Experimental films showing at various Universities

From: David Tetzlaff (email suppressed)
Date: Thu Nov 27 2008 - 12:12:09 PST

> Check out the 8mm and 16mm forums for more info.

Hey, Jim. Do you have any links to useful forums you could post?

> I find this really sad and shocking-- what is it, money?

Partly, but only as far as the college is concerned. Unless a school
has some historical investment in Art Film, or has a faculty 'star'
who's into the form, they are not going to pony up the considerable
sums to keep 16mm afloat since no one else on campus will use it. The
AV departments can't even operate the projectors much less maintain
them, the libraries can't store the films, etc. etc. If you don't do
it 'in house' within your program, it won't get done. This means the
only schools that can stay in the game are 1) those with very large
departments, that have their own support staff, and want to include
some experimental film on celluloid as part of a much larger
curriculum (e.g. Jason's report from Columbia College). These
programs are big enough, and have budgets large enough that keeping
some minimal 16mm going is probably not much strain on the finances.
It also helps to be in a big city, where there are more resouces to
tap. 2) schools where a Film program or a particular faculty member
have unusual clout due to having a national reputation that enhances
the reputation of the school. For example, if Peter Hutton or Scott
MacDonald are on the faculty, you can expect the school finds a way
to keep the 16mm gear functioning, no matter how small they might be.
Dudley Andrew pretty much got to write his own ticket when Yale hired
him away from Iowa, so if he asks for working film projectors and a
rental budget, he gets it. I would imagine Gene Youngblood fit into
this category. I mean, why would you hire him, if you weren't
prepared to enable him to do his already famous thing?

> Are younger teachers just uninterested in either experimental
> films or 16mm prints?

I would say that the vast majority of young faculty who have been
trained under the Film rubric (and here I'm thinking more of scholars
than makers, although it applies to both) ARE interested in prints,
and would rather screen from prints BUT they are not interested
enough to put that anywhere near the top of the things they're
willing to swim upstream and battle the demons for. And again,
faculty want students to STUDY the films, watch shorts or parts of
longer films over and over again for the purposes of close analysis.
So, you already have the DVD. The school is going to invest in DVD
projectors anyway, because every department wants them. So why burn
your precious political capital to set up a costly parallel system?

However, it is also the case that the heyday of 'Film' as a kind of
pure academic discipline has long passed. The walls of the celluloid
castle have been breached by 'media studies' and 'cultural studies.'
This is not necessarily a bad thing, as schools and programs devote
some resources to dealing with some stuff of social importance. But,
no, teachers from this sort of background have little investment in
anything as old-school as 16mm experimental screenings or prints. (If
it isn't on YouTube on the one hand, or on a guerilla video circuit
on the other, who cares?)

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