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Recap: MAA Screens Between the Folds

Origami enthusiasts and MAA members, including MAA President David Bressoud, recently packed the MAA Carriage House for an advance screening of Between the Folds, a documentary about the intriguing art of origami.

Between the Folds profiles ten people whose lives have been transformed by paper folding. The film highlights a diverse, international cast of characters, from artists to physicists to educators. Several of them abandoned careers and hard-earned graduate degrees to craft lives as modern-day paper folders. Look for MAA members Erik Demaine, Marty Demaine, and Tom Hull.

The film is a first effort by director Vanessa Gould, who came to moviemaking in a roundabout way. After majoring in architecture with a minor in physics, Gould found herself working in the financial sector, her creative nature stifled.

In an interview with Michelle Kung for the The Wall Street Journal, Gould credits Tom Hull as the inspiration for the film.

"A friend challenged her to make a short film," Kung wrote in the article. "Being a science and math person at heart, she recalled reading an article about Tom Hull, a mathematician who uses complex origami to teach advanced math to his college students and set up an interview with the professor."

Hull in turn introduced her to other origami enthusiasts, and the rest is movie history.

 The Carriage House showing was relaxed and casual with the audience constantly gasping in astonishment at the film's stunning visuals. After the film, local paper folder Gloria Kim led the audience in an origami workshop. A gallery of photos of the event is available on MAA's Facebook fan page.

The documentary recently debuted as part of PBS's Independent Lens series. Check your local listings here for future showings.

For a first-time filmmaker, Vanessa Gould's work is garnering a lot of attention. The film has been an official selection of more than 25 film festivals around the world. Check out some of the reviews below.

The Epoch Times:

The film’s technical team, including cinematographer Melissa Donavan and animator Todd Sines, nicely capture the intricacies and delicacies of folded art. Gould conducts some insightful interviews that convey a genuine excitement for the evolving discipline. At just under sixty minutes, the film frankly leaves viewers wanting more.

The Honolulu Star Bulletin

The astounding film Between the Folds illustrates before our very eyes the philosophy of yin and yang. It documents where art and science interconnect and right- and left-brain activity meet. The focal point of all this harmonious converging, the sum of all the parts, lies in the seemingly unassuming art of origami.

Wired Magazine

Between the Folds' filmmaker Vanessa Gould explores the expression of mathematics through origami. The film chronicles 10 fine artists and eccentric scientists who have devoted their lives to the unlikely medium of modern origami.

South Coast Today

A beautiful, thought-provoking film, Between the Folds will make you think more than twice about the intersection of art and science.

True Films

The folders use computers, math, craft, art, and sheer will power to turn uncut paper into anything, even all things. I could watch them do this for hours. It's magic. It's deep. It will change your mind about paper. They know things ordinary mortals do not. This documentary will bewitch you, making you ask for more.

News Date: 
Friday, December 11, 2009