Roger Beebe Presents: NO LA


One of the unique institutional/historical characteristics of experimental filmmaking in the U.S. is that many of the great experimental filmmaking and film exhibition centers have not been in our major cities.  Instead, especially as experimental film found its way into colleges and universities, thriving experimental film cultures have sprung up in unlikely places—Binghamton, Buffalo, Ann Arbor, Athens, Iowa City, Boulder, etc., etc., etc.  Having lived, worked, and run a film festival in such a place (Gainesville, Florida, “the Paris of North Central Florida”) for a decade, I became acutely aware that often this history gets effaced or overshadowed by the tales of the scenes in our major cities:  New York (above all), San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Chicago (more or less in that order).  This program is designed to shine a light on some important contemporary makers scattered around the fifty states whose work often embodies a different practice that develops in the semi-autonomy of their local scenes.  This program presents just a small sampling of such work, drawn from my decade at the helm of FLEXfest.

In putting together this program, I did have to confront the fact that one of the other defining characteristics of experimental filmmaking in the U.S. is its mobility.  Many of these makers have spent time in the “centers” before settling in the “periphery.”  And surely their work is marked by that passage, which has often included schooling at one of the canonical art programs (like Jodie Mack at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago).  Certainly almost all have also screened in the center/those centers at one time or another.  But I would still argue that there’s something unique about the trajectory that these makers have taken through the world and that that trajectory is reflected in the work itself.  This program is designed to make a case for that specificity and to serve as an incentive to dig deeper into this “cinema of the margins” at the geographical peripheries of experimental film.

Christopher Harris (Orlando, FL), “28.IV.81 (Bedouin Spark)” (3:00, 16mm, 2009)

Georg Koszulinski (Seattle, WA), “White House” (8:00, HD video, 2009)

Tomonari Nishikawa (Binghamton, NY), “Tokyo-Ebisu”

Kelly Sears (Denver, CO), “Once It Started It Could Not End Otherwise” (7:30, HD video, 2011)

Brendan and Jeremy Smyth (Durham, NC/Haverhill, MA), “Death Songs and Car Bombs” (6:30, 16mm, 2013)

Jason LaRay Keener and J. Ledbetter (Birmingham, AL) “Hallelujah! Gorilla Revival” (4:45, HD video, 2008)

Lauren Cook (Hartford, CT), “Altitude Zero” (5:00, 16mm, 2004)

Kristin Reeves (Murray, KY), “The White Coat Phenomenon” (3:00, SD video from VHS, 2012)

Bill Brown (Durham, NC), “Hub City” (14:00, 16mm, 1997)

Drew Christie (Seattle, WA), “The Man Who Shot the Man Who Shot Lincoln” (5:30, SD video, 2010)

Jesse McLean (Milwaukee, WI), “I’m in Pittsburgh and It’s Raining” (14:20, HD video, 2015)

Jodie Mack (Lebanon, NH), “Let Your Light Shine” (3:00, 16mm, 2013)

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