Work is underway for University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee’s 16th Annual Underground Film Festival as the student organizers are preparing to put together a great program! This year’s program organizers are Takahiro Suzuki, Alex Tarantino, Hayley Blau, Vanessa Reuter, and Suana Hasani.
Taka Suzuki is a second year MFA candidate in the Department of Film, Video, Animation, and New Genres. He completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, concentrating in the media of photography and cinematography. His interest in experimental film comes from his first encounter watching works by makers like Stan Brakhage, Ernie Gehr, and Marie Menken and writing short form poetics and playing with enjambment.
Alex Tarantino is a junior attending UWM with a major in film. The plethora of different approaches and styles of film making he’s seen in classes has been an eye opening experience for him. He has also had a number of freelance editing and filming jobs, giving him a good feel for processes used by a variety of filmmakers. Also a fan of animation, he makes his own cartoons in his free time.
Hayley Blau is a junior film student at UWM and has a vast array of interests. Originally from the Milwaukee area, she has been making short films in her free time since high school. Her interest in film started with classic narrative films, and has branched off into experimental and documentary work. She has a background with theater and the performing arts, and brings a love of storytelling to her work.
Vanessa Reuter is an exchange student from Brazil. She’s going to stay in Milwaukee for a year in hopes of learning more about areas she has never explored. Her intention is to indulge herself in as many areas in the Film field as possible before graduating at the end of this year. She started film school with the purpose of become a video editor, but her interests have expanded. Now she plans to be part of the whole process of making a film/video through her own projects. Vanessa loves to watch any film with a meaning behind it, and she’s passionate about new cultures and places. Also, she’s a co-founder of Pomar, a Brazilian production company. The company is currently dedicated to a web-series (Superdose) in which there is space given to independent bands who perform their own music.
Suana Hasani is a second year film student at UWM. Originally from Madison, Wisconsin, her parents noticed at the young age of 3 that movies were her favorite passing time, and some time the only means to calm her down. At age of eight she made her first video for her school, which involved the planets in our solar system. Since then she has made many videos both inside, and outside for school. Though her work focuses on comedic approaches to social struggles, she appreciates a wide variety of films, with silent films being her guilty pleasure. By participating in the underground film she hopes to gain knowledge of how the film world works and in hope to submit her work in the future. There is no better place to start learning that in the heart of Milwaukee itself, yet alone working with the underground film festival.
Thank you for taking the time to get to know the people behind the 2016 Milwaukee Underground Film Festival! If you haven’t already, please like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter and Instagram (@mkeunderground)!
We would love to see your films, videos, expanded cinema works and installations!
The 2016 cycle is open and we will be accepting entires now through March 1, 2016 (arrive by date). This year all entry forms will be submitted through our website! You can still mail flash drives and DVDs for prescreening if you aren’t using an online screener.
A black and white negative is placed on undeveloped black and
white print stock and left in the sun for days to weeks and then
fixed. The sun was the only developer used in making the print.
5 Fun Facts About the Sun
1. The Sun’s diameter is about 110 times Earth’s.
2. The Sun makes up 99.86% of the Solar System’s mass.
3. You could fit approximately 1 million Earth’s inside the Sun.
4. It takes light from the Sun approximately 8 minutes and
20 seconds to reach Earth.
5. The Sun is currently classified as a Yellow Dwarf, but in
approximately 6.4 billion years it will become a Red Giant
and will expand to engulf Mercury and Venus.
And a Brief Definition of a Sun Print:
A sun print refers to multiple printing techniques which use
sunlight as a developing or fixing agent.
life would be tragic if it were not funny, JOLENE MOK
3m55s | HD video | color | stereo | 2015
In Every Filter in Final Cut Pro, the filters in the digital editing
software Final Cut Pro that are usually used to enhance,
embellish, or otherwise manipulate images becomes the subject
and the content of the video itself.
19th century acculturation of two groups living thousands of
miles apart, but sharing the same name, depending on who you
talk to and what language you say it in. Parallel histories of
invasion, assimilation, aspirations, valuation, and re-evaluation.
Prospectors, colonists, and tourists searching future sites of
luxury resources and romance.
Text/audio drawn from Lord Macaulay’s Minute on Indian Education
(1835), Capt. Richard H. Pratt’s speech advocating for Indian
Industrial schools (1892), “Christopher Columbus” Mel-o-Toons
(1960), Jaypee Greens Luxury Condo promotional video (2009),
GE Show n’ Tell Picturesound Indian Pow-Wow (1964).
Fragments of a Tesseract, Lisa McCarty
1m50s | Digital Video | silent | 2013
Adapted from “Eadweard Muybridge: Fragments of a Tesseract”
by Hollis Frampton, 1973.
Excerpt from Arcanam terra lacrimarum,
7m | HD video | color | sound | 2015
Short excerpt from a work in progress exploring why and how
Friday, May 1st
Mitchell Hall, Fine Arts Cinema, B91, 3pm
In Conversation with the Archive
with Kelly Gallagher and Benjamin Risley Balcom
Jurors Benjamin Balcom and Kelly Gallagher, present a program of
their own work in conversation with selections from the UWM
Film Archive. Following the presentation, Gallagher and Balcom
will participate in a moderated panel discussion of how the
presented archival material has influenced or is otherwise
related to their practice. They will also interrogate and explore
one another’s work, while inviting the audience to do the same.
Historical and representational interrogation is a mode common
to these two makers. Their work is grounded in discourse with
the moving image object and its role in society; perception and
actuality; history and contemporary experience. In this
presentation we have asked them to orient themselves and the
experience of the audience in relationship to influence, history,
and each other.
Electrocuting an Elephant ,
Edison Manufacturing Company
74s | 16mm | 1903 – filmed for Kinetoscope
Topsy, the famous “Baby” elephant, was electrocuted at Coney Island on January 4, 1903. We secured an excellent picture of the execution. The scene opens with keeper leading Topsy to the place of execution. After copper plates or electrodes were fastened to her feet, 6,600 volts of electricity were turned on. The elephant is seen to become rigid, throwing her trunk in the air, and then is completely enveloped in smoke from the burning electrodes. The current is cut off and she falls forward to the ground dead.
Found video object (Massive Unidentified Sea Monster Caught on Oil Rig Cam)
Found video object (Turning a Sphere Inside Out)
Array, Ben Balcom
7m30s | digital video | 2013
Wandering through the city, wondering about the potentialities of space, wishing and wanting a full experience of the virtual. These thoughts are rooted to spaces on the outskirts, rendered without detail. Listen to the code. An indecipherable alphabet floods the brain. “Space is really a bad metaphor for the Internet.”
A Symptom, Ben Balcom
6m30s | 16mm | 2014
A mirrored discourse. The object we see is that which wants enumeration, but it is never said quite right. We are looking at speech from both sides of the mirror, listening to the wretch who elaborates upon the grid of desire.
Digital Actualities, Ben Balcom
6m | 16mm/digital | 2012
Actual or virtual? Here are actualities culled from the network: two acts of falling, two registrations of time. These images mark the oneiric margins of the archive. The re-inscription of the digital to analog (and back again) conflates the actual and the virtual in an uncanny drift.
Annabelle Dances, The Edison Company
5m | BW Silent | 1895
Annabelle Serpentine Dance is a short silent American film produced and distributed by Edison Manufacturing Company in 1895. It is one of several released by the studio the late 19th century.
Thumbelina, Lotte Reiniger
11m | BW Silent | 1955
One of the century’ s major animation artists Reiniger pioneered a distinctive style of black and white silhouette animation in her interpretations of classic myths and fairy tales.
From Ally to Accomplice, Kelly Gallagher
3m excerpt | video | 2015
Pearl Pistols, Kelly Gallagher
3m | video | 2014
The Herstory of the Female Filmmaker,
15m | video | 2009
Friday, May 1st
Union Theatre, 7pm
Films in Competition 1
Steel Mill Rolling, Ross Nugent
12m | 16mm | 2014 | USA
Equal parts landscape, industrial and portrait film, “Steel Mill Rolling” is a document of a functioning steel mill in Western Pennsylvania where the filmmaker’s family has worked for nearly 100 years. This plant operates with a fraction of the laborers it once employed,and the operations are relegated to specialized processing. The steel slabs transformed at this mill in Farrell, PA come primarily from Russia, where the government subsidizes their production. It is a contemporary portrait from Russia, where the government subsidizes their production. It is a contemporary portrait of the steel industry, considering the economic, political, and environmental realities of multinational steel manufacturing.
Demolished Every Second, John Davis
4m25s | Film on Video | 2014 | USA
This short work utilizes imprints from Soviet-era film leader culled from dozens of films viewed while working as an artist in residence in Dushanbe, Tajikistan in 2014. The material was largely 1980’s-era educational and propaganda films that contained a broad range of content, but had only subtle variations on more or less the same leader. Foregrounding the often ignored hand-written or machine printed artifacts found on leader, the imprints become the primary source material for a psychotronic audio/visual salvo set to an original score.
Something About Which Nothing Can Be Said,
14m | Video | 2015 | USA
Wolkenschatten, Anja Dormieden &
Juan David Gonzalez Monroy
17m | 16mm| 2014 | Germany
In 1984, for three weeks in May, what appeared to be a giant cloud shrouded the small town of Hüllen-Hüllen in darkness. Before the end of the month the cloud had dispersed and life seemed to return to normal. One month later, however, the town was hastily abandoned and its residents were nowhere to be found.
Watercourse, Hanna Chetwin
4m | 16mm | 2014 | USA
An exploration of the interplay between the formal and representational characteristics of water in motion. Soundtrack by Francis Plagne
Under the Heat Lamp an Opening, Zachary Epcar
10m | video | USA
An expanded view of the lunch crowd at an open-air restaurant, from a bird’s-eye of the exterior to the depths of the interior.
Vindmøller, Margaret Rorison
3m | 16mm | 2014 | USA
Four generations of grain, choreographed turbulence finds form through static frequencies from the mouth.
Leather, Jimmy JoE Roche
3m | video | 2014 | USA
Inspired by Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Begotten, Dog Star Man, Phil Solomon’s films, and Peter Kubelka’s 1958 Schwechater Beer commercial, Jimmy Joe Roche’s Leather provides the perfect nightmare fuel.
Wake, Eric Stewart
8m | 16mm | 2014 | USA
“Wake” is a dirge in celluloid. It is a celebration of my fathers life, a meditation on his body and a visual record of mourning. When my father died, there was never a chance to see his body after life had left it. This film was made by placing his ashes directly on 35mm film in a dark room and moving the film a frame at a time. What we see in this process of photograming is not the object in the photographic sense, but instead a representation of the space surrounding an object. The photogram is a shadow charting the distance between things.
City 3, Sam Hoolihan & John Marks
18m | 3x16mm | 2014 | USA
City 3 is an improvised, analog, expanded cinema performance by Sam Hoolihan and John Marks that focuses on the transportation systems, pedestrian life, green spaces, and industrial textures of Minneapolis, MN, incorporating a triptych of original, artist-processed 16mm films with an original live electroacoustic sound accompaniment.
Saturday, May 2nd
Microlights Cinema, 4pm
Films in Competition 2
Broadcast Eschatology Warpaint Cantata,
8m | Video | 2015 | USA
When the machine is a symbol of modern hybrid TV modulator psychological horror of communism.
Chorus, Josh Lewis
4m12s | 16mm | 2015 | USA
In any photographic process there are essentially two opposing forces at work: one, the developer, aims to turn silver salts to black; the other, the fixer, wants to dissolve those salts. In Chorus, dry granular forms of both are added to the film stock simultaneously. When water is introduced, each begins a struggle for its intended conclusion. The film bears witness to the conflict, an ecstatic sum of individual grains asserting.
Turn on the Hill, Lori Felker
5m | Video | 2014 | USA
“As we move together, be aware of the many-sided nature of the causes of behavior, do not be looking for one right reason for what happens, nor aim at pat answers why this does this or that. … People require for play, activity, striving, unpredictability, faith, companionship and supervision. They feel better and are much nicer people after a turn on the hill.” – Sister Alice Francis (edited)
Wayward Fronds, Fern Silva
13m | 16mm on Video | 2014 | USA
Mermaids flip a tale of twin detriments, domiciles cradle morph invaders, crocodile trails swallow two-legged twigs in a fecund mash of nature’s outlaws … down in the Everglades. Wayward Fronds references a series of historical events that helped shape the Florida Everglades today, while fictionalizing its geological future and its effects on both native and exotic inhabitants. Nature begins to takeover, engulfs and tames civilization after centuries of attack, and even guides it into its mysterious aqueous depths, forcing humans to adapt and evolve to its surroundings.
Wawa, Sky Hopinka
6m | Video | 2014 | USA
Featuring speakers of Chinuk Wawa, a Native American language from the Pacific Northwest, Wawa begins slowly, patterning various forms of documentary and ethnography. Quickly, the patterns tangle and become confused and commingled, while translating and transmuting ideas of cultural identity, language, and history.
The Peacock, Andrew Kim
12m | 16mm | 2015 | USA
A meditation on our fantastic condition of mortality and impermanence… “The peacock painted on the window will never dance or speak. It is only the peacock that lived in the forest which used to speak, dance, and walk in a sweet manner.”
Shwebontha, Meredith Lackey
12m | 16mm to Video | 2014 | Burma
The signboard builders of Shwebontha Street in Yangon, Burma prompt a search for the sonic and visual traces of a country in transition. Performance of military, labor and sport suffuse the sallow hunger of foreign eyes; pleasure’s lilting arrow prompts scalar confusion; past and future swirl in the peeling bells of global imperative, like hydropower.
The Plastic Garden, IP Yuk-Yiu
11m | Video | 2013 | Hong Kong
Evoking imagery and memories of the atomic age, THE PLASTIC GARDEN summons the ghost of a forgotten future, the grim fatality of a total nuclear war that held the world hostage half a century ago. A nuclear war, once a tangible inevitability felt by many, has seemingly slipped into oblivion in recent times. Despite going out of fashion as a symbol for the socio-political imaginary, the nuclear drama, like a malicious return of the repressed, continues to haunt the contemporary world in various forms, with the recent North Korean threat as one of the latest episodes.
As Near As Light, Susan DeLeo
1m | Video | 2014 | USA
A visual haiku of an ephemeral and potent journey into the unconscious through hand manipulated super 8mm film. It combines sound with imagery to create a trance-like state and glimpse into the realm of fleeting memories.
Scrapbook, Mike Hoolboom
18m | Video | 2015 | Canada
Lensed in Ohio’s Broadview Developmental Center in 1967 by secret camera genius and audiovisual healer Jeffrey Paull, Scrapbook tells the story of audacious autistic Donna Washington in her own words, as she encounters pictures of one of her former selves fifty years later.
Saturday, May 2nd
Microlights Cinema, 8pm
Films in Competition 3
The Waldgeist and Me, Joe Bichard
10m | Video | 2014 | UK
A dark tale of Love and Dismemberment. The Waldgeist & Me explores the many intricacies of love and hate and how the two can be intertwined. Written and directed by Joe Bichard. The film also includes the vocal talents of Matt King (aka Super Hans from Peepshow) and immense sound design by Oswald Skillbard.
Pas de Cheval, Courtney Krantz
3m | 16mm | 2014 | USA
This film draws from a long lineage of movement studies for the camera – including Muybridge’s motion studies of both humans and animals. Realized completely in-camera, the goal for this film was to transfer aspects of live performance execution to a one-take process. “Pas de cheval,” or step of the horse, is the classical ballet action I’m referencing but this interpretation is modernized and hybridized into a montaged synthesis of unison.
The Wrong Story, Ali Aschman
4m | Video | 2015 | USA
Limbs detach, bodies open to reveal hidden objects, peculiar figures gather among stepped archways, hesitating to touch. The Wrong Story wavers at the frayed edges of a narrative, unraveling the artist’s desire for both connection and solitude.
Fausto & Emilio, Nora Sweeney
13m | 16mm | USA
Waiting, snipping, shaving, smoking, and chatting. These are the daily rhythms of a barbershop in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio where brothers Fausto (age 83) and Emilio (age 75) have worked together for decades.
A Los Angeles street film staring empty signs, radio from passing cars and human sign spinners, some with a pulse and some without.
Watershed, Charlie Egleston
9m | 16mm | 2014 | Canada
A watershed moment serves as a site for perceptual contemplation and a meditation on the transitory nature of things. Using the multiple meanings of a watershed basin, moment and the literal ‘watershed’, the film is deceivingly simple but unfolds layers of meaning concerning images, representation and ontology.
C’est Mignon Tout ça (Sweet Oh Sweet),
Kevin Gourvellec & Anne Marie Piette
4m | video | 2013 | Canada
Remake of the eponyme film of Pierrick Sorin. A comedy about a peeping tom.
My Insatiable Apotemnophilia,
4m | video | 2014 | USA
This video is part of a series of databending experiments.The process involves taking raw video footage through a series of digital “mistranslations” until the exotic and beautiful underlying digital nature of the original video file emerges from within.
Field Notes, Vashti Harrison
17m34s | 16mm | 2014 | USA
Field Notes is an experimental documentary about the ghosts embedded in the culture of Trinidad and Tobago. The film is structured as a visual and aural field guide to the ghosts spirits and jumbies throughout the island. From personal tales about the soucouyant and lagahoo, to the ghosts of Trinidad’s past.
Check, Carlos Dominguez
4m | 16mm | 2013 | USA
Inspired by experiments in film-phonography, Check explores the sonic potential of running sequences of patterns through a 16mm film projector. Collages composed of three different patterns and solid patches of black and white were composed and photocopied onto strips of clear film leader. The sequences provide not only the images projected on to the screen, but also the soundtrack to the film.
Under the Atmosphere, Mike Stoltz
14m30s | 16mm | 2014 | USA
Filmed on the Central Florida “SpaceCoast”, site of NASA’s launch pads. Dormant spacecraft, arcane text, activated landscape, and the surface of the image work towards a future-past shot reverse shot.
Sunday, May 3rd
Kenilworth Building, 3pm
Films in Competition 4
Night Noon, Shambhavi Kaul
11m | video | 2014 | India
Unmoving rock collapsed to ocean—geology’s “thrust and fold”—becomes the unlikely habitat for two actors’ shadowy encounters with sand, waves, night, desert, dread, calm, trepidation and escape.
Invocation of Uzi, Ross Meckfessel
4m30s | super8 | 2014 | USA
An abstracted portrait of actress Jojo Hill as she portrays five different characters in this behind-the-scenes documentary of Uzi’s Party: an experimental pagan teen drama by Lyra Hill.
Beautiful Things, Mike Olenick
5m | video | 2014 | USA
Sunlight sparking through a window sets into motion this story of a woman recovering from a break up. She heads outside looking for love, but what she doesn’t expect to fnd is a perfect match. With music by the Wet Darlings.
A study in visual rhythm by shooting architecture with certain camera angles and movements in Manhattan, New York. All edited in-camera and hand-processed afterwards.
Model Fifty-One Fifty-Six, Josh Weissbach
11m | 16mm | 2014 | USA
Model Fifty-One Fifty-Six displays the physical changes of the maker’s heart since being born with the congenital disorder, Transposition of the Great Vessels. This chronicle showcases a movement from human to cyborg that connects personal vulnerability to 1980s science fiction.
a. A visible mark, such as a footprint, made or left by the passage of a person, animal, or thing.
b. Evidence or an indication of the former presence or
existence of something; a vestige.
A barely perceivable indication
Stick It, Stefan Ramirez Perez
5m | video | 2014 | Germany
Merging himself and the young gymnasts of the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta into one composite character, he enters an ambivalent position between envy, identification, rejection and critique of these highly controlled bodies and their restricted performative roles. The video follows the preparation and execution of a floor routine, suspending the marginal moment right before the action, encapsulating ambition, the pressure to succeed and the looming possibility of failure.
Old Growth, Ryan Marino
8m | 16mm | 2014 | USA
Amid the arboreal giants and temperate organisms of a primeval rain forest lurks an elusive luminous force.
Rest In Me, Henning Frederik Malz
6m | video | 2014 | Germany
The film “Rest in Me” describes an everyday routine oscillating between devotion and surrender. Malz’s rapid rhythmic montage of found footage from feature films from over the last twenty-five years chronicles in visual terms the increasing outsourcing of physical presence in favour of virtual identity. What began as the opening up of the world through the internet has mutated into an increasingly comprehensive encryption and surveillance of the individual subject.
Four Winnipeg houses as documented by reporter Lillian Gibbons, and illustrated by Arlene Osen. Shot for the 9th annual WNDX OneTake Super 8 Event.
Coming Cold, Rob Todd
6m | 16mm on video | 2015 | USA
Shiverings in anticipation of the approaching chill.
sound of a million insects, light of a thousand stars
2m | 35mm on video | 2014 | Japan
I buried a 100-foot 35mm film under fallen leaves, about 15 miles from Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, for a night to expose it to the possible remaining of the radioactive materials. The area was once an evacuation zone but now people live there after the removal of the contaminated soil.
Bad Bitches, Elisabeth Albeck
1m30s | video | 2015 | USA
Bad bitches have existed in all time periods. Exploring the concept of “badness” as defiance against social norms, and the gendered characterization of the term “bitch,” is a short film moment intended to reframe the phrase positively. In this short incantation, I face a portrait of my namesake, Elisabeth, whose scandalous
amorous relations shook the bedrock of society in aristocratic Norway and Denmark in the late 1800s. I pay respect to her otous spirit, bravery and the unshakable confidence I detect in her smirk.
Traditional Day for Eating Grilled Eel,
6m | 16mm on video | 2014 | USA
Events of a summer day in Tokyo’s Yoyogi Park.
Sunday, May 3rd
Kenilworth Building 7pm
Films in Competition 5
War Prayer, Richard Wiebe
17m | video | 2015 | USA
There are icons in Cyprus that are centuries old. They bloom like flowers in houses, churches, monasteries, and markets. Last summer marked the 40th anniversary of Cyprus’s invasion and partition. Today the island remains divided with abandoned spaces on both sides of the Green Line. For decades every US administration has exploited this partition, using military bases on the island to conduct surveillance in the Middle East. Aniconisa prayer, a window to heaven, to a listening ear.
I Am Made of Matter and I Matter, Grace Mitchell
4m | video | 2014 | USA
This is a (dysfunctional) dialectical conversation that could also be experienced as an internal monologue. S & J represent to micro and macro of one’s mind. They are contrary to each other and this difference in perspective leads to the impossibility of understanding, while simultaneously being the reason for their codependency.
Alberta, Dan Browne
3m | video | 2014 | Canada
Journeys in Banff and Jasper National Parks, Alberta.
“A journey without arrival in the great tradition of Canadian landscape travelogues.” – Richard Kerr
A Knight’s Walk (and other speculative events),
12m | video | Canada
A knight traverses the chessboard, as a bored radical traverses a Winnipeg supermarket by chance (played by Chance Taylor).
Consider Cameron Frye (played by Alan Ruck) from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off stuck in the speculative space between point and pixel. Video art in the expanded field.
The Klein Bottle, a 4D object rendered in 3D reduced to 2D (4D->3D->2D). A spatial analysis of a non-orientable surface with no boundary, a space potentially like our own.
Diaries from Guatemala, Renato Umali
5m | video | 2015 | USA
Innocuous vacation footage of a hike up Volcán Pacaya combine with images from the Guatemala Death Squad Diary combine with travel guide suggestions forgetting the most out of your trip produce this video.
Ungun, Jessica Fenlon
6m30s | video | 2013 | USA
The object shatters our ability to discuss it sanely.
After reading another Monday morning Chicago news list of names, of those killed by handguns, I started glitching photographs of guns. I ‘steal’ photos of guns hosted online, and ‘break’ those photos, manipulating the code supporting the image, a symbolic trafficking in stolen guns.
I Love You, Daniel Watkins
2m30s | video | 2014 | USA
Moreso than photographing the subject into nothingness, the camera here reassembles its subject with every repetition allowing the image to constantly redefine itself while simultaneously heading down path towards the undefinable.
Fort Morgan, Alexander Stewart
22m | video | 2014 | USA
Fort Morgan is a short film inspired by a brick fort of the same name on the Alabama coast. The film uses live-action footage and drawn animation to examine the geometric plan, physical materials, and structure of the 200-year-old fort. Following an intricate geometric diagram, the fort grows of its own accord like an oyster shell or a crystal forming, until it is eccentrically shaped, encrusted, and overgrown.
Subtle Distance, Christina Santa Cruz
3m | video | 2014 | USA
For every trip and/ or move we bring various amounts of suitcases and boxes filled with our tactile possessions. Have we become obsessed or is it merely a necessity in order to be comfortable in one’s own skin? I don’t know…
Babash, Lisa Truttmann &Behrouz Rae
9m | video | 2014 | USA
Babash is a parrot. He lives in Los Angeles. Kept by an Iranian family, he speaks mostly Farsi. Sometimes he mixes English and Azeri into his conversations. Behrouz Rae has made friends with him over the years. Babash is a portrait about a special relationship and the domestic surroundings in which it grew.
Bag of Film, Matt Rossoni
4-10m | 16mm performance | 2014 | Canada
Sitting beside the screen is myself and a bag of 16mm film scraps. A long piece of film is threaded into the projector. Once engaged, I reach into the bag and randomly select additional pieces of film, and splice them onto the tail end of the strip running through the projector. The scraps are of a variety of discarded material: leader; scratched and worn film;non-image. The result is a film whose production (editing) takes place simultaneously with its exhibition. The film ends either when a splice breaks or I can no longer keep up with the film dragging along the ground – MR
Oddly enough, when watching the work of Fern Silva, I find myself hearing the opening lines of the television series Farscape. In the series, astronaut John Crichton finds himself flung across the universe through a wormhole. In the opening credits he muses over not knowing how to share the wonders he’s seen with those he’s left home. Silva, on Earth, finds the same dilemma and, being in possession of a Bolex, solves it.
In Silva’s work expect to find a tension between what was, and what is; between extinction and preservation. Forests burn, carpets fly and, always, there is an eagle. The vantage point here is one of a traveler. A person who is in a place long enough to record it, long enough to find boredom, but not free from a departure date and time. A traveler not quite free enough to leave the hotel room and the television behind to find their own adventure. As with Marker’s globe trotting time traveler in Sans Soleil, the television provides a deceptive window into the culture at large. For Silva’s traveler though, media invades the space of the travelogue. It bends and is bent along with it. It writes the soundtrack, and perhaps parts of the script as well. The traveler may, at times, lack a bit of cultural sensitivity. However, this traveler has only come long enough to find the need to return home, with a head full of strange television and strange landscapes.
Silva’s craft with celluloid is deft and easy to consume. Set shots, tv screens, soundtracks, field recordings, and verité are cut together with skill. In Silva’s traveler we might find ourselves and consider our own cultural tourism, for a moment.
Join us Friday, 3pm. Artist in attendance. For now.
Wayward Fronds 2014 13mins
Tender Feet 2013 16mm 10mins
Concrete Parlay 2012 16mm 18mins
Passage Upon the Plume 2011 16mm 7mins
Peril of the Antilles 2011 6mins
In the Absence of Light, Darkness Prevails 2010 13mins
Wow! Thanks so much for your help this year with our fundraising on Indiegogo.
There is so much more to do, of course. The programming, the parties, and the rock shows. And then, there’s
Please allow us to introduce
Marika Borgeson is a filmmaker and photographer currently based in Los Angeles, California. Fascinated by the fluidity and mythology of American histories, she uses film and video to explore the suspension of time and the creation of legends through historic sites, museums, landscapes, and archives. She also works with 16mm film using cameraless techniques and alternative processes.
Kelly Gallagher is an experimental animator and filmmaker currently based in Iowa City. She is the 2014 recipient of the Helen Hill Award for her political cutout animation, “Pen Up the Pigs,” which explores connections between the history of slavery and modern day racist policing.
Ben Balcom is film and video maker currently living, working, and teaching in Milwaukee, WI. His work in film and digital (and digital-film hybrids) investigates ordinary objects and affects through the lens of speculative realism. In addition to making films and videos, Ben also is the curator and co-founder of a neighborhood cinema in Milwaukee called Microlights, which specializes in avant-garde film and video work (www.microlightscinema.com).
There you have it, three amazing makers. They are going to have a lot to show. So please join them this year. The Milwaukee Underground Film Festival runs from April 30 to May 3rd, 2015. See you then!
Yo yo, all you beautiful young hepcats who support all we do here at the Milwaukee Underground Film Festival, we are proud to present our festival staff for 2015! We’re building this festival from the ground up to bring you the best in film and artistic culture from around the world, so get ready for it. April 30 to May 3, 2015, will certainly be four days to remember.
From Lewis came two entries in a series of “Doubts.” Doubt #6 and Doubt #9 come from a collection of 9 films created in a laboratory, mad scientist fashion. Working under a red light, in the basement of a lab (which already existed nearly as a basement itself to begin with), Josh scattered various chemicals onto outstretched canvases of 16mm black and white film. In his own words, “the struggle to maintain control quickly gives way to a kind of desperate religion.”
A documentary of his exploits in that basement, an exploration of his doubts about the outcome of his filmmaking process manifests itself in these artifact reels. Unknown combinations of chemicals applied to the celluloid surface expose the emulsion’s thickness. Exposures along the line of the strip make its vertical run clear. Meanwhile, chemicals continually shout out their acidic force or lack of it, their ability to make permanent or erase, and a general frenzy of applicative hits and misses.
One of my favorite moments in handmade film is the very thing that digital exhibition of them is completely incapable of– the refraction of light along the edge of exposure. Where the emulsion is removed by chemical or physical action, the projection of light to a distant screen renders the bevel of the exposure visible. Like bright sunlight grazing a window blind, there is that small bend of the lamp’s rays. It’s a bend that spreads over the distance from emulsion to screen that results in a display of an edge’s depth. Without the distance from the bulb, through gel, to screen, this is lost in the transfer to digital.
The Doubt series then becomes something of a meta-document. A document of its own making, one which, once described, I find entertaining and unforgettable. Mad scientist, in the basement of the lab, trying to come up with something but coming up with something else entirely. Beyond that beginning image, this series manages to document the space in which it is projected and develops, for a brief moment, an on-screen record of room, lamp, equipment and distance. It is in the nature of a no camera projection, that one can find that the bending of light past thin boundaries, into patterned refractions, renders form and depth, light, darkness, and color. And it can only be found in that room, at that time.