November 2: Craig Baldwin – Culture Jammer at the Silent Movie Theater

Sunday November 2, 2008, 8:00pm

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 Cinefamily, presents
Craig Baldwin: Culture Jammer
Craig Baldwin in person!
Tickets for this special event are $12, Filmforum members will be admitted for $8


In the age of YouTube remixes and phantom edits, everyone with access to a computer (i.e. everyone) is blithely challenging the notion of copyright, one mash-up at a time. But before there was safety in numbers, there were Culture Jammers: artists pushing legal limits with their puckish reworkings of mass media in order to critique it.

Inspired by the works of Bruce Conner and the French Situationist movement, filmmaker Craig Baldwin emerged as one of the primary figures in this movement, collaging mountains of found footage into provocative and viciously entertaining filmic essays, alternate world histories, and narratives. Baldwin will appear in-person to discuss the theories and history of culture jamming, using favorite clips from other jammers and selected cuts from his filmography: some of his early intense montages, music videos made for inspired cage-rattlers Negativland, and the feature-length essay Sonic Outlaws, which profiles the infamous lawsuit aimed at Negativland by lawyers for the rock group U2, as well as other culture jammers like “plunderphonics” pioneer John Oswald and the performance group Emergency Broadcast Network.

To buy tickets in advance, visit the Cinefamily website.


October 26: Mark Street and Lynne Sachs’ XY CHROMOSOME PROJECT

Sunday October 26, 2008, 7:00 pm

At the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood

Los Angeles Filmforum presents
Garden of Verses:  An Evening of Cinematic Seeds and Mordant Vines
Mark Street and Lynne Sachs’ XY CHROMOSOME PROJECT

With Lynne Sachs and Mark Street in person!

Filmforum is delighted to welcome back two of America’s finest filmmakers, Mark Street and Lynne Sachs.  We have featured their work several times in the past,  Sachs in 1989, 1991, 1995, 1999, and 2002, and Street in 1992, 1995, 1997, 2002, and 2006, including the LA premieres of At Home and Asea in 2002 and of Rockaway in 2006.  Tonight will be a remarkable mix of shorter works, old and new, presented singly and doubly, as selected by the filmmakers.

From archival snips of an educational film on the weather to cine poems in full blossom, New York film “avant-gardeners” Mark Street and Lynne Sachs create their 3rd XY CHROMOSOME PROJECT. This program of 10 short films on both single and double screen gleans audio-visual crops from the dust of the filmmakers’ fertile and fallow imaginations. In this avalanche of visual ruminations on nature’s topsy-turvy shakeup of our lives, Street and Sachs ponder a city child’s tentative excavation of the urban forest, winter wheat, and the great American deluge of the 21st Century (so far).

Films include: (72 min. total)

Weather Mix/Collision of Parts by Mark Street (2008, 12 min)
An overture: Weather Mix considers nature’s uneven keel while Collision of Parts takes us on a twisted roller coaster ride through small forgotten moments in New York City. Sound by computer weather forecasts, Pierre Shaffer and others.

Double screen projection of:
Buffalo Disaster Relief by Mark Street & others (1972, 9 min)
Archival footage filmed by the US National Guard of Buffalo, New York’s worst snowstorm on record.  Obtained from the US National Archives.  People attempt to reclaim their daily vignettes in the course of a larger narrative.


Window Work by Lynne Sachs (2001, 9 min, sound)
A woman drinks tea, washes a window, reads the paper– simple tasks that suggest a kind of quiet mystery. Hear the rhythmic, pulsing symphony of crickets on a summer night, jangling toys, the roar of a jet, children trembling at the sound of thunder. Small home-movie “boxes” within the larger screen become clues to the woman’s childhood, mnemonic devices that expand the sense of immediacy in her “drama.”

Winter Wheat by Mark Street (1989, 8 min, sound)
Made by bleaching, scratching and painting directly on the emulsion of an educational film about the farming cycle. The manipulations of the film’s surface created hypnotic visuals while also suggesting an apocalyptic narrative.

Georgic for a Forgotten Planet by Lynne Sachs (2008, 14 min, sound)
I began reading Virgil’s Georgics, a 1st Century epic agricultural poem, and knew immediately that I needed to create a visual equivalent about my own relationship to the place where I live, New York City.  Culled from material I collected at Coney Island, the Lower East Side, Socrates Sculpture Garden in Queens, a Brooklyn community garden and a place on Staten Island that is so dark at night you can see the three moons of Jupiter.  An homage to a place many people affectionately and mysteriously call the big apple.

Double screen projection of:
Sliding Off the Edge of the World by Mark Street (2001, 7 min, silent)
A stab at depicting daily life near the end of time: fleeting images burst onto the screen only to recede from view just as quickly, suggesting transition and decay. Tendrils of images cluster together and then dissipate. A snowy walk, kids in the backyard, it all seems like it could fall apart so quickly.


Noa, Noa by Lynne Sachs (2006, 9 min, sound)
Over the course of three years, Lynne collaborated with her daughter Noa (from 5 to 8 years old), criss-crossing the wooded landscapes of a Brookly park with camera and costumes in hand.

Behold the Gowanus Canal
by Lynne Sachs  (2008, 6 min, sound)
On Earth Day 2008 in Brooklyn, New York, Lynne, Mark and their daughters Maya and Noa float down the Gowanus Canal with environmental visionary Ludger Balan, head of the Urban Divers Estuary Conservancy.  Located in the heart of Brooklyn, the canal contains the residual pollution left from decades of disregard for the health and well being of this thriving urban neighborhood and its residents. Finally, the community is waking up to the possible revitalization of this Venice-like waterway.

Double screen projection of:
Infected City by Mark Street (2008, 14 min, sound)
A coda: the stars and the city meet for one last dance between the known and sublime


New Orleans, Louisiana by L. Sachs and M. Street (2006, 14 min, silent)
One year after Hurricane Katrina, the collapse of the levy, and the tragic flooding of New Orlans, Mark and Lynne traveled to this city to help raise money for Zeitgeist Theatre Experiments,  a struggling microcinema continuing to show alternative films to the passionate but dwindling local community.  This is what they saw as they explored the now famous Ninth Ward and the banks of Lake Ponchatrain.

About the Filmmakers:
Continue reading

October 19 – The familial avant-garde – An Evening with Ted Lyman & John Cannizzaro

Sunday October 19, 2008, 7:00 pm

At the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood

Los Angeles Filmforum presents
The familial avant-garde – An Evening with Ted Lyman & John Cannizzaro
Ted Lyman and John Cannizzaro in person!

“One of the many stereotypes about avant-garde cinema is that it is inaccessible and difficult, that it makes viewers work hard for their pleasures. The films of Ted Lyman provide a perfect foil to this stereotype. Without sacrificing any of their serious experimental and non-narrative spirit, his films are sensuous, riveting and, best of all, immediately pleasurable.” — Girish Shamu, Artvoice

Filmforum welcomes Vermont-based avant-garde filmmaker Ted Lyman [left] to Los Angeles with a variety of his personal work, old and new. Lyman is a master of multiple filmmaking methods, all used to delve into poetic spaces investigating family, nature, sight, and memory. And along with Lyman comes local experimental filmmaker and long-time friend of Filmforum John Cannizzaro with a new film as well. Cannizzaro was a student of Lyman’s twenty years ago, and came to L.A. to pursue his own aspirations as an avant-garde filmmaker. They have been friends and fellow artists for the intervening time, and have long wished to have a show together.

Tonight’s films include:

Flat Earth (Work in Progress, 16mm) by Ted Lyman [below left – behind the scenes of the grid animation below right]
A visualist film which combines stop action animation with the geometric nature of the lens’ rendering of space to examine Western assumptions about the camera image and vanishing point perspective.


Testament of the Rabbit (1989, 22 mins, 16mm, Color) by Ted Lyman
Live action, subtitling, animation, optical printing, and photographic degeneration are used to illustrate and explore some of the emotional implications of parenthood. Conceived as a chapter in a feature length film on the complex interrelationship of family, time, and mortality.
“The intention is to create something like the childhood sensation of waking from a dream and breathlessly waiting for the formless beasts in one’s bedroom to reassume their rightful identities as bureau, chair, and lamp.” — Ted Lyman
Best of Festival and Critic’s Choice Awards, New England Film and Video Festival, 1989
Best Experimental Film, Suffolk County Film Festival, N.Y., 1990
Ann Arbor Film Festival, Ann Arbor, Mich. 1990

Fla.Me. (1982, 16mm, 25 mins, Color, Sound) by Ted Lyman
A visual comparison of two locations, Brooksville, Florida, and Sutton Island, Maine, which centers around the transformative properties of memory.
Best of Festival, New England Film Festival, May 15, 1984
National Broadcast, PBS, 1990
“Spirit of Place,” a syndicated national cable series sponsored by The Learning Channel, 1988
“Best of Spirit of Place,” 1st Person Cinema, Boulder, Co., 1988
“Mixed Signals” a cable television series on New England independent media makers, 1987
Flaherty Film Seminar, Cornell, Ithaca, NY, August 13-17, 1984
Student Academy Awards, Los Angeles, CA, 1982

Mansacts (1979, 8 mins, 16mm, Color, Sound, 1979) by Ted Lyman
An exploration of three different approaches to filmic looking which plays off the audience’s expectations of the narrative, documentary, and experimental genres of cinema.
“Mansacts offers, in eight perfect minutes, three ways of looking at trees in a forest: (a) as matching action, conventional narrative, with a guy with an axe marching through the woods to a tree and cutting it down; (b) as ethnographic documentary with voice-over, in real time and one master shot, a man pushing over a tree; (c) as experiment, tress shifting about in stop motion.” — Gerald Peary, New England Film Festival Program, 2000

Land of the Dead (2008, 19 mins, super 8mm, projected on mini-DV) [left] by John Cannizzaro
A portrait of an unique cemetery in Cambria, California. Beyond that however, the film is also a meditation on life and death; a cine-poem to the inevitable. Composed of ten rolls of super-8 film edited in camera, with a multi-layered soundtrack,the film unfolds like a lifetime of memories.

On Ted Lyman: Continue reading

October 12 – Holly Would If She Could: Artists’ Responses to Hollywood

Sunday October 12, 2008, 8:00 pm

At the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood

Los Angeles Filmforum presents
Holly Would If She Could: Artists’ Responses to Hollywood
As part of LA Freewaves 11th Festival of New Media Arts, “HOLLYWOULD…”

Freewaves‘ 11th festival, Hollywould, will fuse media arts and Hollywood Boulevard, transforming it into a massive, multifaceted screening room. Spectacular international videos will explore “what could be” plus “what is.”

Filmforum is taking part by highlighting new video work that revisits, deconstructs, and dances with films and locations from Hollywood’s filmic history.

Tonight’s films include:

I Yam What I Yam by Bryan Konefsky (16 mins)
Monocular vision meets one-eyed Popeye the Sailor Man.

L.A.: Dean BURST [right] by Peter d’Agostino (6 mins)
Triptych installation that chronicles 2 visits of Griffith Observatory: one by James Dean in 1955, the other by d’Agostino in 2007.

Imago by Minou Norouzi (8 mins)
Conceived as a hypothesis that ones favorite line from a movie contains within it the essence of a person’s ideal, a passion, conviction or sense of self IMAGO maps a series of frozen moments in the Los Angeles acting community.

Lets Get Out of Here by Rahne Alexander (2:35 mins)
A montage of the most used line in Hollywood history…

The Same Dream by Matthew Rana (2:30 mins)
The death of Lawrence of Arabia and poetic sorrow courtesy T.S. Elliot’s “The Weeping Girl.”

Boulevard [left] by Peter Horvath (12 mins)
Narrative drama of sexual angst that is centered in the middle of Hollywood Boulevard.

Between 2 Deaths [below] by Wago Kreider (7 mins)
A ghost of cinema past living in the present, with the graveyard scene from Vertigo reconstructed and combined with itself, past and present.

Murder and UFOs by Brian Macdonald (20 mins)
The last days of Marilyn Monroe told in mini-Hollywood epic style. Lounge jazz and retro synth darken this noir silent composed of Monroe, JFK and RFK, and Star Trek clips.

The End [right] by Danial Nord (2 mins)
Classic endings and impending disaster…

More on Freewaves:

Freewaves, a global arts organization, will present “Hollywould,” its 11th  festival of new media art along Hollywood Blvd. in the heart of Hollywood, California. For five days and nights – from Thursday, October 9 through Monday, October 13, 2008 – the festival will showcase 160 experimental videos, films and media art from around the world on the Freewaves web site and on the iconic Walk of Fame.

The festival will transform the world-famous boulevard into a massive, multi-faceted screening room. Selected works will be activated by live events, displayed on LCD screens inside stores and installed in storefront windows.  Special events, screenings, and site-specific happenings – most free unless otherwise noted – will take place at various venues such as LACE, American Cinematheque’s Egyptian Theatre, the Roosevelt Hotel, the Musicians Institute, and the Knitting Factory as well as portals connected to the festival’s unique web-based content.

More about Hollywould:

Over 40 physical venues and locations along seven blocks of Hollywood Boulevard will participate in Hollywould, from the Knitting Factory at N. Sycamore Avenue to the west (one block east of La Brea) all the way to Kung Pao Kitty at Wilcox Avenue to the east (one block west of Cahuenga). Visit Freewaves’ office inside LACE (Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions) at 6522 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90028 where patrons will find ongoing video installations and pick up festival program guides during Hollywould. For more information (coming soon) please visit the Freewaves website.
Hollywould, the theme for this year’s festival, is a playful and evocative turn both as an international symbol of the American entertainment industry and as a Los Angeles neighborhood very much in flux. By placing Hollywood in the conditional tense, Freewaves’ Director Anne Bray invited artists to imagine what could be, while exploring the role of art in mass-media-saturated culture and the future of gentrifying neighborhoods. The theme also represents a homecoming of sorts for Freewaves, as the festival’s offices are again located in the LACE building on Hollywood Boulevard.

In-store screenings will take place at the following participating venues during Freewaves’ Hollywould: Abyssinia Gifts from Africa, Bizzy B, Café Audrey, Famima!!, Hollywood & Highland Center’s LED sign, Hightech Electronics, Hollywood Book & Poster, Hollywood Camera and Music, Hollywood Magic,  Hollywood Toys & Costumes, Hookah Lounge, Kayden Tattoo, King King Club, Kino Sushi, LACE,
Larry Edmunds Bookshop, Los Burritos, Loteria Restaurant, Lucky Devils, MH  Internet Lounge, MVA Jewelry, Outfitters Wig Co., Petros K, Prestige Jewelry, Second City Theater, Snow White Cafe & Restaurant, Suit City, Swatch, Tarot Card Reader, The Blue Stone, 25 Degrees Restaurant, Venice Pizza, Virgin Megastore, Woodbury Hollywood Exhibitions, World of Wonder, Yogurt Star, Yonni’s Café.

The wide variety of festival sites reflects Hollywood’s changing character and Bray’s determination to challenge any preconceived notions of where art belongs: tattoo parlors, adult-entertainment and electronics stores, trendy bars and restaurants. Freewaves will also challenge the border between the real-time festival and its online counterpart, Freewaves’ enhanced web site. In October, the site will feature web-based works as a distinct genre of media arts.

Hollywould will showcase 100 works chosen from an estimated 2000 submissions, with an additional 60 works on the Freewaves web site. “In the past, we’ve used the web site primarily as a form of documentation for the larger festival,” Bray says. “This year, the site will function as a kind of autonomous virtual festival, with works selected specifically for their virtual relationship to the street.” Bray plans to expand the web site to facilitate an ongoing dialogue about the works and themes of Hollywould, long after the boulevard reverts to “Hollywood.” The website shows both the glamorous Hollywood myth and its gritty but changing reality.

The selected works were chosen by a distinguished group of international and local curators. The international jury includes: Magali Arriola, an art critic and independent curator sharing her time between Mexico City and Los Angeles; Suhjung Hur, a curator at Art Center Nabi, a non-profit media art center, as well as a writer, based in Seoul, Korea; and Jennifer Teets, an independent curator based in Istanbul and New York, formerly Chief Curator of “El Cubo” at the Sala de Arte Público Siqueiros.

The local curators are: Ciara Ennis, the Director and Curator of the Pitzer Art Galleries at Pitzer College; Julie Lazar, independent curator and Director of International Contemporary Arts Network (ICAN), Kenneth Rogers, a visual culture professor at UC Riverside, whose research is focused on artists’ film and video production; Chris Scoates, the Director of California State Long Beach University Art Museum;
Thenmozhi Soundararajan, Executive Director of Third World Majority, as well as a filmmaker, singer, grassroots media organizer; and Reggie Woolery, the Curator of Education for the California Museum of Photography at the University of California Riverside, artist and writer.

Executive Director Anne Bray founded the concept of Freewaves and has administered the program since its inception. She has been working in the field of media arts since the mid 1970s as an administrator, artist and art teacher. As the Director, she has continued to see the organization through the technological, social and aesthetic changes of the 1990s to the present. Creating intersections of public art and media art has been her path to providing art for many people much of the time. She teaches graduate seminars in new genres and public art at Claremont Graduate University and the University of Southern California. Her own multimedia artwork is widely exhibited.

The Hollywould festival is funded by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, The James Irvine Foundation, City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, Getty Grant Program, Pasadena Art Alliance, National Endowment for the Arts, Los Angeles County Arts Commission, and Freewaves’ members.

October 5 – Stop & Go, an evening of Stop Motion animation curated by Sarah Klein

Sunday October 5, 2008, 7:00 pm

At the Echo Park Film Center
1200 Alvarado Street (at Sunset, northeast corner)

Los Angeles Filmforum presents
Stop & Go, an evening of Stop Motion animation curated by Sarah Klein
With Sarah Klein in person!

Get caught up in the latest in stop motion animation with a various of toys, clays, cut-outs, natural artifacts, drawings, paintings, back drops, animals, humans, and places!

“Established filmmakers and visual artists use stop-motion techniques to tell stories, examine visual phenomena, and make political statements in this collection of short videos. The animators breathe life into magazine cutouts, homemade drawings, everyday objects, and even the body itself. The result is a selection of videos that are humorous, poignant, and marvelous.” ~ Sarah Klein, Curator

The Stop & Go program features twenty-two pieces from artists across the country (San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle, New York, Miami, and Vermont) and around the world (Croatia, Brittan, and Japan). Featured artists in the program include Ignacio Alcantara, Tommy Becker, Lilli Carré, Pete Davies, Samara Halperin, Meredith Holch, Sean Horchy, Stephanie Hutin, Andrew Kelleher, Lana Kim, Sarah Klein, Mike Leavitt, Michael McHam, Laurie O’Brian, Saelee Oh, Mel Prest, Clare Rojas, Judith Selby, SAF Cakovec Studio, Jen Stark, Melinda Stone, Claudia Tennyson, Aeneas Wilder, Sherri Wood, and Andrew Jeffery Wright.

“Oakland-based video artist, illustrator, and animator Sarah Klein brings it all back home with this evening of stop-motion shorts created and produced by an international group of artists and filmmakers, each of whom mold the medium to their individual stories and ideas. Micro-narratives, political commentary, and visual observations all transform via the old-fashioned, time-consuming, stop-and-go treatment.” ~ Connie Hwong, Flavorpill

“Nowadays, young filmmakers use software like Stop Motion Pro and MonkeyJam to simulate the organic, roughshod techniques of Harry Hausen, Will Vinton, or Art Clokey, but stop-motion is still not for clockwatchers. It’s for those who can lose themselves in the wrinkle of an eyelid or the shift of a pencil mark, the type of person who might see beauty in the slow rise of naturally leavened bread. No surprise, then, that the curator of the “Stop & Go” animation exhibition is local ‘bread artist’ Sarah Klein.” ~Silke Tudor, SF Weekly

Entire Program = 1hour, 20 minutes

Tonight’s films include:

Camoknit (2008, 18 min) by Claudia Tennyson
This darkly humorous view of knitting unravels the obsessive qualities and enormous popularity of the craft, which seems to coincide with the climate of fear generated by the ‘war on terror.’

[left] For the Birds (2004, 5:50 min) by Lilli Carré.
A high-wire act of sleepy time bears, black birds, and senior folk.

Tumbleweed Town (1999, 16mm, 8 min) by Samara Halperin. Music by Corner Tour. Find true love with Todd the Tonka cowboy on his hitchhiking adventures through the Texas desert.


Mammoth Cave (2005, 2:28 min) by Stephanie Hutin.
A fantasy of toys, glitter, paper pieces and natural objects illustrate the music of Holopaw.

[right] Squeak, Chirp, Honk (2006, 1 min) by Saelee Oh & Lana Kim.
A friendly look at one of life’s little troubles from a mouse’s perspective.

The Courtship of the Birdman
(2006, 1:34 min) by Pete Davies.
Sound by Andrew Lynn & Angie Moore.
A timeless tale of love and loss re-told in a saga of epic proportion.
Sewing for Jesus (2005, 2:20 min) by Sherri Wood & Ignacio Alcantara.
The construction of a quilt honoring the missing American and Iraqi citizens who died in the Iraq War.

Howdy Hats (1968, 0:30 min) by Judith Selby.
A meet and greet of chapeau on the green.

Picture Perfect (2006, 7:46 min) by Meredith Holch.
Old postcards and Vermont Life magazines are used to examine the rapidly changing character of life and landscape in rural Northern Vermont.

Poop or Fleur (2003, 1:28 min) by Melinda Stone.
A series of still photographs shot in order and contact printed onto 35 mm film become a guessing game of sorts. Audience participation is requested to help identify what is what.

Dog Judo – Noise Box (2007, 1:15 min) by Andrew Kelleher.
Rexley and Roy, two everyday dogs, both live for judo but have very different ideas on what it is.

[left] Papermation (2007, 1 min) by Jen Stark. Sound by Eddie Alonso.
A stop-motion piece of regurgitating rainbows and mysterious organic structures using intricate paper-cutouts.


Black Cat (2006, 2:28 min) by SAF Cakovec Studio.
A darkly funny animation of some characters and their mishaps.

American Bandits (2004, 2:25 min) by Philippe Vendrolini.
A wild ride where altered and animated police risk life-and-limb in pursuit of manic deer.

Pulling Down the Sky to Give You the Sun (2005, 1:45 min) by Tommy Becker.
A celestial piece that combines raw performance, music, and costume.

The Making of the Kozik Action Figure (2006, 1:28 min) by Mike Leavitt.
Another action figure in Mike’s ever-expanding Art Army.

Alarm Clock (2004, 2:15 min) by Sean Horchy.
Time makes it’s own music.

Untitled #90 (2002, 1:27 min) by Aeneas Wilder.
Using only red tape and four architectural posts, Aeneas Wilder creates an inspired series of configurations based on addition and subtraction.

Arithmetic (2006, 4:47 min) by Laurie O’Brien. Sound by Michael McHam.
An adaptation of In Watermelon Sugar by Richard Brautigan with puppetry, paper cutout animation, found sound, and homemade instruments.

Wanderlust (2008, 5:10 min) by Sarah Klein.
Daily routine motivates the modern day woman to take a trip around the world.

Ich Bin Ein Manipulator (2003, 4:30 min) by Clare Rojas & Andrew Jeffrey Wright.
Altered, collaged and manipulated images from fashion magazines create an entirely different story.

Immigrant Song (2008, 2:25 min) by Mel Prest.
This sequence chronicles the creation of a painting from spelled-out lyrics.

On Sarah Klein:

Sarah Klein uses hand-drawn animation to create humorous and often dark narratives on domestic life and related themes. Klein has widely presented her work both nationally and internationally in a variety of settings including exhibitions, performance, and screenings.
Continue reading

September 26 and 28 – Two nights of Craig Baldwin!

This coming weekend, Filmforum will copresent the work of master collage filmmaker Craig Baldwin on two different nights, both co-presented with REDCAT:

Friday, September 26 – Hallucinogenic California: The Alternate Worlds of Craig Baldwin and Damon Packard

Sunday, September 28 – Mock Up On Mu, the newest film by Craig Baldwin

September 28 – Mock Up On Mu, the newest film by Craig Baldwin

Sunday September 28, 2008, 7:00 pm

At the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood

Los Angeles Filmforum presents
Mock Up On Mu, the newest film by Craig Baldwin
In collaboration with REDCAT

Mock Up On Mu

Mock Up On Mu

Filmforum welcomes the latest work from master collagist and filmmaker Craig Baldwin – Mock Up On Mu (2008, 109 min., color and b/w).

A radical hybrid of spy, sci-fi, Western, and even horror genres, Craig Baldwin’s Mock Up On Mu cobbles together a feature-length “collage-narrative” based on (mostly) true stories of California’s post-War sub-cultures of rocket pioneers, alternative religions, and Beat lifestyles. Pulp-serial snippets, industrial-film imagery, and B- (and Z-) fiction clips are intercut with newly shot live-action material, powering a playful, allegorical trajectory through the now-mythic occult matrix of Jack Parsons (Crowleyite founder of the Jet Propulsion Lab), L.Ron Hubbard (sci-fi author turned cult-leader), and Marjorie Cameron (bohemian artist and “mother of the New Age movement”). Their intertwined tales spin out into a speculative farce on the militarization of space, and the corporate take-over of spiritual fulfillment and leisure-time.

Please note that Baldwin will not be present at this screening.

“…an allegorical cyclone of images and ideas haunted by sardonic humor and gnostic longing” — Erik Davis, Techgnosis

Director, Producer, Writer: Craig Baldwin
Director of Photography: Bill Daniel
Editor: Sylvia Schedelbauer
Cast: Damon Packard as L.Ron Hubbard; Michelle Silva as Marjorie Cameron, Kal Spelletich as Jack Parsons, Stoney Burke as Lockheed Martin

More Mock Up On Mu here.

Born in Oakland California, USA, Craig Baldwin attended the University of California at Santa Barbara, University of California at Davis, and San Francisco State University (Masters, 1986). In the Dept. of Cinema there, he studied under Bruce Conner and became increasingly drawn to collage film form.

His interest in the re-contextualization of “found” imagery led him to the theories of the Situationists, and to various practices of mail art, ‘zines, altered billboards, and other creative initiatives beyond the fringe of the traditional fine-arts curriculum. His desire to liquidate the formal distinctions between high/low and private/public categories through a proliferation of discursive modes expressed itself in several photo-essay, installation, video, and Super-8 projects previous to his first16mm production, Wild Gunman (18 min.,1978). This dense montage of cowboy iconography, advertising campaigns, and geopolitical conflicts features playful optical printing of trailers, newseels, and penny-arcade amusements. Baldwin’s audio-visual argument against neo-colonialist ideology was further developed in RocketKitKongoKit (30 min.,1986), which utilizes several narrative voices in an accelerating cinematic broadside. His next film, Tribulation 99 (48 min.,1991) unspooled a satiric psycho-political rant on millenarianism, xenophobia, and CIA covert-action in Latin America, with flying saucer simulations and the hypnotic music of Yma Sumac. A picture-book version of the work was published by Ediciones la Calavera. The SF Bay Guardian bestowed their annual Goldie award on Baldwin that same year.

Mock Up On Mu

Mock Up On Mu

His following project, ¡O No Coronado! (40 min.,1992) inter-cut live-action Conquistador vignettes with archival footage, video-to-film FX, and a time-warped musical mix in a black-comic critique of the Conquest. The SF Foundation recognized the effort with the 1992 Phelan Award in Film Art. His 1995 film Sonic Outlaws is an experimental documentary on the emerging “electronic folk culture”, exploring the legal, political, and artistic implications of the audio-collage work of culture-jamming collectives like Negativland, Tape-beatles, Emergency Broadcast Network, and the Barbie Liberation Organization. The piece was named Best Independent Film of the Year by the LA Film Critics Circle.

In 1999, Mr. Baldwin completed Spectres of the Spectrum, a sci-fi spoof utilizing early educational kinescopes to criticize the corporate control of electronic/communication technologies. Grants from the Alpert Foundation and Creative Capital supported the production of this feature-length “compilation narrative” and its eventual international screening tour and distribution on DVD.

Working under a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship, Baldwin has recently completed Mock Up On Mu, an experimental/speculative treatment of California’s post-War subcultures of sci-fi, aerospace, Beat art, and cult-religion, played out against the impending militarization of space.

Mock Up On Mu will also be screening at REDCAT on Friday, September 26 with Craig Baldwin and Damon Packard in person