From: gyoungblood (email suppressed)
Date: Mon Mar 27 2006 - 18:26:20 PST
Thanks Bryan, very interesting comments. I have a tape of me lecturing at
the AAFF in 1974. It's good to see that Kuchar had a piece in it. I'm
currently finishing my article on him for the Data Bank's 5-DVD set.
Hope to see you soon. gene
----- Original Message -----
From: "Bryan Konefsky" <email suppressed>
To: <email suppressed>
Sent: Monday, March 27, 2006 7:03 PM
Subject: Ann Arbor Film Festival 2006
> Ann Arbor Film Festival report, March 27, 2006:
> Let me begin with a brief observation about B.I.K.E., one of the featured
> movies at the AAFF this year. In many ways the naivete and lack of
> understanding in this work epitomizes the state of the festival, now in
> its 44th year. The subject of this documentary is the Black Label Bike
> (bicycle) club in NYC, their anti-consumer, anti-capitalist, and
> anti-authoritarian ideology - which parallels, in many ways, what Agnes
> Varda explored in her brilliant film "The Gleaners and I."
> Unfortunately, the anti-capitalist trajectory of the narrative was
> bookended by opening credits that read "produced by Fountainhead
> Productions," and at the tail of the movie one of the leaders of the Black
> Label bike club rode off into the "sunset" on an oil/jet propelled bicycle
> (throughout the movie the members of Black Label proclaimed their hatred
> of "fossil fuel culture"). When I asked the filmmaker about these
> incongruous "bookends" he knew nothing of Ayn Rand's writing, and found
> the jet propelled bike simply "cool."
> This lack of knowledge and inability to thoughtfully reflect upon what one
> has produced speaks to a greater sense of naivete in terms of the
> curatorial choices screened at the festival this year. Except for a few
> exceptions including presentations by Richard Pell, Courtney Egan, movies
> by George Kuchar, Sam Green ,Jay Rosenblatt, Katherine McInnis, oh, and a
> brilliant presentation by Gerry-Pixelvision-Fialka, the festival was
> rather uninspired and unchallenging.
> However, I would argue that the lack of challenging sound/images was made
> up for in dynamic and robust dialogue throughout the week.I suppose every
> year the festival struggles with definitions of "experimentation," new
> technologies, expanded notions of storytelling etc.
> This year the festival lost most of its staff which was, unfortunately,
> replaced at the last moment. So, to be fair, this "changing of the guard"
> might have been a good thing (fresh blood and all), had the new staff been
> put in place in a timely fashion. Additionally, I should note that
> although she doesn't have the experience that some of us might like to
> see, the new executive director, Christen Mcardle,does have her
> "experimental" heart in the right place. She pulled the festival out of
> the ashes of, what seemed to be, a rather disfunctional board of directors
> and for this I give her tremendous credit.
> Additionally, Christen recognizes the legacy of the festival and has
> committed herself to supporting its history. Most importantly, she will
> be testifying before Michigan legislators in the coming weeks regarding
> funding for the AAFF. Apparently there is a move to pull funding
> for the festival. The funding issue revolves around screening certain
> movies that some have found offensive aqnd, perhaps, too challenging.
> So, inspite of the problematic nature of this years festival, I would
> argue that those of you who have found value in the Ann Arbor Film
> Festival in previous years, now might be the time to pen a letter of
> support or simply email Christen with your thoughts.
> You can reach Christen Mcardle at the Ann Arbor Film Festival at
> email suppressed or write letters to :
> Ann Arbor Film Festival PO Box 8232 Ann Arbor, MI 48107
> Bryan Konefsky
> Basement Films
> Albuquerque, New Mexico
> For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.
For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.