dontate now

Join Email List

Facebook  Become a Fan on Facebook
twitter  Follow Us on Twitter

329 West 18th Street Suite #610
Chicago, Illinois 60616
(312) 243-1808

CFA’s New Year Awards and Grants Roundup

The turn of the year has been full of news for CFA! Here’s a round up of the grants and awards we have received recently, which we are extremely grateful for. Lots of reasons to keep checking back in with us to see what we’re up to!

CFA and Partners Awarded “Hidden Collections” CLIR Grant


Chicago Film ArchivesNortheast Historic Film and the Lesbian Home Movie Project are extremely pleased to announce that we have been awarded a “Hidden Collections” grant, a granting program of the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) that is generously funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. This collaborative project will unleash the work of 50 women filmmakers by supporting the digitization of their works. CFA is particularly happy to increase exposure to the work of Millie Goldsholl and JoAnn Elam, two twentieth-century filmmakers who are largely unknown.

Millie Goldsholl (1920-2012) headed up the filmmaking division of the renowned Chicago design firm, Goldsholl Design and Film Associates. She attended classes at Laszlo Moholy-Nagy’s new School of Design when the New Bauhaus movement was just taking hold in Chicago. Her work is playful, political and highly innovative. The Goldsholl’s studio gave space and guidance to new experimental filmmakers such as Larry Janiak, Byron Grush and Robert Stiegler, all who have archived their work at CFA. A large portion of the personal films made by Millie will be digitized and made accessible as a result of this grant.

JoAnn Elam (1949-2009) was a champion of the small gauge film, and an experimental filmmaker as well. She, too, was highly political and at an early age made two feminist films RAPE and LIE BACK AND ENJOY IT. Both still are in distribution. Her collection of films is vast and not easily decipherable. A closer look often reveals a home movie to be subtle commentary. Many of her films depict every day events with shadings of political overtones. So, it’s unclear what is and is not a “finished” film. JoAnn died before finishing her documentary named EVERYDAY PEOPLE. In the coming years, CFA hopes to take a stab at extending her themes into unexpected places.


CFA Acknowledged by the Ruth Page Center for the Arts


Chicago Film Archives, along with the Batsheva Dance Company, will receive the 2017 Ruth Page Award for significant contributions to the world of dance. This unexpected honor came to us just recently for CFA’s “dedication to preserving the legacy of Ruth Page.” With enduring trust from the Ruth Page Foundation and financial support from the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, CFA spent three and a half years stabilizing, digitizing and describing this large collection of films and videos that dates from the early 1920s. Today hundreds of performances, rehearsals, home movies and dance films can be viewed streaming from CFA’s website

This award will be presented Friday, January 27th at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance after the performance of Last Work by the Batsheva Dance Company. Hope to see you there!


CFA Goes International!


CFA is happy to announce we have been awarded a grant from the MacArthur Foundation International Connections Fund to produce an International Media Mixer!!

Chicago Film Archives (Chicago, IL) and Lab 80 film (Bergamo, Italy) will partner in this exciting project by exchanging digitized film footage from our respective repositories. Each organization will then commission two media artists (from our respective countries) to create new works using the partner’s footage (digitized, of course!). Upon completion of these four new silent video works (2 in Italy and 2 in the US), the partnering organizations will once again exchange the works so that two musicians/bands from the partnering country can score the new pieces.

Once completed, these four new media works will be screened in the Chicago area and in northern Italy with live accompaniment by the musicians who created the scores. Our Italian colleague, Karianne Fiorini, will be representing Lab 80 film to identify the Italian artists, curate the project, and coordinate the screenings on her side of the ocean. CFA will be doing the same in Chicago.

The goal of this project is twofold. It will allow archivists and filmmakers to explore the process and outcomes of creating culturally hybrid works of media art with archival footage. It’s a sort-of cross cultural “call and response” exercise, mixing and layering artistic audio/visual expressions that emanate from artists of two different cultures. It will also bring definition and a sense of scope to the international practice of media conservation, combining the practices of art and archiving to produce new artistic works.

This project is based upon an artistic collaboration that Chicago Film Archives has sponsored locally over the last five years. CFA provides footage to three Chicago media artists to create original video works. These videos are then handed over to three local musicians, bands or audio artists who each score one of the new works. These three new fully-realized media works are then premiered at CFA’s annual Media Mixer at the Hideout. This MacArthur proposal will add an international component to the mix.

CFA Media Mixer 2016 (in review)

We had a lot of fun on June 9th at the 5th annual Media Mixer and are extremely thrilled with the videos produced by this year’s line-up! Thanks to all who came and participated, but if you couldn’t make it (or if you just want to watch them again), we now have two of the videos available to stream below.

And if you’re new to the Media Mixer in general, the premise of the annual event is simple: three filmmakers, paired with three audio artists, have the full run of CFA’s vault to create new video art with the archival footage.

2016′s talented lineup included (filmmakers listed first):

Melika Bass AND Coppice
Jon Cates AND Jeff Kolar
Andrew Mausert-Mooney AND Bobby Conn

(more on this year’s artists here)

Read More »

Thursday, June 9, 2016


Join us as we officially celebrate our 5th annual CFA Media Mixer! CFA’s annual video remix-centric benefit returns with an impressive lineup of video premieres, performances, DJs and raffle prizes. Michelle Puetz and Peter Margasak will be co-masters of ceremonies, with sounds from DJ Benny Backwash. At the heart of this fabulously fun event is the PREMIERE of 3 video collaborations made entirely with footage from CFA.

The way this works: CFA asks three artists to make a short video piece using footage from CFA’s collections and then to turn that piece over to a sound artist/musician who records a score specifically for the piece.  In other words:

•       CFA footage x 3 filmmakers x 3 audio artists
•       Shake them up
•       Throw 3 magical sight and sound creations up on the screen

This year’s talented line-up includes (filmmakers listed first):

Melika Bass + Coppice
Jon Cates + Jeff Kolar
Andrew Mausert-Mooney + Bobby Conn

(more on this year’s artists here)


AND so many great raffle and silent auction prizes in store! Raffle tickets will be sold before and during the event and awarded the night of the Media Mixer (you don’t have to be there to win!). Silent Auction entries will only be available at the event.


  • 2 tickets for Chicago Sinfonietta’s Día de los Muertos concert on Halloween night featuring CFA’s Danse Macabre – 2 winners
  • Anatolia Kurdish Kitchen Basket of Baked Goods
  • Gift certificates for any DMK restaurants
  • Four tickets to Up Comedy Club: Improv and Sketch Comedy
  • AMC Movie Theater gift card
  • 2 reserved tickets for White Sox games
  • 1-year membership to the Music Box Theatre
  • Autographed photo of David Ross from the Chicago Cubs
  • Two tickets for any show at Bottom Lounge
  • Lou Malnati’s gift card
  • Four tickets for Second City
  • 1-year regular membership to the Art Institute of Chicago
  • Gene Siskel Film Center Membership for 2 (one year)
  • Cards Against Humanity game - 2 winners
  • Ray Ban sunglasses donated by Pearle Vision Old
  • Autographed photo of Chicago Bears Pernell McPhee, Jay Cutler, Kyle Long and Kyle Fuller
  • Pair of three-day passes to the Pitchfork Music Festival
  • Two Bulls tickets + parking pass
  • 1 bottle Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon 40th Anniversary
  • Whiskey Tasting at Delilah’s
  • 2 tickets to see Neko Case/k.d. lang/Laura Veirs at Chicago Theatre (August 7, 2016)
  • Early 1980s vintage Fuji bicycle — 60-day warranty and can be exchanged to suit height


  • Four Cubs tickets (10 rows up from visiting team’s on-deck circle)
  • Beautiful hand carved table by Frank Sullivan of Reclaimed Table

All proceeds from the CFA MEDIA MIXER go to benefit the Chicago Film Archives and their efforts to identify, preserve and provide access to the Midwest’s audio-visual heritage. CFA MEDIA MIXER gives CFA fans a chance to support the efforts of both CFA and local artists at the same time!

Endless thanks to our sponsors:



1354 West Wabansia Avenue
Chicago, IL
go to map


8pm - 11pm


$15 (21+)

CFA Media Mixer 2015 (in review)

A couple of weeks ago we shared the video collaborations from 2014′s MEDIA MIXER event on the blog, and now we’re excited to bring you some of 2015′s videos, available to stream for the first time! Check ‘em out below and also see 2012, 2013, and 2014 for more MEDIA MIXER greatness. And don’t forget to come to the Hideout on June 9 for this year’s event!

2015′s talented lineup included (filmmakers listed first):

Amir George AND The O’My’s
Jesse Malmed AND ONO 
Fern Silva AND Phil Cohran 

(more on that year’s artists here)

Read More »

CFA Media Mixer 2014 (in review)

We’re getting so excited about the upcoming CFA MEDIA MIXER that we started looking back at past years’ projects and realized there are TWO years of amazing collaborations that we never assembled in one place to stream. In this post we’re proud to present the videos produced by our 2014 Media Mixer participants (you can view 2012 and 2013 here and here, respectively).

2014′s talented lineup included (filmmakers listed first):

Lori Felker AND Cheer-Accident
Deborah Stratman AND Olivia Block 
Latham Zearfoss AND Bastardgeist 

(more on that year’s artists here)

Read More »

CFA Media Mixer 2016: Meet this Year’s Artists

Our annual video remix benefit is BACK this year with yet another amazing lineup of artists working together to create new video works out of digitized items in our vault. Right now, three extraordinary filmmakers are loading up with massive amounts of footage culled from the deepest corners of our collections – including some rare, little-seen gems and a few staff favorites – which they’ll edit, re-interpret, transform, and kick over to three of Chicago’s most imaginative musicians to score. Then, come June 9, you’re all invited to the Hideout to celebrate the world premiere of their collaborations, along with raffle prizes, auctions, and more. It’s CFA’s Media Mixer 2016!

This year’s artists (filmmakers listed first, followed by musician(s)) include:

Melika Bass + Coppice
jonCates + Jeff Kolar
Andrew Mausert-Mooney + Bobby Conn

More on this year’s artists…

Read More »

CFA Media Mixer 2015: Meet this Year’s Artists

We are SO EXCITED to announce the artists for this year’s CFA Media Mixer event – our annual video re-mix benefit held at the Hideout. Over the next couple of months each filmmaker will work closely with his musical pairing to create and score a short video piece made from digitized films from our vault. We’re currently loading up our filmmakers with loads and loads of footage of their choosing (plus a few curve balls chosen by our staff). This year’s lineup is so awesomely talented that I had to take a break from writing this and head towards a window and scream a little bit. We hope to see you at the Hideout on Thursday, June 18th to both support CFA and to watch the world premiere of three films made by our artist pairings.

This year’s artists (filmmakers listed first, followed by musician(s)) include:

Amir George + The O’Mys
Jesse Malmed + ONO
Fern Silva + Phil Cohran

More on this year’s artsits:



Amir George is a motion picture artist and film programmer born and bred in Chicago. Amir creates work for installation, the cinema and live performance. His video work and curated programs have been screened in festivals and galleries across the US, Canada, and Europe. In addition to founding Cinema Culture, a grassroots film programming organization, Amir is also the co-curator of Black Radical Imagination a touring experimental short film program. He currently teaches and produces media with youth throughout Chicagoland.


Jesse Malmed

Jesse Malmed is an artist and curator, working in video, performance, text, occasional objects and their gaps and overlaps. He has performed, screened and exhibited at museums, microcinemas, film festivals, galleries, bars and barns, including solo presentations at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Photography, University of Chicago’s Film Studies Center, Chicago Cultural Center among others. Additionally, Jesse programs at the Nightingale Cinema, co-directs the mobile exhibition space Trunk Show, programs through ACRE TV and spends part of each summer as a Visiting Artist Liaison with ACRE. His writing has appeared in Incite Journal, YA5, OMNI Reboot, Big Big Wednesday, Temporary Art Review, Bad at Sports and Cine-File. A native of Santa Fe, Jesse earned his BA at Bard College and his MFA at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He was named a “2014 Breakout Artist” by Newcity, is a DCASE In The Works resident and is a 2014-15 Artistic Associate at Links Hall, where he is organizing the Live to Tape Artist Television Festival May 18-24 2015.



Fern Silva (b. 1982, Hartford, CT) uses film to create a cinematographic language for the hybrid mythologies of globalism. His films consider methods of narrative, ethnographic, and documentary filmmaking as the starting point for structural experimentation. He has created a body of film, video, and projection work that has been screened and performed at various festivals, galleries, museums and cinematheques including the Toronto, Berlin, Locarno, Rotterdam, New York, Hong Kong, Edinburgh, Images, London and Ann Arbor Film Festivals, Anthology Film Archive, Gene Siskel Film Center, Wexner Center for the Arts, San Francisco Cinematheque, Museum of Art Lima, Cinemateca Boliviana, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston, Museum of Contemporary Art/Chicago, Museum of Modern Art P.S.1, and Cinema Du Reel and the Centre Pompidou. He was listed as one of the Top 25 Filmmakers for the 21st Century in Film Comment Magazine’s Avant-Garde Filmmakers Poll, is the recipient of the Gus Van Sant Award from the 49th Ann Arbor Film Festival and was nominated for Best International Short Film at the 2012 Edinburgh International Film Festival. He received a BFA from the Massachusetts College of Art, MFA from Bard College and is currently based in Chicago, IL where he teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.




The O’My’s are the new sound of Chicago Soul. Rising stars in the midst of a Chicago music and cultural renaissance, The O’My’s have recorded and shared stages with Chance the Rapper, Wyclef Jean, ZZ Ward, Ab Soul, Twista, NoName Gypsy, Mick Jenkins, Save Money, Yo Yo Ma, and Kids These Days. A multi instrument, multi-ethnic crew, The O’My’s are led by co-founders and songwriters, singer/guitarist Maceo Haymes and keyboardist Nick Hennessey. The crew’s rhythm section is comprised of bassist Boyang Matsapola and drummer Barron Golden. Erick Mateo on sax, William Miller on trumpet, and J.P. Floyd (formerly of Kids These Days) on trombone complete the horn section. All Chicago natives, The O’My’s sound captures the tremendous love, pain, warmth and bitter cold found in the city’s streets. Delicate arrangements, a pounding rhythm section and soaring horns provide a perfect home for Haymes’ commanding, smokey rasp and smooth falsettos. Drawing from Chicago’s rich musical traditions of blues, jazz and rock, The O’My’s pick up where their musical forefathers left off, taking Roots Rock’n’Soul to the present. The O’My’s are now in studio recording their third project, Keeping the Faith, a Psychedelic Soul record slated for release in the late fall of 2014. +



ONO‘s members span several generations, ethnicities, and genders, but at its core the group consists of Travis Travis Travis, P. Michael Ono and Shannon Rose. As Moniker Records explains, “ONOMATOPOEIA BEFORE MUSIC was the band’s founding principle, and this conflation of language and noise has always been deeply, if not explicitly, political…Founded in 1980 and reemerging in the late 00s with astonishing vehemence and an expansive, multi-generational lineup, they’ve been embraced by a more fertile and experimental Chicago scene. travis has always referred to fellow-founder P. Michael ONO as the ‘leader of the band,’ but anchor might be more appropriate—P. Michael’s groundswelling bass and nasty, insectoid beats are unquestionably the glue that binds the sprawling noise. But then there’s travis, whose fierce brilliance carries echoes of punk prophets like Patti Smith, Iggy Pop and Gil Scott-Heron but is always pure, raging ONO…ONO’s original mission statement (1980) runs through this music more truly and deeply than ever, so to quote it in full and let it speak for itself: ONO1980// Experimental Performance, NOISE, and Industrial Poetry Performance Band; Exploring Gospel’s Darkest Conflicts, Tragedies and Premises.” +



“Women in wool hair chant their poetry. Phil Cohran gives us messages and music made of developed bone and polished and honed cult. It is the Hour of tribe and of vibration, the day-long Hour. It is the Hour of ringing, rouse, of ferment-festival. On Forty-third and Langley black furnaces resent ancient legislatures of play and scruple and practical gelatin. They keep the fever in, fondle the fever. All worship the Wall.” – Gwendolyn Brooks, “Two Dedications: II The Wall August 27, 1967″

Born in 1927 in Oxford, Mississippi, Phil Cohran played with Sun Ra’s Arkestra and co-founded the AACM (Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians) before establishing the Affro-Arts Theater in 1967. The honorific title Kelan was bestowed on him by Chinese Muslims on a tour of China in 1991. 

More on Cohran’s career via The HistoryMakers:

In 1950, Cohran joined Jay McShann’s touring swing band, playing with Charlie Parker and Walter Brown. He recorded with McShann for Houston’s Peacock Records where he backed up Big Mama Thornton and Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown. Drafted that year, Cohran trained Naval bands at Annapolis, Maryland. Discharged in 1952, Cohran moved to Chicago where he studied the Schillinger system and played with Jimmy Bell and Walter Perkins. For the balance of the 1950s, Cohran was a part of Sun Ra’s cutting edge Astral Infinity Arkestra where he played trumpet, zithers and harp on recordings such as Rocket Number Nine and We Travel the Spaceways…Cohran lives in Chicago, where many of his children are noted musicians in their own right.”

In 1966, Cohran’s Artistic Heritage Ensemble included Amina Claudine Myers, Ajramu, Larry King, Eugene Easton, Don Myric, Aaron Dodd, Bob Crowder, Pete Cosey, Charles Hany, Louis Satterfield, Verdeen White and Maurice White. The latter three later formed the nucleus of the musical group Earth, Wind and Fire, utilizing the thumb piano sounds pioneered by Cohran. One of his 1966 concerts at 63rd Street Beach in Chicago drew 3,000 people. As founding director of the Affro Arts Theatre in 1967, Cohran hosted a weekly cultural extravaganza that featured poets like, Haki Madhubuti (Don L. Lee), Carolyn Rodgers and Useni Eugene Perkins; dancers like Darlene Blackburn and Alyo Tolbert; and musicians from the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) that he founded with Muhal Richard Abrams. In 1968, Cohran left Affro Arts to teach at Malcom X College.

From 1975 to 1977, Cohran operated Transitions East, a Chicago Southside venue featuring music and health food. In the 1980s, Cohran twice co-chaired Artists for Harold Washington. In 1987, he composed the award-winning music for the Sky Show at Chicago’s Adler Planetarium. His music has been featured in countless venues including the Chicago Jazz Festival. Honored numerous times for his musicianship and teaching, Cohran was honored with the name “Kelan” by Chinese Muslims while on tour in 1991.

Cohran lives in Chicago, where many of his children are noted musicians in their own right.

For even more on Cohran and his amazing career we recommend reading “Blues and the Abstract Truth” – by PETER SHAPIRO (The Wire magazine, issue 207, May 2001).

Again, we hope to see you on Thursday, June 18th at the Hideout! Head on over to the event page for more info (raffle prizes, DJs, general excitement & more!):



CFA Media Mixer 2014: Meet this Year’s Artists

It’s hard to believe that our little toddler of a fundraiser, CFA MEDIA MIXER, turns three this year (right?!). At the heart of each year’s event is the premiere of 3 video collaborations made entirely with footage from CFA. More specifically, we ask three artists and three musicians to team up with one another to create and score a short film using digitized footage from our vault. We then screen each pairing’s finished film (sound & image) at the Hide Out as part of our annual fundraiser.

We’re already hard at work organizing this year’s MEDIA MIXER (Thursday, June 19th at the Hideout). In fact, just last week we confirmed this year’s CRAZY TALENTED line up of artist pairings, and we’re delighted to share them with you (filmmakers listed first, followed by musicians):

Lori Felker AND Cheer-Accident
Deborah Stratman AND Olivia Block 
Latham Zearfoss AND Bastardgeist 
More on this year’s artists…
Lori Felker chose Filmmaking as her official second language in 2003-ish, bumping German into third place. Eventual fluency is important to her, so she employs many forms/formats, practices frequently with others, and tries hard not to shy away from expressing her thoughts on human behavior, participation, frustration, failure, in-eloquence and political irritants. Lori has many lives to live simultaneously. They currently live, make films/videos, teach, project, program, and compulsively collaborate in Chicago.
Deborah Stratman is an artist and filmmaker interested in landscapes and systems. Recent projects have addressed freedom, sinkholes, surveillance, the paranormal, sonic warfare, faith and comets. She lives in Chicago where she teaches at the University of Illinois.
Latham Zearfoss is an artist and cultural producer living and working in Chicago. His artwork often centers on reclaiming historical and mythological texts, and revising them to incorporate radical notions of love and sex, possibility and probability. His commitment to art and activism has also manifested in the creation of sporadic, temporary utopias like Pilot TV and Chances Dances. Latham graduated from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago with a BFA in 2008 and the University of Illinois at Chicago with an MFA in 2011. He has exhibited his work internationally and all over the U.S.
Bastardgeist is Chicago-based songwriter and performer Joel Midden. On his latest release Infinite Lives, he has crafted a lush and dizzying album about memory and displacement. Through nine, kaleidoscopic songs, Midden—featuring contributions from Sam Scranton of Volcano! (Leaf Label), Oliver Barrett of Bleeding Heart Narrative (Tartaruga Records), and James Mabbett of Napoleon IIIrd (Brainlove Records)—employs hypnotic kalimba cycles, warm string arrangements, haunted samples, and ethereal vocals to craft an album that is at turns nervous and peaceful, fragile and ecstatic.

Olivia Block creates original sound compositions for concerts, site-specific multi-speaker installations, live cinema, and performance. Her compositions often include field recordings, chamber instruments, and electronic textures. Additionally, she performs multi-speaker electronic compositions, and compositions for inside piano and objects. Her latest LP/download release, Karren (Sedimental, 2013), an electroacoustic and orchestral piece performed by Chicago Composer’s Orchestra, has been chosen as “Best of 2014″ by The Wire, Pitchfork, and Artforum, among other publications.
Hailing from the singularly vibrant musical hotbed known as Chicago, CHEER-ACCIDENT has been a creative, vital force in rock music for over 20 years. They constantly strive to surprise their audiences and themselves through relentless reinvention. From dreamy pop to angular art-rock, CHEER-ACCIDENT strikes a powerful balance between personalized and unique studio wizardry and the visceral excitement of a well-honed, explosive live rock band. The band is a quintet at its foundation, but they often presents themselves in various configurations…including this year’s CFA Media Mixer lineup of Jeff Libersher (guitar, vocals),Thymme Jones (drums, vocals), Evelyn Davis (piano, vocals) & Dante Kester (bass).

More news to come! but in the meantime, you can view CFA MEDIA MIXER 2012 collaborations here & 2013′s here.

!!EXCITING UPDATE!! Latham Zearfoss & Bastardgeist’s video collaboration will feature a live and magnetic performance by Darling Shear – poster child for all things Fabulous from the 1500′s to 1900′s.

Darling is the daughter of the sensational “PINKY SHEAR” the famous French Maid to some the worlds most fabulous burlesque performers. Darling did not want to take up a feather duster but feather boa, and Pinky Shear knew her daughter was meant to be something more than a French Maid. Darling spent many years in classical dance training at her mothers wishes and from the first moment she put on her tutu she never wanted to think of picking up anything with feathers unless it was for a costume. Although Darling loved the world of classical Ballet that was molding her she too a fancy to the freedom of Jazz dance; I mean her mother works for burlesque performers. She started to take more Jazz classes and soon became a overnight sensation with her first job she got at the age of 15 from one of her mothers Burlesque friends. Darlings love for the gyration of the hips, seductive poses, and flashy bare all quality shined so bright on that night she had audiences in the palm of her hands. And from that point on to this day every time Darling takes the stage the audience stops so they won’t miss a single pirouette turn. Now Darling performs Historical Jazz Dance re-stagings and reenactments.


CFA Media Mixer 2013 (in review)

All three videos from this year’s CFA Media Mixer are now streaming online! Check ‘em out:

1. ”What I Want” (Film by Alexander Stewart ; Sound by Sam Prekop; Video Sponsor:  Pentimenti Films)

2. ”Love and Care of Pets” (Film by Jesse McLean ; Sound by Sich Mang ; Video Sponsor: BRMC Group)

3. ”Songs for Earth And Folk” (Film by Cauleen Smith ; Sound by The Eternals ; Video Sponsor: Music Box Films and Music Box Theatre)

These three videos premiered at CFA’s second annual CFA MEDIA MIXER benefit on June 6th. The premise of the event was simple: three filmmakers, paired (blind date style) with three audio artists, had the full run of CFA’s vault to create some video art. Like last year, we are super thrilled with the outcome of this project and can’t wait to see where these artists and videos fly off to next.

CFA Media Mixer 2013: Meet this Year’s Artists

This year marks the second year of our CFA Media Mixer event. So… what’s the Media Mixer event all about? Well, the premise is simple: three filmmakers, paired (blind date style) with three audio artists, had the full run of CFA’s vault to create some video art. We’ll premiere the finished videos on Thursday, June 6th alongside lots of other entertainment – including music provided by DJ Peter Margasak and a live set from Bobby Conn and Monica BouBou! At the core, the CFA Media Mixer is a benefit for CFA, but we like to think it’s a lot more than that. It’s also a celebration of local artists, artistic collaborations and CFA (more generally). We at CFA want our films to speak to a variety of different purposes and interpretations. We believe (really strongly!) in making the archive accessible and available for a variety of different purposes (including research and creative-based projects), to have these incredible films and collections speak to a new generation of viewers and to *hopefully* inspire artists (like our Media Mixer collaborators). Now, let us formally introduce you to this year’s artist pairings & video sponsors: 1. “Love and Care of Pets” (4 minutes) Filmmaker: JESSE MCLEAN  Jesse McLean’s work is motivated by a deep curiosity about human behavior and relationships, especially as presented and observed through the mediation of found footage. Her recent work interpolates the production, proliferation, and consumption of televisual experience, investigating how this transfer of information creates a bind of complex relationships between maker and viewer. Interested both in the power and the failure of the mediated experience to bring us together, McLean’s work asks the viewer to walk the line between voyeur and participant. Jesse McLean was the recipient of the Overkill Award at the 2011 Images Festival and the Barbara Aronofsky Latham Award for Emerging Experimental Video Artist at the 2010 Ann Arbor Film Festival. She has presented her work at the International Film Festival Rotterdam; Venice Film Festival; Transmediale; 25 FPS Festival; European Media Arts Festival; Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis; Interstate Projects; PPOW Gallery; Museum of Contemporary Art, Detroit; Impakt Festival; CPH:DOX; Kassel Documentary Film and Video Festival; Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago; and the Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, OH. (courtesy of Video Data Bank) Sound artists: SICH MANG Sich Mang is made up of Chicagoans Eric Lee Gale and Rand Sevilla. Together they produce a style of music called “wurkstep.” Chicago Reader’s Miles Raymer cleverly defines this style as Chicago juke and footwork music (the distinctive, up-tempo dance music styles born in Chicago’s South and West sides) dipped in a vat of garishly polychromatic psychedelia. Jessica Hopper (via Chicago Tribune) adds, “Sich Mang songs were not made for passive listening. Its current crop of remixes is more a reverent mangling of dance music; it flirts with dance, hip-hop and R&B sounds but pushes them toward something shy of mania.” Video Sponsor: BRMC Group   2. “Songs for Earth And Folk” (10.5 minutes) Filmmaker: CAULEEN SMITH   Cauleen Smith received her B.A. from the School of Creative Arts at San Francisco State University and her M.F.A. from UCLA School of Theater-Television-Film. For the past several years Cauleen Smith has produced multi-channel film and video installations that incorporate sculptural objects and text. Her interests roam from her roots in structuralist filmmaking to afro-futurist narrative strategies. Materials and form are central interests which are applied to projects as the project itself demands thereby making the body of Smith’s work unpredictably varied and diverse. Smith is producing a series of films, objects, and events (of which Fullness is a part) that explore the psychogeography of American cities in which the intersection of black cultural production and the urban landscape created significant and global musical innovation. Smith currently lives in Chicago and is artist in resident at Washington Park Arts Incubator. Recent projects include “17″ a series of hand screenprinted wallpapers which ruminate on sound. And Black Utopia LP – A Cauleen Smith movie, vinyl records accompanied by 35mm slides featuring performances by Chicago poets Krista Franklin and Avery R. Young. Her Double LP combs through Experimental Sound Studio’s Sun Ra Archives. It can be purchased from Dusty Groove Records, Threewalls, and Corbet vs. Dempsy. Sound artists: THE ETERNALS Since emerging from the sonic destruction left by the no-wave punk bulldozer Trenchmouth in the late 90s, the Chicago-based band, The Eternals (Damon Locks & Wayne Montana), have made a point of disillusioning music purists everywhere. At times they soothe, at other times they serve as a wake-up call with carefully crafted loops mixed with jagged analog synth waves and driving bass lines. No mood, no thought, no feeling is held back. Past film scoring projects from the band include Terri Kapsalis & Rob Shaw’s Noon Moons and Alix Lambert’s Mark of Cain. (courtesy of the MCA) Video Sponsor: Music Box Films and Music Box Theatre   3. “What I Want” (6.5 minutes) Filmmaker: ALEXANDER STEWART Alexander Stewart’s short films have screened internationally, including at the International Film Festival Rotterdam, the Tribeca Film Festival, and ImageForum (Japan). He is co-director of the Eyeworks Festival of Experimental Animation, and curates a screening series at Roots & Culture gallery in Chicago. He teaches animation at DePaul University. Sound Artist: SAM PREKOP Chicago born Sam Prekop has been a fixture on the local scene for decades, as front man of Shrimp Boat and the Sea and Cake and more recently as a solo artist. Video Sponsor:  Pentimenti Films So…. when was the last time you could party with Jesse McLean, Sich Mang, Cauleen Smith, the Eternals, Alexander Stewart, Sam Prekop, Peter Margasak, Alison Cuddy, Bobby Conn, Monica BouBou and CFA!?  Come on down to the Hideout this Thursday and have some fun!  Great music, video art premieres, (really) killer raffle prizes and you’ll (in the meantime) be supporting the work of Chicago Film Archives and local artists! Purchase advance tickets (highly recommended) here & more details on the event here

CFA Media Mixer Updates

Last spring we asked 3 filmmakers (Kent Lambert, Jessica Bardsley, Ellen Castleberry & Andy Resek) and 3 musicians (CAVE, Tim Kinsella, Josh Abrams) to team up and make a short film using CFA footage. We then premiered their finished films at our first annual CFA MEDIA MIXER benefit. Our goal behind this creative-based project was to inspire artstic use of our incredible films and collections. The event is not just a celebration of local talent and artstic re-use, but also a benefit and awareness-raiser for CFA. We here at CFA are dedicated to expanding the audiences of the Midwest’s collective cinematic heritage, and we hope our Media Mixer event inspires others to assist us in these efforts.

Last year’s CFA MEDIA MIXER films have had a fun and rewarding life beyond their Hideout premiere. Kent Lambert & CAVE’s film, WREST, won the “The Made in Chicago Award” at this year’s Chicago Underground Film Festival, and screened at this past weekend’s Ann Arbor Film Festival. Jessica Bardsley & Tim Kinsella’s film, LIKE BACK AND ENJOY IT: A FILM ABOUT JOANN ELAM, also screened in Ann Arbor…AND won The Eileen Maitland Award !! This award is given to the film that “best addresses women’s issues and gives voice to female voices.” We are so delighted these CFA-commissioned films are being shown to new audiences and that last year’s CFA MEDIA MIXER artists are being acknowledged for their great films (we know we’re biased, but we really do think they’re great!).

We’re excited to continue our CFA MEDIA MIXER into its second year with the following artists:

Cauleen Smith AND The Eternals
Jesse McLean AND Sich Mang
Alexander Stewart AND Sam Prekop

Their films will premiere Thursday, June 6th at the Hideout. More details to come!

CFA Media Mixer (in review)

For our first annual CFA Media Mixer benefit at the Hideout, we asked 3 (well, technically 4) local video artists and 3 local musicians to team up and create 3 video pieces made up of CFA footage. These commissioned pieces premiered at the August 17th event to a packed house. We realize some of you couldn’t make it, so here they all are… in the order they were screened:

1. LIE BACK AND ENJOY IT: a film about JoAnn Elam
Filmmaker: Jessica Bardsley
Composer: Tim Kinsella

Filmmakers: Andy Resek & Ellen Castleberry
Composer: Josh Abrams

Filmmaker: Kent Lambert
Composer(s): CAVE

We here at CFA are immensely appreciative of all the artists involved in this project, and are beyond delighted of the outcome of each collaboration. Extra thanks also goes out to Experimental Sound Studio, who graciously donated studio and mixing time towards this project. Here’s to many more years of CFA Media Mixers!

To gain a more behind-the-scenes look at this year’s CFA Media Mixer, here’s an interview between New City’s Jenny Yoon and myself.