Author Archives: lafilmforum

May 29 – Restoring the Los Angeles Avant-Garde: Things Are Always Going Wrong

Friday May 29, 2009, 7:30 pm

At the Billy Wilder Theater at the Hammer Museum, Wilshire at Westwood

Los Angeles Filmforum, UCLA Film & Television Archive, the Hammer Museum present
Restoring the Los Angeles Avant-Garde: Things Are Always Going Wrong
New Restorations of Los Angeles Experimental Films
Pat O’Neill, Grahame Weinbren, Fred Worden, David Wilson, Roberta Friedman and Academy preservationist Mark Toscano in person!
FREE Admission!

**NOTE THE CHANGE IN DATE, LOCATION, AND PRICE**

Venusville (1973)

Venusville (1973)

Since its formal inception in 1992, the Academy Film Archive has been working diligently to preserve and restore independent and experimental films. However, over the last five years, the Academy Archive has trained an additional focus on the work of Los Angeles-based artists.

As more films have come to the Academy, and more have been preserved or restored, a fascinating portrait of the Los Angeles avant-garde scene has begun to emerge. While films produced by artists in New York and San Francisco have historically been given an inordinate precedence in accounts of such work, an astonishingly diverse and extensive world of vital avant-garde filmmaking was–and still is–going on right here.  Accordingly, the title of this special two-night screening series has a double meaning.

All of the films presented in this program are by Los Angeles artists featuring prints restored by the Academy and making their Los Angeles restoration premieres. But in addition to highlighting the important work of the Academy–and by this selection of film artists, in particular–this series aims to contribute to the growing recognition of Los Angeles, then and now, as a significant center of avant-garde production.

By the Sea (1963, 10 min., 16mm, B/W, sound)
Directed by Pat O’Neill and Robert Abel
Organic and inorganic forms observed and captured at Muscle Beach are flattened onto slides beneath carefully applied cover slips and prepared for closer examination.

Throbs (1972, 7 min., 16mm, color, sound)
Directed by Fred Worden
Demonstrating a remarkable subtlety and restraint, Fred Worden explores the small epiphanies and nuanced areas of visual delight resulting from the energies created by a vibrant chemical reaction of intermingling footage.

Pasadena Freeway Stills (1974)

Pasadena Freeway Stills (1974)

Pasadena Freeway Stills (1974, 6 min., 16mm, color, silent)
Directed by Gary Beydler
Possibly the most lucid, vivid and awesome demonstration of the building up of still images to create moving ones, Pasadena Freeway Stills simply, gracefully and powerfully shows us the process by which we are fooled by the movies.

unc. 91966, 3 min., 16mm, color, sound)
Directed by Bruce Lane
A haunting, affecting, three-minute epic constructed of memorable images and densely imagined narrative fragments distilled to an essence that registers dread, dissolution, fear and despair, but also a bittersweet melancholy, both for an idealized past and a diseased present.

Murray and Max Talk about Money (1979, 15 min., 16mm, color, sound)
Directed by Roberta Friedman and Grahame Weinbren
“We are always interested in constructing ways of evoking the pleasures of cinema without implicitly accepting an ideology–of passivity, manipulation, and repressed violence–that we would explicitly reject. Can there be films that remain cinematic without indulging in one form of pornography or another? Murray and Max… is, in part, a proposal, a blueprint, for such a form of cinema.” –Roberta Friedman and Grahame Weinbren

Venusville (1973, 10 min., 16mm, color, sound)
Directed by Fred Worden and Chris Langdon
No montage, no human subjects, minimal visual content, and the artists basically pissing on the fourth wall by calling attention in every way possible to the artifice of what they’re doing. An anti-film school film made at film school.

Rose for Red (1980, 3 min., 16mm, color, sound)
(1980) Directed by Diana Wilson
An unusual, jewel-like homage to unity and discordance in filmic composition.

Stasis (1976, 7 min., 16mm, color, sound)
Directed by David Wilson
The intentional misnomer of the title plays upon the misapprehension that the negation of one dynamic process with its inverse complement would result in something static. A landscape film wherein the invisible landscape between the capturer and the captured is brought mysteriously into view.

Venice Pier (1976, 16 min., 16mm, color, sound)
Directed by Gary Beydler
Shot spatially out of order on the Venice pier over the course of an entire year, Gary Beydler recomposed the footage in editing to make it proceed consistently forward in space, resulting in an intricate mixing up of chronology. Some cuts could represent a jump of months either forward or backward in time. The result is one of gauzy impressionism brought into vivid and breathtaking clarity.

Picasso (1973, 3 min., 16mm, (4/8/1973), B/W, sound)
Directed by Chris Langdon
“When Picasso died I wanted to make the first post-mortem documentary, as I knew would happen anyway, and cheaply. The film took four hours to finish from camera to print and cost a little under $5.” –Chris Langdon

Sears Sox (1968, 5 min., 16mm, color, sound)
Directed by Pat O’Neill, Neon Park, and Chick Strand
A bonus presentation of a short piece of commercial work done by three legendary L.A. artists.
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May 27 – Restoring the Los Angeles Avant-Garde: Thom Andersen and Morgan Fisher

Wednesday May 27, 2009, 7:30 pm

At the Billy Wilder Theater at the Hammer Museum, Wilshire at Westwood

Los Angeles Filmforum, UCLA Film & Television Archive, the Hammer Museum present
Restoring the Los Angeles Avant-Garde: Thom Andersen and Morgan Fisher
Thom Andersen, Morgan Fisher and Academy preservationist Mark Toscano in person!
FREE Admission!

**NOTE THE CHANGE IN DATE, LOCATION, AND PRICE**

--- ------- (1966-67)

--- ------- (1966-67)

Since its formal inception in 1992, the Academy Film Archive has been working diligently to preserve and restore independent and experimental films. However, over the last five years, the Academy Archive has trained an additional focus on the work of Los Angeles-based artists.

As more films have come to the Academy, and more have been preserved or restored, a fascinating portrait of the Los Angeles avant-garde scene has begun to emerge. While films produced by artists in New York and San Francisco have historically been given an inordinate precedence in accounts of such work, an astonishingly diverse and extensive world of vital avant-garde filmmaking was–and still is–going on right here.  Accordingly, the title of this special two-night screening series has a double meaning.

All of the films presented in this program are by Los Angeles artists featuring prints restored by the Academy and making their Los Angeles restoration premieres. But in addition to highlighting the important work of the Academy–and by this selection of film artists, in particular–this series aims to contribute to the growing recognition of Los Angeles, then and now, as a significant center of avant-garde production.

Phi Phenomenon (1968)

Phi Phenomenon (1968)

Thom Andersen and Morgan Fisher:

For the last 45 years, Morgan Fisher and Thom Andersen have been filmmakers, collaborators and friends.

In brilliantly lucid and conceptually rich films and media installations, Fisher has deeply and thoughtfully explored the many facets of the medium and the cinematic experience itself with great wit, intelligence and epiphany.

Andersen, perhaps best known for his most recent, internationally acclaimed film, Los Angeles Plays Itself (2003), also produced a vital body of short experimental work in the 1960s that exhibits a powerful combination of rigorous artistic clarity and profoundly felt humanism.

This evening’s program offers a very rare opportunity not only to see newly restored prints of Fisher and Andersen’s early film work, but to meet the artists in person for a discussion about their ideas, their films and their friendship and collaboration over the years.

Melting (1964-65, 6 min., 16mm, color, sound)
Directed by Thom Andersen
Melting is remarkable for its alluding to a forgotten history and its prescience of history to come. Thirty-odd years after Bataille announced the informe, and 32 years before Bois and Krauss brought the informe back from history, and before Bois characterized melting in this way, Thom made his film. What Thom calls the sundae’s passage from edibility to waste, perfectly embodies the entropic. What once could have been eaten now cannot. Waste is something that nothing more can be made of; it has no further use.” –Morgan Fisher

Olivia’s Place (1966/74, 6 min., 16mm, , color, sound,)
Directed by Thom Andersen
“Olivia may have felt no need to change, but the world around her was not bound by such an impractical sentiment. Olivia’s Place is gone. The site where it used to stand is now a sort of plaza between two large old wood frame houses that were moved to their present location from elsewhere in the city. One of these houses is occupied by a restaurant, the other is occupied by the California Heritage Museum.” –Morgan Fisher

--- ------- (1966-67)

--- ------- (1966-67)

— ——- (1966-67, 12 min., 16mm, color, sound)
Directed by Thom Andersen and Malcolm Brodwick
“I consider Thom and Malcolm’s film to be groundbreaking in its brilliant demonstration of the power of a rule to construct a film that unifies shots taken at different times and places. And it is also noteworthy for the new model of the documentary film that it proposes. The brilliance of — ——- is that it refuses the power of montage as that idea has been conventionally understood, only to rediscover its power in a different form, on a new plane. Somewhere Eisenstein describes montage as that mode of construction that goes beyond representing the appearance of an event to capture the feeling of it. — ——- operates in this way, but in a realm that is particularly resistant to representation by means of images, that of memory.” –Morgan Fisher

Documentary Footage (1968, 11 min., 16mm, color, sound)
Directed by Morgan Fisher
Naturalness willfully corrupted by inevitable self-consciousness, unwittingly corrupted by unavoidable naturalness, a role played with incredible nuance and complexity by Maurine Connor.

Production Footage (1971, 10 min., 16mm, color & B/W, silent)
Directed by Morgan Fisher
“The cinematic mechanism cannot be completely deconstructed without resort to other means of mechanical image reproduction; a double system of representation is required; the apparent naturalness of the cinematic sign must be put into question by other indexical signs.” –Thom Andersen

Phi Phenomenon (1968, 11 min., 16mm, B/W, silent)
Directed by Morgan Fisher
The phi phenomenon is a perceptual illusion (first described in 1912 by Max Wertheimer) in which a succession of still images produces a disembodied perception of motion. “Phi Phenomenon is astonishing precisely because its object is so familiar, and it fascinates me because it is a motion picture in which there is movement but no apparent movement.” –Thom Andersen

Turning Over (1975, 13 min., Video, B/W, sound)
Directed by Morgan Fisher
Documented live to tape in San Francisco, October 17, 1975.

Total running time of films: approx. 70 min.

Funding for this series was provided by the UCLA Arts Initiative.
Continue reading

May 17 – Descent: Three Stories of Family

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)

Images of Flying and Falling (2001)

No Man is an Island (2006)

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?”

Images of Flying and Falling (2001)

Images of Flying and Falling (2001)

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.”

Saturday and Sunday May 2 and 3 – the Orphans West Symposium!!

Saturday May 2 and Sunday May 3, 2009

At the Silent Movie Theatre, 611 N. Fairfax (at Melrose)

Los Angeles Filmforum, Cinefamily, and NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and MIAP program presents
The Orphans West Symposium

With FIVE shows over two days featuring presenters and films from around the country!!

orphanswestlogo

The Orphan Film Symposium has had six incarnations since its start in 1999 at the University of South Carolina. Founder Dan Streible has since developed the symposium into a favorite of AMIA members, filmmakers, and historians. The event is now held at NYU as a project of their Moving Image Archiving and Preservation program, and draws sold out crowds from around the world (18 nations were represented at the last symposium).

Lindas Film on Menstruation (1974)

Linda's Film on Menstruation (1974)

For the uninitiated, “orphan” works are those which are outside of the mainstream and often have no known origin or copyright, or were at one point considered “lost” and without a formal repository to preserve it. These include home movies, amateur and educational films, industrial and sponsored films, experimental films, and newsreels.  According to Dan Streible, the founder of the Orphans Film Symposium,

Three dictionary connotations of orphan [are] analogous to what film archivists mean by the label: 1) One deprived of protection (orphans of the storm); 2) an item not developed because it is unprofitable (an orphan drug); and 3) a discontinued model (an orphan automobile) … we can fairly say that in the twenty-first century, all film (celluloid) is becoming an orphaned technology.

Presenters at the symposium speak about orphan restoration and research projects, their processes of discovery for these films and videos, followed by screenings of the works.

Undoubtedly, latecomers to the Orphans phenomenon are curious as to what stories and treasures the early incarnations of the symposium uncovered. For those curious parties who have missed some or all of the symposia, Los Angeles organizations LA Filmforum and Cinefamily have worked with NYU and Dan Streible to coordinate a two-day retrospective event on May 2 and 3 at the historic Silent Movie Theatre at 611 N. Fairfax. The event will feature five shows; each featuring selected presentations and screenings from all six previous symposia. Orphans founder Dan Streible will be present along with an amazing lineup of presenters and films.

The Lineup (visit the full Program Page for full details!!):

Saturday May 2, 6:00pm
Selections from Orphans 1: Saving Orphan Films in the Digital Age
and Orphans 2: Documenting the 20th Century

Saturday May 2, 9:30pm
Selections from Orphans 3: Listening to Orphan Films; Sound, Music, Voice

Sunday May 3, 2:00pm
Selections from Orphans 4: On Location: Place and Region in Forgotten Films

Sunday May 3, 4:30pm

Still from Craig Baldwins Science in Action presentation and screening on Sunday May 3, 4:30pm

Still from Craig Baldwin's Science in Action presentation and screening on Sunday May 3, 4:30pm

Selections from Orphans 5: Science, Industry and Education

Sunday May 3, 8:00pm
Selections from Orphans 6: The State

Admission is $13 per show.  For $65 you will receive a pass to all five shows in the symposium, free soda and popcorn AND a dinner and wine reception on Saturday night between the first and second shows!

Please visit the Cinefamily Orphans page to purchase a symposium pass or individual tickets!

**NOTE** Filmforum members will receive symposium passes at $50, and individual tickets at $9.  These prices are not available online in advance, BUT you may email us to reserve your pass or ticket, and then purchase in person at the theatre box office.  If you would like to purchase a Filmforum membership at the Orphans West event, you may do so!  Email us at lafilmforum@yahoo.com if you would like to do this.  Memberships are $60 for a single membership, $95 for a dual membership, and include free admission to all Filmforum screenings for one year.

This symposium was organized by Stephanie Sapienza and Adam Hyman of Los Angeles Filmforum, Hadrian Belove of Cinefamily at the Silent Movie Theatre, and Dan Streible from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and the Moving Image Archiving and Preservation Program (MIAP).

Thanks also to the following individuals and organizations for providing assistance to the Orphans West symposium:

Peter Oleksik
Elizabeth Hesik
Mark Toscano

Asian Film Archive

UCLA Film and Television Archive
University of South Carolina Newsfilm Library
NYU Tisch School of the Arts
Academy Film Archive

April 26 – Six classic experimental films from Treasures from American Film Archives IV

Sunday April 26, 2009, 7:30 pm

At the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood

6712 Hollywood Blvd (at Las Palmas), Hollywood CA 90028

Park at the Hollywood & Highland complex and bring your ticket for validation, $2 for 4 hours!

Los Angeles Filmforum presents
Treasures from American Film Archives IV – Six experimental film classics from the DVD box, screened on film, in honor of its releaseon film!
With Jeff Lambert, Assistant Director of the National Film Preservation Foundation, and Mark Toscano of the Academy Film Archive in person!

Treasure IV: American Avant-Garde Film, 1947-1986 (2009)

Treasure IV: American Avant-Garde Film, 1947-1986 (2009)

This March brought the long-awaited release of the National Film Preservation Foundation’s glorious 2-DVD box set, Treasures IV: American Avant-Garde Film, 1947-1986, the home-video debut of 26 classics of American experimental filmmaking. Treasures IV showcases the preservation work of America’s foremost avant-garde film archives: Anthology Film Archive, the Academy Film Archive of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Museum of Modern Art, the Donnell Media Center of the New York Public Library, and Pacific Film Archive. In honor of its release, Filmforum tonight brings you six of the restored films from the set, on film, in all their glory, the better to whet your appetite for all the glories of the box set.

You can read reviews of the box set on Reviews at Slant Magazine as well as Paste Magazine.

Tonight we’ll be screening:

Fog Line by Larry Gottheim (1970, 11 min., 16mm, color, silent)
Restored print courtesy of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts

“It is a small but perfect film.” — Jonas Mekas
“The metaphor in Fog Line is so delicately positioned that I find myself receding in many directions to discover its source: The Raw and the Cooked? Analytic vs. Synthetic? Town & Country? Ridiculous and Sublime? One line is scarcely adequate to the bounty which hangs from fog & line conjoined.” — Tony Conrad
Fog Line is a wonderful piece of conceptual art, a stroke along that careful line between wit and wisdom — a melody in which literally every frame is different from every preceding frame (since the fog is always lifting) and the various elements of the composition — trees, animals, vegetation, sky, and, quite importantly, the emulsion, the grain of the film itself — continue to play off one another as do notes in a musical composition. The quality of the light – the tonality of the image itself — adds immeasurably to the mystery and excitement as the work unfolds, the fog lifting, the film running through the gate, the composition static yet the frame itself fluid, dynamic, magnificently kinetic. — Raymond Foery

Go! Go! Go! by Marie Menken (1964, 11.5 min., 16mm, color, silent)
Restored print from Filmmakers Coop

Taken from a moving vehicle, for much of the footage. The rest uses stationary frame, stop-motion. In the harbor sequence, I had to wait for the right amount of activity, to show effectively the boats darting about; some sequences took over an hour to shoot, and last perhaps a minute on the screen. The “strength and health” sequence was shot at a body beautiful convention. Various parts of the city of New York, the busy man’s engrossment in his busy-ness, make up the major part of the film … a tour-de-force on man’s activities.

Chumlum (1964)

Chumlum (1964)

Chumlum by Ron Rice (1964, 26 min., 16mm, color, sound)
Print from Filmmakers Coop

With Jack Smith, Beverly Grant, Mario Montez, Joel Markman, Frances Francine, Guy Henson, Barry Titus, Zelda Nelson, Gerard Malanga. Music by Angus McLise. Sound Technician: Tony Conrad.
“It’s not unlike a bizarre dream, in riotous color..” New York Herald Tribune.
“Ron Rice’s only color film, Chumlum depicts Jack Smith and some of his cast during the making of Normal Love, which includes Beverly Grant, Mario Montez, Francis Francine, and Tiny Tim. Rice offers glimpses of them in between set-ups at Normal Love’s locations, as well as shots of the players lying in hammocks and rocking lazily after they were back in Rice’s New York City loft. Throughout Chumlum, he utilizes superimpositions to turn his subjects into fields of texture, rhythm, and color. The title is derived from the score by composer/musician Angus MacLise, which he played on cembalo.” — Nicole Gagne, All Movie Guide

Peyote Queen by Storm De Hirsch (1965, 9 min., 16mm, color, sound)
Restored print from Anthology Film Archive

A further exploration into the color of ritual, the color of thought; a journey through the underworld of sensory derangement.
“A very beautiful work! The abstractions drawn directly on film are like the paintings of Miró moving at full speed to the rhythm of an African beat.” — D. Noguez, La Nouvelle Revue Francaise
“Among my favorites … beauty and excitement.” –– Jonas Mekas, The Village Voice.

Necrology (1969-1970)

Necrology (1969-1970)

Necrology by Standish Lawder (1969-1970, 12 min., 16mm, b&w/so)
Restored print courtesy of Academy Film Archive, with thanks to Canyon Cinema

“In Necrology, a 12-minute film, in one continuous shot he films the faces of a 5:00 PM crowd descending via the Pan Am building escalators. In old-fashioned black and white, these faces stare into the empty space, in the 5:00 PM tiredness and mechanical impersonality, like faces from the grave. It’s hard to believe that these faces belong to people today. The film is one of the strongest and grimmest comments upon the contemporary society that cinema has produced.” – Jonas Mekas, The Village Voice

“Without doubt, the sickest joke I’ve ever seen on film.” – Hollis Frampton
Collection: Museum of Modern Art, NY

7362 (1965-1967)

7362 (1965-1967)

7362 by Pat O’Neill (1965-1967, 10 min., 16mm, color, sound)
Restored print courtesy of Academy Film Archive, with thanks to Canyon Cinema

Sound: Joseph Byrd, Michael Moore; Picture: Pat O’Neill. A bilaterally symmetrical (west to east) fusion of human, biomorphic and mechanical shapes in motion. Has to do with the spontaneous generation of electrical energy. A fairly rare (ten years ago) demonstration of the Sabattier effect in motion. Numbered after the film stock of the same name. “Fetishistic.” – Isabella Beeton

Treasures IV is made possible through generous grants from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional support from Film Technology, Inc. Net proceeds from sales will support further film preservation. A two-page brochure with the complete line-up of films can be downloaded from the NFPF Web site.

The National Film Preservation Foundation is the independent, nonprofit organization created by the U.S. Congress to help save America’s film heritage. Working with archives and others who appreciate film, the NFPF supports activities that save films for future generations, improve film access for education and exhibition, and increase public commitment to preserving film as a cultural resource, art form, and historical record. Established in 1996, the NFPF is the charitable affiliate of the National Film Preservation Board of the Library of Congress. Continue reading

April 19 – Common Ground: Four Films

Sunday April 19, 2009, 7:30 pm

At the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood

Los Angeles Filmforum presents Common Ground: Four films
Programmed by Thom Andersen
Three filmmakers — Brunner-Sung, Moon, and Lertxundi — will be present!

**NOTE THE CHANGE IN TIME!**
Four young film-makers–Vera Brunner-Sung, Haeyong Moon, Erika Vogt, and Laida Lertxundi —celebrate the commonplace and the contingent. They lead us to notice anew what we might miss in our everyday surroundings. They celebrate the memories made in a stone, in a field, in a song. Are these places sacred then? We live in a ruined paradise, and in ruining it, we have made it our home, and since it is our home, we must learn to love it and to value it. That is the lesson of these movies. – Thom Andersen

Common Ground (2008)

Common Ground (2008)

Common Ground by Vera Brunner-Sung (2008, 27 min, 16mm and super-8 on DV)
World Premiere!
From 2006 to 2008, I filmed in and around Arnold Heights, a neighborhood of abandoned military family housing near Riverside, California. While initially drawn to the buildings themselves, I ended up using little of my early footage. As I researched its history, the site struck me as a confluence of social and economic interests representative of something much larger than another desert ruin. The resulting document is as much about imagination and ritual as it is the physical place itself. Landscape acts as a mirror of the past on the future. Common Ground seeks to understand what becomes of memory—both personal and cultural—in this process. – Vera Brunner-Sung

For a Brighter Day (2005)

For a Brighter Day (2005)

For a Brighter Day by Haeyong Moon (2005, 30 min, 16mm color w/ SR)
For a Brighter Day captures the everyday image and sounds of Los Angeles, New York City and Tecate: the people we encounter on the street level, the melody from the ice cream truck, colorful flowers sprouting from the most unexpected places, wired fences that shape our view, abandoned objects that dress the street, and pigeons and cats that look for a place of refuge. The film takes a journey through the traffic and cycle of our daily life, resonating a vision of hope and complacency in the present. – Haeyong Moon

Motor Post Motor Band Disband (2007-2009)

Motor Post Motor Band Disband (2007-2009)

Motor Post Motor Band Disband by Erika Vogt (2007-2009, 22 min, video)
The seven short videos that comprise Motor Post Motor Band Disband are part of a collection of works that in part take the screen and projection as their subject. In Screen Talk, for example, two iconic images, that of a motor part and that of a music man find themselves exchanging information. Both images reverberate on the screen. The motor pulsates under the light and motion of a film projector and Vogt whirls as an offset shadow, generating music that is deafened by the sounds of the film machine. Each piece in the collection Motor Post Motor Band Disband was taped, re-taped, filmed, re-filmed, projected and re-projected. The result is a raucous collection of animated works that is both celebratory and mournful. – Erika Vogt

My Tears Are Dry (2009)

My Tears Are Dry (2009)

My Tears Are Dry by Laida Lertxundi (2009, 4 min, 16mm, color/sound)
World Premiere!
A film in the three parts of a dialectic. Hoagy Land’s song is played and interrupted as guitar makes sound, two women, a bed an armchair, and the beautiful outside. After Bruce Baillie´s All My Life. The lyrics of the song reference the eternal sunshine of California and its promises. – Laida Lertxundi

April 13 – Animated Documentaries Part 2: Rendering the Facts (at the Silent Movie Theatre)

Monday April 13, 2009, 8:00 pm

At the Silent Movie Theatre
611 N. Fairfax Ave. just south of Melrose
Park across the street (free) at Fairfax High School

Los Angeles Filmforum and Cinefamily present
Animated Documentaries part 2 – Rendering the Facts
With several guest filmmakers!

**NOTE THE CHANGES IN TIME, LOCATION, AND PRICE**

Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience (2007)

Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience (2007)

“Animated documentaries” – isn’t that an oxymoron?  No longer!  Documentary has now moved past the notion that it needs to be an exact representation of reality, although many in the United States still resist the expansive concept.  And animation has long included more than kids cartoons, although most people only know the films they see on Saturday morning television.

But now is the time to break through the bounds of the real, to get into the minds of real people in real situations, to find visuals for events that weren’t documented, to raise issues of perception and experience and reality.  Why are most animated documentaries linked still to an acceptable aural interview – an illustrated radio documentary?  Where does animation fall short, and what objections does it raise?  And where does it open up the realm of the possible, and provide a new way to visualize truth?

Join us as we survey the remarkable and burgeoning genre of animated documentaries.

The Velvet Tigress (2001)

The Velvet Tigress (2001)

Tonight we’ll look at difficult and entertaining assortment of films where the animation serves as visual reportage, representing “the facts.”  From the winsome or rough tales of the loss of virginity in Never Like the First Time to the bouncy remixed score of sweetpea growers in England in Success with Sweetpeas these films draw upon interviews and historical events.  We’ll also be including such works as the “Men in Black” segment of the Oscar-nominated documentary Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience, The Velvet Tigress which looks at a 1930s murderess, and the original animated documentary, The Sinking of the Lusitania by Winsor McKay, which also raises the question of where documentary meets propaganda.  And more!

Rendering the Facts:

The Sinking of the Lusitania by Winsor McKay (1916, 12 min, USA.)

Enter Life by Faith Hubley (1982, 6 min., USA, for Smithsonian Natural History museum)

Adventures in Music: Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom! (1953, 10 min., Disney Studios)

The Velvet Tigress by Jennifer Sachs (2001, 11 min, 16mm, USA)

Excerpt from Shay’s Rebellion – America’s First Civil War by R.J. Cutler, animation by Bill Plympton (2004, 45 min, video, USA)

Forest Murmurs by Jonathan Hodgson (2006, 12:30, UK)

Forest Murmurs (2006)

Forest Murmurs (2006)

Success with Sweetpeas by Samantha Moore (2006, 6:30, UK)

Hidden by David Aronowitsch and Hanna Heilborn (2002, 8 min., video, Sweden)

“Men in Black” segment from Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience, by Richard Robbins (2007, 6 min., from video, USA)

His Mother’s Voice (1997)

His Mother’s Voice (1997)

His Mother’s Voice by Dennis Tupicoff (1997, 15 min, 35mm, Australia)

Never like the First Time by Jonas Odell (2005, 14:30, video, Sweden)