Life Without Buildings: S8 Films by Steve Polta

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Average: 5 (1 vote)

Co-programmed by The Chicago 8 Small Gauge Film Festival & The Nightingale

“Bay Area artist Steve Polta has been producing a body of films, mostly on Super 8, over the past two decades that are as exquisitely nuanced as they are rarely seen. Each film presents a narrow window onto the ordinary world, prodded by subtle observation until it yields images of ethereal beauty.” (Rick Bahto: Echo Park Film Center)

“In 1997A Arrival and 1997B Departure the elements of a profoundly defocused lens distort a transit tunnel into a portal between worlds, traversed by color-spiked forms. And in Picture Window the picture verges on pure black, the barest hint of an image causing the screen to reverberate between a window and a surface plane. It’s the texture of the image that constitutes the film, the essence of a film, which one can reveal only by opening the window hidden in every screen.” (Brian L. Frye, The New Science of the Cinema in Radical Light: Alternative Film in the San Francisco Bay Area 1945–2000.)

Steve Polta’s approach is more contemplative. A House Full of Dust finds him capturing the detailed moments of a home, foregrounding the passage of shadows, dust and light… (Chris Kennedy, Super-8 Late. Images 2009)

- Red Sketch (1997c) (1997)
- interval Oakland 99 (2000)
- Departure (1997c) (1997)
- Picture Window (1996a) (1996)
- Minnesota Landscape (1997)
- Estuary #1 (1998)
- The Berries (2000)
- Summer Rain for LMC, side A (2007/2011)
- Summer Rain for LMC, side B (2007/2011)
- A House Full of Dust (2007)

Steve Polta —sometimes filmmaker, former San Francisco taxi driver— is the Artistic Director of San Francisco Cinematheque. He holds a BA in Film Studies from UC Berkeley, an MFA in Filmmaking from the San Francisco Art Institute and a Masters of Library and Information Science degree from San Jose State University. His writings on film have been published in INCITE! A Journal of Media and Radical Aesthetics; Radical Light: Alternative Film & Video in the San Francisco Bay Area 1945–2000; and Un­Dependently Yours: Imagining a World Beyond the Red Carpet. His own films have screened in film festivals, alternative film venues all over the place, including Anthology Film Archives, Black Hole Cinematheque, the Echo Park Film Center, Chicago Filmmakers, the Images Festival, the Museum of Modern Art (New York), the New York Film Festival’s Views from the Avant-Garde, SFMOMA, Pacific Film Archive, the Pusan Film Festival the Robert Beck Memorial Cinema and the Whitney Museum of American Art. In 2014 he was awarded a Fellowship by the Andy Warhol Foundation in support of research on contemporary and historic performance cinema; a year­long series based on this research will be presented by Cinematheque in 2016.



Sunday, July 19, 2015 - 19:00


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    United States
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