Experimental Response Cinema

Experimental Response Cinema


Today we’ll be hosting Roger Beebe who has come to Austin… how many times Roger? Twice. Behind us we have a cavalry of 60 mm projectors that he’s brought over and this is going to be a really really fun show. When I moved here in Austin there wasn’t really anybody showcasing work like this. It was our moment to get up on the mic and do it. Experimental film doesn’t want to make money, in a certain sense. You know, it will never be “Spiderman.” There’s a deep personalness to it that I think works well. Well I think that a lot of experimental work is because it is popular is really easy to become buried. So a lot of it just kind of becomes hidden from traditional audiences. So I think it’s really important for there to be organizations that can be looking out for those kinds of works and digging through archives to unearth them and bring them to light. I initially got involved in movies because I wanted to make movies but was very… It didn’t suit me at all, that kind of professional work flow of having a cinematographer and a gaffer and a crew and all of the money and the stress took all of the fun out of it for me. And I kind of stumbled into an experimental film screening in Portland and it all of a sudden dawned on me that there was such a thing as a one person filmmaker, and that not only could they make really great work, they could make masterpieces. Filmmaking wasn’t an insurmountable task anymore after that. When I started making films I was actually making narrative films and I got really annoyed with the apparatus of narrative. With like, someone having to hold a boom pole it just seemed like there was a lot of stuff, a lot of coordinating schedules, you know you have actors you have to get locations, you have to get all this extra gear. And that was really not what I do when I thought about making films. I thought I wanted to be making something more immediate and I also didn’t want to have to get thousands of dollars for every film I made. So, I started kind of moving in the direction of more and more experimental forms and more kind of stripped down. The program I’m presenting today is called Films for 1/8th projectors. Well it’s a little bit of a mixed bag. I’m showing I think a total of six or seven shorts. Two of them are big multi-projector performances that use, I guess both of them today are using 6 projectors. One uses 6 16mm and one uses 5 16mm and a super 8. I started to feel really inessential to the shows. I would turn down the projector and I just stood there and then I waited for the Q&A or I’d go outside and smoke or whatever. It just suddenly felt like this is a way of making my presence necessary. And it was also a way of turning the event, it’s not a screening any longer, it’s an event. It’s not like, “Oh I can see that movie on YouTube.” Or whatever. But it’s like I have to be there. Something is happening in the room. So that’s really the biggest part of it. It’s like in an era when things are more and more accessible in a kind of immediate way, but we can kind of control the context. I mean it’s really exciting to be able to create this context and create this kind of atmosphere where people are together in the room. I think something else, something special happens. Experimental film sounds sort of scary and alienating and we think it’s going to be super boring and hopefully… you know, part of what I want to do with these tours is hopefully show people who take a chance on the shows that that’s not the case.

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