Alibi V.24 No.16 • April 16-22, 2015 

Reel World

An interview with Experiments in Cinema guru Bryan Konefsky

There are times when it seems Bryan Konefsky would be happier as a gardener than a filmmaker. He’s the kind of guy who likes to get up to his elbows in things. In addition to his work as an instructor in UNM’s Department of Cinematic Arts, he’s the president of local arts organization Basement Films, he serves on the board of advisors for the Ann Arbor Film Festival (the nation’s oldest independent film festival), and he’s the founder/director of Experiments in Cinema. This week the 10th annual Experiments in Cinema festival comes to Albuquerque for what the man behind it all calls “a filmmaker-friendly event nurturing an annual micro-community of like-minded media makers, scholars and enthusiasts.”

You’ve got films coming from all over the world. Do you think of experimental film as a more universal genre or style?

In spite of potential language/dialogue barriers, I think cinema in general is a universal activity above and beyond any other form of creative expression. Cinema is about everything else. It expresses a deep and profound sense of the world we live in. I think the most moving experience that speaks to this idea of the universal was a presentation I recently gave at the Erarta Contemporary Art Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia. One of the films I screened was an experimental film portrait of the city of Havana titled “Walking Under the Sun” by Diana Fonseca. At the end of the screening, an older man approached me with tears in his eyes. My translator told me that he was so moved by that film as he hadn’t been to Cuba in years, and the movie brought back wonderful memories of his youth.

Experimental film seems to embrace a very "hands on" approach. In addition to screenings, you always include instructional workshops.

Indeed, there are some undependent filmmakers whose work is very much about a “hands on” approach and the physicality of the film stock itself. For example, Julie Perini from Portland screened a film several years ago in our festival where she buried undeveloped 16mm film stock in the ground, unearthed it and then processed the celluloid. The results were a film titled “Collaboration with the Earth.” This year Experiments in Cinema will host Kerry Laitala from San Francisco who will teach a Lightstruck Cinegram Workshop. This will be a free, hands-on workshop where students will create motion picture equivalents of photograms on 35mm film stock. The results of the workshop will be screened at our festival.

“At the end of the screening, an older man approached me with tears in his eyes. My translator told me that he was so moved by that film as he hadn’t been to Cuba in years, and the movie brought back wonderful memories of his youth.”

Bryan Konefsky

Any other special guests coming in?

We have several special guests coming to town to help us celebrate our 10th anniversary. Kamila Kuc will travel from the UK to present a program about avant-garde cinema from Poland. Gabriela Golder and Andrés Denegri, co-directors of the Bienal de la Imagen en Movimiento festival in Buenos Aires, will present a program about experimental cinema in Argentina, and Caryn Cline will be in town from Seattle as our artist in residence. Caryn will be doing creative research with Basement Films’ extensive archive of 16mm educational films and presenting the results of her research at the festival. We have also published an eight-disc DVD collection—available at the festival and on our website—of films from this year’s festival. And we have published a book titled Undependently Yours: Imagining A World Beyond the Red Carpet with essays by invited artists and curators about the value of alternative film festivals.

Experiments in Cinema v10.T36

April 15 through 19

Guild Cinema

3405 Central NE

For a complete list of films, installations, workshops and receptions, go to experimentsincinema.org.
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