Thursday, February 11, 2016

2/17/16 Dave Fischer

a 103 minute abstract film
ON COPPER WINGS  is a film made by insects. No individual insects are listed in association with it - it is thought that hundreds of millions of insects worked on this production. The movie tells the story of the insect creation myth, which involves the insect development of science and technology, insects time traveling to 450 million years ago to rescue the early proto-insects from the Ordovician-Silurian extinction event, and genetically modifying them to be more competitive. 

The film is very difficult to follow for a human audience. Some sequences are thought to represent the perspective of an insect hive, rather than an individual insect. Much of the film also respresents idealized versions of things, which, since we have no idea what ideals insects possess, are completely abstract and mysterious to the human viewer.

Dave Fischer is a filmmaker from Providence RI. He works algorithmically, editing video via mathematical equations, using software he writes in C, on old computers he rescues from scrap yards. On Copper Wings was primarily shot with a still camera and microscope lenses. More info at

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Spring 2016 Schedule

2/3 THE EXILE by Oscar Michaulx + RAGE IN HARLEM by Bill Duke
2/10  BLOOD OF JESUS by Spencer Williams + CABIN IN THE SKY by Vincent Minnelli
2/17 ON COPPER WINGS by Dave Fischer
2/24 Jean Rasenberger
3/2  Sustainability Incubator + Rob Todd
3/16 Cauleen Smith
3/23 Kate McCabe
03/30 Julianna Schley
4/6  Kate Burton
4/13 Ana Vaz
4/20 Jennifer Reeves
4/27 John Price
5/4 Amy Halpern-Lebrun

Friday, February 5, 2016

2/10/16 Spencer Williams

BLOOD OF JESUS by Spencer Williams 

Spencer Williams, who had been an actor and screenwriter since 1929, was one of the most important African-American filmmakers of the 1940s, producing dramas with all-black casts that found a ready audience in all-black movie houses. Williams made his directorial debut with this low-budget drama, for which he was also the producer, screenwriter, and lead actor. Highly religious Martha (Cathryn Caviness) is married to Razz (Williams), a ne'er-do-well who has trouble supporting his family and rarely goes to church. Razz accidentally shoots Martha while tending to his hunting rifle, and her fellow parishioners pray over her as she hovers between life and death. Her spirit leaves her body, transported to the Crossroads between Heaven and Hell. There, Martha is tempted from the path of righteousness by Judas Green (Frank H. McClennan), a smooth-talking demon sent by Satan (James B. Jones) who introduces her to the pleasures of liquor and dancing and tries to talk her into a new career as a nightclub hostess, before she realizes that she has begun to travel the path of sin and degradation. Shot in Texas on a budget of only $5000, The Blood of Jesus uses both ethereal gospel music and down-and-dirty blues on the soundtrack is an effective metaphor for the film's battle of sacred and profane influences. Williams would direct seven more films before the decade was over, and in the 1950s he gained fame as Andy on the Amos 'n' Andy TV series.
~ Mark Deming, Rovi

Monday, February 1, 2016


THE EXILE by Oscar Michaulx

Thursday, January 21, 2016

1/27/16 Other Provocations Part 2


Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Welcome to Spring 2016 1st screening 1/20/16


Works of Joe Gibbons
SPYING 1978 35 min. Super-8
“One of the ten best films of the year. A silent exercise in applied voyeurism, Spying is a hilariously perverse ‘Man with a Movie Camera’ in which the filmmaker secretly observes his neighbors (and their pets) sunbathing, gardening, or gazing out of their windows.”. --J Hoberman, Village Voice

2002 41 min. Video
“Scary and hilarious...Mr. Gibbons has assembled bits and pieces of super-8 films to compose a chronicle of petty larceny, drug abuse and general irresponsibility, all of which he characterizes as research. Mr. Gibbons’s persona, if not his actual personality, is at once guileless and entirely untrustworthy, as if the distinction between lying and telling the truth had never occurred to him.”
– NY Times 

Joe Gibbons is a singular figure in the history of American experimental cinema. He is widely regarded for the incomparable, dryly humorous works that he began making in the mid-1970s. At the time, Gibbons was considered a pioneer of Super 8 filmmaking, however he left this intimate home movie format behind in the late 1980s to work in 16mm and video. His dynamic output has been featured in four Whitney Biennial exhibitions (1995, 2000, 2002, 2006) and he is the recipient of fellowships and awards from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the NY State Council on the Arts, the Creative Capital Foundation, The LEF Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Massachusetts Council on the Arts and Humanities, and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation. Over the years Gibbons has taught at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Pratt Institute and most recently at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The majority of Gibbons’ films and videos center on a protagonist named Joe Gibbons. This guy looks, speaks and even behaves like the filmmaker, however you might say that he is an intensified, more performative and fictionalized version of the artist. Existential, megalomaniacal, paranoid and ultimately doubtful of the direction that life is taking him, Joe tends to live on the margins of society. He hates working and instead makes ends meet through less legitimate means. Whether avoiding parole officers, dreading the day ahead or contemplating another scheme, Joe’s self-reflective monologues break the fourth wall by being addressed directly to the camera. Critic J. Hoberman noted that Gibbons “invented a new mode of psychodrama which might be termed the ‘confessional’". Possessing a razor sharp sense of comic timing and an uncanny improvisational imagination, Gibbons miraculously turns his distressing self-indulgence into something compelling and deeply amusing. His slippery sense of narrative and faux-diaristic leaves one wondering if Joe is simply documenting his life on camera or instead living his life for the camera. Discussing his approach to filmmaking, Gibbons comments that:

I guess in most drama there’s some kind of flaw that drives the drama and I think by exaggerating things—I mean, I play pretty messed up characters, but there are aspects that everybody to a greater or lesser degree exhibits, especially the psychopathic ones; people can identify with that. So many movies are made involving these characters. I started out making more abstract films or structural films and it wasn’t until I discovered using myself as material that I thought I had something. But I had to keep making more—I needed content. By finding flaws and working on those—that was a goldmine.
-Andrew Lampert, Anthology Film Archives