Category Archives: Uncategorized

Wednesdays in January – Avant-Garde Silent Films (at the Silent Movie Theatre)

Wednesdays in January (January 7, 14, 21, and 28)

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

January 7, 2009, 8:00 pm

Tom Verlaine & Jimmy Rip: Music For Experimental Film
Verlaine and Rip performing in person!!
Tickets for this special event are $18, with a $4 discount for Filmforum members.

1-7-09-tomverlaine_200Innovative, influential musician Tom Verlaine and celebrated producer/guitarist Jimmy Rip reawaken the spirit of the avant-garde as they perform on the Cinefamily stage a series of original musical scores for experimental silent film. Verlaine was the guiding force behind the proto-punk NYC band Television and a host of award-winning solo albums, and as composer, producer and sideman, Rip has collaborated with music legends Jerry Lee Lewis, Mick Jagger and Deborah Harry. The groundbreaking works of filmmakers (Man Ray, Watson & Weber, Fernand Leger and Hans Richter) pushing the limits of what was then still a new medium take on a new life wrapped in these new scores that are by turns playful, haunting, serene and intense. Not only do these surreal and timeless shorts rarely screen theatrically, but Verlaine and Rip’s stirring twin guitar attack provide a consummate accompaniment. To buy tickets online, visit the show’s page at the Cinefamily site.

January 14, 2009, 8:00 pm

1-14-09-berlin_200Berlin: Symphony Of A City by Walter Ruttman (1927, digital presentation, 65 min)
(w/ live score TBA)
French poet Charles Baudelaire famously theorized the flaneur, or urban vagabond “who walks the city in order to experience it”. L.A.’s decentralized sprawl makes life difficult for the flaneur, which is perhaps why we are thankful for films like Berlin: Symphony of a Great City. A vast, restless celebration of urban life in Weimar Germany, Walter Ruttman’s masterwork is perhaps the most poetic of the great “City Symphony” films–it feels like it was edited with a glass of wine and a notebook, not a flatbed and a pair of scissors. Unfolding in five acts, Berlin’s documentary depictions of work, transportation, relaxation, and night life teem with life and photographic creativity. Ruttman’s fluid editing pairs the dynamic pace of modern life with the bottomless curiosity of the wide-eyed observer. It’s as much as a love song as a symphony.
Admission for this event is $14, visit the series page on the Cinefamily site to buy tickets.  Filmforum members receive a $4 discount.

January 21, 2009, 8:00 pm

1-21-09-manwithamoviecamera_200The Man With The Movie Camera by Dziga Vertov (1929, 16mm, 80 min)
(w/ live score TBA)
The Man with a Movie Camera
is the kind of movie that turns cinephiles into cinemaniacs. A kaleidoscope of visual possibilities, a feast of energy and ideas, Dziga Vertov’s everything-including-the-kitchen-sink picture-poem teems with life, craft and innovation. It’s an ode to the city, to the machinery of modern life, to the rhythms of everyday people and to the visual splendor of movement, but most of all it’s a love letter to the camera itself. Vertov may have pioneered the use of the “hidden camera”, capturing moments of uncommon naturalism, but this restless film also puts the material reality of filmmaking front and center, even letting the camera do a charming stop-motion dance number. Toying with the artificial omnipotence of filmmaking, Vertov takes the documentary places few have been able to follow. This film wasn’t made for DVD–like a wild horse, The Man with a Movie Camera needs to run through the projector gate!
Admission for this event is $14, visit the series page on the Cinefamily site to buy tickets.  Filmforum members receive a $4 discount.

January 28, 2009, 8:00 pm

1-28-09-pageofmadness_200A Page of Madness by Teinosuke Kinugasa (1926, 35mm, 60 min)
With a live score by The Gaslamp Killer
Restored 35mm print courtesy of The George Eastman House

The most modern and challenging Japanese silent film to survive the firebombings of WWII, A Page of Madness throws the viewer into a maelstrom of hallucinations and obsession, and easily stands way out amongst its kabuki and jidai-geki silent contemporaries. A haunted man takes a job as a janitor in an insane asylum where his wife is committed; his fantasies of liberating her blend into the mad, confounding visions of the inmates. Told without intertitles, the narrative takes a back seat to pure visual expression. Director Teinosuke Kinugasa, already a connoisseur of world cinema when this film was made in 1927, synthesizes every available experimental technique known at the time: his use of superimpositions, flashbacks, rapid montage and complex subjective camerawork rival the innovations of Murnau and Gance for sheer audacity. Lost for half a century after its completion and rediscovered in the early ’70s by Kinugasa himself in his own garden shed, A Page of Madness is a stunning, singular work. The evening’s live musical accompaniment comes from psychedelic soundsmith The Gaslamp Killer.
Admission for this event is $14, visit the series page on the Cinefamily site to buy tickets.  Filmforum members receive a $4 discount.


December 14 – Susan Mogul’s Driving Men Return Engagement

Sunday December 14, 2008, 7:00 pm

At the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood

Los Angeles Filmforum presents
Susan Mogul’s Driving Men
Susan Mogul in attendance!


The screening of Susan Mogul’s “Driving Men” on Sunday is fully booked
(overbooked, actually) just by reservations. We won’t be able to take
any more reservations. If you choose to come without a reservation,
in case there are no shows, please be aware that you may very well not
get in.

If you do have a reservation, please arrive by 6:45 to get your
tickets. We will drop all reservations at 6:45 and sell the available
tickets to those who are present. We will not sell any tickets to
people without reservations until after 6:45. If the line is moving
slowly, we will take care of everyone in the line with reservations
first before selling tickets to anyone without reservations.

Our apologies. We will look into adding another show.  Thank you for your enthusiasm for this great film!

best regards,

Los Angeles Filmforum

Filmforum is delighted to host a return screening of world-renowned video artist Susan Mogul’s latest work Driving Men (2008, 68 min) after our sold out screening in August.

12-14-08-mogulDriving Men, Mogul’s hilarious and heartfelt feature length film, is a multi-layered story that explores universal themes: fathers and daughters, men and women and the choice not to have children; it also strives to become a mirror for others. The world premiere of Driving Men was at the Nyon International Film Festival in Switzerland and screened in the prestigious International Competition.

Sassy, iconoclastic, and never-married, Los Angeles filmmaker Susan Mogul rides shotgun with ex-lovers, almost lovers, and her Dad, in a road movie turned inside out. Conversations with each driving man- a pornographer, tuba player, TV critic, long haul truck driver, and more – are catalysts to reflect upon the past and comment about the present.

The point of departure for her journey is a car accident when Mogul lost her first love in 1969. This tragedy haunts the film. Yet, as this multi-layered story about her relationships unfold, it is clear that Mogul’s loss, at the age of twenty, was the inspiration for her long time love affair with the camera.

Raucous anecdotes about her contentious relationship with Dad, the protagonist, and, her provocative video art from the past, are woven through this episodic and experimental film. The pieces of Mogul’s life accumulate and merge into the tale of a woman who, at the age of 58, comes to terms with her father, and, to her amazement finds love and intimacy in the course of filming Driving Men.

The film features a variety of men who have been prominent in the Los Angeles art and music scenes for many years, including Bill Roper, tuba player extraordinaire; artists Pierre Picot and Barry Markowitz; Eric Martin, retired professor from Calarts; former Los Angeles Times Television critic Howard Rosenberg; and historian David N. Myers.

“Mogul looks at the men in her life, starting with her tragic first love and ending with a road trip with a new boyfriend forty years later. The often funny video tackles sex, desire, loss, family and the twisted threads of identity, as Mogul ponders being single and fifty. As with all her work, though, Driving Men is very much about a woman with a video camera…Mogul does this with insight, humor and a willingness to stand naked-literally and metaphorically – so that rather than merely being a diary, Driving Men is finally about the challenge of crafting a life.” – Holly Willis, LA Weekly

“Brash and funny and sexy and a bit wistfully intense. Mogul’s men, lovers or friends or relatives, are a wild bunch. From the tragically lost Larry, to Ed the porn prince, to Ray, who had met his father in San Quentin and vanished, to Eric, the handsome aloof older man, to the charming blues freak Ron…I loved the collage of Jewish identity and feminism, intellectual ponderings and let-the-chips-fall-where-they-may sexuality. It’s a great way to (not) write a memoir.” – Lucy Lippard, Writer and Activist
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December 7 – The Films of Walter Ungerer

Sunday December 7, 2008, 7:00 pm

At the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood

Los Angeles Filmforum presents
The Films of Walter Ungerer
Walter Ungerer in attendance!

Walter Ungerer is a longtime filmmaker and artist of international reputation, beginning with the underground film scene of New York City in the early 1960s, continuing through to his own experimental short films and features in Vermont and Maine. In the 1990s he moved to video in his explorations of light, space and technology. In the last few years Ungerer has begun to use an inexpensive digital still camera to create his projects; today he remains a prominent figure in the experimental media scene.

Despite all of this, Ungerer is still all too little known here on the West Coast. Join us as we catch up with his work from the past decade. Filmforum is delighted to host him on his first visit to LA since 1981, when we screened his film The House Without Steps! This evening will also mark the West Coast premieres of his new newest from 2008:

The Salt Shaker and the Moon (2008, 13 mins)
Inalienable (2008, 7:45 mins) The political climate in the United States and how the public perceives our government is reflected on the bumper stickers that decorate our cars and trucks. The material for this film, stills of bumper stickers, was shot over a two-year period throughout the Northeast, then edited just before the recent national presidential election.
Such as it Is (2007, 11:47 mins) The film is divided into four parts and four themes: the underground; city and glass; field of silkweeds; fog and the ocean. Each theme has its separate identity, yet they are not separate. Much like the essential elements of Ancient Greece, air, earth, fire and water, were joined in the universe, so too, these four themes are unified through computer manipulation and abstraction of imagery.
Syracuse International Film & Video Festival 2007

12-7-08-91-le-grand91 Le Grand (2005, 19 mins) 91 Le Grand is a four months study of the movement of light through a space in Ungerer’s home in Maine. The camera simply records, programmed to take still pictures between intervals of being shut down. More than anything else, it is a meditation in time, space and place.

12-7-08-the-awakeningThe Awakening (2002, 9:45 mins) The film parallels the short treatise The Awakening of Faith by Asvaghosha which provides a comprehensive summary of the essentials of Mahayana Buddhism. That treatise discusses the question of how man can transcend his finite state and participate in the life of the infinite while still remaining in the midst of the phenome.

Kingsbury Beach (1996, 6:21 mins) Digital stills and video footage of a child on a beach in Cape Cod, Massachusetts are manipulated and obscured to create a nostalgic atmosphere of remembrances. The Amiga computer has now been replaced by the Macintosh. The editing program is the Media 100.

12-7-08the-windowThe Window (1996, 3:13 mins) An interior space is described as a cell of confinement from the outside world. Only a window offers escape. This is an Amiga computer generated film.

Ungerer was born in Harlem, New York City in 1935 of German immigrants. He studied art and architecture at Pratt Institute, receiving a BFA degree in 1958. He then went on to Columbia University, where he received an MA and PD in 1964. In 2005 Ungerer received a PhD in Media Arts from Sacramento University. Simultaneously, with his educational studies, Ungerer worked as a freelance cameraperson and editor. He turned to independent personal filmmaking in 1964, after returning from Nigeria, where he was the cinematographer for a television “special”. Between 1964 and 1969 he produced five films: The Tasmanian Devil (1964), Meet Me, Jesus (1966), A Lion’s Tale (1968), Introduction To Oobieland (1969), and Ubi Est Terram Oobiae? (1969). In ‘69 he moved to Vermont and a teaching position at Goddard College. He had been teaching film production at Columbia University. In 1976 he formed Dark Horse Films, Inc. a Montpelier, Vermont non-profit company under which he produced four features: The Animal (1976), The House Without Steps (1979), The Winter There Was Very Little Snow (1982), and Leaving The Harbor (1992).
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December 2 – Punto y Raya (Dot and Line) Festival

Tuesday December 2, 2008, 8:00 pm

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

Los Angeles Filmforum, in conjunction with mad-actions, iotaCenter and Cinefamily, presents
Punto y Raya (Dot and Line) Festival
Curator Noel Palazzo in person, plus filmmakers Chris Casady, Danielle Ye, and Joaquin Kino Gil.
Tickets for this special event are $12, Filmforum members will be admitted for $8


The Punto y Raya (Dot and Line) festival is the brainchild of Barcelona-based group mad-actions. The program has a clear curatorial vision – that of pure abstraction in its most basic form, to “reveal the limitations and achievements of our representation systems.” Submission requirements are very specific regarding the use of dimension, perspective, volume and color. The result is a series of films “built up entirely from dots and lines as ends in themselves.”

shapes_and_gestures1The touring program will feature both finalists and award-winning films from the official competition; thirteen films with a total running time of 65 minutes. For tonight’s program only, we will also screen 16mm prints of two classic dot and line films; Shapes and Gestures (1976) [left] by Jules Engel and Two Space (1979) by Larry Cuba. Prints courtesy of the iotaCenter.

See the full show page at the mad-actions site.

oc21_circleCircle by Laurie Gibbs (2006, 3:14) A visual exploration of the construction and potential of a circle. The soundtrack features an originally recorded and crafted soundscape of tactile sounds to root the visuals.

Rayas Blancas y Rojas (White and Red Lines) by Calpurnio (2007, 5:00) Experimental video of total abstraction. Colour lines surf the screen at high speed. Entirely realized with a computer and edited in FinalCut. The soundtrack features Dave Clarke’s “I want it”.

Rayas Blancas y Rojas by CalpurnioSymmetry by Aleksandra Dulic and Kenneth Newby (2007, 2:00) Symmetry is an animated film composed of visual representations of individual sounds that reflect the structure of the music through shape, movement and colour. It is a hybridisation of several traditions — English bell ringing tradition, the music of the gamelan orchestras of Java and the contemporary electro acoustic composition. Each of the film’s six tones has its own unique visual character that is comprised of a distinct shape, colour, movement and spatial arrangement. The music was composed and performed by Kenneth Newby.

Mecanismo by Joaquin [Kino] Gil (2007, 5:00) Mecanismo is an extreme experiment in the use of very simple looping images and sounds to produce complex but basically abstract combinations that play with the pattern-recognition efforts of the brain. It is at the same time an exploration on abstract images and sounds and also on the following of those associations, planned or not, that the composition/animation process evokes in the creator, so it is method and result and art piece and social comment. The soundtrack was created by the animator with sound loops as part of the animation/composition process.

Esmolades (Sharp) by Albert Callejo Amat Esmolades (Sharp) by Albert Callejo Amat (2007, 4:40) A somewhat chaotic melody with frequent timbrical changes that defy rhythm. The author uses the digital-analogic synthesis of sound, the live visualization of sound in an oscilloscope and then, the sequentiation of notes and improvisation of synthesis parameters. Audio and video were recording with a miniDV camera in front of the oscilloscope. The soundtrack was designed by the author himself.

TaMura (MuraTa) by Katsuyuki Hattori (2005-07, 8:00) SIGN: In the creation of moving images, one’s job is not to write signs/words in a sequence, but to colour a wall with a sequence of lights.
LIVE: Video generates live images by means of electronic signals. However, almost all moving images are the offspring of film medium.
SIGNAL: Video is a signal translated into light that can be used for a dialogue, as you can reflect light on a mirror. The video dialogue creates rhythms of lights composed into scenes.
NOISE: Of course, a noise is considered as a signal as well.

Loop 12/06
by Astrid Hagenguth (2007, 4:00) Soundtrack and moving images are equal parts in this film. They develop a quite loose relation and, as the film progresses, they get more synchronous. Inspired on Steve Reich’s work, Hagenguth and soundtrack designer Dennis Graef, used visual and musical loops of different lengths. Thus, the viewer may find different connections. This work was produced in a two-way process: first there were the pictures, then came the music, and finally, the editing.

Puddle Jumper by Chris Casady (2007, 2:10) A very funny and suggestive animation made in Flash. Soundtrack by John Bungle and Chris Casady.

Study for TestTest and Retinal Burn by Thomas Bey and William Bailey (2007, 4:34) Many of the visuals from this piece are built using software which interprets an audio signal and then converts it to a stroboscopic set of visuals. These visuals were originally too patterned for the author, so he used a “wave generator” filter to modify the results. Bailey has restricted himself to a colour scheme almost exclusively associated with “punk rock” subculture. This piece is a kind of test / challenge for the audience: will they notice the cultural hints right away, or will they be able to ignore them and ascribe their own meaning? This piece asks which is more important: identification with a cultural tribe, or personal, individual immersion in pure sight and sound. The soundtrack was also designed by Bailey.

oc33_velocityVelocity by Iconish and Foraudiofans (2002, 6:20) The same enigmatic landscape in different moments generates a visual equalizer. The author uses the errors in the texture mapping and the digital composition shifting in time. The soundtrack features “Velocity” by Foraudiofans: Javier Navinés and Andreas Frey.

Asperity by Tom Jobbins (2007, 1:58) The author’s goal was to make a visually stunning sound piece using only the instrument as imagery. Soundtrack designed by Bruno Gabiro.

terraTerra Incognita by Danielle Ye (2003, 6:30) A homage to Len Lye. Terra Incognita is a hand drawn animated abstraction in three parts. Soundtrack designed by Jerry Summers.

oc05_mercuriusMercurius by Bret Battey (2005, 6:10) Mercurius expands algorithmic animation techniques developed by the author himself; both the audio and visual components have no cuts or edits. What we hear is a continual transformation of one synthesis process, just as what we see is the continuous animation of nearly 12000 individual points. Traditionally the spiral or mandala form has been used to evoke the unity of a meditative state, but the spiral has symbolic associations not only with unity or creative energy but also with destructive forces. Mercurius ambiguously combines multiple sensibilities of the spiral. If there is a unity here, it expresses itself only over time as a single process exhibits rapid changes between a multitude of seemingly-conflicting states.

Punto y Raya was conceived by the group mad-actions, which was founded by Ana Santos and Nöel Palazzo. Ana works as a freelance art-director and web designer. Nöel works as a screenwriter of feature-films and animation serials. She also writes juvenile narrative and various articles on cinema culture. Occasionally, she directs experimental films and lectures on diverse topics regarding cinema.

The west coast tour of Punto y Raya was coordinated in conjunction with the iotaCenter, a public benefit arts organization devoted to Abstract Cinema and Visual Music. iota is dedicated to preserving, promoting and uniting the dynamic world of visual music through our various programs: research, publication, preservation, exhibition and distribution. They plan and promote local and touring exhibitions, maintain a research and study center with archival materials, articles and books, and carry out preservation projects on films in their collection.

November 23: Coleen Fitzgibbon: Internal Systems

Sunday November 23, 2008, 7:00 pm

At the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood

Los Angeles Filmforum presents
Coleen Fitzgibbon: Internal Systems
Coleen Fitzgibbon in attendance!

Curated by Sandra Gibson and Luis Recoder (also in attendance)

11-23-08-found-film-flashes“It seemed interesting to make a film that was concerned with no more than its own theory and mechanics as content of the film. Simultaneously, I was interested in logical structures, what the mechanics of logic were. In a recording system could it record its own process, expose its mechanics. A problem like trying to see the back of ones own head.” – C.F.

Between 1973 and 1976 Coleen Fitzgibbon made some of the most rigorous abstract films to date. This program revisits some of these early works from an artist who is perhaps best known as one of the co-founders of the alternative arts collective Colab.

Films to be screened:

Found Film Flashes
(1973, 16mm, black/white, 3 min) [above left] A collage of recurring speech fragments,
which provide a patchy voice-over “commentary” which skids across a sampling of found film.

11-23-08-fmtrcsFM/TRCS (1974, 16mm, 11 min) [right] “A study of image destruction and its subsequent effect on recognition and suggestion of new images … By using film’s own process of increasing contrast in copying the image passes beyond recognition… Disintegration is one method of examining established structures similar to painters and sculptors.” — Coleen Fitzgibbon

Internal Systems (1975, 16mm, 45 min) A minimalist film in which the viewer is presented with nothing but a blank monochromatic frame slowly shifting through various intensities of color saturation, flickering/shuttering repeatedly from light-to-dark (and back again).

11-23-08-restoringRestoring appearances to order in 12 minutes (1975, 16mm, 10 min) [left] The filmmaker performs her solitary act of cleaning. A static camera tightly frames the studio sink dirty with paint and other residue while the artist engages in a concerted ritual of scrubbing and scrapping. … a treatise on the over-cleanliness of certain reductivist gestures in the history of art making.

Coleen Fitzgibbon was active as an experimental film artist under the pseudonym “Colen Fitzgibbon” between the years 1973-1980. A student of Owen Land (aka “George Landow”), Stan Brakhage, and Michael Snow, Fitzgibbon screened her work at numerous international film festivals and museums, including EXPRMNTL 5 at Knokke-Heist in Belgium, Institute of Contemporary Art in London, Anthology Film Archives, Collective For Living Cinema, and Millennium Film Workshop in New York. More recently: International Film Festival Rotterdam (The Netherlands), Royal Film Archive of Belgium (Brussels), Pacific Film Archive (Berkeley), and Light Industry in Brooklyn, NY.

Coleen Fitzgibbon: Internal Systems is programmed by Sandra Gibson and Luis Recoder.

Please note that Gibson & Recoder will be screening their own work at REDCAT on Monday November 24:
November 24, 2008

Jack H. Skirball Screening Series
Sandra Gibson and Luis Recoder: Film Projection Performances

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November 16: Robert Breer Retrospective, Part III

Sunday November 16, 2008, 7:00 pm

At the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood

Los Angeles Filmforum presents
Moving Figures: The Animated World of Robert Breer – part 3 (films from 1952-1964)
Robert Breer in person!

Robert Breer, one of America’s foremost filmmakers for more than 50 years, pays a rare visit to Los Angeles to attend a multi-venue celebration of his work. A close colleague of Rauschenberg, Oldenburg and many other seminal artists of the ’50s and ’60s, Breer brought a comparably imaginative and rigorous appreciation for collage and pure form to the art of cinema. Throughout a body of more than 40 animated—and in ways anti-animated films—Breer celebrates cinema as a unique way of seeing, and the act of drawing as an endlessly expressive and unpredictable personal gesture. Tonight is the third part of a three-part retrospective organized by Steve Anker, featuring a selection of the artist’s early work (1952-1964), including portraits and collaborations with Jean Tinguely, Claes Oldenberg and other avant-garde figures of the ‘50s and early ’60s, as well as his first major animated and pixilated short films. (Notes by Bérénice Reynaud)

Films include:

Form Phases I (US 1952, 16mm, silent, color, 2 min.)
Form Phases IV (US 1954, 16mm, silent, color, 4 min.)
Breer’s earliest experiments in animation are wonderfully dense yet lyrical abstractions based on Breer’s own geometric paintings.

11-16-08-breer_miracleUn Miracle (US 1954, 16mm blow-up to 35mm, silent, color, 1 min.)
Breer’s first collage film is a hilarious joke about the juggling talents of Pope Pius XII which was made in
collaboration with Pontus Hulten.

Recreation (US 1956, 16mm blow-up to 35mm, color, 2 min.)
Featuring a commentary by Noel Burch (in nonsense French), Recreation‘s rapid-fire montage of single-frame images of incredible density and intensity has been compared to contemporary Beat poetry.

Jamestown Baloos (US 1957, 16mm blow-up to 35mm, color, 6 min.)
Breer’s early masterpiece is a three-part film that combines animation and live-action, collage and photography, silence and sound.

A Man And His Dog Out for Air (US 1957, 16mm blow-up to 35mm, b/w, 2 min.)
A whimsical film that displays Breer’s drawing artistry. Originally shown as a short before Last Year at Marienbad during that film’s initial New York theatrical release.

Eyewash (US 1959, 16mm blow-up to 35mm, color, silent, 4 min.)
A free flow from photography to geometric abstraction hand-painted by Breer.

Blazes (US 1961, 16mm blow-up to 35mm, color, 3 min.)
“One hundred basic images switching positions for four thousand frames. A continuous explosion.” – RB

Pat’s Birthday (US, 1962, 16mm, b&w/so, 13min.)
A day in the country with Claes Oldenburg and the Ray Gun Theatre Players … includes such classic items as the haunted house, a gas station, ice cream stand, miniature golf, airplane noises, balloons. Things happen after each other in this film only because there isn’t room for everything at once. After all, time’s not supposed to move in one direction any more than it does in another.

Fist Fight (US 1964, 16mm blow-up to 35mm, color, 9 min.(
Breer’s extraordinary autobiographical film combines personal and family photos with intense colors, textures and geometric abstractions. Originally presented as part of Karlheinz Stockhausen’s 1964 premiere of Originale.

Special thanks to Andrew Lampert and Anthology Film Archives, who preserved many of Breer’s films in this program.

Part of a three-program retrospective organized by Steve Anker.

On Monday, November 10, REDCAT will present 14 masterworks spanning four decades, gorgeously restored by Anthology Film Archives for the first time on 35mm.  Details below.

On Saturday, November 15, the UCLA Film & Television Archive will present the majority of films Breer released between 1974 and 2003, a period of remarkable growth and sustained artistic activity including LMNO (1978), Bang! (1986), Time Flies (1997) and What Goes Up (2003).

More on Breer:

A founding member of the American avant-garde, Robert Breer (b. 1926) has been working at the forefront of experimental animation for over fifty years. The son of an inventor and engineer, Breer’s continued experimentation with a range of film and animation techniques has drawn from his deep knowledge of early cinema and cinematographic technologies. Breer is celebrated not only for his remarkable line and live action techniques, seen in works such as A Man and His Dog Out for Air (1957), but also for fabulous collage films such as Un Miracle (1954) and his dazzling use of single-frame photography in break-through films such as Fist Fight (1964) and the incredible Jamestown Baloos (1957).
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November 9: Stephanie Maxwell Visual Music

Sunday November 9, 2008, 7:00 pm

Los Angeles Filmforum presents11-9-08-outermost
Stephanie Maxwell Visual Music
Stephanie Maxwell in person!!

Co-presentation with the iotaCenter.

Stephanie Maxwell specializes in hand-painted experimental abstract animation. After performing a variety of painting, marking and engraving techniques directly onto 35mm film stock, Maxwell rephotographs each frame of the film using a digital feed camera and digital frame capture, sometimes employing additional manipulations such as bending and twisting the film, layering film frames together, and progressive alterations of the image during the frame by frame rephotography.

This screening will feature selections from Maxwell’s work from 1984 through her two newest works from 2008, as well as a twelve-minute short documentary about Maxwell’s filmmaking process, with footage of the artist at work. Two short clips from the documentary and a few select clips from the films are available on the iotaCenter YouTube channel.

The aesthetic of Maxwell’s films has changed since she began creating films in the 1980’s, and the transformation of her techniques and style will be apparent by viewing her films chronologically. The themes and imagery in her films vary widely – from that of a biological nature (GA, 1984), to staged, but painterly, graphical works (Somewhere, 1999) to interpretations of the metaphysical – time, reality, existence (Time Streams, 2003 and Runa’s Spell, 2007).

Some of the combinations of sound and imagery in Maxwell’s work are haunting and lovely, as in Runa’s Spell, where a close-up of what appears to be a colorful microscopic organism is accompanied by the distant sound of a woman lamenting in musical form. In Reflecting Pool (2006), a dark, ominous background is lit up with neon reflections of sand animation combined with images of microscopic organisms in a watery matrix. The music reflects and reacts to the evolving revelations in this three-movement work.

“Stephanie Maxwell’s work gets me. Her work is fuelled by a breathless, giddy energy and passion that seeps through every whore of a pore. Like a child, she is excited by a seemingly minute discovery — like an anthill, river or a rock. Maxwell’s work is an extension of that explorative part of our childhood. She has a tenacious fascination with the natural world; a world that too many of us (myself included) have left behind in favor of simulated realities.” – Chris Robinson, Animation World Magazine

Films include:

11-9-08-w_gaGA (1984, 5 mins, miniDV)
Animal motifs are represented in a diurnal, abstract motion world. Music: prerecorded vocals and percussion work from Ghana.

Please Don’t Stop (1989, 5 mins, miniDV)
A wild road journey through both representational and abstract landscapes.
Music: original electronic sound score.

Outermost (1998, 5 mins, miniDV)
In this jointly, interactively conceived and realized work, the creators attempted to achieve unique correlations between colorful abstract animated film imagery and complementary musical textures and colors. The goal was to create a work in which musical ideas and visual images are perceived to “chase” each other, to “dance,” and to pull apart and come back together again in cyclical arcs. The music was mainly realized by computer analysis, re-synthesis and transformation of a rich palette of non-Western and Western acoustic sound sources, and through rhythmic and harmonic patterns created by both algorithmic and intuitive compositional procedures.
Collaboration with Allan Schindler, composer.

Somewhere (1999, 5 mins, miniDV)
Somewhere aims to create a fluid, high energy, game-like effect, intricate in its construction but often impulsive and sometimes unpredictable in its constantly shifting focus and gestures. ‘Close’, ‘distant’ and illusory spatial perceptions, and a play between symmetrical and asymmetrical patterns (which often “turn on a dime”) underlie the formal design and expression of both the imagery and the music. Many of the musical sounds were created by computer acoustical analysis and, during re-synthesis, transformation of instrumental, vocal and environmental sounds. Algorithmic programs written by the composer generated many of the rhythmic, melodic and textural ideas, but others were created the “old fashioned” way, at the composer’s piano.
Collaboration with Allan Schindler, composer.

11-9-08-fragments11Fragments (2000, 7 mins, miniDV)
An abstract work in which light, movement, space and sound conjure the existence of a character in personal turmoil and transformation. The music relies heavily on computer analysis and re-synthesis of real world sounds, as well as the ‘chopping’ of pre-existing sounds into tiny fragments and then recombining them in such a way as that they take on new identities. The visuals are ‘real time’ animations of objects and graphic materials that were transformed using experimental frame extraction and recombination techniques in digital post-production.
Collaboration with Greg Wilder, composer.

terra incognita (2001, 4 ½ mins, miniDV)
A fusion of imagery and music expressing an ever-changing flux and paradox in perceived space and location and involves notions of navigation, geometry, and mapping. The basic sound sources, including mbira, pygmy pipe and gamelan metallophone tones, were digitally transformed and then contrapuntally layered, inter-cut, diced and threaded into a pulsating “web” design suggested by the visual imagery.
Collaboration with Allan Schindler, composer.

passe-partout (2002, 6 mins, miniDV)
An abstract film/music composition that conjures an atmosphere where an aerial mobile is magically suspended in a three-dimensional space. The floating pendants of the mobile each reveal a mysterious world filled with unique visual and aural forms, movements and gestures. The computer-generated music consists of continuous variations and transformations of a seemingly simple but open-ended harmonic theme that caroms through many key centers. However, this theme takes shape gradually, and is heard most clearly in a choral setting only after all five “protagonists” of the work have been introduced.
Collaboration with Allan Schindler, composer.

11-9-08-time-streamsTime Streams (2003, 5 ½ mins, miniDV)
The spiral-like structure and unbroken momentum of this film/music composition suggest intersecting streams or ribbons of time: not simply the familiar (although perhaps illusory) forward, linear, march-of-clock time, but rather a nexus in which backwards time (e.g., dreams, recollections and déjà vu), parallel temporalities, and the non-continuous splicing together of segments of time are equally prominent. The principal sound sources of the music are generic samples such as digitized recordings of instrumental and vocal tones, and of environmental sounds such as ice cubes and ping-pong balls. However, in re-synthesis the spectral structures (tone colors) of these sounds often have been retooled and their attack and decay articulations have been altered.
Collaboration with Allan Schindler, composer.

Reflecting Pool (2004, 9 mins, miniDV)
Sometimes the smallest event can have the most profound repercussions. Reflecting Pool creates a contemplative but highly charged visual and musical expedition through a cycle of chaos and recovery. The music for Reflecting Pool includes processed saxophone signals to produce various colors and textures that have been layered with musical compositions of sampled sounds. Live performances of this work include saxophone played with a prerecorded soundtrack synced with the imagery. In addition to painting on film, the techniques used to create the imagery of this multi-layered work include sand animation, and animated recordings of changing light reflections and movements of microscopic water creatures.
Collaboration with Randall Hall (composer/musician) and Matt Costanza (filmmaker).

Second Sight (2005, 5 ½ mins, miniDV)
A passage through a mist in which perception is ultimately clarified and sharpened rather than obscured. The computer-generated music of Second Sight features cyclical returns of a nucleus of core ideas, which alternate with a continuous progression of new ideas.
Collaboration with Allan Schindler (composer) and Peter Byrne (media artist).

All That Remains (2006, 6 mins, miniDV)
An intricate mosaic of sequences of animated abstract images and musical passages that create a chaotic, yet coherent and tightly choreographed portrayal of figurative matter in perpetual decomposition. The sound consists of dynamic and evolving patterns of music textures and phrases. Dense masses of granular particles often converge to create progressive patterns of movement, which alternate with recurring looped vocal passages.
Collaboration with Michaela Eremiasova, composer.

Runa’s Spell (2007, 3 ½ mins, miniDV)
This work conveys a moment of connectedness with the sensual persuasions of an imaginary world. The image and music interact in a dramatic way to deepen and enhance the perception of an abstracted experience not far removed from its earthy provenance. The music attempts to create a spiritual sense of journey through the fractional evocation of ancient Egyptian folk song. The sonorous texture of trembling and contorted sound-images illustrates the hesitation, solitude and endless dreamscape of the human mind.
Collaboration with Michaela Eremiasova, composer.

Currents (2008, 6 mins, miniDV)
In this abstract work, the filmmaker and the composer create a tapestry of textures that emerge as washes of sound, color and motion. Tone and light follow changing currents in evolving variations that coalesce in alternating densities toward a final surge. This work was premiered in Rochester, New York in 2008 as video projection with live musical string quartet.
Collaboration wit Michaela Eremiasova and Jairo Duarte-Lopez, composers.

End To End (2008, 4 ½ mins, miniDV)
End To End presents a choreography of abstract form and space where background and foreground move in complementary arrangements of tempo and rhythm as the moving composition evolves and changes over time. The imagery was created using paint-on-film, object and copier art animation techniques. The post production was accomplished using After Effects and Final Cut Pro software programs.

End to End was produced as a graphic score for Open Music Ensemble composers and live performers. Eyes and Ears: Sound Needs Image Part II, Hallwalls (Buffalo, New York – 2008).

The Art Form of Stephanie Maxwell (2007, 12 mins, miniDV)
The Art Form of Stephanie Maxwell presents the artist in her studio at home where she creates and builds her unusual experimental animations. Maxwell discusses her work, and demonstrates original processes and technical discoveries that have resulted in the unique image and motion expressions that characterize her work. In this documentary, the artist is seen at her light table where she hand-makes imagery, and at her camera where she manipulates and re-photographs the handmade film to create some spectacular effects. There are many clips from her body of work that demonstrate the uniqueness of her ideas and her image experimentation, and the complex and profound approach to cinema that distinguish her as a master of the art form of experimental animation. Additionally, composer Allan Schindler discusses their collaborative endeavors and talks about the nature of ‘true collaboration’.

Total Running Time: 89 minutes

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