Beautiful Zelda

beautiful zelda

a fourth dimensional space warp brought her to me, oh yeah
the most beautiful girl i ever did see, oh yeah
she took me in her arms but when i held her, oh yeah
i was fooled by the beautiful zelda.

- bonzo dog band, "beautiful zelda"

(Pictured above: Volcano Todd and Jaimie Nakae.)

16mm film, 5 min., black and white, 2001.

Watch the movie online (Realplayer Version)

large-sized poster


Volcano Todd as Kass

Jaimie Nakae as Zelda
with Mariana McConnell, Art Balteria, Steve Martin and Jason Porath

Written, directed, built and drawn by Garrett Gilchrist.

Director of Photography and Editor: Maureen McG!nn!s.

Robot puppeteers: Jason Porath, Colin Brown, Jaimie Nakae, Mariana McConnell.

Robot building team: Harry Pottash and David.

Still photos on this page taken by Mariana McConnell.

Music by Greg Nicolett.

By September 2001, Garrett Gilchrist's Orange Cow Productions had made many, many movies, as this website can surely attest to. But in all that time, Garrett had never once shot on film. You know, film, actual film, as in "not on video." That all changed with "Beautiful Zelda," which Garrett and partner Maureen McG!nn!s shot for 310 class at the University of Southern California. For this film, Garrett designed and built a dilapidated robot, and enlisted the help of his girlfriend Mariana McConnell ... and more importantly her roommate Jaimie Nakae, who played the title role of Zelda. Eternal snappy dresser Volcano Todd was asked to play the lead role after Garrett saw his performance in a short film his friend Rob Keith was shooting for 290 class.

This was Garrett's sixth student film.

It tells the story of an artist named Kass who builds a robot to keep himself company. A lonely young man, he is haunted by visions of a girl named Zelda. Can Kass win out in the end, or will the pressures of the world crush both him and his robot?

Photo Gallery
photos by Mariana McConnell

Fun Facts:

The film was cut and edited by hand, the old-fashioned way.

The film was scored by Garrett's Connecticut friend Greg Nicolett, who acted in the Dr. Fred films and scored "Excaliburger." He is now a professional film and television composer who has worked for major networks.

The class required that four weeks be spent shooting this five-minute short, which took a toll on the cast and crew. At the end of shooting, the robot was ceremoniously destroyed by the cast. Not a shard of him remained.

Several scenes of Kass drawing were cut from the film, and also one where Kass realizes he is out of soda (as in the final cut), looks over and sees a Pepsi machine, crudely altered to read "Mepsi." (The "Mepsi" joke was a favorite of the cast on the last day of a very long shoot. We were tired, ok?)

"Garrett Gilchrist's new USC projects have definitely taken him in new directions. Beautiful Zelda does have its absurd points that can be related to Orange Cow, but the drama is what is really interesting and really good about this movie. I was able to feel for these characters, which is a hard thing to do in an amateur movie for most would-be directors, especially in a short movie.
Like Gilchrist's other recent work (and his earlier work), I highly enjoyed BEAUTIFUL ZELDA. I didn't regret the download time."

- John Simpson, The Amateur Movie Database

Back to the Short Films

Back to Orange Cow Productions