Jim Hubbard

Portrait of Jim Hubbard click to see


Jim Hubbard was born in Brooklyn, NY in 1951. He studied at the San Francisco Art Institute and began making films in 1975. In 1977, he began processing his own film and enjoys exploring the material basis of film. He believes that experimental film can more honestly communicate the lesbian/gay experience and is much less alienating than stupid narrative movies with homosexual characters. He has made 17 films including Homosexual Desire in Minnesota, Two Marches and Stop the Movie (Cruising) and is currently working on a 16mm cinemascope, hand-processed meditation on death entitled Memento Mori. In 1987, he co-founded the New York Lesbian and Gay Experimental Film Festival and is presently serving as the film archivist at Anthology Film Archives. His films have been shown at the Berlin International Film Festival, the London Film Festival, the Museum of Modern Art and the Tokyo, Hamburg, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and numerous other lesbian/gay film festivals. He believes that beauty and good politics are one. He lives with his lover of 15 years, Nelson Gonzalez, in New York City.



(1995, 16mm cinemascope, color, sound, 17 min.)

Winner -- 1995 Hamburg Lesbian & Gay Film Festival Short Film Jury Ursula Award

Memento Mori tells about death, about the death of a friend of the filmmaker's. It surpasses the formal inventory of feature film cinema to develop its own narrative structure as a filmic poem. As such, it is very precise in its filmic structure as well as in its narrative structure. Film means the combination of created images in a timely construction. Jim Hubbard chooses the format of Cinemascope -- not as a visual gag, but as a necessary means to communicate his visual motives. One thinks of painting, regarding the composed images which seem metaphoric at first glance. But when Hubbard shows a skull, or his friend in front of a still life, or a woman cleaning a room, he does not -- as is common in contemporary gay filmmaking -- juggle with metaphors and symbols, but shows -- through the art of filming and montage -- what lies behind the symbolic connotations of the images on screen: What is it like when a body doesn't move anymore? How does it feel -- the ashes of the dead or the soil which covers a corpse? We thought of the late films of Marguerite Duras, in which she tries quite similarly to find images that astonish in spite of the cultural baggage they convey. In his books about cinema, the French philosopher, the late Gilles Deleuze, calls such a non-illusionist, time-bound composition of images, which only is possible in cinema, "direct time images," images that open up a new look upon the world. There we are, where we started: Hubbard's film tells about death. Most paradoxical however -- Memento Mori is one of the few films, in which cinematic images do not erase life with stereotypes but let life live on, somewhere else, outside the screen. Thus, Hubbard states more convincingly than any surface statement that the basic premise of every emancipatory thought is the affirmation of life. In this context, the final image of Memento Mori is one of the most haunting and beautiful we experienced. -- Stefan Hayn


click to see

(1992), 16mm, color, sound, 8 min. An intimate portrait of songwriters, performance artists and lovers, Dan Martin and Michael Biello, The Dance explores the interconnectedness of their domestic life and their art work and their selfless devotion to a community of artists they have helped to create and support. The film uses hand-processed footage to convey the emotional intensity of their lives. In stark contrast to the industrial, machine-made look and process of most movies, the handmade quality of the self-processed film imparts a sense of poignancy and brotherly loving in the era of AIDS. [Please note that the video transfer does not convey the jewel-like radiance of the original hand-processed film.] Based on "The Dance," a song about living on in the face of loss with music by Dan Martin and lyrics by Michael Biello.


(1989, 16 mm, color, silent, 29 min.)

While attempting to define a filmic equivalent of the elegiac form, this film explores the AIDS crisis from both a personal and a political perspective. The film intertwines two main motifs: memories of Roger Jacoby and the development of a mass response to AIDS. The collective response begins with mourning at a candlelight vigil and the deep sadness of the AIDS Quilt and then progresses toward a much more determined reaction by ACT-UP: first, in the Gay Pride March in New York, then in separate demonstrations that build in militancy -- with a corresponding increasingly heavy-handed response by the police -- culminating in a demonstration during a baseball game and the thumbs-up sign of a teenager sporting a Silence = Death button.

"...roars with urgency from beginning to end." -- Karl Soehnlein, Outweek

"...exquisitely hand processed...miniature portraits of a friend...infusing his memorial not with nostalgia, but activism." -- Manohla Dargis, Village Voice


Jim Hubbard's "Stop the Movie (Cruising)" makes us think about our activism. It is a bare bones documentation of the demonstrations against the making of the movie "Cruising." The film varies in color, light and texture -- Hubbard's camera is more interested in faces and relationships. His frames exclude and fragment signs and banners, leaving the viewer to observe in silence the expressions and gestures of the demonstrators. This disarming technique puts the focus on the psychology of political events, and on the feelings and motivations of the demonstrators.-Gregg Bordowitz, The Guardian


Jim Hubbard's films are available through:
NY Filmmakers Co-op (New York)
London Filmmakers Co Op
Light Cone
and Edition Manfred Salzgeber


Contact Jim Hubbard at jimhub@earthlink.net

This Avant-Garde/Experimental Film Webring site owned by Jim Hubbard.
Avant-Garde/Experimental Film Webring
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