Doing it Dali

The man in the mustache came to life in Carla Kaufman’s short film, El Nacimiento de Dali, winner of last year’s Salvador Dali Double Takes Look-Alike contest.

The Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg will host its second annual contest to celebrate Dali’s birthday next month.

Kaufman’s film depicts the birth of the surrealist painter in one minute. The film has only two characters, Dali’s mother and the all-seeing eye, a surreal gigantic eyeball with long dark lashes that make it seem like a head with long hair. A tear descends from the eye. When a doll-Dali is birthed from his mother’s womb, the eye baptizes him with a laser beam.

The Oracle recently interviewed Dali-lover Kaufman about her experience last year.

The Oracle: Why did you choose to enter the event?
Carla Kaufman: I’ve always been a Dali fan, and my aunt Bo Ehrsam, who has always been involved in art, let me know about it. I work in television production and I wanted to try my hand at editing and shooting. I usually produce, so this would be something I can do all aspects of.

O: How did you come up with the idea for the film?
CK: My aunt and I decided to work together. She had made the costumes for other projects and had them already and we decided to make a story for a film. She’s been doing this kind of thing for several years, but it was the first time we turned it into a film.

O: Had you worked with Boo before?
CK: Growing up in my family was interesting. We did haunted houses, parades and the Renaissance fair. We were always dressing up and doing theatrical events. It was kind of natural (for us) to do something this crazy.

How long did it take to complete the film?
CK: I usually supervise post-production. I look over the shoulder of an editor. We filmed for one day, then, because I’m still learning to edit, it took a lot longer than it should have. I spent countless hours rearranging the film segments.

O: Did anybody else help you with the project?
CK: We had an incredible musician, John Clarke, create a custom score and also added music at the end that was created by Bill Ehrsam. I had a friend that helped with the graphics. She helped me with the laser beam. My mother, Beqi Spencer, was the
all-seeing eye. It was definitely a group effort. We had so much fun.

O: What did you want to achieve with the film?
We wanted it to be campy and Charlie Chaplin-esque. We wanted a vintage, weird film — something that Dali would have enjoyed himself or been involved with. We wanted to be experimental, and I think it worked.

O: Will you be entering the contest this year?
CK: I will not. Work has just gotten bizarre. I work for an infomercial production company. We work with Billie Mays and Anthony Sullivan. We are doing a reality show, called Pitchmen, based on my boss, Anthony Sullivan. We have been working incredible hours since September. The first episode airs on the Discovery Channel this Wednesday at 10 p.m. We’re working on post-production. I don’t think I’ll have time. It’s not
something you just want to throw together.

O: Do you plan to attend the competition this year?
CK: I want to go to the party and see all the craziness. I can’t wait to see what everyone does.

Kaufman’s film was chosen as the winner by judge John Waters, an artist, actor and director of films such as Hairspray, Cry-Baby and Cecil B. Demented.

Kaufman’s entry and others are available on YouTube on the Dali Museum channel.

This year, Sterling Powell, the quirky publisher of St. Pete’s Citilife Magazine, will judge the contest at a party May 8 at Live Gallery in Ybor.

Entries are accepted by video or by costumed contributors in person on the day of
the event.

The entry deadline for the contest is April 24. For more information and entry forms, visit