As each year the London Film Festival features their Experimenta Weekend, dedicated to 'artists' film & video'. Curated by Mark Webber with assistance from Melissa Gronlund, the event will feature eight programmes of film and video with the latest work of artists such as Nathaniel Dorsky, Peter Tscherkassky, Ben Rivers or Miranda Pennell. Filmmakers Emily Richardson and Martin Arnold will present their new works as two installations that will be running during the whole weekend. Lewis Klahr and David Gatten will be the protagonists of several special events including a workshop by the American re-animator on 'Narrative collage'.
The BFI 54th London Film Festival
23-24 October 2010
14h - People Going Nowhere
16:15h - Lewis Klahr Presents Prolix Satori
16:15h - Sublime passages
12-19h - The Futurist
Studio [Free Admission]
- The Futurist (Emily Richardson, UK, 2010, 4 min) (loop)
Illuminated by the light of the projector, the interior of a large, 1920s picture house is documented from a central position in the stalls. Emily Richardson’s films record impressions of environments ranging from natural landscapes to industrial or urban spaces. The futurist is the first of a series in homage to the cinema experience.
14h - Reading between the lines
- The Indian Boundary Line (Thomas Comerford, USA, 2010, 42 min)
Comerford’s essay maps a historical demarcation which originally divided Native American land from that which was ceded to white settlers in 1812. Modern life has obscured the traces of this history in the Rogers Park district of Chicago. Juxtaposing past with present, footage shot along this formerly disputed territory is matched with readings from official documents, fiction and quotidian accounts.
- Flag Mountain (John Smith, UK, 2010, 8 min)
A view across the city of Nicosia, over the Green Line border, to an unusual spectacle on a hillside. Lives continue in its shadow, amongst the contrasting flags, anthems and calls to prayer.
- Why Colonel Bunny Was Killed (Miranda Pennell, UK, 2010, 28 min)
An exploration of turn of the century colonial life along the Durand Line, the frontier between Afghanistan and British India (now Pakistan). Remarkable period photographs are closely analysed as we listen to reports of exchanges between westerners, natives and mullahs written by missionary doctor TL Pennell.
16h - Sublime passages
- Shutter (Alexi Manis, Canada, 2010, 8 min)
Shutter suggests the uncanny atmosphere and changing light on the day of a total eclipse.
- Drifter (Timoleon Wilkins, USA 1996-2010, 24 min)
Fragments of the filmmaker’s life, home and travels, recorded over a 14-year period. “The glories of atmospheric light and colour, inward soul-drifting, and the literal sensation of drifting within and through each shot and cut.” (TW)
- Shrimp Boat Log (David Gatten, USA, 2010, 6 min)
“300 shots, 29 frames each, alternating between a notebook listing the names of shrimp boats that frequent the mouth of the Edisto River and images of these same boats.” (DG)
- Blue Mantle (Rebecca Meyers, USA, 2010, 35 min)
Blending 19th century American literature with factual accounts, illustrations and music by Debussy and Wagner, this oblique portrait of a shipwrecked coastline conveys the vastness and majesty of the ocean. A song to the sea, and a commemoration of those who have risked their lives off the treacherous Massachusetts shore.
- Travelling Fields (Inger Lise Hansen, Norway, 2009, 9 min)
In the third film of her ‘inverted perspective’ trilogy, Hansen turns her camera on the North West Russia, creating monumental and uncanny vistas from these barren wastelands.
19h - Every Time I See Your Picture I Cry
A Live Performance by Daniel Barrow
- Every Time I See Your Picture I Cry (Daniel Barrow, Canada, 2008, 60 min)
Daniel Barrow has developed an intimate mode of ‘manual animation’ using the antiquated technology of an overhead projector. From a position amongst the audience, he recites live narration while manipulating layers of transparencies in continuous motion. Accentuated by interference patterns and sleight-of-hand trickery, Barrow’s hand-drawn images contrive an absorbing tale of comic book grotesques. EVERY TIME I SEE YOUR PICTURE I CRY is a bizarre confessional detailing the grand but hopeless scheme of an estranged garbage collector and failed art student. Unloved and rejected by society, the protagonist begins a universal art project in the form of a telephone directory of ‘profound and intimate insights’ to chronicle the lives of those around him. As he snoops through the windows and waste bins of fellow citizens, his survey is rendered futile by a maniacal killer who follows in his wake, picking off subjects one by one. Invoking introspection, pathos and dark humour, this award winning performance piece is accompanied by an unassuming Beach Boys-inflected score recorded by Amy Linton of The Aislers Set.
21h - Hit the road
- Make It New John (Duncan Campbell, UK, 2009, 50 min)
The story of the DeLorean car and its notorious entrepreneur’s Northern Ireland venture, assembled from found and reconstructed footage. During a momentous period in the province’s history, the manufacture of this futuristic vehicle was beset by its own troubles – governmental pacts, an inexperienced workforce and allegations of misconduct. This insightful film, with its Pinteresque finale concerning the plight of the workers, raises questions on documentary form and the representation of historical events.
- Get Out of the Car (Thom Andersen, USA, 2010, 34 min)
Andersen’s latest homage to Los Angeles takes time to stop and consider the temporary architecture of roadside billboards, community murals and hand-painted signs. A movie about the ephemeral sights of the city, with a rocking soundtrack of local music and the confused interjections of passers-by.
12-19h - Shadow Cuts
Studio [Free Admission]
- Shadow Cuts (Martin Arnold, Austria, 2010, 4 min) (loop)
Alternately consumed by darkness and blinded by the light, Mickey and Pluto are caught in an eternal embrace by a film that refuses to end. In his films and digital works, Martin Arnold uses intense repetition or subtle substitution to reveal subliminal nuances beneath the surface of pre-existing footage.
14h - Three Films By Nathaniel Dorsky
- Compline (Nathaniel Dorsky, USA, 2009, 19 min)
“Compline is a night devotion or prayer, the last of the canonical hours, the final act in a cycle. It is the last film I will be able to shoot in Kodachrome; a loving duet with and a fond farewell to this noble emulsion.” (ND)
- Aubade (Nathaniel Dorsky, USA, 2010, 12 min)
“An aubade is a morning song or poem evoking the first rays of the sun at daybreak. In some sense, it is a new beginning for me.” (ND)
- Hours for Jerome (Nathaniel Dorsky, USA, 1966-70/82, 45 min) (restoration print)
“An arrangement of images, energies, and illuminations from daily life. These fragments of light revolve around the four seasons and are very much a part of the youthful energy and poignant joy of my mid-20s. In medieval European Catholicism, a ‘Book of Hours’ was a series of prayers presented eight times every 24 hours. Each ‘hour’ had its own qualities, from pre-dawn till very late at night, and these qualities also changed through the progressing seasons of the year.” (ND)
16h - Lewis Klahr Presents Prolix Satori
Collage artist Lewis Klahr introduces Prolix Satori, an ongoing series which appropriates images from comics, magazines and catalogues. A filmmaker since the 1980s, his signature style is saturated in mid-century Americana but addresses universal experience and is resolutely contemporary. Retaining distinctive handcrafted qualities across a recent shift to digital, Klahr choreographs comic book characters in fractured landscapes of patterns, textures and architectural details. Going beyond abstraction and nostalgic cliché, he builds high melodrama from modest means, conjuring elliptical narratives that evoke complex moods and emotions. Within Prolix Satori, a new project of ‘couplets’ elicits different atmospheres through repetitions of soundtracks or imagery. An emotive mix of classical, easy listening and iconic pop music carries viewers through tales of lost love and wistful reverie. This screening is a chance to be immersed in the idiosyncratic world of a widely acclaimed artist making his first UK appearance.
- False Aging (Lewis Klahr, USA, 2008, 15 min)
- Nimbus Smile (Lewis Klahr, USA, 2009, 8 min)
- Nimbus Seeds (Lewis Klahr, USA, 2009, 8 min)
- Cumulonimbus (Lewis Klahr, USA, 2010, 10 min)
- Sugar Slim Says (Lewis Klahr, USA, 2010, 7 min)
- Wednesday Morning Two A.M. (Lewis Klahr, USA, 2009, 7 min)
- Lethe (Lewis Klahr, USA, 2009, 23 min)
19h - Break On Through
- Ghost Algebra (Janie Geiser, USA, 2009, 8 min)
“Under erratic skies, a solitary figure navigates a landscape of constructed nature and broken bones. She peers through a decaying aperture, waiting and watching: the fragility of the body is exposed for what it is: ephemeral, liquid, a battlefield of nervous dreams.” (JG)
- Still Raining, Still Dreaming (Phil Solomon, USA, 2009, 15 min)
Videogaming was never meant to be this way: uncanny and elegiac in tone, poignant and considered in practice. By betraying the violent subtext of his source material, Solomon has found genuine poetry in the desolate spaces of digitally constructed worlds.
- So Sure of Nowhere Buying Times to Come (David Gatten, USA, 2010, 9 min)
The windows of a small antique store in the Rocky Mountains displays carefully arranged curiosities – specific objects each with their attendant histories. Visible traces of past uses, previous lives, secrets and significance.
- Forms Are Not Self-Subsistent Substances (Samantha Rebello, UK, 2010, 22 min)
Words, concepts, things. Referencing Aristotle and illuminated manuscripts, Rebello asks ‘What is substance?’ Romanesque stone carvings are measured against latter-day beasts, seeking parity between medieval perception and a present-day embodiment.
- Facts Told at Retail (After Henry James) (Erin Espelie, USA, 2010, 9 min)
“The author of The Golden Bowl acts as the confessed agent, and the glass through which every image is reflected or filtered takes on a kind of consciousness.” (EE)
- Cosmic Alchemy (Lawrence Jordan, USA, 2010, 24 min)
A voyage in the celestial realm, out beyond consciousness, steered by a master of mystical transformation. Wondrous visions are charted on star maps from the Harmonia Macrocosmica to a spellbinding drone track by John Davis.
21h - People Going Nowhere
- De Mouvement (Richard Kerr, Canada, 2009, 7 min)
Kerr’s mind-bending trip through the wipes and dissolves of old feature films is an exhilarating demonstration of the power of cinema.
- May Tomorrow Shine The Brightest Of All Your Many Days As It Will Be Your Last (Ben Rivers & Paul Harnden, UK, 2009, 13 min)
Female Japanese cadets patrol the woods and countryside where old men channel Futurist poets. Adjacent yes, but simultaneous?
- Brune Renault (Neil Beloufa, France, 2009, 17 min)
An abandoned car park is no substitute for the open road. Four characters find themselves in a looped fiction, replete with clichés, acting out cycles of heightened emotions. Like all teenagers, they think the world revolves around them – and in this film it almost does.
- Vot (Victor Alimpiev, Russia, 2010, 5 min)
As if suspended in limbo, or perhaps deep in rehearsal, five performers exchange glances, gestures and utter strange sounds.
- Kindless Villain (Janie Geiser, USA, 2010, 4 min)
Two boys seem trapped inside their own imaginations, dreaming of naval battles and Egyptian exotica.
- Coming Attractions (Peter Tscherkassky, Austria, 2010, 24 min)
With humour and materialist dynamics, Tscherkassky explores the direct relationship between actor, camera and audience. A meditation on the ‘cinema of attractions’; exploiting leftovers from the commercial industry to collide the intersecting forms of early film and the avant-garde.
14h - Reading between the lines
14h - Hit the road
16:15h - Break On Through
Monday October 25, 10-17h
BFI Southbank, Learning Space and Studio
Lewis Klahr Workshop: Narrative Collage
Drawing on his considerable experience as an artist, Lewis Klahr will lead a masterclass on how characters, stories and atmospheres can be developed with minimal resources. Following a participatory collage exercise using copies of the day’s newspapers, Klahr will illustrate his creative process through a detailed analysis of his film Pony glass (1998), a coming of age drama in which Superman’s pal Jimmy Olsen undergoes a sexual identity crisis of epic proportions. The day will culminate in an exclusive preview of brand new works. Declared ‘the reigning proponent of cut and paste’ by critic J. Hoberman, Lewis Klahr has shown his films and digital at most major festivals and in three Whitney Biennials. He teaches directing and screenwriting at CalArts, has created effects and sequences for commercials and TV, and co-rewrote The mothman prophecies (2002). The workshop is a unique opportunity to explore collage, animation processes and narrative construction with a leading practitioner.
Workshop Fee: £25. Prior experience of filmmaking is not required. Workshop limited to 25 participants
Wednesday October 27, 14:30h
Natural History Museum, Attenborough Studio [Free Admission]
David Gatten’s Journal And Remarks
Screening and discussion
David Gatten, one of the most accomplished young film artists to emerge in recent years, returns to London to discuss a visit to the Galapagos Islands and screen the film he photographed there. The journey was an opportunity to follow in the footsteps of the naturalist Charles Darwin, whose expedition in the 1830s shaped the theory of evolution. The islands off the west coast of Ecuador have changed little since that time and still sustain a unique array of endemic species. In the absence of predatory mammals, native animals do not fear humans, enabling Gatten to shoot in close proximity to such exotic creatures as giant tortoises and blue-footed boobies. ‘The sights I was able to see – and the images I was able to capture – are remarkably similar to the things Darwin saw.’ Shuttling between these observations and texts from an early edition of Voyage of the Beagle, the film is structured in accordance with Leonardo’s proposal to divide the hour into 3000 equal measures. Along with Shrimp boat log (also showing in the Festival), it forms part of a forthcoming cycle titled Continuous quantities.
Presented as part of Nature Live, in association with the Natural History Museum.