April 4 – Journey From Darkness into Light: Films By Kerry Laitala

Saturday April 4, 2009, 8:00 pm

The Echo Park Film Center and Los Angeles Filmforum present
Journey From Darkness into Light: Some Films By Kerry Laitala

Note change in day, time, and location!

Echo Park Film Center
1200 N. Alvarado Street LA CA 90026
(213) 484-8846
http://www.echoparkfilmcenter.org
8PM, $5 admission

This “spooktacular” program includes nine short 16mm films from visiting Bay-area filmmaker Kerry Laitala. “For every work [Laitala] produces, she places her fingers on the pulse of the piece and allows it to grow organically without a script or prescribed plan. She prescribes to the concepts laid down by Germaine Dulac, maker of surrealist films in the 1920’s, that cinema should not be enslaved by narrative and theatre, and is interested in expansive forms of media production. Laitala is deeply invested in the process of working directly with the film medium basically is involved in all aspects of production: shooting, developing, editing and sound design as well as optical printing much of material to further re-work it into another form.“ (filmmaker’s bio)
FILMMAKER KERRY LAITALA IN ATTENDANCE!

A Fragment from a Lost Film (1992, 3 min., 16mm, silent)
Introduction to a walking anachronism

Orbit (2006, 9 min., 16mm, hand-made soundtrack)

Orbit

Orbit

Candy apple light emissions create a series of photic stimulating events that tickle the retinas. “Orbit” takes one into the realm of the mistake…. a playful pulsation of mis-registered images made when a
lab accidentally split the film from 16mm to regular 8. This format was then reconstituted on the optical printer making the colors and contrast further blow out into the atmosphere. Kodachrome color fields create tremulous vibrations whose flickerings hypnotize. The Kodachrome Series, of which “Orbit” is a part, deals directly with chromatic motion studies and creates an illusion of frozen light fields; holding light captive and exploring the phenomenon of retinal afterimage. The soundtrack is comprised of the flutterings of optical noise reverberating to the splices of the film that is intermixed with hand drawn extensions of the visual plane onto the soundtrack area. By combining a series of abstract shapes with permanent marker, the rhythm and tempo of the image is directly enhanced through this mark making process. The fanciful sputterings crackle and snap, tickling the tympanum of the eardrums. We enter through the oval window, while the Gravitron spins eternally.

Out of the Ether (2003, 11 min., 16mm, sound)
A hand crafted 16mm film composed on the optical printer and toned to bring out pulsating hues of oozing greens and yellows. “Out of the Ether” poses the following questions: “What do we
leave behind? Are institutional forces using our hysteria to reap the benefits of possible infection? Whose environment could we possibly be affecting? What unseen forces would unscrupulous beings want to use to infiltrate our bodies and perhaps our consciousness? Who is the enemy? “Out of the Ether” unleashes upon an unsuspecting audience septic musings about fear in the guise of microbial menace and mayhem.

Awake, But Dreaming (2000, 8 min., 16mm, Color, sound)
“This completely hand processed 16mm film was shot in the Hirschgang Oberer, an extended arched hallway at the Akademie Schloss Solitude, where she was in residence intermittently from 1998-2001. “Awake, but Dreaming” recreates a sense of an endless, cyclical dreamscape that is conjured up from the deep recesses of the imagination. A disembodied hovering presence evokes a menace that is intimated through the sonorous resonance, but never manifests itself. However, the dreamer
never reaches the apex of consciousness; only lingers repeatedly in the periphery of alchemically enhanced light and shadow. The cavernous intrauterine space is one of potentials where anything can happen if the viewer can enter the porthole of experience.”

Retrospectroscope

Retrospectroscope

Retrospectroscope (1997, 5 min., 16mm, silent)
The “Retrospectroscope” apparatus has gone through many incarnations; its presence belies the processes that have created it. As a pre-cinematic device, it traces an evolutionary trajectory, encircling the viewer in a procession of flickering fantasies of fragmented lyricism. The “Retrospectroscope” is a reinvention that simulates the illusion of the analysis of motion to recall early mysteries of the quest for this very discovery now taken for granted. The Muses of Cinema represented by the female figures on the disk, have emerged from a dark Neoclassical past. Streams of images revolve around, in an attempt to harness notions of a cinematic prehistory tracing past motions and gestures to burn their dance on the surface of the retinas. This film known as the “Retrospectroscope” was described in the San Francisco Bay Guardian as “A spinning flashing UFO/roulette wheel of Athenian proportions.”

Hallowed (2002, 11 min., 16mm, color, sound)
Hallowed is a 16mm film that portrays a mystical voyage made back in time by an unconscious woman in the throes of a cataleptic state. She finds herself in Plato’s cave where flickering flames incite prehistoric cinematic reverie evoking an experience of magical proportions. She is a spectral being who is transformed from within as viewers witness a chasm between the physical self and psychical self become one.

Secure the Shadow…’Ere the Substance Fade (1997, 9 min., 16mm, color, sound)
Secure the Shadow is a meditation on disintegration and mortality. The film utilizes antique Medical stereoscopic images from the Victorian era, which are simultaneously disturbing and beautiful. The filmmaker’s intention is to reveal universal truths about the overwhelming quality of disease to render us ultimately mute, immobilized within a corporeal shell that has succumbed to imminent forces beyond our control. The filmmaker also wants the film to address the myth that dignity is automatically restored upon the visage when facing death. In analyzing the original function of the stereoscopic images, the filmmaker intends to expose their classificatory nature. These anonymous subjects were reduced to paradigms of pathology, embalmed in time within their exterior presence. By re-photographing them on the optical printer and placing them in a mythical home, the filmmaker endeavors to re-animate these visages to ensnare them, or allow them to roam free on the surface of celluloid. Absence transforms to presence as the latent image reveals the manifest content, the slippery territories in between unraveling like the threads joining the crazy quilt that connects images together. An anachronistic Victorian sensibility places the images in a chimerical, historical context that embodies the film with a mind that is paradoxical and alien to our modern day perspective. The title “Secure the Shadow…’Ere the Substance Fade, let nature imitate what nature has made”, comes from a Nineteenth century post mortem photographer who advertised his services. This reference speaks about the function of photography as a democratizing medium that assists in the process of mourning and serves as a physical reminder of loss.

The Adventure Parade (2000, 5 min., 16mm, Black, White & Blue, silent)
A hand processed film that deals with the nature of using found images self-reflexively calling attention to the re-framing imprint of the filmmaker serving to reveal the duplicitous nature of the material. The inherent violence that is hinted at lies beyond the threshold of understanding, and only offers clues of past interventions.
Sponsored By The Princess Grace Foundation-1996

Conquered (2000, 15 min., 16mm, B&W & Color, sound)

Conquered

Conquered

Filmed entirely at the Akademie Schloss Solitude, this film comes from the depths of a submerged self. The filmmaker incorporated her own imagery with found material from German industrial films, most notably a film about a youth prison. These images were fused with images from a film brought from the United States entitled “The Epic of Everest” summarizing an attempt to reach the mountain’s summit by George Mallory and Sandy Irvine in 1924. Mallory’s body was just recently
discovered below the North face. Killed after a fall, his innards were subsequently eaten out by Goraks.

Sponsored by the Akademie Schloss Solitude and Hakan Warn

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