The Guild Cinema, with its mixture of award-winning documentaries, acclaimed foreign cinema, cutting-edge indie films and cult midnight movies, continues to expand Albuquerque’s viewing options. This month, the venerable Nob Hill theater joins forces with a number of under-the-radar arts organizations to bring the multi-week Other Cinema DVD Warmup series to town. Covering nine flicks in just three weekends, this series of “engaging, lively, provocative and darn interesting movies” aims to expose viewers to a wide range of filmic arts. These subculture-minded documentaries, inventive experimental films and assorted cinematic miscellany are intended as a warm-up/teaser/background education to the upcoming appearance of noted underground filmmaker Craig Baldwin, who will be at the Guild for a three-day festival in April.
The Other Cinema DVD Warmup is a collaboration between Guild Cinema (Albuquerque’s sole surviving independent theater), Basement Films (local nonprofit advocates of underrepresented film and video), Experiments in Cinema (UNM instructor and videographer Bryan Konefsky’s annual tribute to no-budget experimental cinema) and Other Cinema (San Francisco’s long-standing collective of avant-garde film artists and cinematic archaeologists). Founded by “found footage” filmmaker Craig Baldwin in the mid-’80s, Other Cinema has grown from a series of semiannual film and video throws (the visual equivalant of a jam session) in the Bay Area to a full-blown DVD label.
Guild Cinema owner Kief Henley, who has worked with Basement Films for years, admits that “Baldwin was a huge influence on Basement Films. In fact, the founder, David Nelson, chipped in money to help complete [Baldwin’s 1992 feature] Tribulation 99. So we’ve known Craig from the get-go.”
For the first three weekends in March, Guild Cinema will screen sneak previews of Other Cinema’s biggest and boldest films. DVDs of the films will be available for sale in the Guild’s lobby after the shows. Paging though Other Cinema’s fiercely independent catalogue, Henley calls the selections “provocative” and concludes, “There isn’t a whiff of Hollywood wannabe here. No Hollywood calling card films in the bunch. I think they’re that much more kick-ass because of it.”
March’s calendar of kick-ass, non-Hollywood screenings starts off loud and proud with Negativland: Our Favorite Things (a “greatest hits” collection of videos from legendary sound and image experimenters Negativland) and Sonic Outlaws (Baldwin’s documentary about Negativland’s legal battle over its infamous U2 parody) this Saturday and Sunday, March 7 and 8. On March 13, 14 and 15, it’s Experiments in Terror I & II (a collection of phantasmagorical shorts from underground filmmakers like Damon Packard, Kerry Laitala and J.X. Williams), That ’70s Dimension (a media-archaeological treasure trove of 16mm commercials, PSAs and TV ephemera from the bygone disco era) and So Wrong They’re Right (Russ Forester and Dan Sutherland’s documentary about fanatical 8-track tape collectors). Things come to a close on March 21 and 22 with Tribulation 99 (Baldwin’s found footage collage about American imperialism and alien conspiracies), Rainbow Man (Sam Green’s exploration of the life of late ’70s rainbow wig-wearing Jesus freak Rollen Fredrick Stewart) and Afro Promo (another example of Other Cinema’s media archaeology, this one digging up hugely popular and practically forgotten highlights from the careers of Sidney Poitier, James Earl Jones, Pam Grier and others).
Though the Other Cinema Warmup comes to a close later this month, it picks up again in April with Craig Baldwin curating a three-day collection of freaky/fascinating film and video throws alongside Basement Films. This Other Cinema Blowout will take place April 13 through 15. For more information on the Blowout, as well as a complete listing of films and times for the Other Cinema DVD Warmup, log on to guildcinema.com.