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Home Movies and the Avant-Garde (Program 1)

Sunday, September 16, 2012 ,  7PM

Cinema Borealis
1550 N. Milwaukee Ave, 4th Floor , go to map

Admissions: $10 Suggested Donation

To celebrate Home Movie Day’s 10th anniversary (Saturday, October 20th at the Chicago History Museum!), we’ve teamed up with the Northwest Chicago Film Society (NWCFS) to co-present HOME MOVIES AND THE AVANT-GARDE – two programs of rare avant-garde films that appropriate and remix home movies and other amateur footage.

This two part series was programed by the folks over at the NWCFS, and here’s what they have to say:

“For decades, home movies and avant-garde films were jointly denigrated as ‘amateur’ in the least appealing sense: precious, obscure, endless, and immeasurably handicapped by a lack of professional polish. They were judged as failed attempts at Hollywood-style filmmaking, though their aspirations and implications often could not be more removed. In the 1960s, avant-garde filmmakers like Jonas Mekas and Stan Vanderbeek began reclaiming the epithet of ‘home moviemakers,’ producing work that challenged the borders of amateur cinema and domesticity itself. In honor of the tenth anniversary of Home Movie Day, the Northwest Chicago Film Society will be screening two programs of avant-garde films that exalt, appropriate, and reshuffle home movies. All titles will be authentically projected from 16mm film prints. Both programs will be presented at Cinema Borealis, the cozy screening room located in the heart of Wicker Park. Seating is limited; arrive early.”




People Near Here (Ron Finne, 1969, 12 min, 16mm from Film-makers’ Coop)

“Do something for the camera!” In the late twenties, 16mm home movie cameras became available and the well-off used them through the 1930s. Then the 8mm camera increased participation in the very events it recorded, drawing out the facts of who we are or play at being. In this film, Americans — across stages of life, across decades, in backyards, at a graduation picnic, on a beach and in other ordinary places — reveal silly, happy, intense and sad things about themselves, mostly with exuberance and dignity. The film is arranged without internal editing of the found sequences.” Film-makers’ Coop Catalog 

Urban Peasants (Ken Jacobs, 1975, 60 min, 16mm from Film-makers’ Coop)

“Filmed by Stella Weiss and family, chanced assembled by Ken Jacobs from uncut 100-foot lengths. Alternating sound and image. Image must travel at silent speed. Sound o tape precedes and follows silent image. 40 minutes film plus ca. 12 minutes sound. My wife Flo’s family as recorded by her Aunt Stella. The title is no intended put-down but a simple statement of fact, as I see it. Brooklyn was a place made up of many little villages; a near-shtetl is pictured here all in the space of a storefront.”  Film-makers’ Coop Catalog

Shit Rat (Dave Rodriguez, 2012, 20 min, 16mm from the artist)

“A beguiling found footage discovery from the Florida Moving Image Archives—an anonymous, hand-processed reel from the beginning of the millennium that feels much older. A filmic message in a swamp-swept bottle.” NWCFS

Share this program with your virtual friends!

To learn more about Program 2 of the series, click here
& To learn more about Chicago Home Movie Day on October 20th, click here

Cinema Borealis
1550 N. Milwaukee Ave, 4th Floor
go to map
Admissions:$10 Suggested Donation