Sunday October 26, 2008, 7:00 pm
At the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood
Los Angeles Filmforum presents
Garden of Verses: An Evening of Cinematic Seeds and Mordant Vines
Mark Street and Lynne Sachs’ XY CHROMOSOME PROJECT
With Lynne Sachs and Mark Street in person!
Filmforum is delighted to welcome back two of America’s finest filmmakers, Mark Street and Lynne Sachs. We have featured their work several times in the past, Sachs in 1989, 1991, 1995, 1999, and 2002, and Street in 1992, 1995, 1997, 2002, and 2006, including the LA premieres of At Home and Asea in 2002 and of Rockaway in 2006. Tonight will be a remarkable mix of shorter works, old and new, presented singly and doubly, as selected by the filmmakers.
From archival snips of an educational film on the weather to cine poems in full blossom, New York film “avant-gardeners” Mark Street and Lynne Sachs create their 3rd XY CHROMOSOME PROJECT. This program of 10 short films on both single and double screen gleans audio-visual crops from the dust of the filmmakers’ fertile and fallow imaginations. In this avalanche of visual ruminations on nature’s topsy-turvy shakeup of our lives, Street and Sachs ponder a city child’s tentative excavation of the urban forest, winter wheat, and the great American deluge of the 21st Century (so far).
Films include: (72 min. total)
Weather Mix/Collision of Parts by Mark Street (2008, 12 min)
An overture: Weather Mix considers nature’s uneven keel while Collision of Parts takes us on a twisted roller coaster ride through small forgotten moments in New York City. Sound by computer weather forecasts, Pierre Shaffer and others.
Double screen projection of:
Buffalo Disaster Relief by Mark Street & others (1972, 9 min)
Archival footage filmed by the US National Guard of Buffalo, New York’s worst snowstorm on record. Obtained from the US National Archives. People attempt to reclaim their daily vignettes in the course of a larger narrative.
Window Work by Lynne Sachs (2001, 9 min, sound)
A woman drinks tea, washes a window, reads the paper– simple tasks that suggest a kind of quiet mystery. Hear the rhythmic, pulsing symphony of crickets on a summer night, jangling toys, the roar of a jet, children trembling at the sound of thunder. Small home-movie “boxes” within the larger screen become clues to the woman’s childhood, mnemonic devices that expand the sense of immediacy in her “drama.”
Winter Wheat by Mark Street (1989, 8 min, sound)
Made by bleaching, scratching and painting directly on the emulsion of an educational film about the farming cycle. The manipulations of the film’s surface created hypnotic visuals while also suggesting an apocalyptic narrative.
Georgic for a Forgotten Planet by Lynne Sachs (2008, 14 min, sound)
I began reading Virgil’s Georgics, a 1st Century epic agricultural poem, and knew immediately that I needed to create a visual equivalent about my own relationship to the place where I live, New York City. Culled from material I collected at Coney Island, the Lower East Side, Socrates Sculpture Garden in Queens, a Brooklyn community garden and a place on Staten Island that is so dark at night you can see the three moons of Jupiter. An homage to a place many people affectionately and mysteriously call the big apple.
Double screen projection of:
Sliding Off the Edge of the World by Mark Street (2001, 7 min, silent)
A stab at depicting daily life near the end of time: fleeting images burst onto the screen only to recede from view just as quickly, suggesting transition and decay. Tendrils of images cluster together and then dissipate. A snowy walk, kids in the backyard, it all seems like it could fall apart so quickly.
Noa, Noa by Lynne Sachs (2006, 9 min, sound)
Over the course of three years, Lynne collaborated with her daughter Noa (from 5 to 8 years old), criss-crossing the wooded landscapes of a Brookly park with camera and costumes in hand.
Behold the Gowanus Canal by Lynne Sachs (2008, 6 min, sound)
On Earth Day 2008 in Brooklyn, New York, Lynne, Mark and their daughters Maya and Noa float down the Gowanus Canal with environmental visionary Ludger Balan, head of the Urban Divers Estuary Conservancy. Located in the heart of Brooklyn, the canal contains the residual pollution left from decades of disregard for the health and well being of this thriving urban neighborhood and its residents. Finally, the community is waking up to the possible revitalization of this Venice-like waterway.
Double screen projection of:
Infected City by Mark Street (2008, 14 min, sound)
A coda: the stars and the city meet for one last dance between the known and sublime
New Orleans, Louisiana by L. Sachs and M. Street (2006, 14 min, silent)
One year after Hurricane Katrina, the collapse of the levy, and the tragic flooding of New Orlans, Mark and Lynne traveled to this city to help raise money for Zeitgeist Theatre Experiments, a struggling microcinema continuing to show alternative films to the passionate but dwindling local community. This is what they saw as they explored the now famous Ninth Ward and the banks of Lake Ponchatrain.
About the Filmmakers:
Lynne Sachs‘ films, videos, installations and web projects explore the intricate relationship between personal observations and broader historical experiences by weaving together poetry, collage, painting, politics and layered sound design. Since 1994, her five essay films have taken her to Vietnam, Bosnia, Israel and Germany — sites affected by international war–where she tries to work in the space between a community’s collective memory and her own subjective perceptions. Strongly committed to a dialogue between cinematic theory and practice, Lynne searches for a rigorous play between image and sound, pushing the visual and aural textures in her work with each and every new project. Since 2006, she has collaborated with her partner Mark Street in a series of playful, mixed-media performance collaborations they call The XY Chromosome Project. In addition to her work with the moving image, Lynne is co-editing the upcoming Millennium Film Journal issue on experimental documentary. Supported by fellowships from the Rockefeller and Jerome Foundations and the New York State Council on the Arts, Lynne’s films have screened at the Museum of Modern Art, the Pacific Film Archive, the Sundance Film Festival and recently in a mini-retrospective at the Buenos Aires International Film Festival. She teaches experimental film and video at New York University and lives in Brooklyn.
Mark Street graduated from Bard College (B.A) and the San Francisco Art Institute (MFA). His work ranges from abstract hand-manipulated material to experimental narratives. Each film attempts to investigate new terrain, and he avoids being confined by a specific look or mood. He has made a graphic silent film for three projectors (Triptych, 1992), a diary film (Lilting Towards Chaos, 1991) a documentary about travel in Central America (Excursions, 1994), and a reworking of pornographic footage (Blue Movie, 1994). His 1996 film Why Live Here? explores three characters’ relationship to place. Sweep (1998) explores the shimmering world of an infant and father on a neighborhood walk. The Domestic Universe (1999) presents three Brooklyn, NY fathers discussing the vicissitudes of fatherhood as Street’s own daughter grows up. Sliding off the Edge of the World (2000) considers the passage of time in a frenetic visual poem. Happy? (2000) also confronts notions of change through street interviews in NYC around Jan.1, 2000. Fulton Fish Market (MOMA screening, March, 2004) considers the teeming urban market from an abstract vantage point.
He has shown work in the New York Museum of Modern Art Cineprobe series (1991, 1994), at Anthology Film Archives (1993, 2006), Millennium (1990,1996), and the San Francisco Cinematheque (1986, 1992). He has screened at Los Angeles Filmforum in 1992, 1995, 1997, 2002, and 2006, including the LA premieres of At Home and Asea in 2002 and of Rockaway in 2006. His films have been shown at the Ann Arbor Film Festival (prizewinner, 1990 and 1993), the Athens Film Festival (prizewinner, 1991 and 1996), the Humboldt Film Festival (“Best of Festival”, 1994), the San Francisco Film Festival (honorable mention, 1990), Rotterdam Film Festival (1999) and the Sundance Film Festival (2001). His film Winterwheat was part of the London Filmmaker’s Coop traveling exhibition New American Makers 1980-1989. Sweep (1998) is part of the European Media Arts Festival (Osnabruck, Germany) touring exhibition.
In 2002 he completed his first narrative feature called At Home and Asea that explores the vagaries of community and place. The film follows a group of young adults in Baltimore as they struggle with conflicting notions of how to live in and around the city.
Rockaway (2005) is an experimental narrative that follows three high school girls in Queens, NY as they celebrate their graduation. The film considers the conflict between the urban and suburban experience played out in the lives of young adults. The world premiere was in April 2005 at the Tribeca Film Festival. Rockaway won the Brooklyn Arts Council Film Festival “Best Narrative Film” award in May 2006.
In August 2006 he showed two of his experimental films and was interviewed on stage by actress Joan Allen as part of the River to River Festival in lower Manhattan. In 2006 he was also asked to participate in the Hallwalls Artists Residency Program in Buffalo, NY.
He is Assistant Professor of Film in the Visual Art Department at Fordham University– Lincoln Center.