The city’s longest-running organization dedicated to weekly screenings of experimental film, documentaries, animation and video art.

October 19 – The familial avant-garde – An Evening with Ted Lyman & John Cannizzaro


Sunday October 19, 2008, 7:00 pm

At the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood

Los Angeles Filmforum presents
The familial avant-garde – An Evening with Ted Lyman & John Cannizzaro
Ted Lyman and John Cannizzaro in person!

“One of the many stereotypes about avant-garde cinema is that it is inaccessible and difficult, that it makes viewers work hard for their pleasures. The films of Ted Lyman provide a perfect foil to this stereotype. Without sacrificing any of their serious experimental and non-narrative spirit, his films are sensuous, riveting and, best of all, immediately pleasurable.” — Girish Shamu, Artvoice

Filmforum welcomes Vermont-based avant-garde filmmaker Ted Lyman [left] to Los Angeles with a variety of his personal work, old and new. Lyman is a master of multiple filmmaking methods, all used to delve into poetic spaces investigating family, nature, sight, and memory. And along with Lyman comes local experimental filmmaker and long-time friend of Filmforum John Cannizzaro with a new film as well. Cannizzaro was a student of Lyman’s twenty years ago, and came to L.A. to pursue his own aspirations as an avant-garde filmmaker. They have been friends and fellow artists for the intervening time, and have long wished to have a show together.

Tonight’s films include:

Flat Earth (Work in Progress, 16mm) by Ted Lyman [below left – behind the scenes of the grid animation below right]
A visualist film which combines stop action animation with the geometric nature of the lens’ rendering of space to examine Western assumptions about the camera image and vanishing point perspective.


Testament of the Rabbit (1989, 22 mins, 16mm, Color) by Ted Lyman
Live action, subtitling, animation, optical printing, and photographic degeneration are used to illustrate and explore some of the emotional implications of parenthood. Conceived as a chapter in a feature length film on the complex interrelationship of family, time, and mortality.
“The intention is to create something like the childhood sensation of waking from a dream and breathlessly waiting for the formless beasts in one’s bedroom to reassume their rightful identities as bureau, chair, and lamp.” — Ted Lyman
Best of Festival and Critic’s Choice Awards, New England Film and Video Festival, 1989
Best Experimental Film, Suffolk County Film Festival, N.Y., 1990
Ann Arbor Film Festival, Ann Arbor, Mich. 1990

Fla.Me. (1982, 16mm, 25 mins, Color, Sound) by Ted Lyman
A visual comparison of two locations, Brooksville, Florida, and Sutton Island, Maine, which centers around the transformative properties of memory.
Best of Festival, New England Film Festival, May 15, 1984
National Broadcast, PBS, 1990
“Spirit of Place,” a syndicated national cable series sponsored by The Learning Channel, 1988
“Best of Spirit of Place,” 1st Person Cinema, Boulder, Co., 1988
“Mixed Signals” a cable television series on New England independent media makers, 1987
Flaherty Film Seminar, Cornell, Ithaca, NY, August 13-17, 1984
Student Academy Awards, Los Angeles, CA, 1982

Mansacts (1979, 8 mins, 16mm, Color, Sound, 1979) by Ted Lyman
An exploration of three different approaches to filmic looking which plays off the audience’s expectations of the narrative, documentary, and experimental genres of cinema.
“Mansacts offers, in eight perfect minutes, three ways of looking at trees in a forest: (a) as matching action, conventional narrative, with a guy with an axe marching through the woods to a tree and cutting it down; (b) as ethnographic documentary with voice-over, in real time and one master shot, a man pushing over a tree; (c) as experiment, tress shifting about in stop motion.” — Gerald Peary, New England Film Festival Program, 2000

Land of the Dead (2008, 19 mins, super 8mm, projected on mini-DV) [left] by John Cannizzaro
A portrait of an unique cemetery in Cambria, California. Beyond that however, the film is also a meditation on life and death; a cine-poem to the inevitable. Composed of ten rolls of super-8 film edited in camera, with a multi-layered soundtrack,the film unfolds like a lifetime of memories.

On Ted Lyman:
Ted Lyman is an award winning film artist who teaches at the University of Vermont. His work explores the changing relationship of humankind and nature through the unique visual and conceptual properties of the moving image.

Ted Lyman began making films in the early Seventies when he was inspired by the work of the American Avant-Garde. Through his ensuing career he has maintained a belief in the power of the extraordinary syntax of the moving image exposed and explored by that movement. The overall strategy of his filmmaking is to use that syntax in ways that are legible and illuminating to the general viewer. While his works differ in content and appearance, they all are founded on a sense of place, interaction with nature, and a commitment to expression by visual, non-narrative, means. Lyman’s present work-in-progress, Flat Earth, uses natural phenomena, such as tides and decay, in conspiracy with the ability of film to compress and reverse time to examine ideas about how the camera views landscape. Lyman’s films have been shown in national and international venues, have won several best of festival awards and have been broadcast by PBS and the Learning Channel. He has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts Regional Program, and from the Vermont and Ohio Councils on the Arts as well as production funding from the Independent Television Service. Lyman lives in Northern New England with his wife, Virginia Clarke, a veterinarian and activist, and enjoys visits from his grown children, Andrew and Lindsay. He also teaches media theory and production in the University of Vermont Department of Art, Art History and Art Education.

Flat Earth (in progress, 16mm)
King of Kings (2006, 2 minutes, 30 seconds. Digital Video, Color, (editor))
First Surface (1996, 27 minutes, 16mm, Color)
Testament of the Rabbit (1989, 22 minutes, 16mm, Color)
Fla.Me. (1982, 16mm, 25 minutes, Color, Sound)
Mansacts (1979, 8 minutes, 16mm, Color, Sound)
Scotland with No Clothes (1978, 10 minutes, 16mm, Color, Sound)
Gambling (1977, 25 min., 16mm, Color, Sound)
Alleydog (1974, 9 minutes, 16mm, Color, Sound)
Skycap (1972, 7 minutes, 16mm, Color, Sound)

John Cannizzaro grew up in New England where he made several short films before relocating to Los Angeles in 1990. There he completed his first mini feature, Critical Mass, which was reviewed by Paul Malcolm in the Nov. 22, 1996 LA Weekly as a “low key tale of guttersnipe mysticism…Critical Mass is heavy on mood and symbolism with Cannizzaro drawing some beautiful compositions…What’s most intriguing about the film is the connection it makes between spiritualism and ennui”.

Still working primarily in Super 8 film, he has completed several more short films including Gulliver’s Travels and 50 Feet That Shook The World (both made for LA Flicker’s ‘Attack of the 50 Foot Reels’ which have played in festivals around the world) as well as a full-length feature film The Left Hand Path.

Lyman and Cannizzaro will also be at the Echo Park Film Center on October 18 with a different program of films.


Poised between rigorous, technical aesthetic and formal, elegant beauty, the poetic films of award-winning filmmaker Ted Lyman explore alternate layers of reality. Working in 16mm, and extracting those qualities unique to celluloid, Lyman’s films dissect time, place, and memory asking the viewer to re-evaluate his/her sensory experiences. Curated by John Cannizzaro, friend and former student of Lyman’s, the program also features films that both inspire Ted and were inspired by him (films by Pat O’Neill and John Cannizzaro). FILMMAKERS IN ATTENDANCE!
Echo Park Film Center
1200 N. Alvarado Street LA CA 90026
(213) 484-8846