Mark Street


My work ranges from abstract hand-manipulated pieces to work that involves found footage, to feature length improvised narratives. Each film attempts to investigate new terrain, and avoids being confined by a specific look or mood.

I like to work the surface of film to create rich visuals which I shape in a very intuitive, personal way. Since I started making films in 1983 I've always gone back to painting, bleaching and marking frames one by one; I'm exhilarated by this tactile relationship with film material. I like the way these abstract films (Winterwheat, Echo Anthem, Missing Something Somewhere, Blue Movie, Sweep, Guiding Fictions, Sliding off the Edge of the World) allow the viewer to be drawn into unfamiliar worlds.

Other films (Lilting Towards Chaos, Excursions, Why Live Here?) paint portraits of characters wrestling with their alienation from place. These films juxtapose narration and imagery so that the viewer is challenged to pick up the pieces. The films flutter between states, combining elements of fiction writing, diary, travelogue, landscape photography and documentary.

I've also made two feature length videotapes, At Home and Asea 2002 and Rockaway 2005. These two works also start with place and consider fictional characters's relationships to where they live. In both cases I explored the locales first (Baltimore and a Queens, NY neighborhood, respectively) and then figured out how I wanted the actors to improvise material that gave voice to tensions I found inherent in these settings.

My interests in film and videomaking are restless and peripatetic. I've made films about the American flag, soft-core pornography, a Brooklyn walk, a trip to Mexico, day-to-day life in Tampa, Florida and three high school girls celebrating their graduation. Each new project sends me spinning in a new direction. Because I reject the constraints of traditional production values and develop my own process for each new film, any subject seems possible.

I teach film and videomaking in the Visual Arts Department at Fordham College Lincoln Center and live with filmmaker Lynne Sachs and our two children, Maya and Noa in Brooklyn, NY.

"...confronting notions of home and community in an age of unprecedented transience and instability." SF Cinematheque)

" ... a cartographer of interior landscapes forged from film chemistry, optically printed materials, documentary/diary footage and journal entries." ( LA Filmforum)

" Provocative...engaging...Street leaves us with the very real sense that you take your possibilities and limitations with you wherever you go." (Los Angeles Times)

" a sweet and powerful look into the future of narrative cinema. Considering the current trend of exploring the documentary nature of scripted film (Street) is in the right place at the right time. Look for him in the future." (Ron Wilkinson Monsters and

Screenings: Museum of Modern Art, NY, Whitney Museum, Toronto Film Festival, New York Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival, London Film Festival, Festival du Cinema Nouveau, Montreal, Oberhausen Film Festival, Viennale International Film Festival, Vienna,VIPER Film Festival, Zurich, European Media Arts Festival, Pacific Film Archive, SF Cinematheque, San Francisco International Film Festival, NY Underground Film Festival, Reel NY, CH 13 WNET NY, Ann Arbor Film Festival, Black Maria Film Festival, Wisconsin Film Festival.

Selected Films

Blue Movie

Mark Street's Blue Movie

5 minutes

16mm, color, sound, 1994

A smattering of repeated performances culled from old porno films and hand painted. A man bends over a body, but what we really notice is the texture of the wall behind him. A woman stares back at the viewer with annoyance. On the soundtrack Anais Nin declares: "but while I'm doing this I feel I'm not living."

- Ann Arbor Film Festival
- Black Maria Film Festival (Director's Choice)
- Pandaemonium Festival, London
- Semana de Cine Experimental, Madrid
- Humboldt Film Festival
- New York Underground Film Festival


Mark Street's Excursions

26 minutes

16mm, color, sound, 1994

In Excursions a cast of characters sift through their experiences as travelers in Mexico and Guatemala. A woman's relationship sours in the face of paradise. Two men beg a Mexican woman to sing for their tape recorder. A filmmaker wrestles with self-consciousness. A character from Malcolm Lowry's Under the Volcano fights off delirium tremens. Their voices mingle to inform film footage shot in the area, and reworked on an optical printer. "Real" journal entries mix with faux diaries, sound recorded by travelers on location, and excerpts from a novel to explore the boundary between travel and imperialism.

- Museum of Modern Art, New York (Cineprobe)
- Ann Arbor Film Festival
- Athens Film Festival
- Humboldt Film Festival (Best of Fest)


Mark Street's Triptych

13 minutes

16mm, color,silent, triple projection

Triptych is a spirited conversation with three screens. Sometimes the interaction seems downright civil, at other times the mood is more contentious. The screens pause for each other's outbursts, play off one another's riffs, or else prattle on in their own fashion, oblivious.

Missing Something Somewhere

Mark Street's Missing Something Somewhere

17 minutes

16mm,color, sound,1992

Missing Something Somewhere is a textured celebration of that which can't be apprehended, or burdened with specific meaning. Three visual chapters appear, each with its own rhythm, each suggesting a different sense of place. Snatches of narrative and fragments of memories brush up against each other as truncated images burst into being and then disappear again just as quickly.

-Ann Arbor Film Festival (Prize winner)

Echo Anthem

Mark Street's Echo Anthem

8 minutes

16mm, color, sound, 1991

Echo Anthem uses hand painted and tinted footage to suggest a skewed, tattered version of N. American nationalism. In a perverse twist, the film invites the viewer to be at once soothed and repulsed by the seething display of the flag.

- Athens Film Festival (Prizewinner)
- Ann Arbor Film Festival
- London Film Festival

Lilting Towards Chaos

Mark Street's Lilting Towards Chaos

21 minutes

16mm, color, sound, 1990

A circuitous, introspective diary film which invites the viewer to determine which musings are honest and useful and which are self-defeating.


Mark Street's Winterwheat

8 minutes

16mm, color, sound, 1989

Made by bleaching, scratching and painting directly on the emulsion of an educational film about the farming cycle. The manipulations of the film's surface created hypnotic visuals while also suggesting an apocalyptic narrative.

- Ann Arbor Film Festival (Prizewinner)
- San Francisco Film Festival (Honorable Mention)
- Sundance Film Festival
- Athens Film Festival
- Denver Film Festival

Why Live Here?

16mmfilm, sound, color 60 minutes TRT
copyright 1996 by MARK STREET

Why Live Here? explores three characters' reaction to their environments-- San Francisco, Florida and Montana. In the film each character develops a particular relationship to place. One moves back to Montana to help with a family business, another moves to SF for the cultural climate, and a third moves to Tampa, Florida for a temporary job. All wonder why they are where they are, and what they might be missing elsewhere. Through the musings of the three characters, the film considers notions of home and community in an age when people move all over for all reasons.

The Domestic Universe

17 minutes, color, sound, video

Three Brooklyn fathers discuss the vicissitudes of fatherhood as the filmmaker's own daughter grows up. Meals are eaten, strollers are pushed, tears are shed-- infancy ebbs and flows around the men as they negotiate the act of parenthood.

"The Domestic Universe is a poetic meditation on intimacy and the swoon of new fatherhood... often assumes the visual perspective of a crawling, exploring child. But mostly the movie captures the shifting tectonics of gender roles. " Ann Hornaday, Baltimore Sun.


16mm, 7 minutes, color/sound, 1998

A day like any other: Brooklyn beckons so they dart out into it. Daughter and father traipse from playground to subway and back home again. The 18-month-old cackles and the 32-year-old tries his best to keep up. They stumble upon a fruit vendor, a street preacher and a wall of city sound. Negative and positive hand-manipulated images collide and shimmer as they walk and talk their way through spring in the city. Maya babbles but her father is mostly silent: he can't believe that he'll never meander quite this way again

Sliding off the Edge of the World

35mm (16mm print available too), 7 mins., silent, color, 2000

A stab at depicting fatherhood: fleeting images burst onto the screen only to recede from view just as quickly, suggesting transition and decay. Tendrilsof images cluster together and then dissipate. A snowy walk, kids enthuse and infuse my own daily rhythms, affording great joy but also making it clear that all things change all the time.


BetaSP, 20 mins., color/sound, 2000

Happy? is an exploration of how the passage of time affects people. In the eight months preceding January 1, 2000, I shot digital video in New York City, approaching passersby on the street and asking them direct questions about how they felt about the passage of time. Using the millennium as a starting point ("Are you ready for the millennium?"), a way of opening up discussion with strangers, my interviews took on a rollicking, discursive quality.

This project is inspired by Chronicle of a Summer (1961) by Jean Rouch and The Pretty Month of May (1963) by Chris Marker. Both these films use random street interviews to capture the spirit of a time and place. Happy? starts from a similar place -- simple questions that some dismiss but others celebrate in varied and complicated ways. The result is a hybrid of documentary and anthropological film, part time-capsule and part taped performance piece.

Happy? challenges and tweaks the hype about the millennium and asks direct questions about how people negotiate growing up, older and the world changing around them. The mainstream media concentrated on the "celebrations" planned and issues about dysfunctional technology. This work amplifies actual thoughts and feelings about things changing on personal and global levels. Happy? attempts to show how people are struggling with issues of decay and transition in a famously unreflective age and country.

Brooklyn Promenade

16mm/dvcam, 3 minutes, 2001

I did my best to shield my kids from the events of 9/11: mildly explaining the ashes that enveloped our Brooklyn neighborhood, turning off the TV as images of the planes hitting blared, flipping over the newspaper as it arrived on our doorstep with shots of the WTC burning. But of course the horror was percolating in them, too, despite my best efforts. Eventually, they found ways of talking about it, wrapping their heads around it like the rest of us.

- “Reel NY”, Channel 13 WNET, NY, 2002.
- The Kitchen, NYC, 2002.
- Cornelia St. Café, 2002.
- LA Freewaves, 2002.
- Creative Alliance Moviemakers, Baltimore, MD 2002
- Black Bear Film Festival, Milford PA, 2002.

Guiding Fictions

35mm,5 minutes, color/sound 2002.
(also available on tape and DVD)

Images shot on walks in the forest with an old, twisted 35mm camera. The film trudged through the camera, on a last mission. I buried the film in the front yard. Let the dirt on the film kiss the dirt in the ground. Maryland humidity wore it down to its wisps. Much later, sound recorded in Brooklyn. Teenage skateboarders smoking cigarettes and jumping off the steps at my local subway entrance. A Russian festival in the park, much singing and speechmaking, all incomprehensible to me. The schism between the country and city, so clear at last.

- Viennale International Film Festival, Vienna Austria, 2003.
- Ann Arbor Film Festival, 2003.
- Black Maria Film Festival, 2003.
- Wisconsin Film Festival, 2003.
- Athens Film Festival, 2003.
-European Media Arts Festival, 2003.
- New York Film Festival, 2002
- DUMBO Film Festival, 2002.

Fulton Fish Market

35MM film (also available on mini DV)
12 minutes, sound, color.
copyright 2003

New York City’s Fulton Fish Market explodes with movement, sound and color between the hours of midnight and 7 AM, Monday through Friday in lower Manhattan. Fish hooks flail, crates are ripped open, and tens of thousands of fish are arrayed in ice as discerning retailers and restaurant owners make the rounds. This lyrical, visually vibrant documentary reveals a profoundly tactile material world tucked away in the shadow of the digital age. Hand made effects and a haunting, sparse soundtrack underline the chaos and beauty of this teeming market.

“… blends scenes of the legendary waterfront market filmed in the early hours of the morning with hand-painted, emulsion-scratched abstractions turning the place into something beautpgul and mysterious.” Stephen Holden, New York Times, 2/27/04.

- Tribeca Film Festival, 2004.
- Maryland Film Festival, 2004.
- Wisconsin Film Festival, 2004.
- Museum of Modern Art, NY, 2004.
- NY Underground Film Festival, 2004.
- Hallwalls, Buffalo, NY, 2004.

Alone, Apart: the dream reveals the waking day

Projection format: digiBETA, DVD or mini DV
Shooting format: 16mm film
7 minutes, sound, color.
copyright 2004

An homage to two ramshackle cities, made up of footage shot while wandering. I meander city streets with a camera, looking to be haunted by unfamiliar vistas. I find solace in the forgotten landscapes, odd voices on a ham radio, shimmering water in a desolate harbor. Later I attack the film, moving it this way and that, trying to squeeze it against its will, wrest strangeness from the everyday.

- DUMBO Film and Video Festival, 2004.
- Films Contre La Nature, Marseille, France, 2005
- Lower West Side Film Festival, NYC, 2005.

At Home and Asea

copyright 2002, Mark Street

Using documentary and fictional elements, At Home and Asea (70 minutes) unfolds in a series of unsettling and poignant vignettes centered on 5 characters who piece together lives in Baltimore, Maryland. An African-American man spgts through his father’s suburban home looking for keys to a seemingly opaque lpge. A recent college grad drinks beer on rooftops and wanders the blighted cityscape as he considers a move to Calpgornia. Three single mothers struggle to keep their dreams alive in the face of oppressive extended family dynamics. In a blend of direct address, interviews and dramatic scenes, At Home and Asea meditates on displacement and isolation in the modern landscape.

from May 7, 2002, Village Voice:

" In At Home and Asea, Five Baltimore residents grapple --no self pity allowed--with their feelings of being stuck in lives that are less than meaningful. Street's amalgam of documentary and fiction is poignant and, thanks to Guy Yarden's score, anxiety-provoking. It's also a subtly crafted portrait of an economically blighted city, pulled between North and South and central to neither." (Amy Taubin)

from May 31, 2002, LA Weekly:

“ Experimental filmmaker Mark Street, who lives in Brooklyn and teaches at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, returns to Filmforum with the L.A. premiere of At Home and Asea (2002), a collage of portraits charting the disillusionment shared by a group of Baltimore denizens. Street, whose previous work includes striking abstract pieces, as well as films in which he’s scratched and bleached the emulsion, here works with digital video;this allows him to capture intimate and casual moments with his subjects, who include three single mothers, a 23-year-old beer-drinking slacker and a man trying to understand his deceased father’s lpge by revisiting what the elderly man left behind. While it’s never entirely clear what’s scripted and what’s real, the video nevertheless gradually acquires a weighty torpor as the characters fight the inertia wrought by the exhausting, uphill struggle to create lives that live up to expectations. Street has always been adept at aligning invisible emotions with their physical counterparts, and here he perfectly captures his subjects’ anomie with images of Baltimore’s anonymous buildings and blighted neighborhoods. Their growing despair is perhaps best embodied, though, in shots showing boats bobbing slowly up and down on the gray water against the evanescent, lead-colored fog.” (Holly Willis)

- Museum of Modern Art, NY, 2003.
- Blinding Light Cinema, Vancouver BC, 2003.
- Squeaky Wheel, Buffalo NY , 2003.
- Kansas City Filmmaker’s Jubilee, 2003
- Berks Filmmakers, 2003.
- Dallas Video Festival, 2003.
- Mill Valley Film Festival, 2002.
- Wisconsin Film Festival, 2002.
- Johns Hopkins Film Festival, 2002.
- Media Co-op Digital Film Festival, Memphis, TN 2002.
- Pioneer Theatre, NYC, 2002.
- Anthology Film Archives, NYC, 2002.
- Film Forum, LA, CA 2002.
- Red Eye Theatre, Minneapolis, MN 2002.
- Creative Alliance Moviemakers, Baltimore, MD 2002.


HD (other formats available), 2005,
75 minutes
Director, Producer, Editor: Mark Street
Cinematographer: Andrew Black

In Rockaway, three teenage girls from Queens celebrate their last night of high school on the edge of New York, where the city meets the sand. Their wild stabs at adulthood confuse and haunt them as they struggle to define themselves in the face of a future they can’t imagine. Rockaway shows the last vestige of a fleeting adolescence caught between suburb and city.

“ Combining elements of fearless childhood with the sadness of moving on, Rockaway combines unique monologues and flashbacks with outer-city scenery and abandoned architecture to create a sweet and powerful look into the future of narrative cinema.”
Ron Wilkinson Monsters and
Read the Full Review
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- Tribeca Film Festival, 2005.
- Rooftop Films, NYC 2005.
- Long Island Film Festival, 2005.

Correspondence and Rentals

Mark Street can be reached on email:

films can be rented directly from him or from:

Canyon Cinema
2325 Third St. Suite 338
San Francisco, CA 94107
(415) 626-2255

some of the above titles are available from:

Filmmaker's Coop
175 Lexington Ave
New York, New York 10016
(212) 889-3820