Part 2 of 2: This week [November 8 - 16, 2008] in avant garde cinema

From: Weekly Listing (email suppressed)
Date: Sat Nov 08 2008 - 07:11:11 PST

Part 2 of 2: This week [November 8 - 16, 2008] in avant garde cinema


Alexandria, LA: The Arts Council of Central Louisiana
7:00pm, Coughlin-Saunders Performing Arts Center, 1202 Third St

  "Tjúba Tén" ("The Wet Season") is an experimental ethnography recorded
  in the jungle village of Bendekondre, Suriname at the start of 2007.
  Composed of community-generated performances, reenactments and
  extemporaneous recordings, this film functions doubly as an examination
  of a rapidly changing material culture in the present and as a
  historical document for the future. Whether the resultant record is
  directed toward its subjects, its temporary residents (the filmmakers),
  or its Western viewers is a question proposed via the combination of
  long takes, materialist approaches, selective subtitling and a focus on
  various forms of cultural labor. In addition to "Tjúba Tén" ("The Wet
  Season"), Russell's screenings will feature three additional
  experimental ethnographies: "Daumë," "The Red and the Blue Gods," and
  "Black and White Trypps Number Three."

Atlanta, Georgia: HERS Foundation
7:30pm, Westin Buckhead Hotel-Woodruff Room-3391 Peachtree Road NE

  UN BECOMING revolves around Emma Douglas, a woman who has lose. She is sensual, smart and driven. Painting is her
  life's breath. But a medical opinion threatens everything. UN BECOMING
  explores how any woman can lose control when the voice of intuition is

New York, New York: Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival
7:00 pm, American Museum of Natural History 79th and Central Park West

  The Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival is the longest-running, premiere
  showcase for international documentaries in the US, encompassing a broad
  spectrum of work, from indigenous community media to experimental
  nonfiction. The Festival is distinguished by its outstanding selection
  of titles, which tackle diverse and challenging subjects, representing a
  range of issues and perspectives, and by the forums for discussion with
  filmmakers and speakers. OPENING NIGHT of the Mead presents In the Land
  of the Head Hunters (1914) by photographer Edward S. Curtis. Found in a
  Chicago area dumpster in 1947, this silent-era melodrama, featuring
  performances by the Kwakwaka'wakw of British Columbia, has finally been
  restored on beautiful 35mm film with help of the UCLA Film and
  Television Archive. Set in a time when the First Nation peoples had not
  yet encountered Europeans, the film tells of Motana, the chief's son,
  who must overcome many challenges in the spirit and physical world to
  woo and win the lovely Naida, a young girl whose bewitching dancing has
  the power to save her from the evil Sorcerer. This film screens with
  live musical accompaniment by The Coast Orchestra, a Native American
  classical ensemble conducted by Timothy Long. Please reference Program
  F1 when ordering tickets. Go to for tickets.

San Francisco, California: Artists Television Access
8pm, 992 Valencia St

  On November 13 and 14, as part of an ongoing cinematic and cultural
  exchange between ATA and the independent cinema La Enana Marron in
  Madrid, Spain, ATA hosts two nights of Documentary film from Spain
  sponsored by the General Consulate of Spain in San Francisco. David
  Reznak, filmmaker and founder of La Enana Marron will be here in person
  to present the series. Both screenings will take place at ATA, 992
  Valencia Street, Doors open at 7:30pm and films will start at 8pm.
  Reznak This program includes films like "The Siege" and "As it gets
  dark, it's dawn", that articulate a language from an elaborated formal
  process and play with the texture of the image and the
  descontextualization of the sound to create poetic moments, that oppose
  another two films, "Texas Sunrise" and " Story of Juan", that use
  improvisation and a seemingly invisible film crew with which, sometimes,
  the spectator can wonder how these two films were made and come to the
  conclusion that the script was written with the camera and the film was
  finished in the editing room. Both have bet on exceptional characters
  that don't need to be embellished by an elaborated cinematographic
  language. These four films represent a free cinema that prove that
  documentary film is a vehicle for the dramatic construction of the
  filmed reality, and that a preliminary script is the worst curse of a
  type of cinema. EL CERCO – THE SIEGE Nacho Martín y Ricardo Íscar 12
  min. 35mm, 2005 V.O with enghish subtitles Each year, thousands of tuna
  fish enter the Mediterranean Sea. Man's hands harass them in a blood and
  death ritual. It's the classic war between man and animals. But it is an
  Reznak. 10 min, 16mm, 1996 V.O with enghish subtitles A travel log
  through the Dominican Republic. TEXAS SUNRISE Luis Escartin 17min,
  Video, 2002 V.O with enghish subtitles Texas Sunrise consists of an
  incredibly lucid monologue narrated by Johnston Frisco, a North American
  homeless person reflecting on the role of freedom in the current Western
  society. Issues such as governmental aid and control over citizens by
  democracies, the desire of private property and need to feel safe are
  some of the points insisted on. The close ups of this film show are
  images structured in a group of mostly static shots that represent the
  solitude of the West Coast scenarios, followed by Johnston Frisco riding
  a bike. The city of Las Vegas and its surroundings landscape are the
  images that accompany Frisco's words. Postmodern architecture, lonely
  roads, abandoned cars, pedestrians, restaurant signs and panoramic views
  of the desert appear throughout the film, in which the face of the
  protagonist is never revealed. It is easy to find an iconographic
  resemblance between One Way Boogie Woogie by James Benning and Texas
  Sunrise – the best work of Lluis Escartín – but here Johnston's words
  show such veracity and vital consequence that they end up being the
  protagonist of the 17 minutes, leaving the succession of frames in the
  background. HISTORIA DE JUAN – STORY OF JUAN Fernando Borrero 38 min.
  DV, 2002 V.O with enghish subtitles Juan Medina, former convict,
  infected with HIV, and with a past plagued by drugs and crime, is the
  protagonist of this documentary film. His reflections on politics,
  religion, sexuality and freedom describe a dense and rich personal
  universe, where humor tinged with irony softens the harshness of the
  story. In collaboration with international institutions, organizations
  and filmmakers, Artists' Television Access presents Global Undergrounds,
  a film and video series that fosters awareness and appreciation of the
  issues and aesthetics of our global diversity. Artists' Television
  Access is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, all-volunteer, artist-run, experimental
  media arts gallery that has been in operation since 1984. ATA hosts a
  series of film and video screenings, exhibitions and performances by
  emerging and established artists and a weekly cable access television


Los Angeles, California: Echo Park Film Center
8:00 PM, 1200 Alvarado Street

  LOS ANGELES AS A CHARACTER is a one-night only screening that will
  showcase narrative, experimental and documentary short films and videos
  with the city of Los Angeles as a peripheral or central, theme, backdrop
  or character. The following 14 films will be screened: "Dance, Eli,
  Dance" (2005) – Ava Hess; "Dichotomy" (2008) – Van Veng; "Hair Cowboy"
  (2008) – Patrick Robins; "I Remember Venice" (2008) – Will O'Loughlen;
  "Intoxicated Demons"(2005) – Donlee Brussell; "Iris:Los Angeles" –
  (2005) Valentina Martin; "Memories of an Undefined Image" (2007) – Mason
  Chadwick Shefa; "Moose, Indian" (2006) – Nicholas Kokich; "Mr.
  Freeway"(2008) – Kenneth Hughes; "Palm Tree Song Line" (2008) – Dagie
  Brundert; "Roger" (2007) – Jennifer Stefanisko; "Rollingman" (2000) –
  Mike Sakamoto; "Some Los Angeles Apartments and a Dorm" (2003)– Laura
  Daroca; "Westsider" (2007) – Charles Doran More information on the films
  and filmmakers can be found here:

Los Angeles, California: UCLA Film and Television Archive
7:30pm, Billy Wilder Theater / Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd.

  Robert Breer, one of America's foremost independent filmmakers for more
  than 50 years, will pay a rare visit to Los Angeles to attend a
  multi-venue celebration of his work. A close colleague of Rauschenberg,
  Oldenburg and other seminal artists of the 1950s and '60s, Breer has
  brought a comparably imaginative and rigorous appreciation for collage
  and pure form to the art of cinema. Throughout a body of more than 40
  animated--and in many ways anti-animated films--Breer celebrates cinema
  as a unique way of seeing and the act of drawing as a richly expressive
  and unpredictable personal gesture. Tonight's program includes the
  majority of films Breer released between 1974 and 2003, a period of
  remarkable growth and sustained artistic activity. In person: Robert
  Breer. Part of a three-program retrospective organized by Steve Anker.
  Additional screenings will be held at Los Angeles Filmforum and REDCAT.
  FUJI (1974) "A poetic, rhythmic, riveting achievement (in rotoscope and
  abstract animation), in which fragments of landscapes, passengers, and
  train interiors blend into a magical color dream of a voyage. One of the
  most important works by a master who - like Conner, Brakhage, Broughton
  - spans several avant-gardes in his ever more perfect explorations." --
  Amos Vogel 35mm (blow-up from 16mm), 9 min. LMNO (1978) "[A] French
  gendarme weaves a hapless path through the film's strobe attacks,
  disparate drawing styles, and variable scale .... Framed by underwater
  and travel imagery, the central section's faucets and aerosols,
  collapsing tents and outsized croquet games, breakfast foods and sexual
  violence, all suggest domestic frustration." - J. Hoberman, The Village
  Voice 16mm, 10 min. T.Z. (1979) "An elegant home movie, its subject is
  Breer's new apartment which faces the Tappan Zee (T.Z.) bridge. It is
  permeated, as are all his films, with subtle humor, eroticism and a
  sense of imminent chaos and catastrophe."--Amy Taubin, Artforum 16mm, 9
  min. TRIAL BALLOONS (1982) A mix of rephotographed live action and
  animation using hand-cut traveling mattes.--Canyon Cinema Catalogue.
  16mm, 6 min. BANG! (1986) "Bang reveals Breer at his most accomplished
  and most playful. It is also his most autobiographical film - the
  youngster paddling a boat is Breer as a boy and the pencil cartoon
  sequences were drawn by Breer when he was around ten years old. "Robert
  Breer is the godfather of animation art. In Bang he sustains ten dense
  minutes of collagistic mayhem that's as potent as anything he's ever
  done. Television images of a boy paddling a boat and an arena crowd
  cheering, plus film shots of bright pink and red flowers and a toy
  phone, are intercut with frenetic drawings in Breer's trademark heavy
  crayon, principally of baseball games. Breer inserts a photo of himself
  with a question mark scrawled over his head, accompanied by the words
  'Don't be smart.' But he can't help it - he is."--Katherine Dieckmann,
  The Village Voice 16mm, 10 min. A FROG ON THE SWING (1989) This animated
  fable is centered around a backyard pond shown intermittently in
  live-action scenes. A small child appears and disappears in a ballet of
  crows, rabbits, monkey wrenches, and goldfish. When the police arrive
  there are pot-shots at backyard varmits, but the frog on the swing seems
  to survive it all. As usual in Breer films, the soundtrack is often
  conspicuously out of sync with the picture. Or is it vice versa when a
  crow goes "moo?"--Canyon Cinema Catalogue. 16mm, 5 min. TIME FLIES
  (1997) A playful meditation on loved ones and the passing of the years.
  16mm, 5 min. ATOZ (2000) A short film dedicated to his granddaughter Zoë
  that demonstrates all the characteristic traits of Breer's animation:
  his humour, his favourite motifs (the hammer, a frog, graphic shapes,
  aeroplanes). What is the impact of an order such as the alphabet on the
  awakening mind of a child?--International Film Festival Rotterdam. 16mm,
  5 min. WHAT GOES UP (2003) Breer's personal take on the everyday in
  images that zoom past us like a flashback of a thousand perfectly lived
  moments, a four-minute epic. The final scene of a derailed train
  provides a metaphor for the absurdity of the notion that a big,
  beautiful, well-lived life simply runs out. --International Film
  Festival Rotterdam. 16mm, 5 min.

New York, New York: Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival
4:30 pm, American Museum of Natural History 79th and Central Park West

  The Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival presents Paper Cannot Wrap Up
  Embers by Rithy Panh. A master documentary filmmaker Panh never shies
  away from the nuances born of melding documentary and narrative genres.
  Continuing his masterful exploration of contemporary Cambodia and the
  legacy of its recent past through the stories of young women forced into
  prostitution to survive. Living in the wake of the Khmer Rouge and beset
  by the juggernaut of global capitalism, these women eek out an existence
  in a decaying apartment building in Phnom Penh. Away from men and the
  noise of the street, Paper Cannot Wrap Up Embers offers moments that
  range from expressions of quiet despair to the sharing of intimacies and
  mutual comfort. . Please reference Program F11 when ordering tickets. Go
  to for a complete program.

New York, New York: Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival, American Museum of Natural History
12:30 pm, 77th Street between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue

  The Margaret Mead Film & Vifro Festival presents the US Premiere of
  PEACE WITH SEALS by Miloslav Novák (FILMMAKER IN PERSON) Monk seal
  specialist Emanuele Coppola and director Novák are on the hunt for any
  trace of a real, live Mediterranean monk seal. Conversations with marine
  biologists and philosophers as well as the beachgoers on the
  Mediterranean shores who have supplanted the seals lead them to believe
  that the only monk seals left are those preserved in Coppola's extensive
  collection of archival footage. Presented as a wistful documentary
  fable, the film might well stand as a warning sign for more ominous
  things to come. Stunning underwater cinematography adds a stunning layer
  to this lyrical film. Sat., November 15: 12:30pm at the American Museum
  of Natural History.

New York, New York: Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival
8:15 pm, American Museum of Natural History 79th and Central Park West

  Alone in Four Walls by Alexandra Westmeier (85min, Russia/Germany,
  Director and Cinematographer in person) will celebrate its NY Premiere
  at the 32nd Annual Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival. A teenager
  stands up in class and explains why his favorite color is black. Wearing
  black, he says, makes it easier to escape into corners undetected and to
  obscure the dirt on his clothes. This scene is just one of the many in
  Westmeier's documentary about adolescent boys incarcerated at a Russian
  reformatory that break the heart. Her patient camera captures them
  sitting quietly in rows at class, learning to use a gasmask, making
  their beds, washing the hallway floors, in a woodshop cutting wood.
  Intercut are interviews in which the boys describe their home life and
  the offenses that brought them to this place. Some speak of alcoholism,
  beatings, theft, and grisly murders, recounted in seemingly indifferent
  tones. Other boys cry remembering home, a kind but absent stepfather, a
  remiss grandmother who forgets to write. Breathtakingly shot with a
  painter's eye for color and composition, Westmeier's film allows these
  boys a freedom of expression like they have never had nor probably will
  ever get again. Reference Program F9 when ordering tickets.

New York, New York: Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival
1:00 pm, American Museum of Natural History 79th and Central Park West

  The Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival presents the East Coast Premiere
  of Umbrella by Chinese filmmaker Du Haibin. An umbrella that is carried
  across a wheat field in central China or the rainy streets of Shanghai
  is made in a factory in Guangdong and sold wholesale farther up the
  coast in Zhejiang Province. Tracking the life of an umbrella from
  factory to market, Haibin shows how the lives of farmers in rural China
  have changed since the economic reforms instituted by Deng Xiaoping in
  1978. "Socialism with Chinese Characteristics" couched the upturning of
  the ideals of the Cultural Revolution in nationalist terms to soften the
  blow dealt to farmers once glorified by the state. Haibin is part of the
  Sixth Generation of Chinese filmmaking, which has proven unafraid to
  confront China's dictatorial policies in the wake of Tiananmen Square.
  With a pace that belies the speed with which these farmers and their
  families have to adjust to these new changes, he shows us factory
  workers, soldiers, students, merchants, and hold-out farmers as they
  scramble for livelihoods and respect in the rush toward modernization
  and the glorification of wealth over traditional ideals. Screening with
  Under Construction —Shanghai's old districts are demolished in the name
  of regeneration. Displaced by bulldozers and wrecking balls, families
  find themselves in search of a new neighborhood. Every year, more than
  100,000 inhabitants are forced to leave their homes and move to the
  edges of the city. Zhenchen Liu combines digitally re-mastered
  photographs with documentary video footage to investigate those affected
  by the endless demolition, calling into question the choice of vertical
  development over building community. Reference Program F6 when ordering
  tickets. Go to for a complete program.

New York, New York: Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival
7:00 pm, American Museum of Natural History 79th and Central Park West

  The Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival is the longest running showcase
  of documentary film in the United States. Exhibiting a range of
  non-fiction work including: essay films, experimental works, feature
  documentaries, animation, and more. The Festival is a premiere venue
  housed at the American Museum of Natural History. Revealing the
  diversity of programming at the Mead, we present a series of short
  lyrical films that explore the human need for control. In The Pests,
  termites, lice, silverfish, bedbugs, roaches, and wasps invade, experts
  from entomologists to exterminators are called in and weild sprays and
  bombs, electric zappers, and other insecticides, and do their chemical
  best to remove the creatures. In The Pests, neatniks and entomophobes
  obsess about their worst fear, the common everyday bugs that don't
  respect our human limits. Recycle chronicles homeless poet, Miguel Diaz
  as he collects recyclables to earn a living. Shot in striking 35mm, this
  short documentary follows Diaz as he uses all the thrown-away items he's
  collected to make a community garden in the median of his street and
  offers his insights on survival and nature. In The Sinking Village the
  Hungarian village of Medgyesbodzás is slowly sinking, and its
  inhabitants are baffled. Their houses are propped up and riddled with
  cracks and holes. The village receives very little help from national
  authorities, so the middle-aged Jószef turns to the European Union. Ever
  optimistic, he makes a short film in which he and the other villagers
  tell their story. In the meantime, young people are moving away from the
  village while those remaining speculate on who's to blame: oil
  companies, the waterworks, or the soil itself. Reference Program F12
  when ordering tickets.

San Francisco, California: Other Cinema
8:30pm, 992 Valencia Street

  We are thrilled to host an old friend whose creativity and strength of
  vision have propelled him to the launch of his first international 35mm
  release, Sleep Dealer. Since we don't have 35mm facilities, we'll
  instead be showing substantial clips on digital video, as Alex guides us
  through his process on this provocative political allegory. It's a fable
  for this globalized age, a moral tale focusing on the all-too-true
  phenomenon of virtual workforces delivering their alienated labor from
  across the border. Featuring eye-popping 3-D animation, Alex's highly
  imaginative magical-realist masterpiece elaborates on the themes of
  Latin-American relations, immigration, and digital culture that also
  drive his earlier work. So to open the show, we'll screen his shorts Why
  Cybraceros?, Dia de la Independencia, and maybe even PapaPapa in their
  entirety, properly situating Seńor Rivera in his meteoric artistic arc.
  Come early for reception, cerveza, and yes, another of our (in)famous
  pińatas. *$7.


Los Angeles, California: Filmforum
7:00 pm, Spielberg Theatre at the Egyptian, 6712 Hollywood Blvd.

  Filmforum presents Moving Figures: The Animated World of Robert Breer –
  part 3, with Breer in person! Robert Breer, one of America's foremost
  filmmakers for more than 50 years, pays a rare visit to Los Angeles to
  attend a multi-venue celebration of his work. Tonight features a
  selection of the artist's early work (1954-1964), including portraits
  and collaborations with Jean Tinguely, Claes Oldenberg and other
  avant-garde figures of the '50s and early '60s, as well as his first
  major animated and pixilated short films. Parts 1 & 2 are at REDCAT on
  November 10 and UCLA Film & Television Archive on November 15. Los
  Angeles Filmforum, at the Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd, at Las
  Palmas. Sunday Nov 16, 2008. 7:00 pm. General admission $10,
  students/seniors $6, free for Filmforum members. The Egyptian Theatre has a validation
  stamp for the Hollywood & Highland complex. Park 4 hours for $2 with

New York, New York: Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival
12:00 pm, American Museum of Natural History 79th and Central Park West

  Gandhi's Children by award-winning documentary filmmaker David
  MacDougall presents its World Premiere at The Margaret Mead Film & Video
  Festival. The Prayas Children's Home for Boys is located in one of the
  poorest quarters of New Delhi. The residents usually orphans, have run
  away from home, or were picked up from the streets. One day, 181 boys
  arrive, having been rescued from a child labor factory. Despite the
  harshness of their lives, many of these children show extraordinary
  strength of character. Often left to their own devices, they institute a
  seemingly arbitrary set of checks and balances to make sense of the
  mayhem around them. Please reference Program F18 when ordering tickets.
  Go to for a complete program.

New York, New York: Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival
6:30 pm, American Museum of Natural History 79th and Central Park West

  The Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival presents The Lost Colony (Astrid
  Bussink, US Premiere, Filmmaker in Person) The Sukhum Primate Center in
  Abkhazia, the oldest primate research laboratory in the world, is
  crumbling. This once prominent facility has been hailed for its strides
  in medical research and space exploration. Founded in the 1920s, the
  institute now strives for relevance amid Abkhazia's struggle for
  independence from Georgia, dwindling funds, and the loss of a large
  portion of its animals to a modern lab in neighboring Russia. On the
  cusp of its 80th anniversary, Bussink visits the lab as it prepares for
  a conference designed to drum up support in the scientific community.
  Meanwhile, one guard searches the surrounding forests for any sign of
  members of the monkey colony thought to have escaped from the lab during
  the 1992 military conflict. Archival footage of the center's glory days
  and present-day activities captured at a detached remove are combined
  with stunning images of the decaying buildings and grounds. Now, with
  recently renewed fighting between Georgia and Russia over Abkhazian and
  South Ossetian independence, Bussink's ironic take on this seemingly
  hopeless situation becomes prescient. Please reference Program F17 when
  ordering tickets. Go to for a complete program.

New York, New York: Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival
7:30 pm, American Museum of Natural History 79th and Central Park West

  Closing Night at The Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival presents Throw
  Down Your Heart (Sascha Paladino, Filmmaker in Person, NY Premiere)
  Multiple Grammy-winner Béla Fleck travels to Uganda, Tanzania, the
  Gambia, and Mali searching for the roots of the banjo, the instrument he
  loves so much. Part road movie, part historical document, this
  fascinating film demonstrates the power of music and musicians to reach
  across cultural boundaries and the limitations of language to create an
  instant and abiding connection. Whether plaintive or pulsating, the
  infectious music in Throw Down Your Heart transports viewers into the
  heart of Fleck's personal journey. This film is co-presented by World
  Music Institute. Please reference Program F21 when ordering tickets. Go
  to for a complete program.

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