Headroom is thrilled to present two programs—TWO!—on successive nights as part of Canyon Cinema’s 50th anniversary screening tour, commemorating half a century of distributing and preserving rare, experimental 16mm work in its original medium.
On Friday night, we’ll be screening a program called DARK SHADOWS, presented by guest-curator, Christopher Harris.
On Saturday, Canyon Cinema 50 Tour curator, David Dinnell, will present STUDIES IN NATURAL MAGIC, which offers lessons in place, materiality, and the relationship between.
Canyon Cinema is a nonprofit film and media arts organization that serves as one of the world’s preeminent sources for artist-made moving image work. 2017 marks its 50th anniversary. The organization celebrates this milestone through the Canyon Cinema 50 project, which includes a screening series in the San Francisco Bay Area, US and international touring programs showcasing newly created prints and digital copies, and an educational website including new essays, ephemera, and interviews with filmmakers and other witnesses to Canyon’s 50-year history.
The Canyon Cinema 50 tour was curated by David Dinnell, visiting faculty at California Institute of the Arts and former Program Director at the Ann Arbor Film Festival, the film tour draws exclusively from Canyon’s vast collection. As one of North America’s oldest experimental film distributors, Canyon preserves and distributes over 3,400 moving image works across the country and the world, representing a diverse cross-section of avant-garde currents and movements that date from 1921 to the present day.
See below for much more info about both programs. As always, Headroom is free and open to the public!
Dark Shadows (FRIDAY)
Woman stabbed to Death, Stephanie Barber (1996, 16mm, 8.5min)
Back in the Saddle Again, Scott Stark (1997, 16mm, 10min)
Black and White Trypps #4, Ben Russell (2008, 16mm, 10.5min)
B/Side, Abigail Child (1996, 16mm, 38min)
Studies in Natural Magic (SATURDAY)
Catfilm for Katy and Cynnie, Standish Lawder (1973, 16mm, 3min)
Light Lick (Amen), Saul Levine (2017, 16mm, 4min)
Ciao Bella or Fuck Me Dead, Betzy Bromberg (1978, 16mm, 9min)
Swish, Jean Sousa (1982, 16mm, 3min)
28.IV.81 (Bedouin Spark), Christopher Harris (2009, 16mm, 3min)
Redshift, Emily Richardson (2001, 16mm, 4min)
A Study in Natural Magic, Charlotte Pryce (2013, 16mm, 3min)
Starlight, Robert Fulton (1970, 16mm, 5min)
Hand Held Day, Gary Beydler (1975, 16mm, 6min)
Portland, Greta Snider (1996, 16mm, 12min)
Degrees of Limitation, Scott Stark (1982, 16mm, 3min)
Shrimp Boat Log, David Gatten (2010, 16mm, 3min)
Boston Fire, Peter Hutton (1979, 16mm, 8min)
Orchard, Julie Murray (2004, 16mm, 10min)
DARK SHADOWS features four films that, each in their own mysterious ways, plumb the depths of the collective optical unconscious: Stephanie Barber’s repetition compulsion, Scott Stark’s return of the repressed, Ben Russell’s stroboscopic Rorschach test and Abigail Child’s daydream nation.
STUDIES IN NATURAL MAGIC features recent films by Saul Levine, Charlotte Pryce, and Christopher Harris; rarely screened films by Standish Lawder and Jean Sousa; sublimely filmed and acutely perceived portraits of cities, seas, skies, and landscapes by Peter Hutton, Julie Murray, Gary Beydler, Robert Fulton, and Emily Richardson; Betzy Bromberg’s audacious and energetic feminist punk city symphony; Degrees of Limitation, one of Scott Stark’s earliest films, a humorous 3-minute structuralist gem; and Portland, a mid-90s travelogue and playful Rashomon-like inquiry into the nature of truth by Greta Snider.
in Dark Shadows—
Woman stabbed to Death, Stephanie Barber
WOMAN STABBED TO DEATH is a short film concerned with both the apathy of human receptivity and the perverse nature of free floating paranoia so artfully engrained in women. it is a tiny horror film, with the soundtrack skipping blithely over the literal graves of millions and the metaphorical grave of one’s feelings of safety.
Back in the Saddle Again, Scott Stark
A family’s playful interaction with a 16mm sound movie camera, singing along as a group with Gene Autrey’s title song in front of the camera, combines western fantasy, American kitsch, gender posturing, deterioration of the film’s surface, the wonderment of the cinematic process, and the use of controlled accidents to shape the form of the film. My only intrusion on the footage was to print it first in negative, which adds a bleak, mysterious edge to it, and to print it again in positive, which seems to answer many of the questions raised in the first part.
Black and White Trypps #4, Ben Russell
“Jesus Christ, look at the white people, rushing back. White people don’t care, Jack…”
– Richard Pryor
B/Side, Abigail Child
Child’s B/SIDE is a provocative exploration of the urban homeless, combining sensitive footage of their exterior situation and entering imaginatively into interior fantasies. Framed by footage of the encampment locally known as Dinkinsville on New York’s Lower East Side, where some of the homeless of Tompkins Square Park settled after the riots of June 1991, the movie begins with the encampment’s first night and ends with the fire and subsequent destruction of the lot in October of the same year. Applying rhythmic construction, poetic license and a generous eye to bodies in poverty, B/SIDE documents a gritty vision of late 20th century urban life.
in Studies in Natural Magic—
Catfilm for Katy and Cynnie, Standish Lawder
In the early 70’s, a New York cat-lover and film-maker named Pola Chapelle produced a “Cat Film Fesitval:” which was shown in a large downtown NYC auditorium to an audience of more than a thousand cat-lovers. At the time, I lived with my wife Ursula and our daughters Katy and Cynnie, together with many, too many cats. I loved my family but not the cats. –SL
Light Lick (Amen), Saul Levine
Ciao Bella or Fuck Me Dead, Betzy Bromberg
“[Ciao Bella] shows a world of crowded, kinetic New York streets and hauntingly empty interior spaces, graced briefly by wisps of childish energy and the provocation of nearly naked women. Bromberg deftly contrasts that vibrant exuberance with a sense of devastating loss and the effect is at once brazenly personal (if elliptical) and incredibly powerful. Unfolding desire merges with the ever-present reality of the threat of losing what you love.” . – Holly Willis, LA Weekly
Swish, Jean Sousa
This film deals with the physical properties of the film medium, and pushing those distinctive features to their limit. The subject of the film is motion, and it is an attempt to get inside of it. It was made with a moving subject and a moving camera with an open shutter, the result being that each frame is unique, without the smooth continuity that is expected in film. The subject, a female body at close range, provides an intimacy and eroticism. At the same time it can be seen as a modern version of Futurist simultaneity.
28.IV.81 (Bedouin Spark), Christopher Harris
“…display[s] a concern with textures of light as well as the capacity of the human imagination to will celestial entities out of the relatively impoverished materials at hand. (Call them The Potted Plant of Life.) 28.IV.81 (Bedouin Spark) (2009) is a lovely miniature edited in-camera, in which Harris manipulates light around a child’s mobile so that a hanging nightlight with plastic silver stars becomes a glinting ersatz sky.” -Michael Sicinski, Cinema Scope Magazine
Redshift, Emily Richardson
In astronmoical terminology redshift is a term used in calculating the distance of stars from the earth, hence determining their age. redshift attempts to show the huge geometry of the night sky and give an altered perspective of the landscape, using long exposures, fixed camera positions, long shots and timelapse animation techniques to reveal aspects of the night that are invisible to the naked eye. The film has a gentle intensity to it, and is composed of changes of light across the sea, sky and mountains. It shows movement where there is apparent stillness, whether in the formation of weather patterns, movement of stars, the illumination of a building by passing car headlights or boats darting back and forth across the sea’s horizon.
The sound has been composed for the film by Benedict Drew, taking field recordings of the aurora borealis as a starting point, and using purely computer generated sound to create a soundtrack that reflects the unheard elements present in the earth’s atmosphere.
A Study in Natural Magic, Charlotte Pryce
Witness an alchemist’s spell: the transmutation of light into substance: a glimpse of gold.
Starlight, Robert Fulton
A Tibetan Lama. His disciple. The disciple’s wife, young boy and terrier. An old tugboat crossing the Mississippi River. A man in his seventh month of solitude. His hermitage built by his own hands. The man’s bloodhound; his cat. Clouds crossing the Continental Divide. A mountain stream. A girl. The sun.
Hand Held Day, Gary Beydler
“Beydler’s magical Hand Held Day is his most unabashedly beautiful film, but it’s no less complex than his other works. The filming approach is simple, yet incredibly rich with possibilities, as Beydler collapses the time and space of a full day in the Arizona desert via time-lapse photography and a carefully hand-held mirror reflecting the view behind his camera.
“Over the course of two Kodachrome camera rolls, we simultaneously witness eastward and westward views of the surrounding landscape as the skies, shadows, colors, and light change dramatically. Beydler’s hand, holding the mirror carefully in front of the camera, quivers and vibrates, suggesting the relatively miniscule scale of humanity in the face of a monumental landscape and its dramatic transformations. Yet the use of the mirror also projects an idealized human desire to frame and understand what we see around us, without destroying or changing any of its inherent fascination and beauty.” (Mark Toscano)
Portland, Greta Snider
The film is a documentary road movie about travel, the fallibility of photographs, and the merging of memory and imagination.
Three friends, including the filmmaker, rendez-vous in Portland by hitchhiking or train-hopping from different cities. After a week of arguments, soup kitchens, brushes with the law, and bad weather, each leaves with a different memory of the trip, refracted through the tensions and expectations of their triangulated friendship. PORTLAND reconstitutes the trip in a humorous mixture of footage from the journey (taken with a run-down Super 8 camera), interpreted re-enactments, and interviews with the involved parties. The result is a spirited look at independent women and fearless travelers.
Degrees of Limitation, Scott Stark
A single 100′ roll shot with a hand-wound 16mm Bolex. For each shot the camera was wound one additional time, allowing me to make it a little bit farther up the hill. Will I reach the top before the film runs out? A study in self-imposed limitations.
Shrimp Boat Log, David Gatten
Boston Fire, Peter Hutton
“BOSTON FIRE finds grandeur in smoke rising eloquently from a city blaze. Billowing puffs of darkness blend with fountains of water streaming in from offscreen to orchestrate a play of primal elements. The beautiful texture of the smoke coupled with the isolation from the source of the fire erases the destructive impact of the event. The camera, lost in the immense dark clouds, produces images for meditation removed from the causes or consequences of the scene. The tiny firemen, seen as distant silhouettes, gaze in awe, helpless before nature’s power.” -Millennium Film Journal
Orchard, Julie Murray
Much of the footage that comprises Orchard is of a 19c ruins that included a walled orchard in and area known as Rostellen in southwest Ireland. It is set deep in the woods and the crumbling brick and mortar of the broken walls has become the anchor for the roots of slender trees, so uninhibited for all this time that they reach twenty feet in height and have thick roots that follow like slow lazy trickles of water and in other places branch and wind over the brickwork in an apparently intelligent arterial arrangement reminiscent of the human body. Some footage of Central Park is in there, as well as Niagara Falls, the main Dublin-to-Cork road and a thin smoking woods on the outskirts of Rosslare, Co. Waterford
These are facts may be incidental to the film’s eventual form, which winds the images into an arrangement of continuous wandering. All this is attended by environmental whispering sounds until a voice calls out toward the end, in dream-bound recognition, to a figure from the far, far past. – JM
Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all UI-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact Cinematic Arts at 335-0330 or firstname.lastname@example.org
HEADROOM is sponsored by the Department of Cinematic Arts, the Arts and Humanities Initiative, the Public Digital Arts Cluster, and Little Village Magazine.