Techniques of the Observer

Techniques of the Observer is a film screening series that explores the many possibilities of experimental films as a range of styles, motivations and techniques that are generally quite different from, and often opposed to, commercial and traditional documentary film practice.Curated by South Asian filmmaker and new media artist Karl J Mendonca, the first screening of this biannual event presents an assemblage of bizarre, fantastic, personal, critical and visually effervescent short films by established and emerging artists from around the world (US, India, Germany). The films have been shot on a spectrum of analog and digital formats from16mm film to cell-phones, and produced using a variety of techniques including hand-processing, direct animation, found footage collages and hand painted film.The series also hopes to support and augment the emerging community based micro-cinema network in India that provides a much needed alterative to the increasingly insular mainstream cinema establishment. We are extremely thankful to the filmmakers and many collaborators who have made this screening series possible.

PROGRAM:

Body of Work(hand processed Super 8, 3:00 min) Kevin T Allen
Eye Music(16mm, 3:00 min) by Joel Schlemowitz
Birth of Brainfly (animation, 6:00 min) by Nandita Kumar
Why Don’t You Start With Your Own Lungs (found footage, 4:00 min, silent) Melanie Ida Chopko
Hipster Job (16mm, 4:47 min) by Thomas De Napoli & Jack Tomas
O Two O Eight (DV, 2:00 min) by Mary Patterson
El Paso Vietnam (personal documentary, 16mm, 10:00 min) Ina Adele Ray
Landrunner (paper animation, 3:00 min) by Alice Cohen
Bellybutton (animation, 2:00 min) Bo Sul Kim
Pasewalk (cell-phone, 2:00 min) by Angela Anderson
Minimal Pair (found footage, 5:00 min) by Stephanie Wuertz
The Circle of Confusion (16mm, 6:00 min) Juan David Gonsalvez
The Brother’s in Trouble (found footage, home movies, 3:53 min) by Sara Strahan
Lucy’s Terrace (optically printed 16mm, 4:20) by Caryn Cline
The Reed Trains (documentary, HD, 11:00 min) by Amir Husak

Body of Work (hand processed Super 8, 3:00 min) by Kevin T Allen

[ TOP ] Hand-processed, hand-tinted Super 8mm portrait of time, aging and the human body.Kevin T. Allen is a filmmaker, sound artist and independent radio producer who navigates the minutia of the everyday. His films traverse both museums, such as MoMA, and festivals, such as the Ann Arbor Film Festival. His film, Kieu, won first prize at the Black Maria Film Festival. His sound work has been featured on public radio and at venues such as the Canadian Centre for Architecture, Third Coast International Audio Festival, Filmless Festival and Deep Wireless Festival of Radio Art. He recently completed a yearlong cross-continental audio-visual project called American Transit (www.american-transit.org).

Eye Music (16mm, 3:00 minutes) by Joel Schlemowitz


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A hand-cranked film of a wind-up record player, hand-colored to simulate the unheard music.Joel Schlemowitz has made over forty short experimental films, and numerous film installation pieces. He has received grants from the Jerome Foundation and New York State Council on the Arts. His work has been shown at the Whitney Museum of American Art, MoMA, Anthology Film Archives, and at various festivals including the London Film Festival, the Sydney Film Festival, the Chicago International Film Festival, the Ann Arbor Film Festival, the Denver Film Festival, the New York Underground Film Festival, and elsewhere. He has received Best Short Documentary awards at the Chicago Underground Film Festival in 2004 and 2005. Joel teaches filmmaking at the New School, and is President of ACT-UAW, Local 7902, union of adjunct and part-time faculty at New School and NYU.

Birth of Brainfly (animation, 6:00 min) by Nandita Kumar


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An animation charting the surreal course of a psyche’s evolution within the invisible landscape of the mind.Nandita Kumar is a multi-faceted, multi media artist. She has received her Bachelors Degree from Auckland University, in the Elam School Of the Arts, New Zealand and ia Masters Degree in Experimental Animation at California Institute of the Arts, in Los Angeles. Her work transfigures and depersonalizes the “theater” of the mind and taps into the “echoic power” of locating the reflective self in others. Her films have shows at various film festivals around the world including the Stuttgart Animation Film Festival, Tricky Womens Film Festival – Vienna, Cinema Mundo – II Internacional Film festival in Brazil and the Rome Film Festival.

Why Don’t You Start With Your Own Lungs (4:00 min, silent) Melanie Ida Chopko

[ TOP ] Why Don’t You Start With Your Own Lungs is a recycled-image collage film narrating a dream of donating my lungs. Composed entirely from appropriated footage, the film features sections of hand painted sections and handmade titles created through a new process of “negative typing” wet film in a typewriter.Melanie Ida Chopko is an American artist and musician living in Brooklyn, New York. She works as an organizer with the Awakening the Dreamer Initiative, building a movement for environmental and social justice in the United States.

Hipster Job (16mm, 4:47 min) by Thomas De Napoli & Jack Tomas


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Based on the Biblical Book of Job, this modern satire is set in modern day Williamsburg, Brooklyn with hipsters playing the parts of the biblical characters. Job is a man who has everything, a hot girlfriend, a cool job, and all the trappings of hip urban youth. When Glam Rock God and Punk Rock Satan make a bet about Job’s fealty things go bad for Job. REALLY bad.Jack Tomasis a writer, director and editor working in New York City. His films include “Timmy the Greeting Card Guy” (Official Selection of the New York Independent Film Festival), “Lucha Ducha” (Official Selection of the Cannes Film Festival), and “Hipster Job” (Official Selection of the Miami International Film Festival.Thomas De Napoli is the Video Content Producer for Death + Taxes Magazine. He was Assistant to the Producer on Wes Anderson’s “The Darjeeling Limited” (Fox Searchlight) and Production Executive on Mira Nair’s “The Namesake” (Fox Searchlight).

O Two O Eight (DV, 2:00 min) by Mary Patterson

[ TOP ] O Two O Eight the second storm of season. It was captured in a place that cycles through many.Mary Denise Patterson is a New York based filmmaker. With an interest in all things medical and scientific, corporeal and apocalyptic, she uses film, recycled materials and digital imagery to tell stories.

El Paso Vietnam (personal documentary, 16mm, 10:00 min) by Ina Adele Ray


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In Texas during the Vietnam War, a smart, sassy, Vietnamese language teacher meets her future husband before he leaves for her hometown, Saigon, as told through interviews, old photos, and archival footage. The filmmaker is their daughter.Ina Adele Ray is a filmmaker and professional video editor residing in New York City. She has 10 years of multimedia, video, and film production experience. She also teaches film and media courses at the New School and has previously taught at NYU and Parsons School of Design. Her film, El Paso Vietnam, received awards and screened at various venues locally, nationally, and abroad. She recently produced, Parallel Adele, with director, Adele Pham, which has been making the 2008-09 film festival circuit.

Landrunner (paper animation, 3:00 min) by Alice Cohen


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Landrunner is a stop-motion music video created for the band Ducktails. Influenced by lo-fi strategies such as the resurgence of the cassette tape in the hypnagogic pop scene which Ducktails is a part of, Cohen reflects the aesthetic of this genre by working with 1960′s TV technology, which gives her work a hazy, vintage feel. Cut-outs and found imagery from disparate eras spawn a retro/futuristic hybrid as palm trees, pagodas, pill-like metallic candies and geometric shapes float and glide upon disembodied architecture which breaks apart and reconfigures itself into a non-era where collective memories meet utopian dreamscapes. “Landrunner” embodies a space in which drab structures such as office buildings can be re-imagined as hallucinatory playgrounds.Alice Cohen is an animator and musician based in Brooklyn, NY.

Belly Button (animation, 1:30 min) Bo Sul Kim


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“Belly Button is a hand drawn animation based on my childhood belief. Following the cycle of life and death, the two belly button encounter, form a baby, turn into an old man and disappear back to another belly button.”Bo Sul Kim is a multi media performance designer, filmmaker and painter artist. She holds her BFA in painting in S. Korea and MFA in Experimental Animation from California Institute of the Arts. She has directed and video designed for “Shadow, My shadow”, “The Vibration of my Breath” and various shows with musicians. Her work has been shown in S.Korea, Mexico, Indonesia and throughout US at venues such as REDCAT, LA Convention Center, Berkely and Jack Pelican Gallery in NY. She performed with Jazz improviser Wadada Leo Smith, Vinny Golia, ICU ensemble, and Carole Kim. Her paintings were shown at Seoul Contemporary Museum, Samsung Gallery, and Art Gong. Also she has a unique experience working with Disney Animation Studios, Bueman Group in NY, and Art center Nabi in Seoul.

Pasewalk (cell-phone video, 2:00 min) by Angela Anderson


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Pasewalk is a brief but exciting journey through space and time that takes viewers on a digital ride through an analog reality. By utilizing the unique image quality of native resolution cell phone video, Pasewalk evokes the nostalgic aesthetic of 8mm film.Angela Anderson is currently finishing her MA thesis on Deleuzian perspectives on the underground dance club in the Media Studies program at the New School. She lives in Berlin, where she works as an editor and videographer, as well as the production coordinator for Forum Expanded, the experimental and installation section of the Berlin International Film Festival. A single-screen version of Pasewalk was shown at the Weiterstadt Open Air film festival in Weiterstadt, Germany this past summer.

Minimal Pair (found footage, 5:00 min) by Stephanie Wuertz


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The main difference between these and those is just a small line.No one is interested in a character like Stephanie because the facts are indecent and obscene; but come then out of the museums, gardens, and ruins where obscene facts are as numerous as daisies in Nantucket.

The Circle of Confusion (16mm, 7:00 min) Juan David Gonsalvez


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The metaphysical struggle between a Humanzee Boy and his father over a glass of milkJuan David Gonzalez Monroy was born in Bogota, Columbia. His work has been exhibited at festivals and galleries in Columbia and New York. His work encompasses film, video, animation & painting.

The Brother’s in Trouble (found footage, home movies, 3:53 min) by Sara Strahan


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This little film began from a quote from filmmaker Michelle Citron: “Everyone has some knowledge that cracks the smooth surface of our home movies.” Original score by Melissa Grey.

Lucy’s Terrace (optically printed 16mm, 4:20) by Caryn Cline


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Comprised of optically-printed handmade frames, “Lucy’s Terrace” experimentally documents an urban retreat. The film features plants gleaned from my neighbor’s terrace placed on transparent 16mm leader and re-photographed using an optical printer. The music, by contemporary composer David Froom, features my neighbor, classical flautist Lucy Goeres.Caryn Cline is a filmmaker, teacher and gardener. Originally from the Missouri Ozarks, she lived and worked in Seattle Washington before moving to New York City to pursue filmmaking. Her films have screened in several festivals in the US and Canada. She is very happy to have her work shown in India.

The Reed Trains (documentary, HD, 11:00 min) by Amir Husak


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An essay film that examines the aftermath of violence in Bosnia-Herzegovina through the prism of railway travel. Once a complex network that provided connections to many European cities, Bosnia’s railroad suffered an intense period of destruction during the war in the early 1990s. The demolition of hundreds of kilometers of rail tracks has left many small towns and villages virtually isolated from the rest of the world. Driven by a largely autobiographical text from one the country’s most promising young writers, Nihad Hasanovic, the film blends the personal and political in a story about trains and coming of age in a city under siege.Amir Husak is a multi-media artist based in Brooklyn, NY. Born in Bosnia-Herzegovina, he spent his late teens in Germany before moving to United States in 1998. The cross-cultural experiences triggered his interest in media making as means of overcoming communication barriers and other borders, real or imagined. Since 2001 he has worked across a variety of time-based media to produce works that blend documentary, essay and experimental processes. Husak’s films and multimedia installations have been featured at such diverse places as Contemporary Art Institute of Detroit (U.S.A.), TV Cultura (Brazil), Sarajevo Film Festival (Bosnia & Herzegovina), Kultur im Sommer (Germany), and Detroit Docs (U.S.A.). His collaborative work includes projects with New York’s pioneer video artist Paul Ryan (Raindance, Radical Software) and Berlin-based sound artist Sebastian Meissner (Klimek/Random Inc.). Husak is also a co-founder and editor of the web showcase NoCommercialValue.org

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