SEPTEMBER 28, 2019
Landscape Series #1
Nguyễn Trinh Thi | Vietnam | 35mm slides > digital file | 2012 | 5 min
As the journey starts, wide empty landscapes make one wonder what one is looking for. A mysterious object? A crime scene? Something horrifying? The scenes are getting more and more specific, but they do not lead to any concrete solution - only an injury in place of a metaphor. - Nguyễn Trinh Thi
Nguyễn Trinh Thi is a Hanoi-based independent filmmaker and video/media artist. Her diverse practice has consistently investigated the role of memory in the necessary unveiling of hidden, displaced or misinterpreted histories; and examined the position of artists in teh Vietnamese society. Nguyễn is founder and director of Hanoi DOCLAB, an independent center for documentary film and the moving image art in Hanoi since 2009.
Agnès Varda | France | 35mm > DCP | 1982 | 22 mins
At the seashore, a goat, a child, and a naked man. This is a photograph taken in 1954 by Agnès Varda. The goat was dead, the child was named Ulysses, and the man was naked. Starting from this frozen image, the film explores the real and the imaginary.
Agnès Varda (1928-2019) was a leading figure in French and international filmmaking for over 50 years. Trained in art and photography, in 1955 she made her first film, La Pointe Courte, which is considered by many to have anticipated the French New Wave. Her major films include Cléo From 5 to 7 , Happiness , One Sings, the Other Doesn't, Kung-fu Master! , Jacqout de Nantes, One Hundred and One Nights and The Gleaners and I . Among the many awards bestowed upon Varda, she received the César for Best Documentary and a Directors Guild of America nomination for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Documentary. In 2009, she was given the rank of Commandeur of the French Legion of Honor.
The Best of May, 1968
Jay Lash Cassidy | USA | 16mm | 1973 | 3 min
The film was made and presented at the very end of the American involvement in the Vietnam war and uses found footage - imagery that was relatively unseen at that time. It originated from a motive of "look at what's going on here”. Imagery gathered by the military for purposes of evaluation and review inadvertently tells a story not intended to be told; the unintended consequence of the juxtaposition of poetry and horror. – Jay Lash Cassidy; September, 2011
Jay Lash Cassidy lives in Los Angeles where he is a film editor. He has been nominated for three Academy Awards for Film Editing and has edited over 30 films since 1978 including A Star is Born (2018); Joy (2015); American Hustle (2013); Silver Linings Playbook (2012); Waiting for Superman (2010); and Into the Wild (2007). He began his career in the 1970s working on documentaries and political advertising.
Beatriz Santiago Muñoz | Puerto Rico | DCP | 2017 | 26 min
Oneiromancer is the first of a series of works on the sensorial unconscious of the Puerto Rican anti-colonial movement. It centers on the figures, places, materials, and leftover materials of the members of the Fuerzas Armadas de Liberacion Nacional, a clandestine group, who were arrested and sentenced to near-lifetime prison terms for seditious conspiracy, a political crime.
Beatriz Santiago Muñoz is a Puerto Rican film and video maker. The uncontrived, observational style of her work aligns it with the sensibility of documentary film while also contributing to a blurring of boundaries between fact and fiction. Despite its ostensible simplicity, Santiago Muñoz's work stems from intensive research, observation, and documentation, and she is deeply concerned with the tension between the documentarian's desire for truth and the artist's aesthetic concerns. For her, the camera is a tool that can both reveal and fabricate reality.
Lessons in Semaphore
Cauleen Smith| USA | 16mm > DCP | 2016 | 4 min
Cauleen Smith’s Lessons in Semaphore is an intimate short film on communication and interpretation inside a black community in Chicago. Dancer Taisha Pagget performs with semaphore flags to establish some kind of link with a younger boy, who in turn responds with his own mimetic movements. This performance serves as a manifestation of freedom, of a boundary-free life, a communication of possibilities for the younger generation among the stage of a vacant lot, which could be seen as an oxymoron, but is a manifesto of sorts: the assertiveness of a declaration of freedom among a stark atmosphere, which is the terrain in which emancipation of the body and soul happens. --José Sarmiento-Hinojosa, Desistfilm
Cauleen Smith is an interdisciplinary artist whose work reflects upon the everyday possibilities of the imagination. Operating in multiple materials and arenas, Smith roots her work firmly within the discourse of mid-twentieth-century experimental film. Drawing from structuralism, third world cinema, and science fiction, she makes things that deploy the tactics of these disciplines while offering a phenomenological experience for spectators and participants. Her films, objects, and installations have been featured in numerous exhibitions including the 2017 Whitney Biennial. She lives and works in Los Angeles and is on the faculty of the California Institute of the Arts.
David de Rozas | USA | DCP | 2017 | 16 min
GIVE explores Roland Gordon's motivations to create a monumental visual archive displaying centuries of black agency and achievements, in the US and beyond. Roland’s collage, ‘Cloud of Witnesses’, is comprised of thousands of photographic portraits, newspapers, and magazine cutouts, presenting an alternative visual history to empower the black community. The film explores collective representations of history, memory, and culture; where pasts, presents, and futures are modeled by the blending of imagination, facts, and love.
David de Rozas is a filmmaker living and working in Los Angeles. His films have been awarded and screened in festivals and curated film series worldwide. His practice expands over education and cultural work by combining film research and production, teaching, and curatorial projects. Much of his work explores the encounters between history and memory as an attempt to inquire into latencies of the futures nested within them, and examines notions of document, place, identity, and hybridity in the XXI century.
Mike Gibisser | USA | 35mm | 2019 | 4 mins
A motion study of passing time. Shot using a hand-built camera, 35mm film is drawn past a thin vertical aperture, organizing the image temporally. Familiar objects dissolve into abstract lines unless in motion past the lens, their shape determined not by their physical features but in the speed of their movement.
Mike Gibisser is a filmmaker and artist interested in navigating the indefinite lines between essay, narrative, experimental, and documentary work,often drawing together disparate subjects or time periods. Over the past decade, Gibissier has made two narrative features, a feature film essay, and several experimental and non-fiction shorts which have been presented at numerous galleries and festivals around the world. He is currently based in Iowa City.
Deborah Stratman | USA/Canada | Super 8 > DCP | 2018 | 15 mins
The urge to relieve a winter valley of permanent shadow and find fortune in alluvial gravel are part of a long history of desire and extraction in the far Canadian north. Cancan dancers, curlers, ore smelters, former city officials and a curious cliff-side mirrored disc congregate to form a town portrait. Shot on location in Dawson City, Yukon Territory.
Deborah Stratman is an artist and filmmaker interested in landscapes and systems. Much of her work points to the relationships between physical environments and human struggles for power and control that play out on the land. Recent projects have addressed freedom, expansionism, surveillance, sonic warfare, public speech, ghosts, sinkholes, levitation, propagation, orthoptera, raptors, comets, exodus and faith. She has exhibited internationally at museums, biennials, and film festivals. She lives in Chicago.
PWDRE SER: the rot of stars
Charlotte Pryce | USA | 16mm > digital file | 2018 | 6 mins
The film depicts an encounter with a mysterious, luminous, electrical substance. Inspired equally by medieval accounts of visionary experiences and by 19th century photography of the invisible, Pwdre Ser joins Kirlian photography with hand-processed images. Pwdre Ser is the Welsh name for a mythical substance that has been observed by many since the 1400's.
Charlotte Pryce has been making films and optical objects since 1986 and her works have screened throughout the world. She says of her work, "Like the items in a Cabinet of Wonder, my subjects are specimens of philosophical musing: rootless plants, mysterious insects and curious glasses." She has taught experimental film at several institutions and is currently a faculty member at the California Institute of the Arts (Los Angeles). In 2019, she was honored with career retrospectives at the Rotterdam International Film Festival, Bozar (Brussels), Centre Pompidou (Paris) andthe [S8] Mostra de Cinema Periferico.
Robert Todd | USA | 16mm | 2012 | 7 min
Print courtesy of the Academy Film Archive
A week of observations along the waterfront.
“When I film, I enter into a dialogue with the world, directly. I present myself (with camera) openly to the inhabited space surrounding me, a space I choose to join with and inhabit dynamically, seeing it and living within it as it is, not as I would dream or wish it to be. The world approaches me as I approach it. It shifts and changes not apart from me, but inclusive of my presence and my motions within it. My gestures, my vision, and the questions I find myself asking, are shaped by that which is immediately present for me within this world that I find myself a part of: I am led by it, as a hunter seeking treasure, as a dancer seeking contact, compelled by certain attractions (of form, of light, of motion, of tone, of substance) that the world provides and the camera interprets in heightened form, as I move through it and as it moves with and around me.” -Robert Todd
Robert Todd(1963-2018) A lyrical filmmaker as well as a sound and visual artist, Robert Todd produced experimental works that resist categorization. Having made over 60 films over the past two decades, Robert Todd has a mastery of 16mm filmmaking that eschews categorization. As effective with the clarity and efficiency of the documentary form as he is with the mysterious shapes and shadows of the lyrical mode, Todd records the world with a sympathetic eye. Feathers and fields, stones and skin are rendered with sculptural accuracy, emerging from darkness into light, from focus to blur, refreshing and refining our own sense of vision. From prisons to playgrounds, streetscapes to landscapes, interiors to underbrush, there seems to be no place or object that resists transformation through the deft manipulations of Robert Todd’s lens. -LIFT, Toronto, 2013
Malena Szlam | Chile/Canada | 35mm | 2018 | 15 mins
Filmed in the Andean Mountains in the traditional lands of the Atacameño, Aymara, and Calchaquí-Diaguita in Northern Chile and Northwest Argentina, Altiplano takes place within a geological universe of ancestral salt flats, volcanic deserts, and coloured lakes. Fusing earth with sky, day with night, heartbeat with mountain, and mineral with iridescent cloud, Altiplano reveals a vibrating landscape in which a bright blue sun forever threatens to eclipse a blood-red moon.
Malena Szlam is a Chilean artist-filmmaker working at the intersection of cinema, installation, and performance. Her practice explores the relationship between the natural world, perception, and intuitive process. Her work has been exhibited in numerous festivals and museums. She has been based in Montreal, Canada for the past decade.
Turtles Are Always Home
Rawane Nassif | Qatar/Lebanon | DCP | 2016 | 11 min
Turtles Are Always Home is a sequence of static shots taken in Qanat Quarter, a fake Venice built on a reclaimed land in Doha, Qatar, depicting the artificial element invading this place and the lack of human interaction everywhere.
Rawane Nassif works in research and films often addressing subjects such as space, traditions, identities, displacement and memory. She collaborated on several social documentaries in Lebanon, worked with immigrants and indigenous people in Canada, conducted visual research on nomadic traditions in Kyrgyzstan, taught anthropological courses in Tajikistan, wrote children’s books based on collected oral histories in Honduras, and worked as a film researcher for various anthropological art films with the Doha Film Institute for the National Museum of Qatar. She is currently completing a mentorship at the Transforming Arts Institute in Madrid.
Victoria Fu | USA | digital video | 2019 | 7 mins
Does an image have a backside, a derrière, or is it a hollow facade, like moving stage set pieces in early theater? What lives behind the image, in the dimension-less gap between it and its background? Is there a smell to the air? Feel around for a texture. What else is there besides a presence without matter, dustless and cold? A mirror with no reflection; a voice without echo. TELEVOIX makes queries about the image and its shadow–a fiction of the index.
Victoria Fu works in the field of digital video and analog film, and the interplay of photographic, screen based, and projected images. Rendering cultural and psychological landscapes, her artwork examines the aesthetic formulas that allow the virtual world to alter human experience. She received an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts; an MA in Art History from the University of Southern California; and a BFA from Stanford University. She was a participant of Skowhegan and the Whitney Independent Study Program, and is a recent Guggenheim Fellow and Harpo Foundation Grantee. She lives and works in San Diego, CA where she is Associate Professor of Art at the University of Sand Diego.
Ben Russell | France/Germany | s16mm > DCP | 2019 | 30 mins
A synesthetic portrait that shifts between French Polynesia and Brittany, Color-Blind follows the restless ghost of Paul Gauguin in an excavation of the colonial legacy and the post-postcolonial present.
Ben Russell is a media artist and curator whose films, installations, and performances foster a deep engagement with the history and semiotics of the moving image. Formal investigations of the historical and conceptual relationships between early cinema, documentary practices, and structuralist filmmaking result in immersive experiences concerned at once with ritual, communal spectatorship and the pursuit of a "psychedelic ethnography." Since 2000, Russell has directed over thirty films, including three features, which have been screened worldwide. Ben lives between the USA and Europe and is currently calling every new location home.
Emily Chao | USA | 16mm | 2019 | 1 min
Emily Chao is a filmmaker and independent curator based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her ongoing series of diverse, short-form nonfiction films focus primarily on identity and diaspora, history and representation, and the interaction between space and memory. She is a co-programmer of Light Field, an international exhibition of recent and historical moving image art on celluloid, and a founding member of Black Hole Film Lab in Oakland, CA.
Colectivo Los Ingrávidos | Mexico | 16mm > digital file | 2019 | 4 min
Altares is an audiovisual shrine composed of small temples that contain images of ancient deities.
Colectivo Los Ingrávidos (Tehuacán, Mexico) arises from the need to dismantle the audiovisual grammar that the aesthetic-television-cinematic corporativism has used and uses to effectively guarantee the diffusion of an audiovisual ideology by means of which a continuous social and perceptive control is maintained over the majority of the population. Politically charged yet involved with the sublime Los Ingrávidos inhabit Poetic realms that few dare to tread.
Kevin Jerome Everson | USA | 16mm > digital file | 2017| 10 mins
IFO is about three famous UFO sightings over Mansfield, Ohio.
Kevin Jerome Everson was born and raised in Mansfield, Ohio. Everson's art practice encompasses painting, sculpture, photography and filmmaking, including nine feature films and over 150 short form works, that have exhibited internationally at film festivals, cinemas, museums, galleries and public and private art institutions. He is a Professor of Art at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville.
Jorge Jácome | Portugal | s16mm > DCP | 2017 | 26 mins
In a natural crisis scenario, the entire population of Azores is forced to evict due to an uncontrolled plague of hydrangeas, a common flower in these islands. Two young soldiers, bound to the beauty of the landscape, guide us through the stories of sadness of those forced to leave and the inherent desire to resist by inhabiting the islands. The filmic wandering becomes a nostalgic and political reflection on territorial belonging and identity, and the roles we assume in the places we came from.
Jorge Jácome is a filmmaker whose work explores the relationships between utopias, melancholy, disappearance and desire. He was born in Viana do Castelo and spent his childhood in Macau. His films have screened at numerous international film festivals and have been featured in exhibition contexts. Alongside his work as a filmmaker, he also regularly collaborates in performing arts projects.
Vever (for Barbara)
Deborah Stratman/Barbara Hammer | USA | 16mm > DCP | 2019 | 12 mins
A cross-generational binding of three filmmakers seeking alternative possibilities to the power structures they are inherently part of. Each woman extends her gaze like an offered hand to a subject she is outside of. Vever (for Barbara) grew out of the abandoned film projects of Maya Deren and Barbara Hammer. Shot at the furthest point of a motorcycle trip Hammer took to Guatemala in 1975, and laced through with Deren’s reflections on failure, encounter, and initiation in 1950s Haiti. A vever is a symbolic drawing used in Haitian Voodoo to invoke a Loa, or god.
Barbara Hammer (1939 – 2019) was an American feminist filmmaker known for being one of the pioneers of lesbian film. Her career spanned over 50 years. She made over 80 moving image works and is considered a pioneer of queer cinema. Her trilogy of experimental documentaries on lesbian and gay histories are considered classic cinema: Nitrate Kisses, Tender Fictions, and History Lessons. Before she passed away in 2019, Hammer became an outspoken proponent for dying with dignity. Her diverse praxis has had a resonating impact on young artists today.
Requiem to a Fatal Incident
Janis Rafa | Greece / Netherlands | DCP | 2015 | 5 min
In Requiem to a Fatal Incident, Janis Rafa draws upon a newspaper report to recreate a seemingly unreal and ironic tragedy— a truck accident killing pigs en route to a slaughterhouse— to transform a scene of violence into something approaching a ritual.
Janis Rafa is a Greek artist who uses films and sculptures to create pictorial narratives that illuminate universal themes such as mortality and our ritualised approach to loss, as well as the relationship between humans and animals, and between humans, animals and the landscape. Rafa's work has been shown in several biennials, group and solo museum exhibitions and international film festivals. Rafa lives and works in Amsterdam and Athens.
Gürcan Keltek | Turkey | DCP | 2018 | 34 mins
Gulyabani is an entity, a ghoul, an outsider: She’s the restless spirit of desolate and lonely place. Fethiye Sessiz, a notorious clairvoyant of Izmir in ‘70s and ‘80s, remembers fractions of her survival from abuse, kidnappings and violence. Recounting the events of her childhood through her diary entries and letters to her estranged son, Gulyabani recollects the emotional landscape in the most violent period of post-Republic Turkey, where the memory of the future and fragments of the past come together at once.
Born in İzmir, Gürcan Keltek directed several short and medium format films before his first feature film Meteorlar (Meteors)(2017), which screened widely in international film festivals and received over thirty awards. He is currently in production with his second feature film New Dawn Fades.