Part 2 of 2: This week [November 7 - 15, 2009] in avant garde cinema

From: Weekly Listing (email suppressed)
Date: Sat Nov 07 2009 - 13:51:39 PST

Part 2 of 2: This week [November 7 - 15, 2009] in avant garde cinema


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

  A lone warrior crosses a landscape through an opaque veil of snowflakes.
  Another lays waste to a small village. Yet another stands on a mound
  surrounded by the enemy, preparing to take them on. These characters
  populate the cyberspace of Warcraft III, a video game embraced by ten
  million players around the world. But the real action is not on the
  computer screen. The real action, as Dutch filmmaker Jos de Putter shows
  us, takes place on the faces and fast-clicking fingers of the young male
  players who compete professionally on a growing international circuit.
  Using a traditional narrative structure, de Putter slows down the action
  and renders this unusual world familiar to outsiders, casting the
  contenders in a story of all-or-nothing competition between players in
  their prime. Perfecting their technique, strategizing new approaches,
  and fussing over equipment, "Sky" from China and "Grubby" from the
  Netherlands try to maintain their focus, hanging on to old glories and
  seeking out new ones before time runs out. Long-suffering girlfriends,
  adoring fans, and disapproving parents all make appearances, completing
  the picture. This game may be new, but the story is as old as drama
  itself. Filmmaker in Person. US PREMIERE

New York, New York: Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival, American Museum of Natural History
6pm, 77th Street between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue

  A series of three eerie short films- THE ANGELMAKERS - filmmaker Astrid
  Bussink uncovers a grueling history of a sleepy town in Hungary. In
  1929, 51 women were held responsible for killing their husbands using
  sugar cubes soaked in poison. Reticent about this period in their
  history for many years, the village residents finally open up to provide
  a complete picture of what really happened and why. NINE FORGOTTEN SONGS
  - In a Siberian village covered with snow and swept with icy winds, the
  young were called to war never to return, leaving behind only their
  gravestones. Old women dispassionately list the names of relatives who
  passed away while they sing the nine forgotten songs. Photographs show
  the surrounding landscape littered with burned-out huts that were once
  full of life. Weaving traditional songs and the prayers of mourners with
  images of the villagers set against their frozen backdrop, this filmic
  poem is an eerie portrait of a vanishing community and a reflection on
  tradition, memory, and oblivion. WHERE THE SUN DOESN'T RUSH A small
  village in Slovakia is almost entirely made up of the elderly. With
  nothing much in town to occupy the residents, their lives seem to
  revolve around the public announcements that ring out from speakers
  affixed to poles and houses. The most important news of the season: a
  new funeral director is needed for the crowded, unkempt graveyard. Who
  will get the job? Who wants it? A portrait of the slow death of a
  village, where the old times are already gone and the new ones have not
  yet arrived.

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

  Known for combining realistic and magical elements in his fiction films,
  John Greyson brings his creative powers to documentary. Predicated on
  the conceit that Gertrude Stein and Virgil Thomson are writing their
  1934 avant-garde opera "Four Saints in Three Acts" based on the lives of
  Zackie Achmat of South African's Treatment Action Campaign and Tim
  McCaskell of Canada's AIDS Action, Fig Trees recounts the history of
  AIDS activism over the past two decades. Weaving opera and campy clips
  of rewritten pop tunes, stylized reenactments of possible historical
  truths and powerful first-person testimony, the documentary implicates
  governments, corporations, and the media in the deaths by neglect of 25
  million people worldwide. Mining bible references, modern history, high
  art, and popular culture, Greyson employs the gamut of documentary and
  fiction techniques to tell what is ultimately a simple story of two
  individuals who are inspired to put their lives on the line to fight for
  the rights of others.

New York, New York: Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival, American Museum of Natural History
8pm, 77th Street between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue

  On December 7, 1988, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck northern Armenia,
  nearly leveling the town of Gyumri. Local officials say 25,000 people
  lost their lives; unofficial figures claim 70,000 dead. More than one
  third of the victims were children. In mourning, many parents reacted to
  the devastating loss by naming newly-born children after their dead
  brothers and sisters. Today, many of these namesakes believe that the
  soul of their siblings lives in them. Filmmaker Jana Ševčíková
  visits the town 20 years on to find a people still recovering from this
  catastrophe. FILMMAKER IN PERSON

New York, New York: Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival, American Museum of Natural History
9:15pm, 77th Street between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue

  Carmen Rosa La Campeona is torn between her family and the sport she
  loves. For Rosa and her fellow teammates, lucha libre isn't only about
  wrestling. On the streets of La Paz, wearing the traditional dress of
  the indigenous Aymaran, they are ridiculed or ignored as relics of the
  past. Once they enter the ring, however, wearing full petticoat skirts
  and bowler hats, the Mamachas are a hit. Soon, they are invited to join
  Bolivia's main wrestling league and its guaranteed weekly fights. As the
  team's success grows, the league's manager tries to squeeze them out
  unless they work on his terms. Left on their own, the Mamachas del Ring
  book their own events and promote their own shows. Punctuated by
  claymation vignettes, the documentary shows Carmen Rosa taking charge of
  her own life while also becoming increasingly isolated. As family
  responsibilities take time away from training and travel, she must
  decide between her family and her sport. Director Betty Park in Person,

San Francisco, California: Artists Television Access
8pm. $6-$10, 992 Valencia St. at 21st

  Date Palms is Oakland-based musical duo Marielle Jacobsons and Gregg
  Kowalsky. Sound artist artist violinist Marielle Jakobsons "creates a
  dim world where Eastern folk melodies meet damaged textures and desolate
  atmospheres."-Aquarius "Layered in textures and sound, Jakobsons knows
  how to weave an immaculate sonic tapestry that is stunning and
  profound."-Fina. Gregg Kowalsky's compositions range from drone and
  noise pieces to meditative psychedelia, which are highly influenced by
  the thick, humid air of South Florida where Gregg lived for most of his
  life. He is interested in filling the spaces his music occupies through
  dense, live, multi-channel mixes."- Kranky Kowalsky
  eclectic array of source material: tape cassettes, sine oscillators,
  contact mics, bells, bird callers and a computer.- Aquarius "Elm is the
  solo project of Jon Porras who is half of duo Barn Owl. Porras uses
  guitars, vocals, harmonium, harmonica, drum and flute combined with a
  huge amount of talent and imagination to create his own mysterious
  world. There's a kind of underlying menace and bleakness but there's
  light shining through with gorgeous tones that I find very uplifting." -
  Norman Records "SUN CIRCLE is the duo of Greg Davis and Zach Wallace.
  Psychoacoustic minimalism meets psychedelic maximalism. Ecstatic high
  volume drones, long form trance musics and peace noise. Bowed strings,
  voices, organs, percussion, home-made and world instruments. Greg Davis
  lives in Burlington, Vermont. He has played shows all over the world
  with many different people and has released solo and collaborative
  albums on many different labels, including Carpark Records and Kranky.
  Zach Wallace lives in Swan Valley, Montana. He performs solo, with
  Memorize the Sky and SUN CIRCLE and has played with people ranging from
  Tony Conrad to Anthony Braxton."-On Land Festival Paul Clipson is a San
  Francisco-based filmmaker who often collaborates with sound artists and
  musicians on live performances, films and installations. His work has
  screened this year at the Rotterdam Film Festival, the Cinémathèque
  Française and in the NYFF Views From The Avant Garde program.

1pm , Norwich

  COMMON GROUND: AURORA 2009 Festival Weekend, 13 – 15 November AURORA is
  a unique festival based in Norwich which focuses on artists' moving
  image in the most diffuse sense. This year's Festival Weekend (13– 15
  November) is an antidote to the ever-bigger, ever-faster policy forced
  upon moving image festivals: a return to a single screen and an attempt
  to create a 'temporary community' in which divisions between guest
  artists and audience are dismantled. Highlights include programmes of
  work by artists Jem Cohen, Milena Gierke and Jon Bang Carlsen,
  introduced by the artists; discussion sessions about the moving image as
  social project with Beatrice Gibson, Shezad Dawood, Mark Wilsher and
  Graeme Hogg; and about the moving image and the social network with
  Jamie King, Richard Wright, Andrew Kötting and Gareth Evans; and
  thematic film programmes with work by Ben Rivers, Nick Collins, Peter
  Todd and others, introduced by the artists. Live music comes in the form
  of an exclusive double set from the great Alasdair Roberts and Jarman
  Award-winner Luke Fowler; DJ sets from Emma Pettit & Nick Luscombe
  (Roots & Shoots) and more besides. Exhibitions as part of the wider
  festival include Ultra-red / The Rural Racism Project and Stray, a
  series of new polaroids and black and white prints by Jem Cohen. For a
  full programme, see or e-mail
  email suppressed for a Festival Guide. Festival Weekend tickets £50 /
  £65 – includes all meals. Accommodation deals available.


Los Angeles, California: Echo Park Film Center
8:00 PM, 1200 N. Alvarado Bl.

  The 2nd annual Los Angeles as a Character screening will be showcased on
  Saturday, November 14, 2009, at the Echo Park Film Center. A mixture of
  narrative, experimental and documentary short films and videos with the
  city of Los Angeles as a peripheral or central theme, backdrop or
  character will be shown. 10 films were chosen ranging from acclaimed
  urban journalist Mike Sonksen's (aka, "Mike the Poet") "I Am Alive In
  Los Angeles!!" (2008) - a vibrant look at the multi-faceted character of
  Los Angeles; "Dichotomy" (2009) - a short documentary by Laotian-born
  Van Veng reflecting the disparities between two distinct types of urban
  dwellers in downtown LA; Teenager Stephanie Cisneros' acclaimed "Echo
  Park: A Different View" (2005) captures a specific moment in time when
  gentrification began in Echo Park; film fest favorite "Homeless in
  Hollywood" (2009) by Hollis McLachlan follows an Australian emigrant who
  refuses to abandon his dream of acting despite having to live on the
  streets and curator Charles Doran screens his award-winning narrative
  "Ennui," described as "a horrific and comedic pastiche of the
  pretensions of the art school crowd, white guilt, and the 'posthuman
  condition." Other films include: "The New Los Angeles"(2009) – dir. Will
  O'Loughlen – a two minute field guide to making a better city, shot
  entirely on a Flip HD Camera. "Sunset to Sunset"(2009) – dir. Kent
  Hayward – a Super-8 mm time-lapse walk across LA starting at Sunset
  Junction in Silverlake, down Santa Monica Blvd. to the beach. "Los
  Angeles Through the Looking Glass"(2008) – dir. Jonathan Emrys – A photo
  essay, put into video format, attempting to characterize Los Angeles
  from the point of view of its relationship to the motion picture capitol
  of the world, Hollywood. "Naked Slave 4 Art Infomercial #2"(2009) -
  Johnny Naked. An infomercial soliciting the viewer to be part of the Los
  Angeles/Hollywood dream by inviting them to participate in the sale of a
  human being to be used as a personal art object/slave. "Misanthropia"
  (2009) - Jackie McBride. A timely story (told in depressingly grainy
  Super-8 b&w), about one man's downward spiral after being laid off and
  forced into a dispiriting temp job at the college he got his degree
  from. More information on the films and filmmakers can be found here: The Echo Park Film Center is located at: 1200 N.
  Alvarado Street, (@ Sunset Blvd), Los Angeles, CA 90026 Tickets are
  $5.00 and are available on the evening of the show

New York, New York: Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival, American Museum of Natural History
4:30pm, 77th Street between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue

  Immokalee, Florida, is at the heart of industrial agriculture in the
  United States. It also has the largest population of migrant farm
  workers in the state. These workers live in slave-like conditions: some
  are beaten, not given food or water, or not paid. Yet they continue to
  come from their homes in Mexico, Guatemala, and Haiti to earn money on
  these modern-day plantations. Visiting tomato fields, workers' homes,
  carnivals, and churches, the documentary recounts the community's
  struggle for farm workers' rights. What ultimately emerges is a tale of
  persistent hope for a better life. Directors Kevin T. Allen and Jennifer
  Heuson in person. World Premiere. Film precedes The Unforbidden City --
  A beer peddler bikes through the narrow alleyways of Beijing's
  fourteenth-century neighborhood known as Source Street. As he rides,
  collecting empties and delivering full bottles, he introduces us to
  other area residents. The grumpy Dong Tongju works in central heating.
  Gao Li fantasizes about a life as a lady of leisure, with the time to
  have her nails done and find just the right sofa. Old Wang meticulously
  records in his diary the banalities of each day, including the high
  temperature. Just beyond the tightly packed warren of single-story
  houses stands the gleaming National Grand Theater and the wide, freshly
  paved road leading out to the modern high-rises that represent the
  future of this forever expanding city. As a steady beat of pick axes,
  sledge hammers, and bulldozers closes in on their homes, the residents
  alternately prepare and despair for the day when Beijing's historic
  heart has no more room for them.

New York, New York: Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival, American Museum of Natural History
4PM , 77th Street between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue

  Once the seat of the Russian Empire, the Baroque historic center of St.
  Petersburg is up for sale. Having had its architectural jewels hacked up
  into komunalka during the Communist era, the city is now experiencing
  the wake of perestroika reforms, where communal property promises
  capitalist-sized profits. In one flat on Marat Street, each of the four
  rooms is inhabited by a different family, all of whom share the bathroom
  and kitchen. When one owner decides to put her room on the market, she
  must also convince the others to sell. Enter the self-interested real
  estate agents and impatient buyers, and a frenzied unraveling of the
  already tenuous relationships ensues. As witness to the many intrigues
  involved in the sale, filmmaker Christiane Büchner brings us along for a
  sardonic ride with intractable neighbors through the cramped quarters,
  peeling-paint hallways, and water-damaged ceilings of Russia's new
  economy, which in the end head-butts against its Byzantine past.
  Director Christiane Büchner in person.

New York, New York: Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival, American Museum of Natural History
5:30pm, 77th Street between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue

  HOW I AM"I'm like a hermit on an island," is how Patrick, an autistic
  teenager, describes himself. Trapped in his own body, he attempts to
  reach others with "talk written down," his own poetic prose, which acts
  as a free-form guide through this intimate portrait of a disability.
  With a delicate hand, the filmmakers show Patrick's discomfort with the
  outer world of family and school as well as his affinity for the natural
  world. As the camera tries to reach through his disability, Patrick
  himself reveals the limitations of language as an expression of an inner
  life. SPEECH MEMORY Father and daughter try to build a posthumous
  portrait of the filmmaker's Korean grandfather. Born deaf in Japan
  during its occupation of Korea, Key Jin Yun was raised learning only to
  write and sign in Japanese. After Japan's defeat in 1945, the occupation
  ended and the boy and his family returned to Korea. Through the details
  of Key Jin Yun's life, Speech Memory examines the impact of immigration
  and cultural assimilation, revealing the shifting complexities of
  language, national identity, and memory. Filmmakers in Person

New York, New York: Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival, American Museum of Natural History
6:30pm, 77th Street between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue

  Baba Basant Rai buried his wife nine years ago, and yet still grieves.
  Prescribing and preparing traditional remedies, Babaji, as he is
  affectionately called, attends to the community outside Hazaribagh, in
  Jharkhand, India, curing fevers and stomach ailments as well as
  exorcising the malevolent ghosts that walk among them. As knowledgeable
  and accomplished as he is in using the natural world to help the sick,
  Babaji was unable to save his beloved wife. Digging a grave next to
  hers, he lies down in it and waits for death. Meanwhile, the people of
  the town depend on Babaji, who is rumored to be more than 100 years old.
  They marvel at his eccentricity and longevity, regarding him as a "star"
  and their road to possible notoriety. A portrait of one man's sorrow,
  the film is also a window into traditional Indian culture, its beauty
  and limitations, and how it struggles to accommodate, and resist,
  modernity. Director Jiska Rickels in person. US PREMIERE

New York, New York: Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival, American Museum of Natural History
6:30pm, 77th Street between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue

  Fed by four major rivers, Ukraine is a land of fertile steppes that used
  to be known as the Breadbasket of the Soviet Union. A Slavic culture
  that was once the hub of Europe, 20th century Ukraine has been carved up
  and dominated successively by Russians, Austro-Hungarians, and Soviets,
  all of whom recognized its strategic value. When Stalin implemented
  forced collectivization as part of his Five Year Plan to industrialize
  and de-privatize the USSR, he ordered Communist officials in the Ukraine
  to starve the resistant rural population. The resulting Holodomor was
  witnessed by few outsiders; one of these, British journalist Gareth
  Jones, left behind evidence in his personal diaries. While sharing
  entries of these piercing, first-hand accounts, director Sergiy Bukovsky
  juxtaposes propaganda cinema of the era showing a happy, productive
  peasant population against snippets of testimony of Holodomor survivors.
  Children at the time, these witnesses' scattered remembrances slowly fit
  together to complete a horrific chapter in Soviet history, which cost
  the lives of 25,000 Ukrainians each day. Filmmaker in person, US

New York, New York: Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival, American Museum of Natural History
8:30pm, 77th Street between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue

  Freshly laundered sheets, crisp tablecloths, and fluffy bath towels
  adorn the bedrooms, dining rooms, and bath racks of Berlin's finest
  hotels. Surprising at it seems, those clean white linens are washed,
  dried, and pressed not at a nearby Berlin laundry but across the River
  Odra in a small town in neighboring Poland. Taking his camera to
  Widuchowa, German filmmaker Hans-Christian Schmid tours the border town
  where Fliegel Textile provides 24-hour turnaround service to its hotel
  clients. By meeting some of the female employees and their families, the
  film quietly exposes how the global marketplace is affecting small-town
  eastern Europe, where labor is cheaper and life is harder. Working
  shifts on a rotating seven-day, 24-hour schedule interferes with family
  life, so everyone, including the children, pitch in to ensure the
  housework and the cooking get done. But nurturing relationships with
  wives, husbands, and children requires more than paying the bills and
  ticking off chores, and as the lure of better-paying jobs calls more
  townspeople abroad, these workers struggle to keep their families
  together. US PREMIERE

New York, New York: School of Visual Arts
10 a.m. - 5:30 p.m., School of Visual Arts

  The School of Visual Arts presents MediaModes, an interdisciplinary
  graduate conference on critical thinking at the intersection of art and
  technology, with a keynote address by noted critic and scholar Jonathan
  Crary. The conference will be held Saturday, November 19th at the SVA
  Theatre, 333 West 23 Street, New York City. All events are free and open
  to the public. For more information and a schedule of events, please

New York, New York: Millennium Film Workshop
8 PM, 66 East 4th St

  This rollicking evening of challenging, expressive and oppositional
  Argentine cinema offers a window onto makers shredding formal niceties,
  relishing in risk and daring to access the sublime. From an achingly
  beautiful evocation of an hourglass to a darkly humorous evisceration of
  the tenets of the stock market, this program will take us to the land
  where summer is winter and winter is summer and render our souls
  topsy-turvy for a bit too. For the last two summers NYC experimental
  filmmakers Mark Street and Lynne Sachs immersed themselves in the Buenos
  Aires film community through a variety of collaborative cinematic
  endeavors. In addition to shooting Super 8 movies with their artist
  peers in town, Street and Sachs spent time meeting and watching the
  works of local moving image makers – some young bucks and some veterans
  who have been expanding the parameters of the medium since the early
  1960s. Tonight's artists include: Ernesto Baca, Enrique Bernacchini,
  Macarena Gagliardi., Ruben Guzman , Narcisa Hirsch, Leandro Katz,
  Leandro Listorti, Pablo Marin, Liliana Porter, Tomas Rautenstrauch,
  Sergio Subeero, and Diego Trerotola. We will serve sweet dessert churros
  and other Argentine delicacies in the lobby before the show. Contact:
  Mark Street at email suppressed or Lynne Sachs at
  email suppressed

San Francisco, California: Other Cinema
8:30, 992 Valencia St.

  Two legends of underground filmmaking—twin brothers George and Mike
  Kuchar—are the subjects of Jennifer Kroot's new doc, affording a
  hilarious and at times bittersweet intro to these Mission-based
  kitsch-meisters. Since the '50s, when the teenaged twins wowed the art
  world with their 8mm extravaganzas, they have continued their
  low-budget, totally idiosyncratic pursuit of cinematic expression.
  Alongside Warhol and Anger, the Kuchar brothers were pioneering members
  of the '60s New York underground, and they've since inspired John
  Waters, Guy Maddin, Pedro Almodovar, Todd Solondz, and thousands more.
  Director Kroot is here in the flesh to present her stars and answer
  questions, before the show climaxes with the '65 'Sins of the
  Fleshapoids.' Free wine, $8.


Los Angeles, California: Filmforum
7:30 pm, Echo Park Film Center, 1200 Alvarado Street (at Sunset)

  For fans of early film, and of Southern California history! We're
  delighted to host the internationally-renowned film scholar Tom Gunning,
  who will talk about Griffith's time in California, and these selected,
  rarely screened films made in So Cal in the years before World War I.
  All in 16mm with live musical accompaniment by Cliff Retallick. Films:
  Man's Genesis (1912, 17 min); The New Dress (1911, 17 min.); The
  Massacre (1914, 20 min); The Unchanging Sea (1910, 14 min.); The Sands
  of Dee (1912, 17 min); The Female of the Species (1912, 17 min) Los
  Angeles Filmforum, at the Echo Park Film Center, 1200 N. Alvarado Street
  (@ Sunset Blvd), Los Angeles CA 90026. 213-484-8846. Sunday November 15,
  2009. 7:30 pm. General admission $10, students/seniors $6, free for
  Filmforum members.

New York, New York: Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival, American Museum of Natural History
4pm, 77th Street between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue

  Join us for a behind-the-scenes peek of the latest multimedia creation
  by Paul D. Miller, aka DJ Spooky, whose Rebirth of a Nation redefined
  D.W. Griffith's racist 1915 film about the American Civil War. With
  Terra Nova: Sinfonia Antarctic, he turns his attention to global climate
  change, specifically its effects on the world's only uninhabited
  landmass, Antarctica. Using sounds recorded during a visit to the frozen
  continent and images culled from AMNH archives, DJ Spooky demonstrates
  how he created Terra Nova, discussing his project with Heidi Cullen,
  director of communications and senior research scientist at Climate
  Central, a nonprofit foundation created to provide science-based
  assessments of climate change and options for addressing it. Andrew C.
  Revkin, an environmental reporter for The New York Times, whose Dot
  Earth blog examines efforts to balance human affairs with the planet's
  limits, will moderate the event.

New York, New York: Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival, American Museum of Natural History
6pm, 77th Street between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue

  Sitting around the parlor one afternoon in their home in Levoča,
  Slovakia, Peter and Iveta imagine an underwater world, him noodling on
  the piano, her knitting vigorously. Director Juraj Lehotský obliges the
  married couple's fantasies, rendering them in a fanciful vignette. But
  neither Peter nor Iveta can see it. They are both blind. Combining
  moody, low-light cinematography, an artist's eye for composition, and a
  sharp ear for quotidian sounds, Blind Loves depicts the day-to-day world
  of the blind, rich in other sensory experiences. NY Premiere

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