This week [July 30 - August 6, 2017] in avant garde cinema

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This page is updated every Sunday.
  • , July 30, 2017
  • , July 31, 2017
  • Tuesday, August 1, 2017
  • Wednesday, August 2, 2017
  • Thursday, August 3, 2017
  • Friday, August 4, 2017
  • Saturday, August 5, 2017
  • Sunday, August 6, 2017
  • This week's programs (summary):

    Sunday, July 30, 2017

    Los Angeles, California: Filmforum
    7:30 pm, Spielberg Theatre at the Egyptian, 6712 Hollywood Blvd
    Some Poetic and Political Currents: Works by Jason Halprin, Jennifer Hardacker, Brett Kashmere, Kevin McCarthy, Jennifer Proctor, Wenhua Shi, and Simon Tarr
    Several fabulous filmmakers are coming to Los Angeles for the University Film & Video Association’s 2017 Conference, from July 30-Aug 2. Filmforum is taking advantage of the opportunity to host a screening of recent experimental works. It’s quite an array of work, with political, poetic, personal, and essayistic expressions from around the country. Jason Halprin’s July 8th, 2016 and Brett Kashmere’s Cleaning the Glass explicitly address current political and social issues. McCarthy’s Official Teaser #2 Reaction!!! returns to Filmforum with its humorous and emotional responses to a Star Wars trailer. Jen Proctor’s Am I Pretty? raises serious issues of self-image concerns of teenage girls. Jennifer Hardacker’s films used varied techniques to express inner questions. Halprin’s In Which There Appears Trains, a Carousel, and Rain and Wenhua Shi’s Walking Cycle both find more poetic approaches to complicated movements. And Simon Tarr’s live cinema performance Blood Lust of the Wolf dissects the classic “ethnographic” film Nanook of the North, which Filmforum screened a couple of years ago in our Polar series.

    New York, NY: Anthology Film Archives
    6:00 PM, 32 Second Avenue
    See July 28.

    New York, NY: Anthology Film Archives
    8:00 PM, 32 Second Avenue
    PROGRAM 2: ZORNS LEMMA2 (2007, 12.5 min, digital) An internet-age remake of Hollis Frampton's seminal 1970 structuralist film, ZORNS LEMMA2 consists of sets of signs photographed off online webcams and arranged alphabetically in one-second intervals. In each subsequent set, one letter of the alphabet is replaced by a video clip chosen as representative of the visual language of surveillance cameras. LOCATION INSECURE (2006, 11 min, digital) Composed of animated screengrabs of private security webcams found by means of a simple search engine hack, LOCATION INSECURE depicts the asynchronous time and space of the internet. PARKING LOT (2008, 13 min, digital) Appropriations from virtual and physical commercial spaces create temporary public space - dismal, endlessly reproduced, anonymous spaces where even creative appropriations can sometimes appear mass-produced. TESTAMENT (3 CHAPTERS) (2009/16, 7.5 min, digital) TESTAMENT presents a series of collective expressions of the shared self. The series reflects on the peculiar blend of intimacy and anonymity, of the simultaneous connectivity and isolation of contemporary social relations. MASS ORNAMENT (2009, 7 min, digital) "With a keen eye for detail, a terrific sense of timing and a killer instinct for editing, [Bookchin] has clipped and combined hundred of vignettes from YouTube and set them to the soundtracks from Busby Berkeley's GOLD DIGGERS OF 1935 and Leni Riefenstahl's TRIUMPH OF THE WILL. […] To watch the split-screen extravaganza is to feel as if you are at once enjoying a god's-eye view of a vast, everyday parade of vulnerable human beings and also an intimate part of a democratic drama that is deeply moving." -LOS ANGELES TIMES Total running time: ca. 60 min.

    , July 31, 2017

    Brooklyn, New York: Microscope Gallery
    7:30pm, 1329 Willoughby Ave2B
    Kerry Laitala: Conjured Pictures, film, video, performance works
    Artist in person . Microscope welcomes San Francisco-based artist Kerry Laitala to the gallery for an evening of her 16mm films, the New York premieres of a new video s as well as a 16mm film performance in three parts titled Astro Trilogy . Engaged with the alchemical properties of film and pre-cinematic approaches to making, activating and altering images, Laitala’s works in the program – completed between 2000 and 2017 – often present uncanny abstract compositions of fast-moving and mesmerizing colors combined with found or original footage. With sound by Wobbly, Laitala’s latest multi-projector film performance Astro Trilogy consists of three thematic sections: Velvet of Night with imagery drawn from ancient astronomy, Chromatic Wheels inspired by the history of early public lighting and the choreographed spotlight shows by Walter D’Arcy Ryan, and The Kali of Technology in which intensely merge “female-energy-infused” images.The artist, who has been working with moving image since the 90s, today has a quite large and unique body of work comprised of videos, installations, expanded cinema performances, and a series of hybrid film/video investigations of Chromadepth 3D technology. Laitala will be in attendance and available for Q&A after the screening. Admission $8. Members/Students w/ ID $6. tel: 347.925.1433,, Jefferson St. L (exit Starr St). Full program & additional info:

    Tuesday, August 1, 2017

    Brookline, Massachusetts: Balagan Experimental Film/Video Series
    8:00PM, Coolidge Corner Theatre
    Light Spells - Films by Sandy Ding
    Balagan and Crows & Sparrows welcome Beijing-based filmmaker Sandy Ding (a.k.a. Ding Xin, 丁 昕) for a program of short and medium-length films rooted in a fascination with dark mysticism and a desire to reach spiritual transcendence through cinema. All works will be shown on 16mm with exception of Dream Enclosure which was finished digitally. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with the filmmaker. After graduating with an MFA from CalArts in 2007, Sandy Ding returned to China where he began teaching at the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) and continued to independently produce his own works on photochemical film. Being one of the only filmmakers in China working in the medium today (no doubt, in part, due to the lack of commercial film laboratories), he has been forced to be resourceful. Most of his films are hand-processed in developing tanks of his own design, offering a texturality to the image that serves to accentuate its otherworldliness. He has stated that he tries to use his camera as a sorcerer would their wand. The creation and presentation of the films, to him, represent a sort of ritualism; a modern-day magick. His works traverses experimental film, sound art, and installation. Since 2005, he has focused on making artworks related to hypnosis and mysticism. These works have been shown in festivals and underground venues around the world, including the China Independent Film Festival (Nanjing), the Edinburgh International Film Festival, EXiS (Korea), and the Museum of the Moving Image (New York). Program: KOLIJEVKA (2016) 9 min | 16mm RIVER IN CASTLE (2016) 3 min | 16mm WATER SPELL (2007) 42 min | 16mm MANCOON (2008) | 8 min | 16mm DREAM ENCLOSURE (2014) | 19 min | 16mm transferred to video

    Brooklyn, New York 11222: Light Industry
    7:30, 155 Freeman St
    Jem Cohen and Peter Sillen's Benjamin Smoke
    Benjamin Smoke, Jem Cohen and Peter Sillen, 2000, 16mm, 72 mins

    Wednesday, August 2, 2017

    Chicago, Illinois: Comfort Film
    6pm, 2579 N Milwaukee Ave.
    The Devil & Themselves: films by JB Mabe
    Comfort Film presents a whole month of anologue works on Film in August. The Devil & Themselves: films by JB Mabe. The screening is divided into two sections. The first part consists of very short films ranging from 30 seconds to 8 minutes, created from 2008-2014, and totaling 35 minutes. The second part is my earliest completed and titled film from 2008, which I've picked away at throughout the years. PART 1: TO ANOTHER; A tiny poem. 2010 ADDY CHOO; Flipcam, cross processed Kodachrome, old animations. Too much distance from the subject. 2013 MEASURES KINDLING; A fire. A figure. A flash. 2012 PASTORAL; Altering landscape.Cheeky. 2008 TO ITS BLOOM; A sculpture of scraps. 2010 TO QUIT, TO QUIET & TO MARK THE SHAPE; Two Christmastime films. Two sides of the mountain. 2011 NOCTURNE: BLUE AND GOLD - PUNKIN' DOUGHNUTS; Simple elements used for a nighttime portrait. Takes on a little wistfulness in the past couple years. 2010 TO FALL; The interior of Jim & Tammy Faye's PTL theme park. 2010 SMART CHICKENS, RICKETY WORLD; Junkyard cows and animators hands. Title lifted from Charles Simic. 2014 35m PART 2: THE DEVIL AND THEMSELVES The fella who made this is pretty unrecognizable to me. 2008 37m "But to the end of time certain places of the world remain defined for him as the place where those sensations were; and his only possible answer to the question where anything is will be to say 'there,' and to name some sensation or other like those first ones, which shall identify the spot. Space means but the aggregate of all our possible sensations". -William James

    New York, New York: Another Experiment by Women Film Festival
    6 PM, 32 2nd AVE Anthology Film Archives
    SCREENING: MERGE to INFINITY curated by Lili White
    VISITING FILMMAKER, Jesse Russel Brooks in the house! Films by: Jesse Russel Brooks; Louise Harris; Lana Z Caplan; Ariane Loze; Kelly Gallagher; Rrose Present /////////////// Can't get to NYC? Visit our on line streaming site -

    Thursday, August 3, 2017

    Los Angeles, California: Coaxial Arts Center
    7:PM, 1815 S Main St
    Omniwave Refresher World Premiere
    GX Jupitter-Larsen's new film Omniwave Refresher is in three acts. The first is done as a kind of documentary. The second act is a puppet show, and the third act is a live action reenactment of the puppet show. Omniwave Refresher is about a scientist who, after a failed experiment of some incomprehensible nature, heads off on a journey to find her meaning of life.

    New York, NY: Anthology Film Archives
    8:00 PM, 32 Second Avenue
    Peter Burr (b. 1980) is an artist from Brooklyn specializing in animation and installation. A master of computer animation, with a gift for creating images and environments that hover on the boundary between abstraction and figuration, Burr has in recent years devoted himself to exploring the concept of an endlessly mutating labyrinth. Existing as stand-alone pieces, much of his work is also in the process of expanding into a video game through the support of Creative Capital and Sundance. Previously, he worked under the alias Hooliganship, and in 2006 founded the video label Cartune Xprez, through which he produced three DVD compilations, live multimedia exhibitions, and touring programs showcasing a multi-generational group of artists at the forefront of experimental animation. "A mix of intricate patterns that vibrate, flicker, and hypnotize, viewing Peter's work feels like entering into a dark, digital cave." -Alex Ginsberg, ELECTRIC OBJECTS "Burr's art conjures the future - projection screens picturing high density structures that resemble malls populated by people who move in slow motion; text by [media artist and video game designer] Porpentine that describes opinionless cultures; undulating black and white patterns designed to mesmerize the viewer. Unlike movies, though, which tend to center around heroes and villains, there's no morality attached to this environment. It's not good, or bad. It just is." -Paddy Johnson, ART F CITY ALONE WITH THE MOON (2012, 13 min, digital) Burr creates a slow, liminal illusion in black-and-white, switching perspectives and matrices and crescendoing in time with Christopher Doulgeris's portentously pulsating soundtrack. SPECIAL EFFECT (2014, 22 min, digital) Channeling Tarkovsky's STALKER, this film's fractured and spiraling narrative is traversed through a hypnotizing blend of live action and various digital animation styles. GREEN | RED (2014, 10.5 min, digital) Burr conjures a shape-shifting world where the sidewalks are endless, the radio is playing electric, and the night sky is broken open by a cataclysm of shuddering stars. THE MESS (2016, 14 min, digital) This film follows the perspective of a solitary woman who descends into an abandoned subterranean 'arcology.' She is tasked with cleaning up the mess that has spawned from this feral structure, becoming lost in the process. Total running time: ca. 75 min.

    Friday, August 4, 2017

    New York, NY: Anthology Film Archives
    7:00 PM, 32 Second Avenue
    CHRISTINE (1987, 52 min, 16mm-to-digital) & ELEPHANT (1989, 37 min, 16mm-to-digital) Two of Clarke's most extraordinary and stylistically singular films, both CHRISTINE and ELEPHANT demonstrate his increasing interest, in his late work, in stripping his material to its barest essentials, as well as his embrace of prolonged Steadicam tracking shots to achieve a palpable quality of immediacy and presence. CHRISTINE is a portrait of teenage heroin addicts in a suburban housing tract, but far from sensationalizing the topic, Clarke is at pains to capture the texture and daily rhythms of the kids' lives, and to accentuate the numbing boredom of addiction. The film consists almost entirely of Steadicam shots following Christine through the housing project, broken up by occasional moments of dialogue. It was an approach Clarke would take to its logical extreme in ELEPHANT, which consists very simply of 18 inexorable Steadicam-shot sequences, each depicting street assassinations in Northern Ireland. Dispensing entirely with dialogue, plot, or context aside from its setting, ELEPHANT (whose title refers to the phrase, "The elephant in the room") remains a deeply disturbing provocation, and one of the most radical works ever made for television.

    Saturday, August 5, 2017

    New York, NY: Anthology Film Archives
    8:00 PM, 32 Second Avenue
    1974, 99 min, 16mm-to-digitalShare +Twitter. Written by David Rudkin. "PENDA'S FEN is Clarke's first unqualified masterpiece, and a stirring argument for the effective collaboration between writer and director that could occur in television. The tale of the visionary maturation of a teenaged boy in the Midlands of England, this Romantic work differs from the more realistically grounded stories in [Clarke's] oeuvre, yet David Rudkin's script, heavy with ideas, relies upon Clarke's straightforward direction and thoughtful but unobtrusive editing to function coherently. The protean text portrays the boy, Stephen, in a period when doubts spurred by visions impel him to interrogate his identity. The episodic film shifts through multilayered themes - political, spiritual, sexual, familial, cultural and historical, even linguistic - without ever losing momentum. And yet, underlying all that…is fundamentally an inquiry into English identity, a search that drives so many of Clarke's films." -Nicolas Rapold, SENSES OF CINEMA

    San Francisco, California 94124: Canyon Cinema Foundation
    7:30pm, 1777 Yosemite Ave Ste 210
    A Salon with Mary Helena Clark
    DOORS 7:00 PM // SHOW BEGINS AT 7:30 "In the spirit of the Salon and with my own allegiance to the fragmented film and negligible image, I'll be screening an assembly of outtakes from my recent film rolls alongside my film from 2012 that was structured as fictional outtakes - the real thing next to its approximation. Film critic Michael Sicinski brought this story to my attention in his review of my film Palms: Michael Snow was asked what the relationship was between two parts of his film and he answered "a splice." Relationships by contiguity, resonances, and the connection that becomes the thing itself. Not to suggest the films I've chosen fromCanyon's collection are provisional - they sing! - but I believe the form is at its brightest when you can't quite pin down what holds things together, even when you know its just a splice." -Mary Helena Clark A Salon with Mary Helena Clark All works presented in 16mm. Breathing, by Robert Breer (1963, 5 min, B&W) Standard Time, by Michael Snow (1968, 8 min, color) Letters, by Dorothy Wiley (1972, 11 min, color) Solidarity, by Joyce Wieland (1973, 11 min, color) Tziporah, by Abraham Ravett (2008, 7 min, color) Orpheus (outtakes), by Mary Helena Clark (2012, 6 min, B&W) and outtakes from Mary Helena Clark's recent film rolls

    Sunday, August 6, 2017

    Los Angeles, California: Filmforum
    7:30 pm, Spielberg Theatre at the Egyptian, 6712 Hollywood Blvd.
    Classic Films by Joyce Wieland
    Long overdue is this retrospective screening of classic experimental films by Joyce Wieland. Wieland is regarded as Canada’s foremost woman artist. She produced an acclaimed body of work in a great variety of media, from drawing and painting to quilts and film. Her work tended to be overshadowed in the United States by that of her husband, Michael Snow, but her cinematic explorations elude easy categorization. She gained a unique respect for incorporating strong personal statements in her work about issues of feminism, nationalism and ecology long before it had become fashionable to do so. Her retrospective at the Art Gallery of Ontario was the first-ever afforded a living Canadian woman artist. She passed away almost two decades ago, and although a few of her films have appeared in scattered shows in LA since then, this is a chance to see most of her finest works in one screening. We’re delighted to have Lauren Howes, executive director of the Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Centre, introduce the show. Including Water Sark; Handtinting; 1933; Cat Food; Rat Life and Diet in North America; Sailboat; Solidarity; and A & B in Ontario.

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