From: andrew lampert (email suppressed)
Date: Sat Jun 24 2006 - 10:38:40 PDT
I'mv addressing a few topics from Pip's post:
> There are more and more filmmakers in 2006; it is
> not hard to make work, no harder than it was in
1996 or in 1986;
> there are more and more venues and ways to get work
> ever before.
A small point perhaps, but not being able to make
contact reversal 16mm prints does make it harder and
more expensive. If one shoots reversal then they have
to make an internegative to get a print. This is
because Kodak has recently discontinued making this
type of printing stock. I have many films I am
dubious about showing because they only exist in 16mm
edited originals. One of the best low cost solutions
for making prints has disappeared. Super 8 film and
processing is getting more expensive as well, the
prices have gone up.
If we are not going to be so slavish to celluloid in
our thoughts and productions, then yes there are
zillions more opportunities to make movies now and it
is much easier. I can edit my video on this laptop,
that is absolutely amazing. I can also distribute it
on the internet. We have entered into an age and a
world where talking about filmmakers is getting to be,
I feel, a bit old. We should be discussing ourselves
as moving-image makers.
> In Paris in 1986, there was one group holding weekly
> screenings, Tuesdays at midnight. Now there are
> almost every day of the week organized by many
> and institutions. Half of the groups currently
active were created >within the last ten years and are
run by people under 35. All the > groups make and show
work on film.
I have a sense that there is always this swelling and
contraction when it comes to avant-garde film culture.
In New York we are about to lose (for an indefinite
period) Ocularis after 10 years of amazing service.
The Robert Beck Memorial Cinema has essentially been
reduced to irregular and, as always, poorly publicized
events. There are a number of series around town
(Rooftop films, the shows that Stephen Kent Jusick has
been doing at the Collective Unconscious come to mind)
and of course we still have Anthology and Millenium,
but by and large I'd say that the experimental cinema
culture in New York City is not as bustling as what
you are describing in Paris.
> On a global level, acceptance of experimental film
> has risen tremendously over the past ten years. When
> Re:Voir in 1994 it was difficult to convince even
> bookstores to sell our tapes. Within five years they
were in Virgin
> Megastore. In the past five years a dozen new
> sprung up, all making a living distributing
experimental films to the >home video market.
What labels and distributors are "making a living"
selling experimental work. Do you mean that they are
turning a profit? I'm aware of many of the labels out
there, but who is having grand success of it?
> Universities, whose course descriptions have become
more and more
> abstract and less and less practical over the years,
have offered an
> ever-growing number of experimental film courses. It
has become >part of cultural literacy to know about
What Universities are you thinking about here? I ask
because I didn't study anywhere as amorphous as what
you describe. Perhaps this is true, but go to (in the
US at least) The Coop and Canyon to actaully see what
films rent. You'll likely find that the same titles
by the same canonized group of filmmakers are
consistently being rented. Even if the courses are
growing, 16mm projection in the class room is not, and
by and large the same films are being rented so it
isn't as if the student body is being exposed to an
ever-increasing body of work.
I know from working at Anthology and dealing with
researcher and requests that, by and large, academics
are mostly studying the same old thing: Brakhage,
Deren, Warhol, Mekas, Anger and more recently
Frampton. The canon doesn't seem to be expanding in
this particular area, and if we are going to bring
this back to gender, they certainly aren't beating
down our doors for more info on women filmmakers. I
find all this strange and inexplicable.
One thing that I recommend doing is going to
youtube.com and searching for "experimental film" or
better yet "avant-garde film" (look for the elephant)
to get an idea about the current state regarding the
current state of exerpimental film reception and
production. Note the quality of the work and the fact
that it is almost all made on video. You can feel a
real contempt in some of the pieces.
> Museum shows have
> included early film work, and the past few years
> have seen major
> shows featuring experimental films: Sound and Light,
> Dada, Le
> mouvement des images, Into the Light, the Whitney
> Biennial, etc. How
> many tens of thousands of people were introduced to
> experimental film
> through these exhibitions?
You are right here. Still, in the shows that you
describe was film shown on a looper in a gallery or in
a cinema? And was it shown on film? People being
exposed to old or classic experimental films as art in
a gallery is a very interesting and somehow
transformative idea because, by and large, the films
were intended by the makers to be seen in a theater.
One exception is Into The Light, which included films
and moving image works made by artists whose works
were created as installations or in some cases events
(Anthony McCall). A lot of the films that have been
included in shows as projections on walls (I think
here of the Visual Music show) are actually putting
the works into installational contexts. I'm not at
all against this, but it is an interesting phenomenon.
The question I have is how does the average audience
member relate to the films on display as actual cinema
when they are seeing them in an art world context, on
a wall and not in a cinema? I can't tell.
> The only reason filmmakers are forgotten is because
> there is no
> commercial value in their work, neither in the film
> industry nor in
> the art market, but this is already starting to
I agree with the first statement, but don't see where
this change is occurring. I see artists who are
filmmakers (a VERY different thing than filmmakers who
are artists, at least in the eyes of the
gallery/museum world) selling works (Barney, Lockhart,
Rodney Graham...) but what experimental filmmakers are
having success selling prints in this world to
insitutions other than the occasional museum or
archive? What doors are being opened? Do you have
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