October 17/18 – Ken Jacobs and Azazel Jacobs – two different shows

Saturday October 17, 2009, 7:30 pm

Los Angeles Filmforum presents

At the Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd. at Las Palmas, Los Angeles

The GoodTimesKid and The Whirled

With Azazel Jacobs and Ken Jacobs in Person to introduce the show!

The GoodTimesKid

The GoodTimesKid

In a Los Angeles (and maybe a global) first, we host the father and son filmmakers Ken and Azazel Jacobs.  Ken Jacobs comes with The Whirled, a short long unseen in Los Angeles (if ever) a series of improvisations with Jack Smith.  Azazel Jacobs presents his second feature film The GoodTimesKid.

Note change in day!

This screening is part of a weeklong residency by Ken Jacobs at CalArts, REDCAT, UCLA and Los Angeles Filmforum.  Special thanks to Steve Anker and Cal Arts for arranging the week, and Mark Rance and Benton Films for arranging tonight’s screening.

Check out Manohla Dargis’s new NY Times profile on Ken Jacobs in anticipation of this series.

The Whirled by Ken Jacobs (1956-61; 18 min)

The Whirled

The Whirled

The Whirled is a collection of four short improvisations, three of them featuring Jack Smith for the first time on film.  Saturday Afternoon Blood Sacrifice (1956) was shot in front of Jack’s downtown NY loft on 150 feet of 16mm film, exactly as seen here.  Next day I shot Little Cobra Dance on the remaining 50 feet (also intact).  We fell off the couch laughing at what we’d done in this off-hand way, which marked the end of my fastidious art-film approach.  In 1963 a snatch of the first film was shown on TV when I was somehow invited to participate in a quiz program (another poor chump participating was the painter and Happenings performer Carolee Schneemann).  After years of shooting my raging epic Star Spangled To Death starring Jack as The Spirit Not of Life But of Living, and after a few months of being on the outs with each other, we got together for one last stab at friendship and filmmaking with The Death Of P’Town, 1961.

The GoodTimesKid by Azazel Jacobs (2005/2009; 77 min.)

A story about stolen love and stolen identities, literally shot on stolen film… Momma’s Man writer-director Azazel Jacobs’ second feature is an absurdist comedy of errors, a punk-rock slice of DIY rebellion, and a warmhearted frolic that captures the “amour fou spirit of the early French New Wave” (The Village Voice).

Hot-tempered Echo Park slacker Rodolfo Cano (Jacobs) enlists in the army to escape a meaningless existence with his free-spirited girlfriend Diaz (Diaz). When his call-for-service letter somehow winds up in the hands of another Rodolfo Cano (Gerardo Naranjo, director of Drama/Mex and I’m Gonna Explode), a quietly dignified loner who lives on a sailboat, their three lives intersect in odd and beautifully unexpected ways. Evoking the inventive gags of Chaplin and Jacques Tati, plus the deadpan minimalism of Kaurismäki and Jarmusch, The GoodTimesKid “finds poetry in wordless scenes of observation” (The New York Times).

“”Evoking Giulietta Masina in Nights of Cabiria, Chaplin’s dinner roll dance <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xoKbDNY0Zwg>  in The Gold Rush, and that staple of nouvelle vague coolness, The Madison <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6pOXjQLh7Y>  from Godard’s Band of Outsiders, Diaz’s whimsical solo in a chocolate-stained dress and black Converse is one of those rare moments of fleeting joy whose ephemerality is only enhanced by its capture on film.” – Cullen Gallagher, L MAGAZINE

The GoodTimesKid has a whimsy, a passion, a sophistication and, above all, a vigor that’s mostly drained out of Amerindie cinema over the last decade or so. ” — Andrew O’Hehir, SALON
“Descended from a long line of minimalist filmmakers, from Jacques Tati up through Jim Jarmusch, The GoodTimesKid dances in its own sweet style. Beguiling!” — Matt Zoller Seitz, THE NEW YORK TIMES

“Every moment consequently is a sheer delight, doing its best to shake up all those depresso filmmakers who have done it all before and all you depresso cinemagoers out there who have seen it all before, and maybe remind you what the joy of making films and the joy of watching films is all about.” DVD Times

“A film like 500 Days of Summer bends over backwards to convince you it takes place in a world where cultural totems of disaffection still mean something. The GoodTimesKid actually creates and takes place in such a world, without strain.” Karina Longworth, SPOUT.com

“Before there was Momma’s Man there was The GoodTimesKid. In Azazel Jacobs’s second feature you can see his style beginning to take form, meshing a punk-rock attitude with cinema influences as wide ranging from Chaplin to Jarmusch.” Jason Guerrasio, Filmaker Magazine

More on it: http://www.goodtimeskid.com

Now available on DVD as well: Benten Films <http://www.bentenfilms.com/

Also this week:

Monday October 12, 2009, 8:30 pm – REDCAT

Ken Jacobs: Towards The Depths of The Even Greater Depression

A Nervous Magic Lantern Performance

West Coast premiere

“Makes Monsters vs. Aliens in 3-D look as flat as an episode of South Park.” The New York Times


Thursday October 15 2009, 7:30PM – UCLA Film & Television Archive

Ken Jacobs in Person with some of Jacobs’ most recent work


Sunday October 18, 2009, 7:30 pm

Los Angeles Filmforum presents

ANAGLYPH TOM (Tom with Puffy Cheeks) by Ken Jacobs

Anaglyph Tom

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

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.

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: http://globetrotter.berkeley.edu/conversations/


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

Anaglyph Tom


October 11 – The Ann Arbor Film Festival Tour – Program 1

Sunday October 11, 2009, 7:30 pm

Los Angeles Filmforum presents

The Ann Arbor Film Festival Tour – Program 1

47th AAFF Tour

47th AAFF Tour

At the Echo Park Film Center

1200 N. Alvarado Street (@ Sunset Blvd)

Los Angeles, CA 90026


For reservations, email lafilmforum@yahoo.com

Note change in location!

The Ann Arbor Film Festival is the original and longest running independent film festival in the United States, recognized as a premiere showcase for risk-taking, pioneering and art driven cinema. The AAFF pioneered the touring film festival concept in 1964 and each year brings a selection of favorite and award-winning short films to more than 25 galleries, universities, art house theaters and cinematheques throughout the world. This program explores themes of life and death within the geography of our surroundings, and includes films from Detroit, Montreal, San Francisco, Berlin, Toronto and Tokyo.

This exciting show mixes new experimental, animation, and documentary work – a great way to catch up on what is happening in film & video art!

The festival: http://www.aafilmfest.org

Trailer: http://www.vimeo.com/5419558

Dahlia – Michael Langan | San Francisco, CA | 5 minutes




An animated, fast-motion portrait that explores the bustle and permanence of a city: San Francisco. Set to a driving score of vocal percussion, this film is a high-velocity contrast of stable forms and the dynamic patterns of life.

Studies in Transfalumination – Peter Rose | Philadelphia, PA | 5 minutes [winner the Transfalumination Jury Award 47th AAFF]


The visual complexities of the ordinary world – a tunnel, a clump of grass, a discarded table, a piece of rock – are examined with modified flashlights and stripped down video projectors in this otherworldly exploration of place and perception.



Passages – Marie-Josee Saint-Pierre | Montreal, Canada | 24.5 minutes


An exquisitely drawn animation that tells the dramatic story of a mother giving birth to a child. Her enthusiastically awaited delivery day is turned on its head as systems go awry, jeopardizing the lives of both mother and baby.

Reincarnation – Takeshi Kushida | Tokyo, Japan | 5 minutes




An otherworldly and poetic portrayal of one man’s journey between lives, expressed through movement, flesh and color.

Six Apartments – Reynold Reynolds | Berlin, Germany | 12.5 minutes


Six isolated occupants of six different apartments live their lives unaware of each other. Without drama they eat food, wander between rooms, bathe, watch television, and sleep. For them, this is life; for the viewer this is a contemplation of worlds in constant activity and decay.

Video Terraform Dance Party – Jeremy Bailey | Toronto, Canada | 12 minutes  [winner Funniest Film Award 47th AAFF]


Based on his live performances, Bailey shows off his latest software program that allows the user to design a better world. Combining improv monologue, social commentary, and interactive software, Bailey provides a platform to laugh and dance in our seats while contemplating the ways we live together.

A City to Yourself – Nicole Macdonald | Detroit, MI | 24 minutes [winner Best Michigan Film Award 47th AAFF]


In 1950, Detroit’s population reached 1,849,568 people in the city; today there are fewer than half remaining. We hear a lot of negativity about the crumbling infrastructure of a shrinking, post-industrial city like Detroit, but what about the pluses of having a city to yourself?

91 minutes total run-time

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.

October 4 – Bodies, Objects, Films: An Yvonne Rainer Retrospective

Sunday October 4, 2009, 7:30 pm

Los Angeles Filmforum presents

Bodies, Objects, Films: An Yvonne Rainer Retrospective (Part 1 of 8 ) – Yvonne Rainer in person!

At the Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd. at Las Palmas, Los Angeles

Yvonne Rainer, photo by Stefan Romer

Yvonne Rainer, photo by Stefan RomerTonight’s interlocutor is Lynette Kessler, Executive Director of Dance Camera West

Over the course of our 2009-2010 seasons, Filmforum is proud to present a full retrospective of the media works of Yvonne Rainer.  One of the most significant artists in dance and film of the last fifty years, Rainer now calls Southern California home for much of the year, so we will be honored to have her in person at several of the screenings.  To make it more interesting, each appearance by Rainer will feature a Q&A led by a different interlocutor, to discuss with her varying aspects of her approaches to her art and life.  We’ll start with her earliest and latest works, all connected to various performances.  Tonight’s Q&A will be led by Lynette Kessler, director of Dance Camera West, to help bring it the relationship between these works and Rainer’s dance performances.

“I love the duality of props, or objects: their usefulness and obstructiveness in relation to the human body. Also the duality of the body: the body as a moving, thinking, decision-making entity and the body as an inert entity, object-like… oddly, the body can become object-like; the human being can be treated as an object, dealt with as an entity without feeling or desire. The body itself can be handled and manipulated as though lacking in the capacity for self-propulsion.” (Rainer, Works 1961-73, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, New York, New York University Press, 1974, p. 134)

On Yvonne Rainer:

When Yvonne Rainer made her first feature-length film in 1972, she had already influenced the world of dance and choreography for nearly a decade. From the beginning of her film career she inspired audiences to think about what they saw, interweaving the real and fictional, the personal and political, the concrete and abstract in imaginative, unpredictable ways. Her bold feminist sensibility and often controversial subject matter, leavened with a quirky humor, has made her, as the Village Voice dubbed her in 1986, “The most influential American avant-garde filmmaker of the past dozen years, with an impact as evident in London or Berlin as in New York.”

Rainer was born in San Francisco in 1934. She trained as a modern dancer in New York from 1957 and began to choreograph her own work in 1960. She was one of the founders of the Judson Dance Theater in 1962, the beginning of a movement that proved to be a vital force in modern dance in the following decades. Between 1962 and 1975 she presented her choreography throughout the United States and Europe, notably on Broadway in 1969, in Scandinavia, London, Germany, and Italy between 1964 and 1972, and at the Festival D’Automne in Paris in 1972. In 1968 she began to integrate short films into her live performances, and by 1975 she had made a complete transition to filmmaking.

In 1972 she completed a first feature-length film, LIVES OF PERFORMERS. In all she has completed seven features: FILM ABOUT A WOMAN WHO… (1974), KRISTINA TALKING PICTURES (1976), JOURNEYS FROM BERLIN/1971 (1980, co-produced by the British Film Institute and winner of the Special Achievement Award from the Los Angeles Film Critics’ Association), THE MAN WHO ENVIED WOMEN (1985), PRIVILEGE (1990, winner of the Filmmakers’ Trophy at the Sundance Film Festival, Park City. Utah, 1991, and the Geyer Werke Prize at the International Documentary Film Festival in Munich, 1991), and MURDER and murder (1996).

Rainer’s films have been shown extensively in the U.S. and throughout the world, in alternative film exhibition showcases and revival houses (such as the Bleecker St Cinema, Roxy-S.F.; NuArt-L.A; Film Forum-NYC, et al), in museums and in universities. Her films have also been screened at festivals in Los Angeles (Filmex), London, Montreux, Toronto, Edinburgh, Mannheim, Berlin, Locarno, Rotterdam, Creteil, Deauville, Toulon, Montreal, Hamburg, Salsa Majori, Figueira da Foz, Munich, Vienna, Athens (Ohio), Sundance, Hong Kong, Yamagata, and Sydney.

A half-hour video tape entitled YVONNE RAINER: STORY OF A FILMMAKER WHO… was aired on Film and Video Review, WNET-TV in 1980. THE MAN WHO ENVIED WOMEN was aired on Independent Focus, WNET-TV in, 1989, and PRIVILEGE on the same program in 1992 and during the summer of 1994.

In the Spring of 1997—to coincide with the release of MURDER and murder—complete retrospectives of the films of Yvonne Rainer were mounted at the Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco and at the Film Society of Lincoln Center in New York City.

In 2006 MIT Press published Yvonne Rainer’s memoir, Feelings Are Facts: A Life. She most recently presented new dance works at REDCAT in June 2009.   Source: http://www.zeitgeistfilms.com/director.php?director_id=8

Two extended articles on Yvonne Rainer on Senses of Cinema

“Yvonne Rainer” by Erin Brannigan http://archive.sensesofcinema.com/contents/directors/03/rainer.html

“From Objecthood to Subject Matter: Yvonne Rainer’s Transition from Dance to Film” by Jonathan Walley http://archive.sensesofcinema.com/contents/01/18/rainer.html

Another biography of Rainer:


October 4:

Five Easy Pieces: A compilation of five early short films made between 1966 to 1969:

Hand Movie

Hand Movie

Hand Movie (1966, 5:00, b&w, silent, 8mm to video)

Close-up of a hand, the fingers of which enact a sensuous dance.  Camerawork by William Davis.

Volleyball (Foot Film) (1967, 10:00 b&w, silent, 16mm to video)

A volleyball is rolled into the frame and comes to rest. Two legs in sneakers, seen from the knees down, enter the frame and stand beside it. Cut to new angle, same characters and actions.  Camerawork by Bud Wirtschafter.

Rhode Island Red (1968, 10:00, b&w, silent, 16mm to video)

Ten minutes in an enormous chicken coop.  Camerawork by Roy Levin.

Trio Film

Trio Film

Trio Film (1968, 13:00, b&w, silent, 16mm to video)

Two nudes, a man and a woman, interact with each other and a large balloon in a white living room. Performed by Steve Paxton and Becky Arnold.  Camerawork by Phill Niblock.

Line (1969, 10:00, b&w, silent, 16mm to video)

A blond woman (Susan Marshall) in white pants and shirt interacts with a moving round object and the camera.  Camerawork by Phill Niblock.

After Many a Summer Dies the Swan: Hybrid (2002, 31 min, video)

After Many a Summer

After Many a Summer

Yvonne Rainer combines a dance performance she choreographed for Mikhail Barryshnikov’s White Oak Dance Project in 2000 with texts by Oscar Kokoschka, Adolf Loos, Arnold Schoenberg, and Ludwig Wittgenstein—four of the most radical innovators in painting, architecture, music, and philosophy to emerge from fin-de-siècle Vienna. Charles Atlas and Natsuko Inue videotaped the rehearsals of the dance. The idea for integrating some of this footage with the Vienna material came partly from the title, which both elegaically and ironically invokes a passage through time and the end of a way of life, or, more to the point, aristocratic life. Thus the passage of Baryshnikov himself is also implicated—from danseur noble roles in classical ballet to his current interests in postmodern dance.

“Beyond the resonance of the title, however, the 21st century dance footage (itself containing 40-year-old instances of my 20th century choreography) can be read multifariously—and paradoxically—as both the beneficiary of a cultural and economic elite and as an extension of an avant-garde tradition that revels in attacking that elite and its illusions of order and permanency. Or, finally, each dance image can be taken simply as a graphic or mimetic correlation with its simultaneous text.

“Some may say the avant-garde has long been over. Be that as it may, the idea of it continues to inspire and motivate many of us with its inducement—in the words of playwright/director Richard Foreman—to “resist the present.'”  —Yvonne Rainer

Upcoming in the Yvonne Rainer Retrospective:

November 8– TRIO A/ LIVES OF PERFORMERS (Rainer not present)
December 6 – THE MAN WHO ENVIED WOMEN with Rainer in person

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.

September 27 – José Antonio Sistiaga and Savage Republic

Sunday September 27, 2009, 7:00 pm

At the Silent Movie Theatre, 611 N Fairfax

Los Angeles Filmforum, Cinefamily, Part Time Punks and the San Francisco Cinematheque present

José Antonio Sistiaga’s Ere Erera Baleibu Icik Subua with Live Musical Score by Savage Republic

ere erera baleibu icik subua aruaren (1970)

ere erera baleibu icik subua aruaren (1970)

“Basque abstract artist José Antonio Sistiaga painted directly onto film with homemade inks to create this silent 1970 feature. But Sistiaga’s strangely titled work… is different from the films of Stan Brakhage, who didn’t come to film from painting and had his own rhythm. […] [I]ts combination of color and 35-millimeter ‘scope (with about half an hour in black and white) yields the kind of spectacle one associates with musicals and [science fiction] epics.” — Jonathan Rosenbaum

A hand-painted masterpiece of the 1970s; a legendary band of the 1980s. Sistiaga’s rarely-screened ere erera baleibu icik subua aruaren is a work of uncompromising beauty that absolutely deserves a wider appreciation. Savage Republic, one of the unrecognized godfathers of post-rock, formed roughly three decades ago in the midst of the Los Angeles punk rock scene and abruptly disbanded in 1989. In recent years, they’ve reformed and their unique sound (somewhat akin to a Middle Eastern surf band backed by the rhythm section from Joy Division) is as compelling and inexorable as ever. Original members Ethan Port and Thom Fuhrmann, joined by Alan Waddington and Kerry Dowling, will perform their newly commissioned score to Sistiaga’s prodigious work (presented in a stunning 35mm print from Paris.)

Admission is $14

Buy tickets online at brownpapertickets!

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.

September 20 – The Trials of American Liberalism

Sunday September 20, 2009, 7:30 pm

Los Angeles Filmforum presents
The Trials of American Liberalism:
Profit motive and the whispering wind by John Gianvito and American/Sandinista by Jason Blalock
Los Angeles premieres! Jason Blalock in person!
At the Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd. at Las Palmas, Los Angeles

Tonight we feature two tributes to the efforts of American progressives past, using two very different approaches to non-fiction film, both compelling and insightful.

Profit motive and the whispering wind by John Gianvito (2008, 58 min, 16mm to video)
A visual meditation on the progressive history of the United States as seen through cemeteries, historic plaques and markers. Inspired by Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States”.
Winner of Best Experimental Film of the Year from the National Society of Film Critics (2008)

Profit motive and the whispering wind: Ludlow Massacre Monument Colorado

Profit motive and the whispering wind: Ludlow Massacre Monument Colorado

“In just under one hour, Profit motive takes us on a tour of the United States via its cemeteries, minor monuments, and out-of-the-way historical markers. There is no voiceover narration, virtually no explanatory on-screen text, and very little camera movement. Instead, Gianvito has created an unconventional landscape film, one that recalls the strategies of certain avant-gardists (James Benning in particular, and perhaps Peter Hutton to a somewhat lesser degree) while at the same time delivering a bracingly unique experience, one that leaves viewers awestruck by its rigorous simplicity. Over the course of the film, it becomes clear that we and the film are tracing a chronological path through the American Left, paying near-silent homage to our comrades, those who fell in battle (slain by police or Pinkertons during strikes; felled by assassins) or those whose lives had simply run their natural course. Inspired by Howard Zinn’s magisterial People’s History of the United States, Gianvito’s leftist vision is righteously ecumenical, encompassing Eugene V. Debs and Frank Little, Sojourner Truth and Malcolm X, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Cesar Chavez, and many, many others whom mainstream historical accounts have buried far more comprehensively than their undertakers. In addition to forging a radical remapping of the American terrain, Gianvito’s film provides its audience with the rare opportunity to pay our respects by proxy.”
— Michael Sicinski in Cinema Scope,
Full review and interview with Gianvito at

“I found myself re-reading stretches of Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States, re-encountering some measure of what is admirable in this country’s past, the words and deeds of so many, known and unknown, who contributed to the historical struggle for a more just and egalitarian society. In time the idea took root to want to pay homage to this history, as well as to this book which continues to mean so much to so many of us, and by so doing, the hope was to draw sustenance from the sacrifices and efforts of those who came before us. Profit motive and the whispering wind was intended as a small poem to this progressive past.” – John Gianvito, in the same Cinema Scope interview

John Gianvito is a filmmaker, curator, and critic. His films include the feature films The Flower of Pain, Address Unknown, and The Mad Songs of Fernanda Hussein, winner of multiple awards including being cited as one of the top ten films of the year by critics in The Chicago Reader, The Boston Phoenix, and Film Comment magazine. He has taught film production and film history at the University of Massachusetts/Boston, Rhode Island School of Design, and Boston University, and was film curator for 5 years at the Harvard Film Archive. In 2001 he was made a Chevalier in the Order of Arts and Letters by the French Ministry of Culture. Gianvito is the editor of the book, Andrei Tarkovsky: Interviews (University Press of Mississippi) and a Professor in Visual and Media Arts at Emerson College, Boston.

A.O. Scott’s review in the NY Times:

Preceded by



American/Sandinista by Jason Blalock (2008, 30 min, video)
In the 1980s, at the height of the Cold War, a bloody civil war between the socialist-influenced Sandinistas and U.S.- backed Contras ravaged Nicaragua. Despite the danger, thousands of Americans disobeyed White House warnings and descended upon the Central American nation, determined to lend their skills and labor to the revolutionary Sandinista cause.

Using an eclectic mixture of rare archival footage, arresting still photography, and contemporary interviews, American/Sandinista tells the story of a small group of controversial U.S. engineers who went further than anyone expected, and paid the ultimate price. http://www.american-sandinista.com/

Nominee, Pare Lorentz Award, IDA 2007 • Portland International Film Festival 2008 • Nevada City Film Fest 2008 (Audience Award – Best Short Film) and more

Jason Blalock (director/editor) works as a cinematographer, producer, and director on a variety of documentary and multimedia projects. Previously he served as Associate Producer on the feature documentary My Flesh and Blood, which won the Audience Award at Sundance and aired on HBO in 2003. He is the director of previous short docs Oakland Raider Parking Lot (2005), Spangled (2002), and High Rocks (1999), distributed by Peripheral Produce. Most recently he can be seen as a reporter on the PBS series Wired Science. In 2007, he completed the documentary filmmaking program at the U.C. Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. He lives in Oakland, CA.

Profit motive and the whispering wind: Mother Jones gravesite

Profit motive and the whispering wind: Mother Jones gravesite

September 13 – A Tribute to Chick Strand

September 13, 7:30 pm at the Egyptian Theater

Los Angeles Filmforum presents A Tribute to Chick Strand

Chick Strand, photo by Neon Park, from Canyon Cinema

Chick Strand, photo by Neon Park, from Canyon Cinema

At the Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd. at Las Palmas, Los Angeles, 90028  $10 general, $6 students/seniors, free for Filmforum members

Filmmaker, artist, teacher, joyful marvel, force of life… Chick Strand passed away on July 11, and our city and our lives won’t be the same. For those of you who knew her, and those of you who didn’t, Chick was a marvelous and inspirational filmmaker and person, the artful person whom one was always delighted to see, an essential person who made the world a better place.

“With her camera, Strand does not “document” her subjects–she creates lyrical representations. She is not afraid to look through her lens as a person; questioning, admiring, and honoring what she sees. Just as she brings poeticism and the personal into ethnography, she infuses an integrity, honesty, and selflessness into her works that few people can manage.” – Pablo de Ocampo

“…For most of her filmmaking career, the integrity of Strand’s vision lay aslant of prevailing fashions, so that only belatedly did the full significance of her radically pioneering work in ethnographic, documentary, feminist, and compilation filmmaking – and above all, in the innovation of a unique film language created across these modes – become clear.  Though feminism and other currents of her times are woven through her films and though her powerful teaching presence sustained the ideals of underground film in several film schools in the city, hers was essentially a school-of-one.” – David James, in The Most Typical Avant-Garde: History and Geography of Minor Cinemas in Los Angeles (University of  California Press, 2005) p. 358.

Appreciation by Holly Willis:


Article by Pablo de Ocampo in the Portland Mercury from 2001:


Paintings by Chick Strand:


There is an extensive discussion of Strand and her films in David James’s The Most Typical Avant-Garde: History and Geography of Minor Cinemas in Los Angeles (University of  California Press, 2005), pp. 357-367.

Tonight we’ll be running a wide range of the glorious gamut of her work, and one treat from her husband.  Curated by filmmaker Amy Halpern.  Prints courtesy of the Academy Film Archive, by arrangement with Canyon Cinema.

ANGEL BLUE SWEET WINGS (1966, 3 min., 16mm)

An experimental film poem in celebration of life and visions. Techniques include live action, animation, montage and found images.

GUACAMOLE (1976, 18 min., 16mm)

Poetic surrealism. Approach is experimental in relationship of image and sound. A film about the loss of innocence and the search for the essence of the human spirit.

CARTOON LE MOUSSE (1979, 15 min., 16mm)

“Chick Strand is a prolific and prodigiously gifted film artist who seems to break new ground with each new work. Her recent “found footage” works such as CARTOON LE MOUSSE, are extraordinarily beautiful, moving, visionary pieces that push this genre into previously unexplored territory. If poetry is the art of making evocative connections between otherwise dissimilar phenomena, then Chick Strand is a great poet, for these films transcend their material to create a surreal and sublime universe beyond reason.” – Gene Youngblood

WAR ZONE by Marty Muller, aka Neon Park (1971, 3 min.)

Made with Chickie nearby.

BY THE LAKE (1986, 9,5 min., 16mm)

A collage film made from Third World images and found sound from a 1940s radio show (“I Love a Mystery”), live recordings of an operation on a horse, and a 1970s church service, all taken out of context and reconstructed into new relationships and meanings. An Anglo woman’s interpretation of magic realism.

WATERFALL (1967, 3 min., 16mm)

A film poem using found film and stock footage altered by printing, home development and solarization. It is a film using visual relationships to invoke a feeling of flow and movement. Japanese Koto music.

KRISTALLNACHT (1979, 7 min., 16mm)

Dedicated to the memory of Anne Frank, and the tenacity of the human spirit.



ELASTICITY (1976, 25 min., 16mm)

Impressionistic surrealism in three acts. The approach is literary experimental with optical effects. There are three mental states that are interesting: amnesia, euphoria and ecstasy. Amnesia is not knowing who you are and wanting desperately to know. I call this the White Night. Euphoria is not knowing who you are and not caring. This is the Dream of Meditation. Ecstasy is knowing exactly who you are and still not caring. I call this the Memory of the Future.  This is an autobiographical film funded by the American Film Institute.

After graduating from Berkeley with a degree in anthropology, Strand threw herself into the cultural ferment of the Bay Area in the 1960s, especially Canyon Cinema, where she was one of its founders and instigators, with Bruce Baillie.  After four years she moved to Los Angeles to study at UCLA and joined the newly formed Ethnographic Film Program.  Meeting Pat O’Neill, who was at that time beginning his experiments with the optical printer, she made Waterfall (1967), a film that solarized and otherwise re-worked both live-action and found footage in the vein of contemporary West Coast psychedelia.  This overall aesthetic continued to inform Strand’s work, but it was sharpened and made more serious by her encounter with what seemed an entirely contrary idiom, that of documentary ethnography.  She did not get involved with the Hollywood film industry, but taught film for twenty years at Occidental College.  She also painted extensively.  Her second husband was Marty Muller, known more widely as the artist Neon Park, and she had one son, Eric Strand, a film editor. – Largely drawn from The Most Typical Avant-Garde: History and Geography of Minor Cinemas in Los Angeles (University of California Press, 2005), pp. 358

“Her passing comes to me and others at Canyon Cinema with great sadness….Chick was one of the founders of Canyon Cinema and the Cinematheque. She always supported Canyon in all of the endeavors that have been done in the past. Personally she and I became close over the years and I could always count on her for advice in matters of Canyon and also on a very personal level.
I will miss her greatly and her passing is a loss to the entire community. The experimental film community has lost a great human being. Her absence will be felt for some time.” – Dominic Angerame, Executive Director, Canyon Cinema

Chick Strand changed my life. A great teacher, a great filmmaker, a great human being. I am so grateful to have met her and learned from her. I would not be who I am today had I not met her. I was just one of so many students, but she was and will forever be a gigantic presence in my soul. – Brook Hinton, filmmaker

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.

July 18, 19 and 26 – The Robert Frank Film Series!

The Robert Frank Film Series

This July we co-present this exciting three-part series in conjunction with MOCA and Cinefamily.  The first of four screenings was held on June 21 at MOCA, and the final three will be held at the Silent Movie Theatre (July 18) and the Egyptian Theater (July 19 and 26).  Please note that times and locations vary from our normal programming.

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Robert Frank’s landmark publication, The Americans, and in conjunction with MOCA’s exhibition From the Permanent Collection: Robert Frank’s “The Americans,” MOCA collaborates with Cinefamily and Los Angeles Filmforum to present a rare series of films by and about the renowned photographer. This series is curated by Adam Hyman.

July 18 – Early Films by Robert Frank (at the Silent Movie Theatre)

July 19 – Films By and About Robert Frank (at the Egyptian Theater)

July 26 – Recent Films by Robert Frank (at the Egyptian Theater)