Addi Somekh sees colors and shapes coming from peoples’ heads, and brings his visions to life in the form of elaborate sculptural balloon hats. Charlie Eckert photographs the random people around the world who agree to wear a hat, and captures their moment of bliss. Together, these itinerant artists start with the notion that people everywhere need joy to survive, and set out to create a photo art book drawn from their adventures.BALLOONHAT reveals not only the travails of a grassroots art project, but also America’s changing status on the world stage. Each new culture’s embrace of the balloon art—from Rio’s beaches to the rubble of Sarajevo—stands in stark contrast to the narrowed world view Addi and Charlie find upon their return as they seek an outlet to spread the beauty of their project, and are forced instead to confront the realities of a post-millennial America.
DIRECTOR BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE:
A.G. Vermouth, Director of BALLOONHAT, worked for years as an art director and editor. He literally happened upon the Ballooonhat project by chance during his own musical research travels in West Africa, and joined the artists’ global trek specifically to create a documentary of the project. BALLOONHAT is the culmination of his journeys with Addi and Charlie. The director has authored numerous documentary and experimental shorts, most notably for an award-winning TV series, MESS, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His design work has received numerous awards, and has been shown in galleries including MIT’s List Visual Arts Center. Mr. Vermouth also serves as editor of ZEBRAMEAT, an online quarterly exploring American culture. BALLOONHAT is his first feature documentary.