Sunday May 17, 2009, 7:30 pm
At the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood
6712 Hollywood Blvd. at Las Palmas. Park at the Hollywood & Highland complex, $2 for 4 hours with validation. Bring your parking ticket to the theater.
Los Angeles Filmforum presents
Descent: Three Stories of Family
Curator and Filmmaker LeAnn Erickson in person!
Descent: Three Stories of Family features three documentaries that explore familial relationships, personal stories, and cultural traditions. Investigating the human landscape through the lens of three distinct stylistic approaches, this documentary program highlights and deconstructs the theme of family.
Folk Songs, by LeAnn Erickson (2007, 12:20, 16mm/digital video)
Images of Flying and Falling, by Ariana Gerstein (2001, 24:00, 16mm/digital video)
No Man is an Island, by Sonja Lindén (2006, 40:20, 16mm)
With a total running time of 80 minutes, the program begins with the film Folk Songs, by university professor and independent video/filmmaker LeAnn Erickson. Folk Songs has been featured at numerous international film festivals including the 35th Athens Film and Video Festival (USA), Hot Docs International Documentary Film Festival (Canada), and the Sofia International Film Festival (Bulgaria). A native of the American Midwest Erickson poetically reflects on ‘the old country’ her grandparents left behind when they left Russia in 1913 to settle in the US. In search of her roots, Erickson travels to Russia and back only to find that the path to her immigrant past lies within her family’s own traditions. The Hot Docs Documentary Film Festival program notes state: “This lyrical and impressionistic rumination on the filmmaker’s Bulgarian heritage explores the impact of family and tradition, the links between the old world and the new, and the simple, lovely gestures that unite generations.”
Next is Images of Flying and Falling by Ariana Gerstein, university professor and independent filmmaker. An experimental documentary featured at such international venues as the Black Maria Film Festival (USA), the European Media Arts Festival (Germany) and the San Francisco International Film Festival (USA), Images of Flying and Falling uses moving and still photographic images to revive and recount lost memories of her deceased grandmother. As if piecing together a jigsaw puzzle, Gerstein strategically layers and aligns images and sounds as she reconstructs stories and searches for answers. Gerstein states, “Images of Flying and Falling, is an attempt to connect and hold onto the elusive- asking the viewer- what is reality and how do we shape it in the age of personal computers?”
The final film in the compilation is No Man Is an Island. Sonja Lindén, an independent filmmaker from Finland, combines observational techniques with poetic collage as she follows her father over the course of a year in her documentary No man is an Island. Screening at such internationally acclaimed festivals as the Sheffield Documentary Film Festival (UK), DOK Leipzig (Germany), and the 47th Krakow Film Festival (Poland) No man is an Island is an intimate and loving portrait of Kristen Lindén, a man who has dwelled alone on an island for the past 16 years. As father Linden chops wood, prepares for winter and builds his own coffin, what emerges is a closely observed analysis of existence in its simplest form told with humor and loving respect. Helsinki Documentary Film Festival program notes: “The most touching subjects are found close. No man is an Island portrays the filmmaker’s father poetically, with beautiful and carefully considered photography and music.”