Form and Content

A Review of the Friday 7pm Program of 2014′s Milwaukee Underground Film Festival

by Connor Martin

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(Matt Rossoni & the set-up for his performance piece Lunar Phases)

On Friday, May 2nd the audience of the 14th Milwaukee Underground Film Festival was able to glean why this annual event has shown continued success and growth since its genesis.  Each piece in this 80 minute program managed to flourish on their own merits, but what speaks to the quality of the festival as a whole is how well each film in this program functioned as components of a larger machine.  This program was my vote for the most successful of the competition and since three of our nine juror awards came from that evening it would seem the sentiment was shared.

peacock_Alexanderstewart

(Peacock by Alexander Stewart)

Appropriately chosen as the piece to kickstart this program, Peacock by Alexander Stewart deconstructs cinema into a few of its core components through its dazzling manipulation of light, shape, and movement.  A feast for both eyes and ears, Stewart’s 16mm film seemingly adopts a referential approach, intentional or not, towards the musical genres of classical and jazz as it muses on the concepts of repetition, pattern, and eventual variation.  For an audience with a clean palette, Peacock serves as an effective usher into the world of the senses as it offers itself up as unadulterated graphical and aural pleasure.

SHORT_RobertTodd

(Short by Robert Todd)

On the heels of Peacock, Robert Todd’s 16mm short, Short (winner of this year’s best experimental film), continued to mine deeper into the concept of using light and shape to create a series of evocative, emerging imagery.  As the variable shutter on his camera “sleeps and rises” light floods the frame momentarily only to slowly recede, contour, and then reveal a loose narrative through masterful composition and editing.  Through the collision of silent, high-contrast imagery, Todd’s piece began to the bring the audience into the realm of storytelling segueing effectively into the films that followed.

NilePerch_JoshGibson

(Nile Perch by Josh Gibson)

Nile Perch (taking second place in the category of documentary), tracks the migration of a fish caught in Uganda’s Lake Victoria from market to export commodity.  Josh Gibson’s 35mm hand-made film fashions a “modern-day parable of the effects of globalization on Africa” through a striking exaggeration of the play between light and dark that accentuates the skin of his subjects as well as amplifying the sun’s impact on a their environment.  The results are uniquely effective in wrapping this minimalistic approach to the genre with a truly alluring set of aesthetics that typically rest in the hands of experimental directors such as the aforementioned Robert Todd.

lunar_phases_MattRossoni

(Lunar Phases by Matt Rossoni)

Lunar Phases, a 16mm performance piece by Matt Rossoni interrupted the form of the evening’s content.  Rossoni’s empty-projector offers the audience a chance to experience the phases of the moon in a new context.  By experimenting with the artifice of cinema and its many facets, Matt’s performance captured the movements and magnitude of celestial bodies and placed them within the confines of a theater.  This manipulation of the mechanics of film and the spaces they typically occupy offered Rossoni’s audience a different perspective on the opportunities of the medium.

Natural Magic_CharlottePryce

(A Study in Natural Magic by Charlotte Pryce)

LightYear_PaulClipson

(Light Year by Paul Clipson)

45 7 Broadway_Tomonari

(45 7 Broadway by Tomonari Nishikawa)

The next three pieces continued the theme of exploring the realms of space, shape, and light.  Charlotte Pryce’s A Study in Natural Magic, was a gleaning of  “an alchemist’s spell; the transmutation of light into substance; a glimpse of gold.”  Light Year, a film from director Paul Clipson and commissioned by the San Francisco Exploratorium, manifests itself as a collage of images that study the water systems and architecture of the bay area’s waterfront both through abstract and formal approaches.  An impressive demonstration of composition and the layered image that paint a portrait of the area.  The second to last film of the evening, 45 7 Broadway by Tomonari Nishikawa delves intro the bustle of Times Square.  Described as showcasing “noises in visual and sound”, Nishikawa’s color splitting technique that effectively created three layers of imagery that both complimented the tone of the space as well as distorted the onslaught of digital advertisements, transcending the intersection and its inhabitants into new realities.

PERSEVERE_BenRussell

(Let Us Persevere In What We Have Resolved Before We Forget by Ben Russell)

The last piece in the program , Let Us Persevere In What We Have Resolved Before We Forget, by Ben Russell (winner of this year’s best documentary) rapped up the evening with a beautifully shot and realized attempt at highlighting forms of happiness outside of the economic, career driven success of modern capitalism.  Through wonderfully patient and visually stimulating shots, Russell muses on a slice of life who’s simplicity feels foreign and uncomfortable.  We are convinced of this existence’s legitimacy and ultimately its allure, by a Samuel Beckett quoting wise man clad in an Arsenal soccer jersey.
What defines a successful program?  This amalgamation of works stands as an prime example of that definition.  Interwoven pieces that, devoid of their creator’s intent, inform and enhance both the visual attraction and thematic strength of the works surrounding.  This is a testament not only to the overall quality of the submissions that M.U.F.F. receives, but points to an innate understanding of the medium and its intricacies that allow the organizers of the festival continued success.

2014 Juror Awards Announced!

Great thanks to our 2014 M.U.F.F. Jurors: Scott Stark, Diane Kitchen & David Witzling for being a part of the Milwaukee Underground Film Festival this year.

2014 Milwaukee Underground Film Festival Juror Awards

Gente Perra_JuanGonzAnjaD
Best of Festival – GENTE PERRA (DOG PEOPLE) by Anja Dornieden & Juan David Gonzalez Monroy ($100)
****

PERSEVERE_BenRussell
Best Documentary – LET US PERSEVERE IN WHAT WE HAVE RESOLVED BEFORE WE FORGET by Ben Russell ($75)

****

NilePerch_JoshGibson

Second Place Documentary – NILE PERCH by Josh Gibson ($40)

****

2nd Hermeneutic_MikeAMorris
Best in Expanded Cinema – SECOND HERMENEUTIC by Michael A. Morris ($75)
****

IceSurvey_RenatoUmali
Best Experimental Video – ICE SURVEY: TENNEY PARK (MADISON, WISCONSIN) by Renato Umali ($40)

****

SHORT_RobertTodd

Best Experimental Film – SHORT by Robert Todd ($40)

****

WillotheWisp_AndrewKim

Best Essay – WILL O’ THE WISP by Andrew Kim ($40)

****

Historia Calamitatum_RichardBeebe

Best Personal Doc – HISTORIA CALAMITATUM (THE STORY OF MY MISFORTUNES), PART ll: THE CRYING GAME by Roger Beebe ($40)

****

elsewhere_AliAschman
Best Animation – ELSEWHERE, THE SURVIVORS by Ali Aschman ($40)

2014 Programs in Competition Line-up & Descriptions

Friday May 2nd – Fine Arts Cinema MIT B91 – 2PM  (Films in Competition Program #1)

In Effluence accord; EmulsionKarissa Hahn – 2m37s / 16mm on Video / 2013 / USA

In Effluence accord; Emulsion_KarissaHahn

Musings of leeway – an illusive figure emerges from the emulsion.
One strip of super 8 film is reconstructed, taped onto 16mm, and then re-filmed on the Optical Printer. The effluence according to its new emulsion – becoming a reflection of its own action.

***

Microbiologist – Travis Rademacher – 2m37s / Video / 2014 / USA

MicroBiologist_TravisRademacher

A focus on intermittent textures viewed up close.

***

Elsewhere, The SurvivorsAli Aschman – 3m30s / / 2014 / USA

elsewhere_AliAschman

Two connected figures wander endlessly through  a desolate landscape, haunted by anxiety and doubt.

***

Synthesis (yugen pt. 1) – Paul Rabe – 2m28s / Video / 2013 / USA

Synthesis_PaulRabe

Yugen – “An awareness of the universe that triggers emotional responses too deep and mysterious for words.” Synthesis is a voyage into the unknown. A fantastical look into what makes up all matter in existence. A glance upon the beginnings of life in the cold, dark void.

***

Stille Dag (Silent Day)Aleksander Johan Andreassen – 8m22s / Video / 2012 / Sweden

StilleDag(SilentDay)_AleksanderJohanAndreassen

The video follows the artist’s mother for 24 hours from a fixed position using time-lapse photography. The audio consists of two edited conversations between the artist and his mother about her passive lifestyle.

***

Current 1-3Sean Kafer – 6m / Video / 2011 / USA

current_SeanKafer

CURRENT 1-3 is the introduction of an ongoing film series of patterns of direction on earth. The terrain, its inhabitants and their fabrications in a state of flow.

***

Waxing and MilkingAlee Peoples – 9m / Super 8 on Video / 2014 / USA

WaxingMilking_AleePeoples

A companion piece to Boys of Summer (2009), Waxing and Milking mimics music video tropes and equates Los Angeles’ favorite food snack, the taco, to a lady’s special parts.

***

Ghost Poem – Lindsay Greer – 2m38s / Film on Video / 2013 / USA

This film mixes original Super 8, found and original 16mm, and hand painted film to create a visual poem about my Grandmother losing her memory.

***

LIVING FOSSILSean Hanley – 2m18s / 16mm on Video / 2014 / USA

Living Fossil_SeanHanley

Springtime along the Mid-Atlantic seaboard, thousands of horseshoe crabs spawn on beaches under the glow of the full moon. LIVING FOSSIL is a brief glimpse of a 450 million year old ritual.

***

A Million Miles Away – Jennifer Reeder – 20m / Video/ 2014 / USA

AMillionMilesAway_JenniferReeder

Melancholy as a survival strategy in the American Mid-West: An adult woman (the conductor) on the edge of failing and a pack of teenage girls (the choir) simultaneously experience a supernatural version of coming-of-age. The transformation is equal parts tense and tender. It unravels patiently to the infectious beat of an 80s era heavy metal anthem rearranged as a lamentation.

***

Friday May 2nd – UWM Union Theatre – 7PM  (Films in Competition Program #2)

PeacockAlexander Stewart – 5m / 16mm on Video/ 2014 / USA

peacock_Alexanderstewart

An exploration of pattern, repetition and visual overload. A small particle unfolds into a mesmerizing display of color and movement.

***

ShortRobert Todd – 5m30s / 16mm / 2013 / USA

SHORT_RobertTodd

Light sleeps and rises, and sleeps again along the shoreline of day.

***

Nile Perch – Josh Gibson – 16m47s / 35mm  / 2014 / USA

NilePerch_JoshGibson

In flickering black and white, Nile Perch tracks a fish from a fisherman’s line on Lake Victoria in Uganda to export commodity. This hand-made film is a modern-day parable of the effects of globalization on Africa as well as meditation on the economic and ecological impact of an invasive species.

***

Lunar PhasesMatt Rossoni – 12m / 16mm Performance / 2014 / CANADA

lunar_phases_MattRossoni

An empty-projector performance: moon events conjured with concrete film materials: light and shadow, sound as Space.

***

A Study in Natural Magic – Charlotte Pryce – 3m / 16mm / 2013 / USA

Natural Magic_CharlottePryce

Witness an alchemist’s spell; the transmutation of light into substance; a glimpse of gold.

***

Light YearPaul Clipson – (music by Tashi Wada, performed by cellists Charles Curtis and Judith Hamann) – 10m / 16mm / 2013 / USA

LightYear_PaulClipson

A commission for the San Francisco Exploratorium as part of a Cinema Artist residency, this film-collage studies the water systems and architecture of the San Francisco waterfront, in abstract and formal contexts.

***

45 7 BroadwayTomonari Nishikawa – 5m / 16mm / 2013 / USA

45 7 Broadway_Tomonari

This is about Times Square, noises in visual and sound at this most
well-known intersection. The layered images of shots by handheld
camera through a color separation technique would agitate the scenes,
and advertisements on the digital billboards try to pull ahead of
others.

***

Let Us Persevere In What We Have Resolved Before We Forget - Ben Russell – 20m / S16mm on Video / 2013 / USA

PERSEVERE_BenRussell

“We are happy. (Silence.) What do we do now, now that we are happy?” – Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot

***

Saturday May 3rd – Microlights Cinema – 4PM  (Films in Competition Program #3)

Story of The Very Busy and Important Man - Neil Gravander – 8m43s / Video / 2013 / USA

busy_man_NeilGravander

…tells the tale of a busy man who must defend his job from a confused, threatened, and rash boss.

***

In Light, In! – Ken Paul Rosenthal – 12m / Video  / 2013 / USA

In Light, In!_KenPaulRosenthal

A haunting, visual essay about the awkward and angry junctures where our culture struggles to manage its emotional distress. Images recycled from 1950’s-era educational films are accompanied by original compositions by cellist, Zoe Keating.

***

Jellybeans – Scott Fitzpatrick – 6m / 16mm on Video / 2012 / Canada

Jellybeans_ScottFitzpatrick

A non-photographic study in rhythm and colour, an expanded cinema performance dissected and shown in two parts.

***

[deterritorialization]Ben Balcom – 2m15s / Video / 2013 / USA

deterritorialization_BenBalcom

The body is strata.  The strata need to be rent apart and then slipt between.  The landscape and the mechanism shatter, and the data from both conjoin in spiral formations.  Look, the sun is shining overhead.

***

[Phrases]Ben Balcom – 4m40s / Video / 2013 / USA

[phrases]_BenBalcom

Voices heard during sleep tell the story of this body struggling to form.  This body syncopates with the pulsing network of insects.  This archive of night is inscribed on the blank page of the body.   

***

Red LuckMike Olenick – 25m52s / Video / 2014 / USA

Red Luck - MikeO

As a sunny day comes to an end, a handful of seemingly disparate characters converge in this experimental psychosexual thriller. Something bad in blowing in the wind and it’s not a good day to go out looking for love. Weeds are growing, the sun is setting . . . Red Luck is coming. You had better do the things that you dream.

***

Scattered in the Wind - Lori Felker – 5m30s / Video / 2013 / USA – (Music/lyrics by Implodes)

Scattered in the Wind_Felker

Chicago, 2009 — A cemetery as a crime scene. Hundreds of graves in a historic cemetery had been ripped up in order to resell the plots. Human remains were displaced, disorganized, scattered throughout the grounds, moved to unmarked mass graves.

***

STANDARDS OF PERFECTIONAndrew Kim – 9m / 16mm / 2012 / USA

StandardsofPerfection_AndrewKim

This is not a film about miniature horses…  Rather, this documentary explores the idea of perfection as understood by The American Miniature Horse Association Standard of Perfection.  The film questions the nature of such ideals as they are applied to the miniature horses of The Quicksilver Ranch in Solvang, CA.

***

Difficult Loves – Paul Clipson – (music by Jefre Cantu-Ledesma) – 3m30s / Super 8 / 2013 / USA

DifficultLoves_PaulClipson

A love poem of intimate immensities, featuring a theatre of waters, lights and flowers. Filmed in San Francisco’s Botanical Gardens and my backyard.

***

Saturday May 3rd – Microlights Cinema – 8PM  (Films in Competition Program #4)

Massachusetts Farm - Josh Baum – 6m / Super 8 on Video/ 2013 / USA

MA Farm_JoshBaum

An experience of the shapes, rhythms, and textures of agriculture in the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts. The film revels in the beauty of the harvest in this vibrant community; one that has proven that local farms can be a viable alternative to conventional industrial agriculture.

***

Waveland – Cade Bursell – 21m / S8 & 16mm on Video / 2014 / USA

waveland_CadeBursell

A deeply personal elegiac tone poem that speaks to the sensual and polyphonous relationship connecting humans, sea life and waves.

***

Doubt #2 - Josh Lewis – 5m30s / 16mm / 2013 / USA

Doubt_JoshLewis

The second installment of an ongoing series of investigations that attempt to penetrate film’s enigmatic materiality in tandem with the vagaries of my own emotional and psychological states.

***

Sleeping District – Tinne Zenner – 11m / 16mm / 2014 / USA

SleepingDistrict_TinneZenner

Combining inside and outside views of residential areas built during the Soviet Era with disjointed conversations translated from Russian into a broken English, the film explores notions of home shaped by memory, history, relations and objects. While related to tangible experiences, it suggests how these inform our imagination.

***

ResistfilmPablo Marin – 14m / 2014 / Super 8 to 16mm / Argentina

Resistfilm_PabloMarin

Super 8 film as super film. Rustic in-camera investigations of (filmic) nature. Homages to early avant-garde landmarks and wild landscapes of the 21st Century.

***

With Pluses and Minuses – Mike Stoltz – 5m / 16mm / 2013 / USA

WithPlusesMinuses_Stoltz

“This morning the window blew its glass onto my face. Real morning with pluses and minuses (my symbols for truth)” A ground­less and bound­less film in which a wall becomes a window to a swirling landscape.

***

Will o’ the WispAndrew Kim – 23m30s / 16mm / 2013 / USA

WillotheWisp_AndrewKim

WILL O’ THE WISP or The Wandering Light Illuminating the Dark of Night, Taken Therefore for the Souls of the Departed.  AN EXAMINATION whereunto is joined a discourse of the causes, continuance, and qualities of such phenomena in nature; occasioned as a matter in contest with the very terrified people who have deemed these lights to be manifestations of the paranormal…

***

Sunday May 4th – Kenilworth Building – 3PM  (Films in Competition Program #5)

The Present Compendium: a Comprehensive Inventory of 24 Items, in 5 Volumes, in the Instance of the Present Print, on the Occasion of its Present ScreeningChris Hoag – 15m / 16mm / 2014 / USA

ThePresentS_ChrisHoag

An ontological wunderkammer consolidates otherwise incommensurable taxa of thingness, their diversity accommodated by the hermetic logic of tautology. Within this non-space of reference and index, Mary-Kate Olsen preforms various feats of horsemanship to a particular degree of precision.

***

Ice Survey : Tenney Park (Madison, Wisconsin) – Renato Umali – 5m / Video / 2014 / USA

IceSurvey_RenatoUmali

This video is part of an on-going investigation and rumination into skate-able ice surfaces across Wisconsin. The process is simple: lace up the blades, skate, and dream. This video in particular evokes scratch films: the ice surface as celluloid.

***

The Whale Story – Tess Martin – 3m36s / Video / 2012 / The Netherlands

WHALESTORY_TessMartin

A fisherman experiences a moment of connection with a female humpback whale in the waters off of San Francisco. Is this an example of inter-species communication or a mysterious fluke? This true story is retold in paint on a 16 foot high wall with the help of the passing public in Seattle’s Cal Anderson Park.

***

Crux FilmAlexander Stewart – 5m / Video / 2013 / USA

crux_AlexanderStewrat

Precarious and fluid arrangements constantly interrupt one another in a montage of waiting, anticipating, and transitioning forms. Arrangements of marks and geometric forms are faced with unresolved states. Objects struggle to maintain their stay upright, or avoid disappearing.

***

Uncertain Ground – Ian Nesbitt – 12m / Video / 2014 / UK

Uncertain Ground_IanN

An idiosyncratic and intuitive portrait of a floating village in East Malaysia that technically doesn’t exist.

***

Snowglobe – Anthony Porter – 6m / Video / 2013 / USA

SnowGlobe_AnthonyPorter

A colorblind handyman born inside a melting snow globe tries to escape after finding schematics for a prototype rocket.

***

Hermeneutic – Alexel Dmitriev – 3m15s / Video / 2012 / Russia

Hermeneutics_AlexeiDmitriev

This piece is a visual illustration of what hermeneutics is. With the cunning use of WWII footage it makes you believe that you are watching a proper war film. When you already expect the usual archive movie routine — everything changes. And you find yourself watching a completely different film.

***

Historia Calamitatum (The Story of My Misfortunes), Part II: The Crying Game - Roger Beebe – 21m / Video / 2014 / USA

Historia Calamitatum_RichardBeebe

It’s all right to cry. Sometimes it’s better than all right.

***

Fall 1 & 2 – Aaron Zeghers – 51s / 16mm / 2013 / USA

fall 1 & 2_AaronZeghers

An ode to the absurd, and homage to Bas Jan Ader, and an affirmation of Camus’ notion that the absurdity of existence (and not gravity) links mankind to the world.

***

The ThiefAli Aschman – 7m14s / Video / 2014 / USA

The Thief_AliAschman

In an isolated house, a girl suffers a painful lack. She journeys into the forest in search of fulfillment, in this allegorical fable about guilt, desire and retribution.

***

Sunday May 4th – Kenilworth Building – 7PM  (Films in Competition Program #6)

Une Terre Familiere – Marianna Milhorat – 18m40s / Video / 2013 / USA

UnTerreFamiliere_MariannaMilhorat

Structured as a series of long-take vignettes, each centered around a site purposing a collision of nature and artifice. Within highly manicured environments, these sites attempt to imitate natural processes and un-peopled ecosystems and to preserve and manage elements of nature. The figures struggle to do their best with what they have- to find their own sun at the tanning salon, their own clouds in the steam room- to improve, to connect, to find “home” in the world.

***

Osmoverse – Daniel Larson – 5m / Video / 2014 / USA

osmoverse_DanielLarson

An exploration of common gestures in an alien environment.

***

TacomaCourtney Krantz – 6m36s / 16mm / 2013 / USA

Tacoma_CourtneyKrantz

A reflection on home and memory.  Old love letters.  A card game.  Music gone by. Filmed in the verdant environment of the Pacific Northwest at Mrs. Smart’s residence where she has lived for over 40 years.

***

Conjuror’s Box – Kerry Laitala – 6m / 35mm / 2011 / USA

Conjuror's Box_KerryLaitala

The latest work in the “Muse of Cinema series”, was made using several D.I.Y. collage techniques including: CINEGRAMMING, hand-painting, and the re-animation of magic lantern slides. “Conjuror’s Box” takes the viewer through the looking glass, to immerse them in a fiery pane of hand-painted wonders. “Conjuror’s Box” summons forth primordial images of beauty from the hand painted imagery to images of transformation, metamorphosis, and chimera to literary and even ancient, biblical references. The fiery hole becomes a mirror fusion of past and future deaths.

***

Death Songs and Car Bombs – Brendan & Jeremy Smyth – 6m24s / 16mm / 2013 / USA

DeathSongsCarBombs_BrendanJeremySmyth

Guided by a ceremonial death song, an attempt to reach the unholy sea transforms into a place study of Bali’s tourism district- car-bombed one year after 9/11. Now, a memorial stands amidst a sea of Western signage, and by fate, an identical Mitsubishi L300 passes ground zero as the roll flares out.

***

Sjave Danu, Los Angeles County, California, 2013 – Silvia Las Fadas – 8m48s / 16mm / 2013 / USA

 Sjave Danu, Los Angeles County, California, 2013_SilviadasFadas

“The people are what is not there yet, never in the right place, never ascribable to the place and time where anxieties and dreams await.” (Jacques Rancière)

***

Gente Perra (Dog People)Anja Dornieden & Juan David Gonzalez Monroy – 25m / 16mm / 2014 / Germany

Gente Perra_JuanGonzAnjaD

A film based on fragments of the story “La Gente Perra” by the Colombian writer Gomati D. Wahn (1923-1993). The story, which takes place 3000 years in the future, tells the character of The Admiral as he searches for the land of the Dog People and the riches that it hides. However, as is typical of Wahn’s style, the story is assembled out of altered existing texts, in this case, historic accounts of the discovery and conquest of America or, as it was known then, The New World.

***

Second HermeneuticMichael A. Morris – 8m / Performance w/ 2x16mm projection, analog video signal as audio / 2013 / USA

2nd Hermeneutic_MikeAMorris

The second in a series of works that explore the nature of interpretation. In this case, a pair of 16mm projections are overlapped while being captured by an HD video camera. The analog component signal is fed into an audio mixer without any further filtering. All audio in the piece is produced by the camera’s output. The video waveform is manipulated by the film projection to produce a real-time, synaesthetic cinematic experience using the artifacts of one medium interpreting another as raw material.

***

2014 Milwaukee Underground Film Festival Program Line-up

MILWAUKEE UNDERGROUND FILM FESTIVAL 2014

JUROR SCREENING – RUN TIME: 72 MIN

Thursday May 1st UWM Union Theatre 5pm

Echoes of Information – David Witzling – 3min, video, 2006

Everything is Normal – David Witzling – 2min, video, 2013

Midnight Train to Twilight – David Witzling – 8min, video, 2014

To the Inland Ocean – David Witzling – 5min, video, 2014

Rosette – David Witzling – 6min, video, 2011

ROOTS, THORNS – Diane Kitchen – 23min, 16mm, 1992

THE PENFIELD ROAD – Diane Kitchen – 5min, 16mm, 1998

Hotel Cartograph – Scott Stark – 12min, 16mm, 1982

Nocturnal Symmetries – Scott Stark – 12min, 16mm, 2014

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                          Thursday, May 1, 8pm UWM Union Theatre – FREE

                                        DIRTY LOOKS NYC: THREE YEARS

with Dirty Looks Creative Director / Curator BRADFORD NORDEEN in person!

Guest Bradford Nordeen will uncork a retrospective program highlighting the first three years of Dirty Looks NYC, the flamboyantly smart New York City platform for experimental LGBT+ film that regularly shares works, canonical and brand new, that are as artful as they are edifyingly queer. Per Nordeen, tonight’s riches are “film and video spanning 1990 – 2013, all titles which shaped or defined Dirty Looks NYC as a project and the queer moment, at large. Looking back from the edge of queer futurity, Dirty Looks NYC: Three Years features queer takes on Black Power, riot grrrl, maternity, and Madonna’s “Vogue”…”

 

Work to screen:

Tom Rubnitz’s The Mother Show (with Tom Koken and Barbara Lipp) (1981; edited 1991);  Chris E. Vargas’s Extraordinary Pregnancies (2010); Narcissister’s The Basket (w Josef Kraska) (2013); Charles Atlas’s Butcher’s Vogue (1990);  Michael Robinson’s The Dark, Krystle (2013); Luther Price’s Home (1990-99); Charles Lofton’s O Happy Day, 1996); Jill Reiter’s Frenzy (1993); and Michael Lucid’s Dirty Girls  (1996/2000) (Total Running Time: 80min.)

 

Luther Price’s Home was preserved by Anthology Film Archives with support from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts

 

Bradford Nordeen’s visit presented by M.U.F.F. and the Milwaukee LGBT Film/Video Festival, with the support of the UWM LGBT Studies Certificate Program

 

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MILWAUKEE UNDERGROUND FILM FESTIVAL 2014

FILMS IN COMPETITION 1 – RUN TIME: 60 MIN

 Friday May 2nd MIT B91  2pm

In Effluence accord; Emulsion – Karissa Hahn – 2min, video, 2013

Microbiologist – Travis Rademacher – 3min, video, 2014

Elsewhere, The Survivors – Ali Aschman – 4min, video, 2013

Synthesis (yugen pt.1) – Paul Rabe – 3min, video, 2013

Stille Dag (Silent Day) – Aleksander Johan Andreassen – 8min, video, 2012

Current 1-3 – Sean Kafer – 6min, video, 2011

Waxing + Milking – Alee Peoples – 9min, video, 2014

Ghost Poem – Lindsay Greer – 3min, video, 2013

Living Fossil – Sean Hanley – 3min, video, 2014

A Million Miles Away – Jennifer Reeder – 27min, video, 2014

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MILWAUKEE UNDERGROUND FILM FESTIVAL 2014

FILMS IN COMPETITION 2 – RUN TIME: 80 MIN

Friday May 2nd UWM Union Theatre 7pm

Peacock – Alexander Stewart – 6min, video, 2014

Short – Robert Todd – 6min, 16mm, 2013

Nile Perch – Josh Gibson – 16min, 35mm, 2014

Lunar Phases – Matt Rossoni – 10min, projector performance, 2014

A Study in Natural Magic – Charlotte Pryce – 3min, 16mm, 2013

Light Year – Paul Clipson – 10min, 16mm, 2013

45 7 Broadway – Tomonari Nishikawa – 5min, 16mm, 2013

Let Us Persevere In What We Have Resolved Before We Forget

Ben Russell – 20min, video, 2013

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                                       Saturday, May 3rd, 1pm Circle-A Cafe

                                          A Dirty Looks NYC presentation:

                                  Pickle Surprise: The Eyes of Tom Rubnitz

Associated with New York’s East Village drag scene of the late 1980s, Tom Rubnitz (1956-1992) crafted low-budget, candy-colored video fantasies, mingling pop culture and counter-culture in outlandish conceptions including mock infomercials and cooking shows. This evening’s program revives a frosted cakewalk of treasures, featuring performance luminaries like RuPaul, Ann Magnuson and Lady Bunny. Dirty Looks NYC shares the work in collaboration with Video Data Bank.

 

To screen:

The Mother Show (1991); Frieda! (The Movie) (1980) From the Files of the Pyramid Cocktail Lounge (1983); Chicken Elaine (1983); Made for TV (with Ann Magnuson) (1984); John Sex: The True Story (1983); Plastic Rap with Frieda (* with Tom Koken + Barbara Lipp as “Frieda”) (1983); Drag Queen Marathon(1986); Hustle With My Muscle (1986); Strawberry Shortcut (1989); Pickle Surprise (1989); and  Summer of Love PSA (1990)

 

A presentation of M.U.F.F. and the Milwaukee LGBT Film/Video Festival, with the UWM LGBT Studies Certificate Program

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MILWAUKEE UNDERGROUND FILM FESTIVAL 2014

FILMS IN COMPETITION 3 – RUN TIME: 78 MIN

Saturday, May 3rd Microlights Cinema 4pm

Story of The Very Busy and Important Man – Neil Gravander – 9min, video, 2013

In, Light In! – Ken Paul Rosenthal – 12min, video, 2013

Jellybeans – Scott Fitzpatrick – 6min, video, 2012

[deterritorialization] – Ben Balcom – 2min, video, 2013

[Phrases] – Ben Balcom – 5min, video, 2013

Red Luck – Mike Olenick – 25min, video, 2014

Scattered in the Wind – Lori Felker – 5min, video, 2013

Standards of Perfection – Andrew Kim – 9min, 16mm, 2012

Difficult Loves – Paul Clipson – super8

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MILWAUKEE UNDERGROUND FILM FESTIVAL 2014

FILMS IN COMPETITION 4 – RUN TIME: 80 MIN

Saturday, May 3rd Microlights Cinema 8pm


Massachusetts Farm – Josh Baum – 6min, video, 2013

Waveland – Cade Bursell – 20min, video, 2013

Doubt #2 – Josh Lewis – 6min, 16mm, 2013

Sleeping District – Tinne Zenner – 11min, 16mm, 2014

Resistfilm – Pablo Marin – 14min, 16mm, 2014

With Pluses and Minuses – Mike Stoltz – 5min, 16mm, 2013

Will ‘o the Wisp – Andrew Kim – 23min, 16mm, 2013

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MILWAUKEE UNDERGROUND FILM FESTIVAL 2014

FILMS IN COMPETITION 5 – RUN TIME: 80 MIN

Sunday, May 4th Kenilworth Building Rm 408  3pm

The Present Compendium: a Comprehensive Inventory of 24 Items, in 5 Volumes, in the instance of the Present Print, on the Occasion of it’s Present Screening

Chris Hoag – 15min, 16mm, 2014

Ice Survey: Tenney Park (Madison, Wisconsin)

 Renato Umali – 5min, video, 2014

The Whale Story – Tess Martin – 4min, video, 2012

Crux Film – Alexander Stewart – 5min, video, 2013

Uncertain Ground – Ian Nesbitt – 12min, video, 2014

Snow Globe – Tony Porter – 6min, video, 2013

Hermeneutics – Alex Dmitriev – 3min, video, 2012

Historia Calamitatum (The story of My Misfortunes), Part ll: The Crying Game

Roger Beebe – 21min, video, 2014

Fall 1&2 – Aaron Zeghers – 1min, video, 2013

The Thief – Ali Aschman – 8min, video, 2014

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MILWAUKEE UNDERGROUND FILM FESTIVAL 2014

FILMS IN COMPETITION 6 – RUN TIME: 75 MIN

Sunday, May 4th Kenilworth Building Rm 408  7pm

Une Terre Familiere – Marianna Milhorat – 19min, video, 2014

Osmoverse – Daniel Larson – 5min, video, 2014

Tacoma – Courtney Krantz – 6min, 16mm, 2013

Conjuror’s Box – Kerry Laitala – 6min, video, 2011

Death Songs and Car Bombs – Brendan & Jeremy Smyth – 7min, video, 2013

Sjave Danu (Square Dance) – Silvia Las Fadas – 9min, 16mm, 2013

Gente Perra (Dog People)

Anja Dornieden & Juan David Gonzalez Monroy – 25min, 16mm, 2014

Second Hermeneutic – Michael Michael A. Morris –  8min, projector performance, 2014

M.U.F.F. 2014 Jurors Announced!

Diane Kitchen (Milwaukee, WI)

Diane Kitchen’s experimental documentaries, Before We Knew Nothing and Roots, Thorns, were made with the Ashaninka people in Peru’s Amazon Basin and have screened at diverse venues including the Museum of the American Indian, Museum of Modern Art, The Library of Congress, and internationally in France, Chile, Denmark, Bolivia, Hungary. Exhibition of recent films Wot the Ancient Sod and Quick’s Thicket include Montreal’s First Peoples’ Festival, the Whitney Biennial, London Film Festival and Toronto International Film Festival. She has received grants from the Smithsonian Institution, Jerome Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts/Film in the Cities, and the Wisconsin Arts Board.

STILL: DIANE KITCHEN FILMING IN PERU

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 Scott Stark (Austin, TX)

Scott Stark has made over 80 films and videos since the early 1980s, and has created numerous moving image installations, live performances and photo-collages. He received an MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute and served on the Board of Directors of the San Francisco Cinematheque from 1984-1991. His work has shown nationally and internationally in venues as diverse as New York’s Museum of Modern Art, the San Francisco Cinematheque, the Film Festival Rotterdam, the Tokyo Image Forum, and many others. His 16mm film Angel Beach was invited into the 2002 Whitney Biennial, and in 2007 he received a Guggenheim Fellowship. His 2013 film The Realist showed at numerous worldwide film festivals and was on several year-end “best” lists. His work has garnered numerous awards. He lives in Austin, Texas. He is the webmaster for Flicker (www.hi-beam.net), the web resource for experimental film and video.

artist website: http://www.scottstark.com/

STILL: SCOTT STARK

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David Witzling (Milwaukee, WI)

David Witzling is a 1979 vintage Aquarius. He earned a BA in 2001 from UW-Madison after studying literature and philosophy. Since 2001 he has lived in Milwaukee, worked as a graphic designer, and shown his video work at a variety of alternative venues. His interests include the history of science, Modernist art, and the philosophy of religion. In 2009, he completed an MFA in film at UW-Milwaukee, and subsequently taught photography at Carroll University. He currently lectures in the Department of Film at UW-Milwaukee and is serving as the Program Coordinator for the Interdisciplinary Arts and Technology Program in the Peck School of the  Arts. His recent video “Echoes of Information” was selected for Volume 31 of the Journal of Short Film.

artist website: http://drw.frametheweb.com/

STILL: DAVID WITZLING

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An Evening With Michael Robinson

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Join us Tuesday, October 1st at 7pm as we share a spectacular program of Michael Robinson’s recent work at the Union Theatre, as part of the Experimental Tuesday Series. We’re delighted to have Michael Robinson in person! The program will run as follows:

And We All Shine On (7:00, 2006) *16mm
These Hammers Don’t Hurt Us (12:50, 2010)
The General Returns From One Place to Another (10:40, 2006)
Hold Me Now (5:00, 2008)
You Don’t Bring Me Flowers (8:00, 2005) *16mm
Light Is Waiting (11:20, 2007)
If There Be Thorns (13:20, 2010)
Line Describing Your Mom (5:50, 2011)
Victory Over the Sun (16mm, 12:30, 2007) *16mm

“Michael Robinson’s works bring together images and sounds from a wide range of original and pop-culture sources, forging new and uncanny correspondences. He blends film and video to create lyrical narratives that are equally opulent and restrained, their parent materials pulsing in and out of abstraction. Here and elsewhere, Robinson makes familiar media strange again, exploring collective memory through a poetics of devotion and loss.” – Whitney Museum of American Art 2012 Biennial Film & Video Screenings

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And, if you find your excitement just too unbearable – check out these insightful interviews with Michael Robinson in BAD AT SPORTS and BOMBLOG.

Films by Ross Nugent: Studies of Regional Spectacle

Recent works by Ross Nugent, Hopper Repair (2010) and Tear it up, Son! (2011) study the interactions between subject, space, and time with regional specificity. Both films are portraits of cultural curiosities, sharing the extremes of commodity culture, which manifests both in the enjoyable misuse and intentional neglect of automobiles. The VW buses in Hopper Repair and homemade monster truck assemblages in Tear it up, Son! are signifiers of decay and denouement, out of which spectacle materializes. Nugent’s camera captures the circumstances of human spectacle with an observational gaze. It plays silent witness to acts of exhibition, putting emphasis on objects as signs of meaningful cultural description. Nugent frames the vehicles as objects of cultural reference and commentary, whose agency reveals the playful destruction of human enterprise.

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Filmed at a ‘VW bus graveyard in Western Pennsylvania’, Hopper Repair (16mm) is a patient photographic study of abandoned vehicles. It begins with a succession of close shots, showing the varying shapes of VW bus headlights. The overgrown grass reaches above the chrome fixtures. With greater distance, the camera further emphasizes the height of the grass; it blows sleepily around the cars, engulfing their undersides with waves of green. The VW buses are helpless at the helms of nature.  The square vehicles are stained with rust, whose organic dispersion disrupts the simple metal forms with aesthetic interest. The face of a white VW fills the frame. Its surface is pleasantly marred with dripping red lesions. There is a clear view through the vehicle; we peer through the windshield to the green growth of nature at its rear. The soft sounds of blowing grass, insects, and birds accompany the images; their authenticity establishes the rural location and enhances its quietness. The stillness of the images and auralscape pronounce the vehicles state of un-use. The buses sit idle in permanent arrest, without function or purpose, and their collective assemblage is striking. Without excess of movement or exuberant activity, the VW’s become a cinematic spectacle. The overgrown landscape, tactile rust-eaten surfaces, and overwhelming numerical display of vehicles amount to a scene of singularity. The VW buses, a form of ‘cultural detritus’, offer a portrait of culture through its processes of neglect and decay. Hopper Repair documents the edge of human existence—where forgotten objects reveal changing cultural ideals—and finds visual interest in the tactility of decay. tear-it-up-son-web

Tear it up, Son! (Super-16 transferred to HD) documents the daring and riotous antics at Yankee Lake Truck Night. The speeding mud-laden trucks and their thrill-seeking drivers offer a dramatic contrast to the resting VW’s in Hopper Repair. The film begins with sound– we acclimate to the space by listening only. The steady purr of insects is interrupted by distant voices, and then the muted sound of tires pushing nearer. As an engine groans the first image appears, revealing a bumpy upward view of treetops and clouds. A truck with a raised body is inspected by a group of interested viewers, who stand only as tall as its ridiculously enhanced wheels. As film viewers, we feel like spectators  in the midst of more experienced participants. The camera remains stationary, letting the dirt-caked monster trucks and their howling passengers roll in-and-out of frame. The black-and-white film stock enhances the dirt’s gray mid-tones; it clings heavily to the surface of each vehicle. Again, the soundtrack situates us. The rumble of automotive sounds is accompanied by conversational dialogue—which surrounds us spatially, placing us among the on-screen action. A voice calls out, “I just yanked some dude’s bumper clean off his truck!” The film continues, and as darkness draws near, trucks roll into the thick woods. A shot of a driver’s profile in silhouette places us in the passenger seat, and we experience the car’s movements from a new vantage.  Unlike in Hopper Repair, there is an emphasis on the people who utilize the vehicles. Tear it up, Son! documents the Truck Night’s raucous innocence, as the participants gather in good fun to exploit the capabilities of their homemade automobiles. The event is a spectacle of regional specificity, which demonstrates a culture of automobile entertainment specific to the mid-western location. The vehicles act as agents of human performance, a physical semblance of cultural excess and spectacle. The film is a document of cultural curiosity—a portrait of niche culture with genuine interest in spectacle as a normalizing human engagement. Tear it up, Son! depicts the Truck Night with intimacy, letting the dust settle around the camera, and providing a first-hand view of “mud-slinging hot-dawgers” with charm.

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Tear it up, Son! has screened at the Antimatter Film Festival, Chicago Underground Film Festival, EFF Portland, Experiments in Cinema 8.53, Flyover Film Festival, New Delta Review, and Rural Route Film Festival. To see more of Ross Nugent’s work, check here.

Jury Prizes and Honorable Mentions for the M.U.F.F. 2013!

Here they are:

2013 Milwaukee Underground Film Festival Results

Jury Prizes

$250 Them Oracles by Alee Peoples
$150 How to Quit Smoking at the Moon Hotel by Jessie Stead
$100 Ten Notes on a Summers Day by Mike Stoltz

Best local Piece: Theobromine by Moe McPhearson
Best Performance: Je Ne Sais Plus [What is this Feeling]  by Kristin Reeves
Best Installation: Tectonics by Peter Bo Rappamund

Honorable Mentions: (in no particular order)

Strings of Colors by Sharan Mohanadoss
Football by Ana Husman
Hurty by Sonja Eklund
Workers Leaving the Googleplex by Andrew Norman Wilson
Eleven Forty Seven by Marika Borgeson
Wreading by Jesse Malmed
Pittsburgh by Ted Kennedy

Thanks for all of the fantastic work this year, filmmakers!