Warren MacKenzie: A Potter's Hands

The Documentary

Warren MacKenzie is a great story-teller and watching him throw pots is a fascinating experience.  He’s such an efficient worker that pots just seem to suddenly come to life in his hands; as if he breathed them into existence.

After taking a group of students to visit Warren, seeing their response (the reluctance to blink so they did not miss the moment the clay transformed), and noting the excitement they brought back to the classroom, Mark Lambert reflected on his own response to watching the 1964 Fournier/Anderson documentary Isaac Button, Country Potter. Lambert felt that someone should similarly document the work of Warren MacKenzie, an internationally important Minnesota potter.

Warren MacKenzie: A Potter’s Hands is a cinematic window into the life, work and philosophy of this remarkable potter. It gives the viewer the opportunity to watch Warren at work in his Stillwater studio.

Funding for the film came through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board.  Additional sponsors included The Northern Clay Center, the Continental Clay Company, and Anoka-Ramsey Community College Foundation.  Warren MacKenzie: A Potter’s Hands was selected for the 34th annual Minneapolis St Paul International Film Festival in 2015.

Film Festival award logo

View the Trailer

Warren MacKenzie, in his studio, sits at his wheel throwing pots. A film crew records video and audio while Warren works.

Film Credits

Mark Lambert (director) received his MFA from Brigham Young University. As Faculty at Anoka Ramsey Community College (ARCC) he has organized numerous clay workshops, including the MN Ceramics: An Evolving Legacy symposium and curated the traveling exhibition Minnesota Potters: Sharing the Fire. His film credits include directing the documentaries Minnesota Potters: Sharing the Fire and Warren MacKenzie: A Potter’s Hands. He has been the project director for many Minnesota State Arts Board (MSAB) grants awarded to ARCC and was also awarded an Artist Initiative grant by MSAB. His ceramic works have been exhibited internationally.

David Schnack (cinematographer) started his cinematography career over 15 years ago as a camera assistant on a documentary. He regularly served as first camera assistant to accomplished DP Jeffrey Stonehouse. David has worked on and lent his gifted eye to major productions like Robert Altman's A Prairie Home Companion to independent narrative films and documentaries that have screened at festivals all over the country. For the past several years, David has been invited to Cuba as a cinematographer on a documentary and other creative projects.

Towle Neu (editor) a Minneapolis filmmaker, began editing 10 years ago and has since expanded into writing and producing. His projects include short films and music videos, as well as promotional videos for commercial and non-profit clients. Towle also sits on the selection and judging committees for two local film festivals. He and fellow filmmaker Ryan Strandjord produced the 48 Hour Film Project for Minneapolis in 2011.

As a production sound mixer/recordist since 1976, Matt Quast (sound) has worked with pop stars and presidents, from 18 years with Prince to commercials with Bill Clinton. His documentary work has taken him from Europe for a film on the life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer to the reservations of Native American fiddlers in Canada. His dedication has given him an appreciation of all forms of art and humanity on a global scale.

Composer-pianist-improviser Craig Woodward (soundtrack) has collaborated with dance, theater, visual art and film. He has over 70 works to his name, for a wide range of instrumentations (solo, chamber, vocal, choral, orchestral, electronic). He holds a Ph.D. from Rutgers University, a Masters from Manhattan School of Music and a BA from St. Thomas University. His works have been performed in venues such as Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Issue Project Room, Galapagos, Juilliard, St. Bartholomew’s Church, Theater 80, Yamaha Studios, Greenwich Music House, Tenri Cultural Institute, and The Stone. His theater scores include: Merry Wives of Windsor, The Triumph of Love, Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse, and The Arrogant Kickapod.

The film soundtrack was performed by Adam Woodward (violin), Joseph Woodward (cello), and Craig Woodward (piano).

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Logo for the Minnesota State Arts Board
Logo linking to grant resource from the Clean Water & Land Legacy Amendment

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

Warren MacKenzie: A Potter's Hands
Mark Lambert, director/producer
Ramsey, Minnesota