Re: judges' statement - Popularity of experimental cinema.

From: Pip Chodorov (email suppressed)
Date: Sun Jun 25 2006 - 18:19:18 PDT

Dear Björn Lundgren,

thanks for your interesting comments.
I was invited to the first Avant in Karlstad and
I agree completely with your comments that
avant-garde film is not well known in Sweden, and
that even at Karlstad University which hosts the
event, only a few students and scholars make the
effort to attend - a large part of the audience
travels from Stockholm or even neighboring
countries. Moreover, in the whole country, only
Stockholm, Malmo and Karlstad host experimental
film screenings.

Sweden is lucky to have Viking Eggeling, one of
the first abstract filmmakers, and Gunvor Nelson,
who started making work in California in the
1960s. Their films are known worldwide and bring
critical interest to Swedish experimental film.
Peter Weiss is also important. But these
individuals do not form a film community. So i am
not surprised that people in Sweden would think
of Brakhage as scribbling. They simply haven't
had enough exposure to the work or education
about film art.

My point was that this has started to change in
recent years, and I think the same holds for
Sweden. The first Avant was only four years ago,
and it was a great achievement to bring people,
films, filmmakers, publications and conferences
to Karlstad. There was a lot of interest among
students then who were frustrated that there was
no way to see more and I tried to encourage them
to start a regular screening series. Maybe
someday this will happen. The Modern Museet in
Stockholm held an underground film retrospective
in the 1980s, and Jonas Mekas's condition for
coming to present films was that the museum buy
prints and start a film archive. So there are a
lot of experimental films hanging out in a vault
in Stockholm, waiting to be projected.

Anna-Karin Larssen and Anna Linder are doing a
great job at Film Form in Stockholm. Originally
Film Form was a group of independent filmmakers
who self-distributed their films; when Anna-Karin
arrived, many of the archives were in paper bags.
Now they have a catalogue and are publishing
videos to promote Swedish experimental films, and
there is actually some great and surprising work
in their historical collection.

Gunvor's work is being shown in museums in Malmo
and Stockholm. We made high-definition transfers
of her films which are projected from servers as
loops in exhibits that are going on for many
months. This may also reach a certain number of
new viewers.

So all these are very recent developments and we
have a long way to go, especially in countries
that have less access to films and do not have
their own cultural history making them. But I
would still argue that more people have heard
about it or seen something today in Sweden than
ten years ago, and this evolution doesn't go

-Pip Chodorov

For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.