Experiment Like You Mean It
Experiments in Cinema v8.53 washes over the Duke City this weekend like a cinematic fever dream. This is the eighth year for the alternative film festival (or something like it, that numbering system of theirs is pretty wacky). The multi-day festival is billed as “an annual celebration of international cinematic experimentation.” Longtime festival director (and UNM Media Arts Department instructor) Bryan Konefsky tends to put it in more inflammatory (and slightly more snarky) terms: “EiC brings the international community of cinematic ‘Un-dependents’ to Albuquerque, reminding us that filmmaking has a cultural responsibility which transcends the pathetically produced, popcorn poo-poo that we have come to know as ‘going to the movies.’” Now that’s how you invite people to a film festival.
Presented, as always, by local arts organization Basement Films, this year’s Experiments in Cinema looks to be the biggest yet—a full week of workshops, receptions and mind-altering movie screenings. Venues run the gamut from Guild Cinema in Nob Hill to the National Hispanic Cultural Center to UNM’s Southwest Film Center. While it’s impossible to list all the events and the scores of short films featured, there are a few highlights worth plugging.
Things get underway on Sunday, April 14, with a Pre-Festival Warmup. These two special presentations will get you into fighting shape for the days to come. Starting at 6 p.m. at Guild Cinema is Pixelvision Phantasmagoria, in which “cultural revolutionary” Gerry Fialka screens selections from his 22-year-old PXL THIS Film Festival—featuring shorts made exclusively on the legendary Fischer Price toy video camera, the PXL-2000. At 8 p.m., Fialka (promoted to “para-media-ecologist”) presents Dream Awake—James Joyce as Experimental Cinema. This challenging, interactive workshop examines how Joyce’s 1939 work Finnegans Wake presaged the experimental film movement.
Monday brings with it the New Mexico premiere of Pip Chodorov’s feature documentary FREE RADICALS: A History of Experimental Film—which is as good a way as any to ease yourself into this thing called Experiments in Cinema. In the days that follow, there’s an incredible selection of eye-dazzling events. On Thursday, April 18, at the National Hispanic Cultural Center, you can witness contemporary moving image art from a variety of Spanish-speaking countries. On Friday, April 19, at the Southwest Film Center, Küçük Sinemalar! offers up a survey of experimental cinema from Turkey. On Saturday, April 20, at Guild Cinema, there’s a 16mm B/W film animation workshop hosted by Portland’s Ben Popp. Before, after and in-between, you’ll be assaulted by dozens and dozens of Super 8, 16mm and digital video shorts from around the globe—many of which are having their New Mexico, U.S. or World Premieres!
Some events are free, others have an admission cost. To figure out which is which—and to see a full rundown of the week’s events (April 14-21), get on over to the Experiments website. A few easy mouse clicks and you’ll witness the full spectacle waiting for you at this year’s Experiments in Cinema. Or as Konefsky puts it, “Arise cinephile-comrades! Pick up your cameras and join us as we reclaim the media pixel by bloody pixel!”