Avant-garde filmmakers have long explored the potential of cinema to afford a visionary experience, exploring the affinities of film with trance, ritual, dream and memory, testing the play of light on the depths of the subconscious. Curators Kathryn Siegel and Sophia Satchell-Baeza’s programme Sisters of the Extreme brings together a series of films by women from the 1960s to the present day, concentrating on work that shares an occult sensibility and a concern with film’s potential to render heightened mental states, from the meditative to the ecstatic.
From films which harness the darkness of the cinema space as substance, such as Amy Halpern’s Invocation (1982), to magic and colour games in Storm de Hirsch’s rarely-screened trilogy The Color of Ritual, The Color of Thought (1964-1967), the programme moves towards the more personal, at times frightening vision of Betzy Bromberg’s exploration of life and death, love and loss, Az Iz (1983).
Selected from the Projections Open Call.
- Shaman, A Tapestry for Sorcerers (Storm de Hirsch, USA, 1966, 12', 16mm)
- Az Iz (Betzy Bromberg, USA, 1983, 37', 16mm)
- Peyote Queen (Storm de Hirsch, USA, 1965, 9', 16mm)
- Elixir (Amy Halpern, USA, 2012, 7', 16mm)
- Divinations (Storm de Hirsch, USA, 1964, 5'05, 16mm)
- Invocation (Amy Halpern, USA, 1982, 2', 16mm)
Kathryn Siegel and Sophia Satchell-Baeza are scholars, writers and independent programmers with a shared interest in showcasing artists’ film through intimate screening events. Sisters of the Extreme is their first collaboration. Kathryn is finishing a PhD at King’s College London focused on the history of the London Film-maker’s Co-op and is a resident researcher at LUX Artists’ Moving Image. Sophia recently completed her PhD at King’s on British psychedelic films and light shows of the long 1960s and has written for Sight & Sound and Another Gaze, among other places. Both have variously been involved in film events at the BFI, Close-Up Film Centre, EYE Filmmuseum, The Horse Hospital, Regent Street Cinema and Flat Time House.