critically-acclaimed television shows "Freaks and Geeks" and "Undeclared." Most recently, he served as Associate Producer on The 40-Year-Old Virgin, starring Steve Carell, and the upcoming Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, starring Will Ferrell. "American Storage" was an official selection at this year's HBO Aspen Comedy Arts Festival.

John Dolan

John Dolan was born in Hennepin County, Minnesota, where he spent most of his early years, together with his five siblings. Television and motion pictures were frowned upon, mere distractions from school work and athletic pursuits. Logically, he set his sights on a career as a filmmaker. A graduate of Kent School in Connecticut, he went on to UNC-Chapel Hill, where he played four years of Lacrosse and earned a BA in English Literature. He soon moved to San Francisco where he trained and worked as an actor, doing improv and theatre, including a stint in the acting training program at the American Conservatory Theatre. In 1996 he moved to Los Angeles where he wrote and directed a short film called "The Line," which served as a springboard into his directing career. Next came a commercial spec reel, made over the course of several years. He signed at Anonymous Content in 2000. Since then he has directed award-winning commercial campaigns for Mini Cooper, ESPN, BMW, Got Milk, IBC Root Beer, among others. "Home, James, and Don't Spare the Horses," the second short film he wrote and directed, was finished in late 2004.

Steve Haddock

Steve Haddock is one of those people lucky enough to have his dream job, although it didn't always look like this was going to happen. Like many kids, he became fascinated with marine creatures while playing and diving at the beach. Studying toward an engineering degree at a small college, he was came to the realization that he would rather do something he enjoyed, even if he might not make much money doing it. A far-sighted professor, sympathetic to his crisis, steered him to graduate studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Within a month of arriving, he was on a research ship off the Bahamas, diving in submarines with a team of experts who studied bioluminescence and jellyfish. From this point there was no turning back. He continues to study these wonders in his lab at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in central California.

Daniel Handler

Daniel Handler is the author of the novels The Basic Eight and Watch Your Mouth, and as Lemony Snicket, a sequence of novels for children collectively entitled A Series of Unfortunate Events. His latest novel, ADVERBS, is out now.

Scott Jacobson

Scott Jacobson is a writer for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and a regular contributor to Robert Smigel's TV Funhouse cartoons. Unlike Rich Blomquist, he lives in Brooklyn.

Dan Kennedy

Dan Kennedy is the author of "Loser Goes First" (Random House/Crown). His next book, "Rock On: A Corporate Rock Comedy (Algonquin) is scheduled for Spring 2007 release. He lives and works in New York City.

Kirk Lombard

For speaking engagements, poke poling seminars, sea shanty singalongs, eel inquiries, or a subscription to the Monkey Face NewsLombard's hand-crafted, eelskin-bound compendium of fish stories, sea shanties, eel facts and oceanic oddities (including a full-length audio CD of ribald whaling ditties) contact Kirk Lombard at: www.monkeyfacenews.com

Anthony Lucas

Anthony Lucas's short films have been in competition at Cannes, BAFTA, Annecy and with his production company, 3D Films, he has animated numerous TV commercials, children's television shows and a national TV station identity series for SBS television. "The Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello" is his 15th short film and uses a unique style of animation he affectionately calls the 'Shadowlands' "a silhouette world of gothic horror, of spindly figures dwarfed by bleak landscapes and Jules Verne machines." "The Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello" premiered at the Annecy International Film Festival in 2005 where it won the Grand Prix. Since then it has garnered awards at the Palm Springs, Toronto Worldwide Shorts and the prestigious 50th Anniversary Prize at Valladolid in Spain. Within Australia it has scooped the animation pool with 2 AFI awards , an IF Award and Flickerfest's award for Best Animated Short.

Errol Morris

Since the premiere of his groundbreaking 1978 film, "Gates of Heaven," Errol Morris has indelibly altered our perception of the non-fiction film, presenting to audiences the mundane, bizarre and history-making with his own distinctive lan. Morris completed his most controversial film, The Thin Blue Line in 1988. Billed as "the first movie mystery to actually solve a murder," the film is credited with overturning the conviction of Randall Dale Adams for the murder of Dallas police officer Robert Wood, a crime for which Adams was to be executed. The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons From the Life of Robert S. McNamara, which was theatrically released in December, 2003 is his seventh documentary feature film. Morris lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts with his wife, Julia Sheehan, an art historian, and their son, Hamilton.

Bill Morrison

Bill Morrison has eight titles in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art, including "Outerborough" (2005), "Light Is Calling" (2004) "Decasia" (2002) and "The Film of Her" (1996). Morrison's films have been screened in conjunction with live musical performances by The American Composers Orchestra, Bang On A Can All-Stars, Brooklyn Philharmonic, Bill Frisell Trio, London Sinfonietta, Michael Gordon Band, Mirror, MusikFabrik, Tactus Modern Ensemble, and Wilco. A member of New York's Ridge Theater since 1990, Bill's projected set work with the company has been recognized with two Dance Theater Workshop Bessie awards for excellence in theatrical design (1993, 2003), a Village Voice Obie Award for collaborative design (2001), and an award from the Foundation for Contemporary Art (2003). Bill has received support from The Guggenheim Foundation, The Foundation for Contemporary Arts, NEA, NYSCA, NYFA and Creative Capital. "Decasia", his feature-length collaboration with Michael Gordon, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. The film was named one of the ten best films of 2003 by J. Hoberman of the Village Voice. "Decasia" was performed live with a 55 piece orchestra surrounding the audience in Basel in 2001 and in New York in 2004, and has performances scheduled for Los Angeles' Walt Disney Concert Hall and in St. Plten, Austria, in 2006.

Bob Odenkirk


Brendan O'Brien

Brendan O'Brien is a graduate of Georgetown University. His plays have been produced Off Broadway and his sketch comedy has been featured at The Second City in Los Angeles. Brendan has worked extensively on both Film and TV productions, including The 40-Year-Old Virgin.

Mark Osborne

Academy Award nominated director and Guggenheim Fellow Mark Osborne studied Foundation Art at Pratt Institute in New York before receiving his Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Experimental Animation from the California Institute of the Arts in June 1992. "MORE" is a mid-life crisis film about reawakening the 'fire in the belly' and the perils of seeking success. Funded as an independent project, "MORE" has the distinction of being the first fully animated, stop-motion film to be presented for exhibition in the IMAX Giant Screen format. The six-minute short not only was the first IMAX animation film to ever be nominated for an Academy Award, it also ran with the film "Everest" in New York and London for six months. 35mm reduction prints of this film were utilized for more traditional venues where it garnered such prestigious awards as Best Short Film at the Sundance Film Festival (1999), The SXSW Best Animated Short (1999), the ResFest Grand Prize (1999), the Critics Week selection for CANNES (1999) and others. "MORE" has screened in over 150 film festivals worldwide. Osborne has also directed a majority of the live-action material for the popular animated TV series "Spongebob Squarepants" as well as all of the live action sequences for the feature film released in November of 2005. Currently, Osborne is working on a new personal short film project titled "The Better Half," while simultaneously co-directing a feature length animated film, "Kung Fu Panda" for DreamWorks.

Jason Reich

Jason Reich is a writer for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and has been there longer than Rich Blomquist and Scott Jacobson.

Brad A. Seibel

Brad A. Seibel's research explores the constraints placed on organismal function by the environment and how organisms have compensated for, or adapted to, these constraints. In order to increase the "signal to noise" ratio in physiological investigations, it is useful to compare animals that live in extremes of environmental conditions. He has worked primarily in deep-sea and polar environments. He has focused primarily on cephalopods (squids and octopods), which are a valuable model for metabolic and locomotory physiology. Previous studies on shallow-living cephalopods have demonstrated very high metabolic rates due to the inefficiency of their jet-locomotion and energy-demanding pelagic existence. Because of the constraints on their oxygen delivery systems, cephalopods appear to operate chronically on the edge of oxygen limitation. Yet, unique aspects of their physiology have allowed cephalopods to exploit hypoxic deep-sea environments. This research has recently taken on new significance with proposals to mitigate global warming by dumping CO2 into the deep sea.

Steven Soderbergh


Jessica Yu

Jessica Yu is a filmmaker based in Los Angeles. She won the 1997 Academy Award for Best Documentary Short for BREATHING LESSONS: THE LIFE AND WORK OF MARK OBRIEN, an intimate portrait of the writer who lived for four decades paralyzed by polio and confined to an iron lung. Her black & white short, SOUR DEATH BALLS, won several awards, including Best Live Action Short at the Santa Barbara Film Festival, and was featured at Berlin, Sundance, Telluride, Toronto, San Francisco, Sydney and on the national PBS series ALIVE TV. Yu serves as an Artist Trustee on the board of the Sundance Institute, and was on the Board of Directors of the International Documentary Association, where she was an organizing member of the first International Documentary Congress. Yus current documentary feature project, PROTAGONIST, compares the experiences of four men who have experienced a similar kind of epiphany. It is scheduled to be completed in the summer of 2006.