Re: why we shoot film

From: Freya (email suppressed)
Date: Sun Mar 05 2006 - 10:14:11 PST

> Before you write the 'you could show the films on
> film if you tried'
> posts, let me note that I have been running a one
> person effort to
> revive 16mm projection on our campus, but there is
> no one who cares
> about and no one to do anything but me. I have been
> at it for a year
> and a half, but we still don't have a single 16mm
> projection setup I
> have confidence in.

I can believe it. Over here in England, universities
have long ago dispensed with 16mm projection. I went
to the AV loans department here and asked after some
kind of film projector. At first they thought I must
mean a slide projector and looked quite dubious that
they would be able to help me, but when I said that I
was after a 16mm projector for instance. They looked
at me like I was completely crazy. "We threw all those
away years ago" they said.

One day in the lift I bumped into a man who was coming
back from the film school in this institution where
they do indeed have a projector. He explained he had
just been trying to fix it. I told him how I had tried
to get hold of a projector and he gave me a good
talking to, about how I shouldn't be working with film
at all and that it was far to out of date and that
they were trying to get rid of that stuff. He seemed a
little annoyed that I was even suggesting it. He said
how he used to work with all that stuff and once even
had a shop that sold cine equipment but that it was
good they were getting rid of it all now.

On another note, I took some kodachrome slides and
went to the slide library to project them on the
little carousel, tv viewer type things. This caused
much disturbance, as apparently nobody had used one of
them for at least 5 years which was how long the lady
I had been talking to had been working in that
paticular office. After a lot of fiddling we managed
to get them working, but it took us about 20 minutes
because neither of us knew the little foibles of this
kind of equipment. (now we both know the tricks so it
is good).

I was quite excited to see they had a slide scanner
and computer there too, and was thinking for a moment
that I could scan my slides, but the lady told me it
wasn't working. I asked what was wrong with it, and
she said it was because of the copyright. I did point
out that they were my slides and that I held the
copyright, but I knew it wasn't worth bothering with.
I expect there is somewhere else in the building with
a slide scanner anyway.

There hasn't been any film projection here for a long
time. I once saw a film when I was little called
"brother, sun and sister moon" in a school, but I was
very little then. There has been no 16mm projection
around in educational institutions here for at least
20 years I would guess.

I only mention this, because this is no doubt the
future in America too, and I wouldn't be suprised to
find that in some institutions it is the present.

Also to explain how severe it is, I actually wanted
the 16mm projector for the production of a piece of
work, not for exhibition purposes, so that gives you
an idea too!

> It is counter productive anytime anyone posting here
> speaks of a
> wider audience to come back with some smack about
> Joe Sixpack and his
> Plasma of the 'the public are cretins' variety
> because that is not

Yeah Joe Sixpack is watching ESPN and enjoying his
beer, lets leave him out of this.

> what we are talking about. We are not speculating.
> We are talking
> about empirical evidence, actual people we know,
> mostly young people,
> mostly students. We have seen, again and again, how
> their eyes get
> opened, maybe even their lives changed, when they
> get a chance to see
> this stuff -- in any kind of copy. Have you not read
> the many posts
> to this list from people who live in the sticks and
> are dying to get
> to more of this stuff but have no opportunity? Yet,
> the constant
> response to these queries is to throw up hurdles
> along with a lot of
> rah, rah chatter about how easy they are to jump
> over. Yeah baby, you
> can raise that money to rent prints if you try!
> Yeah, all you need is
> the will and a phillips #1 to keep that old surplus
> projector humming
> along so it doesn't chew up those rare prints! Thank
> you Dr. Pangloss.

I'm lucky, where I live there is even an experimental
film festival! It is called evolution:

and there was even a special film screening in a
little old cinema here in Leeds with gas lighting,
where they showed experimental film and there was a
tea and cake shop in the foyer! Great! It's been
getting better and better here.

Sometimes there are even free film screenings.

Trouble is that even the free screenings aren't always
well attended and I think it's because people don't
know anything about experimental film. It's not that
people aren't interested or wouldn't enjoy it, it's
just that it doesn't have the hype that is so
important in todays world for anyone to take notice.

Strangely enough the most popular screening I have
ever seen, and that includes screenings of some big
arthouse films, was the screening where there was tea
and cake for sale. People may not know about weird
experimental films, but they sure as hell know what
tea and cake is, and the importance of it. The people
who organised that managed to fill the little cinema.
Amazing. It was a very exciting and wonderful
experience. It seemed like the little cinema was alive
again for the first time in years.

However even with all this work, even here people
don't really know about this stuff at all. :( I hope
it might change in time. I guess it is early days. I'm
going to keep telling people about stuff. I figure if
I drop enough stuff into conversation then it will
slip out there and people will be like "oh I've heard
of that somewhere?" and they will be curious. :)

> To sum up, the film vs. electronic debate matters
> because the
> ideological gravity of the positions groups of
> people take influences
> the actual breadth of distribution of work, and the
> nature of
> distribution matters because in the real world real
> individual people
> who want and need access to the spirit living in
> this art are being
> needlessly shut out.

This is true, but as I say, I think the film print
versus video thing is a bit of a red herring. The
problems are more to do with economics and how to get
the work out there and even more importantly, known
about. This is hard. Experimental film wallows in
obscurity and is in danger of just being forgotten

...A bit like avant garde art generally.



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