London Film Festival 2007

Date: 25 October 2007 | Season: London Film Festival 2007 | Tags:

Thursday 25 – Sunday 28 October 2007

London BFI Southbank

The Festival’s annual celebration of artists’ film and video returns on 27-28 October 2007 with an international programme of diverse and inventive work. For the first time, Experimenta will also occupy BFI Southbank’s new Studio over the weekend to present continuous installations of digital videos by Ken Jacobs and Rachel Reupke.

This year’s programme ranges from poetic journeys to unfamiliar locations to works which question aspects of specific histories. Whilst video remains the most accessible medium for independent artists, many are choosing again to work with film, either for its visual qualities or physical attributes. It’s ironic, or perhaps inevitable, that this revival of interest comes at a time when the future of celluloid seems to be constantly under threat. The selection includes several works in which artists have worked directly on the filmstrip to create striking and original imagery.

Carolee Schneemann did exactly that for her seminal film Fuses, made forty years ago and presented here in an astounding new preservation print. Marina Abramovic, another eminent and challenging artist, is featured in a hypotonic document of her Guggenheim Museum performance series.

Guest filmmaker David Gatten will lead a practical workshop on the use of text and the moving image, and we are pleased to welcome Peter Hutton to present his stunning new film At Sea.

Other artists featured in the weekend programme include Robert Beavers, Su Friedrich, Bruce Conner, Elodie Pong, Christoph Draeger, Jayne Parker, Steve Reinke, Emily Wardill, Michael Robinson, Mara Mattuschka, and Carl E. Brown. Many will be present appear to introduce and discuss their work over the two-day event. Many other artists will appear to introduce and discuss their work over the two-day event.

The ‘avant-garde weekend’ continues to be a unique occasion for London audiences to experience innovative new visions from around the world.

Other festival highlights for 2007 include the documentaries Black White + Gray: Portrait of Sam Wagstaff and Robert Mapplethorpe and A Walk Into The Sea: Danny Williams and the Warhol Factory (plus a programme of Danny Williams’ Factory Films), Guy Maddin’s Brand Upon the Brain!, and Casting A Glance, James Benning’s film of Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty.

David Gatten Workshop

Date: 25 October 2007 | Season: London Film Festival 2007 | Tags:

Thursday 25 October 2007, from 10am-5pm

London BFI Southbank

Festival guest David Gatten leads a practical workshop on the use of text in 16mm filmmaking.

Throughout the history of cinema, images and text have been combined on-screen in a variety of ways and for a range of reasons. Silent-era comedy, mid-century newsreels, avant-garde films and home movies have used words to tell stories, convey facts and explore the enjoyments and anxieties of reading. In this day-long workshop, Brooklyn artist David Gatten will provide an overview of such practice, with particular attention to filmmakers who have deployed on-screen text to investigate the way text functions as both image and language, the border between the legible and illegible, and the limits of what can be known through words.

David Gatten has made prominent use of the printed word in the ongoing series The Secret History of the Dividing Line (sections screened at the LFF in previous years) and his recent Film for Invisible Ink, Case No: 71: Base-Plus-Fog (showing in the Festival on 28 October 2007). Following introductory screenings of relevant works, participants will make their own films using a variety of processes, including direct-on-film applications, ink-and-cellophane tape transfers, slide projections, close-up cinematography, in-camera contact printing and more.

The workshop is suitable for both beginners and experienced practitioners.

Presented in association with

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Capitalism: Child Labor

Date: 27 October 2007 | Season: London Film Festival 2007 | Tags:

Saturday 27 October 2007, from 12-7pm

London BFI Southbank Studio

Ken Jacobs, Capitalism: Child Labor, USA, 2006, 14 min (continuous loop)

Ken Jacobs continues his interrogation of archival sources by deconstructing a single stereoscopic photograph from the Victorian era. The image of barefoot children in a textile mill is spun into a critique of capitalism and the workforce of child labour which sustained the industrial revolution. With a dizzying array of visual techniques, space is condensed, expanded, flipped and cropped, accompanied by Rick Reed’s compelling soundtrack.

Ken Jacobs lives and works in New York City. Widely regarded as one of the key figures of independent and avant-garde cinema through films such as Little Stabs at Happiness (1958-60), Blonde Cobra (1959-63) and Tom Tom the Pipers Son (1969-71), Jacobs has also devoted much of his creative life to developing new techniques of live performance using film and projected light. More recently, and now in his seventies, he has become one of the most innovative and consistently productive artists working in digital video. Ken Jacobs has been featured in retrospectives, exhibitions and screenings at most major museums, biennials, film festivals and cinematheques.


The ‘I’ and the ‘We’

Date: 27 October 2007 | Season: London Film Festival 2007 | Tags:

Saturday 27 October 2007, at 2pm
London BFI Southbank NFT3

Su Friedrich, Seeing Red, USA, 2005, 27 min
A video confessional in which the artist expresses her frustration with the onset of middle age, frankly declaring personal anxieties. Interspersed with observational vignettes edited to Bach’s Goldberg Variations (played by Glenn Gould), Seeing Red is ultimately less an admission of crisis than a roar of defiance.

Elodie Pong, Je Suis Une Bombe, Switzerland, 2006, 7 min
Unprecedented and absolute: The image of a young woman ‘simultaneously strong and vulnerable, a potential powder keg.’

Jay Rosenblatt, I Just Wanted to Be Somebody, USA, 2006, 10 min
American pop singer Anita Bryant, the face of Florida orange juice, led a political crusade against the ‘evil forces’ of homosexuality in the 1970s. Local success was short lived, and a national boycott of Florida oranges was the first sign of her loss of public approval.

Steve Reinke, Regarding the Pain of Susan Sontag (Notes on Camp), Canada, 2006, 4 min
A journey from schoolyard to graveyard, with author Susan Sontag as philosophical guide.

Mara Mattuschka & Chris Haring, Part Time Heroes, Austria, 2007, 33 min
Mattuschka’s second adaptation of a piece by Vienna’s ingenious Liquid Loft (following Legal Errorist in 2004) exposes a trio of fractured characters. In the lonely hearts hotel of an unfamiliar zone, the amorphous heroes erratically construct and reveal their unconventional personas


Past Imperfect

Date: 27 October 2007 | Season: London Film Festival 2007 | Tags:

Saturday 27 October 2007, at 4pm
London BFI Southbank NFT3

Christina Battle, Hysteria, Canada, 2006, 4 min
Through the manipulation of drawings of the Salem witch trials, using techniques which include peeling layers of emulsion from the filmstrip, oblique parallels are drawn with modern day hysteria.

Soon-Mi Yoo, Dangerous Supplement, USA-Korea, 2006, 14 min
‘Is it possible to see the landscape of the past even though it was first seen by the other’s murderous gaze?’ Dangerous Supplement poetically appropriates footage shot by US military to explore the secrets of the mountain, and the legacy of the Korean War.

Jayne Parker, Catalogue of Birds: Book 3, UK, 2006, 16 min
Following World War II, Messiaen’s fascination with birdsong inspired many compositions, and dominates the monumental ‘Catalogue d’Oiseaux’ of 1959. Jayne Parker has created a visual interpretation of the third movement – The Tawny Owl and The Woodlark – which evokes the habitat and symbolism of these nocturnal birds.

Bruce Conner, His Eye on the Sparrow, USA, 2006, 4 min
The power of music transports the founders of the Soul Stirrers gospel quartet back in time to the Depression Era. A poignant refrain by a master of found footage.

David Dempewolf, Marguerite Duras / Alan Resnais (0.65, 0.85, 1.0 FPS), USA, 2007, 19 min
The opening act of Hiroshima, Mon Amor has been condensed and structured, with urgent repetition, to reconstitute the dialogue between Duras’ text and Resnais’ vision. Words assume priority as potent images are crudely masked, emphasising details and inviting fresh analysis of this powerful sequence.

Christoph Draeger, Helenés (Apparition of Freedom), Switzerland, 2005, 18 min
Helenés combines two examples of propaganda from East and West. A bleak Hungarian instructional film on nuclear attack is presented in its entirely, strategically subtitled with text from George Bush’s inauguration speech (an idiosyncratic interpretation of the concept of freedom).


Carolee Schneemann Preservations

Date: 27 October 2007 | Season: London Film Festival 2007 | Tags:

Saturday 27 October 2007, at 7pm
London BFI Southbank NFT3

Newly preserved prints. Carolee Schneemann is a multi-media artist whose films, performances, installations and writings are a radical discourse on the body, sexuality and gender.

Carolee Schneemann, Fuses, USA, 1964-67, 29 min
Fuses is a vibrant celebration of a passionate relationship, openly portraying sexual intercourse without the objectification of pornography. To extend the tactile intimacy of lovemaking to filmmaking, Schneemann treated the filmstrips as a canvas, working by hand to paint, transform and cut the footage into a dense collage. The erotic energy of the body is transferred directly onto the film material. Recently preserved by Anthology Film Archives, this legendary work glows with a clarity unseen since its debut in the 1960s.

Carolee Schneemann, Kitch’s Last Meal, USA, 1973-76, c.60 min
The moving conclusion to the autobiographical trilogy which began with Fuses, Kitch’s Last Meal documents the routines of daily life. It was shot on the Super-8 home movie format and is projected double screen (one image above the other) as an interchangeable set of 18-minute reels. The soundtrack mixes personal reminiscences with ambient sounds of the household, and includes the original text used for Schneemann’s 1975 performance ‘Interior Scroll’. Time passes, a relationship winds down and death closes in: filming and recording stopped when the elderly cat Kitch, Schneemann’s closest companion for two decades, died. Each performance of the film in its original state was a re-ordering of the visual and aural materials, arranged by the artist according to mood and environment. For the preservation print, three pairs of reels have been selected and blown up to 16mm.


Mysterious Emulsion

Date: 27 October 2007 | Season: London Film Festival 2007 | Tags:

Saturday 27 October 2007, at 9pm
London BFI Southbank NFT3

Sandy Ding, Water Spell, USA, 2007, 42 min
A journey from realism to a supersensory realm, slipping under the surface and between molecules at a microscopic scale. Channeling the subconscious, Water Spell is both odyssey and invocation; a ritual of transformation and retinal blast. The film releases the energy locked within its frames through flickering pulsations of light.

Carl E. Brown, Blue Monet, Canada, 2006, 56 min (double screen)
Rarely shown in the UK, Carl Brown is a long-established film artist whose practice is dedicated to the modification of images by chemical means. Blue Monet is an homage to the French Impressionist, and an attempt to bring the Monet experience into the realm of cinema. Through the ebb and flow of intricate imagery, water lilies eternally blossom and fade with otherworldly grace. Brown has used his alchemical techniques to transfer Monet’s sense of colour, light, sky and water onto film. Viewed in spacious double-screen and enhanced by swathes of sound, this film is an immersive experience.


Now Wait for Last Year

Date: 28 October 2007 | Season: London Film Festival 2007 | Tags:

Sunday 28 October 2007, from 12-7pm
London BFI Southbank Studio

Rachel Reupke, Now Wait for Last Year, UK-China, 2007, 9 min (continuous loop)

In response to the rapid pace of property development in Beijing, Reupke references the visual style of architectural practice and corporate videos to present a sequence of fixed views of urban landscapes. Buildings which share the characteristics of both traditional and futuristic design are displayed, but all is not what it seems. Digital images cannot be trusted: these could be plans for future structures or computer-aided fantasy.

Rachel Reupke lives and works in London. Recent exhibitions include Land of Cockaigne, Fabrica, Brighton; Beyond the Country, Lewis Glucksman Gallery, Cork; Vidéo et après, Pompidou Centre, Paris (solo screening) and 24 Hour Fresh Air, L’Espace Croisé, Roubaix.

Now Wait for Last Year was produced as part of the Arts Council England International Fellowships Programme with Gasworks. The title is borrowed from Philip K. Dick.


Over Land and Sea

Date: 28 October 2007 | Season: London Film Festival 2007 | Tags:

Sunday 28 October 2007, at 2pm
London BFI Southbank NFT3

Patrick Beveridge, The Ivalo River Delta, UK, 2007, 17 min
Shot within the Arctic Circle in northern Lapland, the film documents the landscape and lively night sky of an icy wilderness. The Aurora Borealis and other extraordinary phenomena are captured through long exposures and stunning time-lapse photography.

Peter Hutton, At Sea, USA, 2007, 60 min
Peter Hutton has modestly spoken of his work as being ‘a little detour’ from the history of cinema but perhaps he is following a path that others have neglected, or are yet to discover. Typified by fixed shots of extended duration, his concentrated gaze builds a bridge between early cinema, landscape painting and still photography, evoking Lumière, Turner and Stieglitz. Hutton’s camera often records the subtle changes of light and atmospheric conditions of rural and urban locations, and has frequently been directed toward nautical themes. This new film is essentially about the birth, life and death of large merchant ships. Following the construction of the vessels in South Korea and the passage of a massive container ship across the North Atlantic, it ends with images of shipbreaking in Bangladesh. At Sea is a real tour-de-force, in which the weight and scale of its subject is conveyed by masterful cinematography over a series of breathtaking compositions.

Peter Hutton will present a screening of his early work at Tate Modern on Monday 29 October 2007.


The Percipent Image

Date: 28 October 2007 | Season: London Film Festival 2007 | Tags:

Sunday 28 October 2007, at 4pm
London BFI Southbank NFT3

Charlotte Pryce, Discoveries on the Forest Floor 1-3, USA, 2007, 4 min
‘Three miniature, illuminated, hagiographic studies of plants observed and imagined, hand-processed and optically printed.’ (Charlotte Pryce)

Allen D. Glass II, The Sky Walks Me Home, USA-China, 2005, 24 min
A journey through China, visiting northern provinces, Inner Mongolia, Tibet and Beijing. The filmmaker travelled alone, photographing the landscape and inhabitants of this extraordinary region with a keen and compassionate eye.

Timoleon Wilkins, The Crossing, USA, 2007, 6 min
Crowns of light and subtle gradations of colour are refracted through extreme close-ups of natural phenomena. Moments of sentience, an elevation of consciousness.

Minyong Jang, The Breath, Korea, 2007, 10 min
‘A respiratory exchange between me and a bamboo forest.’ (Minyong Jang)

Robert Beavers, Pitcher of Colored Light, USA, 2007, 24 min
Following the completion of his 17-film cycle ‘My Hand Outstretched’, Beavers travelled to New England to photograph the solitude of his mother’s house. Employing a more intimate approach to filming, he created this tender portrait which contrasts a dark interior with the vibrancy of an abundant garden. As seasons pass, the camera searches through shadows, conveying the slowed pace of life in old age.