Tuesday, April 7, 2015

4/8 Fringes & Fragments: The Short Films of Ben Rivers (in-person)

Please join us Wednesday evening for a special screening and conversation with award winning UK filmmaker Ben Rivers. Rivers will be presenting 4 shorts films including the Boston premiere of "Things" which was just awarded top prizes at Ann Arbor Film Festival and Rotterdam.

Location: Mass Art Screening room 1. 621 Huntington Ave. Boston MA
MBTA Directions: Take the green line (E train) to Longwood stop.
Entrance to MASSART after is through South Building entrance on Huntington Ave.

Ben Rivers (Somerset, 1972) studied Fine Art at Falmouth School of Art, initially in sculpture before moving into photography and moving-image. His filmmaking treads a line between documentary and fiction, often filming people who have in some way separated themselves from society. Rivers creates oblique narratives imagining alternative existences in marginal worlds, taking from J. G. Ballard the belief that optimism can be born out of crisis, and that utopia can exist as a personal state of mind or as collective thought.

He is the recipient of awards including FIPRESCI International Critics Prize, 68th Venice Film Festival for his first feature film Two Years at Sea; the inaugural Robert Gardner Film Award, 2012; Baloise Art Prize, Art Basel 42, 2011; and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award for Artists, 2010, and two-times winner of Tiger Award for Short Film, Rotterdam International Film Festival. In 1996 he co- founded Brighton Cinematheque, which he then co-programmed through to its demise in 2006. He continues to programme on a peripatetic basis. He is represented by Kate MacGarry Gallery.

THINGS (2014, 21 mins, 16mm, b/w+col)
Things is a travelogue in which the filmmaker leads himself and the viewer through a tour of the four seasons, without ever once setting foot across his doorstep - focusing on unexplored things inside his own four walls. A year-long journey through domestic surroundings that at the same time is a trip into imagination and collective memory - revealed in the collected fragments of images, film, objects and sounds, a bed, books and, observed through a window pane, a squirrel in the garden.

As the seasons change, parallels and associations are made with things previously seen; an intricate web of clues to a life, there for the viewer to unpick. 

Ann Arbor Film Festival - winner Stan Brakhage Film at Wit's End award 2015
International Film Festival Rotterdam – winner Tiger Award for Short Film 2015

This Is My Land (2006, 14 min, 16mm, b/w)
A hand-processed portrait of Jake Williams – who lives alone within miles of forest in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Jake always has many jobs on at any one time, finds a use for everything, is an expert mandolin player, and has compost heaps going back many years. He has a different sense of time to most people in the 21st Century, which is explicitly expressed in his idea for creating hedges by putting up bird feeders. It struck me straight away that there were parallels between our ways of working - I have tried to be as self-reliant as possible and be apart from the idea of industry - Jake's life and garden are much the same - he can sustain himself from what he grows and so needs little from others. To Jake this isn’t about nostalgia for some treasured pre-electric past, but more, a very real future. 

A World Rattled Of Habit (10min, 16mm, col/b+w, 2008)
A day trip to Suffolk, to see my friend Ben and his dad Oleg…

“So, that’s why my outlook and things very different than normal people, because I was not in a normal propaganda one area only, I was exposed all of a sudden to all opposites, you see and then you get clear mind.” Oleg Meschko

Sack Barrow (16mm, 2011, color)
Sack Barrow explores a small family run factory in the outskirts of London. It was set up in 1931 to provide work for limbless and disabled ex-servicemen until the factory finally went into liquidation this year. The film observes the environment and daily routines of the final month of the six workers. Years of miniature chemical and mineral processes transform the space into another world. Towards the end an extract of The Green Child by Herbert Read describes the descent into a watery cave world.