Hugh The Hunter, a short film by Zachary Heinzerling and based on the work (and starring) Hugh Hayden is a retelling of the works of Hayden as an artist via a storybook fable format.
The 10 and a half minute short was an official selection to the 2015 Sundance Film Festival. Produced by Weird Heroes, Hugh the Hunter is a whimsical piece that gets its charm from the eccentricity and playfulness of the story — imagine a combination of Wes Anderson film with A Series of Unfortunate Events.
The story revolves around Hugh, the intricacies of his everyday life, and his journey to hunt an elusive bird in the Scottish Highlands called the Red Grouse. Unlike any hunter and taxidermy artist though, Hayden includes everything in his art — he includes the bird’s feather on his masterpiece and eats its flesh.
The film itself is a thing of beauty. The cinematography and the music gives a magical touch, transporting audiences to a made-up world of lavender fields and hued sunsets.
Heinzerling creates a unique artist profile with a highly-controlled aesthetic that’s consistent all throughout the film. The creator and artists’ fascination with intricate detail, color, and vivid imagination spills over the screen, treating our eyes with much amazement.
In an interview with Nowness, Hienzerling says that he wanted to reinvent the traditional artist profile. Instead of typical art spaces such as an art gallery, the director features his artist in his different habitat — the shooting estates at Dufftown in Scotland. He describes the film as a “surrealist recontextualization” of Hayden’s work as a sculptor.