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

October 18 – Ken Jacobs & Anaglyph Tom


Sunday October 18, 2009, 7:30 pm

Los Angeles Filmforum presents

ANAGLYPH TOM (Tom with Puffy Cheeks) by Ken Jacobs

Anaglyph Tom

Los Angeles Premiere!  Ken Jacobs in Person! 3-D!

Filmforum at the Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd. at Las Palmas, Los Angeles CA 90028

For reservations, email us at, but they aren’t essential.

Parking is now easiest at the Hollywood & Highland complex.  Bring your ticket for validation.  Parking is $2 for 4 hours with validation.  Enter that complex on Highland or Hollywood.  The theater is 1.5 blocks east.

Radical genius Ken Jacobs is one of the leading practitioners of film and video art in the world.  We’re delighted to host the Los Angeles premiere of his newest video work – the 3-D version of Tom, Tom, the Piper’s Son.Not on DVD, you won’t have any other chances to see this.

“It’s wonderfully fitting that, in the year of Hollywood’s much ballyhooed 3-D renaissance, Jacobs has routed the technology back to the very origins of cinema itself. In the feature-length Anaglyph Tom (Tom with Puffy Cheeks), also premiering here this week, Jacobs repurposes another early Edison short — the same one he first stretched like a rubber band into 1969’s Tom, Tom, the Piper’s Son — this time stereoscoping the picaresque one-reeler using red-and-blue anaglyph technology, so that Edison’s prepubescent pig thief and crowds of antic villagers now seem to invade the space between the screen and the audience. In addition, Jacobs uses digital effects to bisect, trisect and otherwise slice and dice the orig inal images, repainting his canvas with a restless vigor.

“Like much of what interests Jacobs, 3-D technology dates back to the turn of the last century, though the filmmaker admits that his initial reaction to the popular 3-D boom of the 1950s was one of little enthusiasm. “Coming from painting, the surface was most important to me,” Jacobs says. “I studied with a great teacher” — German abstract expressionist painter Hans Hofmann — “who said, ‘You mustn’t break the surface. Whatever you do in space, you mustn’t break the surface.’ And [3-D] was breaking the surface in a big way. Gradually, I chose to sin and got deeper and deeper into it.” Still, Jacobs adds, ‘My 3-D is not like the movies coming out now or before; I’m not that interested in the verisimilitude of re-creating a world in depth. I’m playing with depth. I’m playing with the eyes. Curious things can happen.'” – Scott Foundas, LA Weekly.

Read the full profile by Scott Foundas but note that they have the date of tonight’s screening wrong

Also see the profile with Ken Jacobs by Manohla Dargis in the New York Times.

Curated by Steve Anker. This screening concludes a weeklong residency by Jacobs at CalArts, REDCAT, UCLA and Los Angeles Filmforum

ANAGLYPH TOM (Tom With Puffy Cheeks) (2008, 118 minutes, DV-Cam)
In 3-D!

The real subject of ANAGLYPH TOM (Tom With Puffy Cheeks) is depth-perception itself.  Our beloved performers from the 1905 TOM, TOM, THE PIPER’S SON again encapsulate human absurdity for our amusement but this time in entirely illusionary 3-D.  They step from -and back into- the screen surface.  This is cosmic play with all strings pulled.    – Ken Jacobs

Ken Jacobs was born in Brooklyn, NY, in 1933. He studied painting with one of the prime creators of Abstract Expressionism, Hans Hofmann, in the mid-fifties. It was then that he also began filmmaking (Star Spangled To Death). His personal star rose, to just about knee high, with the sixties advent of Underground Film. In 1967, with the involvement of his wife Florence and many others aspiring to a democratic -rather than demagogic- cinema, he created The Millennium Film Workshop in New York City. A nonprofit filmmaker’s co-operative open to all, it made available film equipment, workspace, screenings and classes at little or no cost. Later he found himself teaching large classes of painfully docile students at St. John’s University in Jamaica, Queens.

In 1969, after a week’s guest seminar at Harpur College (now, Binghamton University), students petitioned the Administration to hire Ken Jacobs. Despite his lack of a high school diploma, the Administration -during that special period of anguish and possibility- decided that, as a teacher, he was “a natural.” Together with Larry Gottheim he organized the SUNY system’s first Department of Cinema, teaching thoughtful consideration of every kind of film but specializing in avant garde cinema appreciation and production. (Department graduates are world-recognized as having an exceptional presence in this field.) His own early studies under Hofmann would increasingly figure in his filmwork, making for an Abstract Expressionist cinema, clearly evident in his avant garde classic Tom, Tom, The Piper’s Son (1969) and increasingly so in his subsequent devising of the unique Nervous System series of live film-projection performances. The American Museum Of The Moving Image in Astoria, Queens, hosted a full retrospective of his work in 1989, The New York Museum Of Modern Art held a partial retrospective in 1996, as did The American House in Paris in 1994 and the Arsenal Theater in Berlin in 1986 (during his 6 month stay as guest-recipient of Berlin’s DAAD award). He has also performed in Japan, at the Louvre in Paris, the Getty Center in Los Angeles, etc. Honors include the Maya Deren Award of The American Film Institute, the Guggenheim Award and a special Rockefeller Foundation grant. A 1999 interview with Ken Jacobs can be seen on the Net as part of The University Of California at Berkeley’s series of Conversations With History:

This screening series is supported, in part, by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission and the Department of Cultural Affairs, City of Los Angeles.  Additional support generously provided by the American Cinematheque.

Anaglyph Tom