CROSSROADS 2021 — program 7
no more carefree laughter
Livestream (with live filmmaker intros!) Thursday, September 23 at 7 pm PDT. Watch the livestream here.
Program online September 23–October 21
facebook event here
program community partner: Center for New Music
CROSSROADS 2021, the (second) quarantine edition, concludes its online edition with works of departure, farewell and suspended, ambivalent locality; at this moment, in this world. Films which look back, which look within or which, in shyness, look outward at the quiet corners of the earthly garden with tentative or wary eyes. Orisons and apotropaic conversations across great, even metaphysical, divides. I accept my nature as a physical form. Silence ever after.
SCREENING: the most fragile of species (2021) by Michael Campos-Quinn; digital video, color, sound, 4 minutes. untitled (teeming) (2021) by Gina Basso; digital video, color, sound, 4 minutes. Eidolon (2020) by Mike Rollo; 16mm screened as digital video, b&w, sound, 4 minutes. Zero Length Spring (2021) by Ross Meckfessel; 16mm screened as digital video, b&w, sound, 16 minutes. uchronia, no.1 (2020) by Kamila Kuc; digital video, color, sound, 4 minutes. re:exposure (2020) by Vicky Smith; 16mm screened as digital video, color, sound, 10 minutes. Kitchen Beets (2019) by Bea Haut; 16mm screened as digital video, b&w, sound, 1 minute. News From Nowhere (2020) by Ben Balcom; digital video, color, sound, 8 minutes. Ghazal no 884 By Bidel (2020) by Niyaz Saghari; digital video, b&w, sound, 3 minutes. The House Is Empty (2021) by Dana Berman Duff; digital video, color, sound, 10 minutes.
TRT: 64 minutes
In the garden–with its constant demands for water and weeding, pruning and mending fences, sowing year after year, going to seed—we brush against the limits of our impact on the present and the frailty of our reach into the future. Filmed at the UC Botanical Garden in Strawberry Canyon, Berkeley CA, on Ohlone traditional land. (Michael Campos-Quinn)
Undulating surfaces, shifting horizons and perspectives merge with layered landscapes shimmering in hyper-saturated color and textured brilliance. Within the liminal space of sea and land, a shapeshifting woman—the mythic Selkie—breaks through the watery surface to search for her lost love. This project is a collaboration with ambient duo Animated Matter for their song teeming. Handmade animated sequences and still photography combine with found footage to create a kaleidoscopic, vivid and vibrant video that finds inspiration in early silent film color techniques, microscopic studies and psychedelic abstraction. (Gina Basso)
The seer passes beneath branches, crosses fields, observes the quiet corners of creation. Bright and dark take turns showing their faces, a two-sided phantasm, one energy shape-shifting through time. The seer makes note, gleans eidolons. (Mike Rollo)
A walk through corridors and rooms culminates in a familial Reiki session—searching for what’s underneath and within. Zero Length Spring is an apotropaic film, imprinted by rituals and symbols, basking in ruptures of the body and the earth. ASMR brush tracks, the language of self-help therapy, film surface abrasions and alleged paranormal photos, combine to give shape to various unseeable forces. You’re worth it, you deserve love, you can grow. (Ross Meckfessel)
Past time, suspended time. Macro vision serves as a tool to experience what has long been known. Perceptual tension between the in and out of focus, between enquiry and observation, abstraction and representation persuade the body to look and experience more intently. At once disturbing and nostalgic, the soundtrack lures the viewer into a claustrophobic and apocalyptic space as we have to find new ways of being with the world. Filmed and recorded during the COVID-19 lockdown in Waterlow Park, London and Guilden Morden, Cambridgeshire. (Kamila Kuc)
The film is a reflection on exposure, of skin to sun and of film to light and the environmental, ecological, social and hereditary factors that impact the aging process. Textures of the skin filmed in extreme close up appear in single or short frame bursts and, accompanied by percussive sounds, create a fast paced rhythmic journey around the surface of the body. This film is then seen at a later stage, as a filmstrip manually reexamined on a light box, alongside spoken analysis of the exposure times. Then, old photos of my mother, and her mother, on the beach, are seen in close-up. The DIY analogue film processing method gives this material a burnt brown look while the inclusion of “mistakes,” such as fogged and scratched sections, emphasize the sense of exposure and damage to skin and to film material. (Vicky Smith)
Never-ending tidying up turned into rhythmic beat and magic trick. A brief structural film cut to the rhythm of the gap between the optical sound head and the image. (Bea Haut)
Two slow pans across a public park in Milwaukee. Words from Bernadette Mayer imagining the possibility of a perfect summer day. (Ben Balcom)
Simplicity of life, even the barest, is not misery but refinement. (William Morris)
The emotionally intense experience of staying in my mother’s room, sleeping on her dying bed and trying to experience her point of view while going through her mundane objects. Ghazal no 884 by poet Bidel Dehlavi, read by a friend and sent as a voice message on WhatsApp, was a soothing company to calm the grieving moment. (Niyaz Saghari) Read a longer artist’s statement here.
The finale of the Catalogue series (2014–2020): A cockroach, a woman, a dramatic encounter in a closet—from the roach’s point of view. Inspired by The Passion According to G.H. (1964) by Clarice Lispector, which demonstrates Julia Kristeva’s theory of abjection. Chicago sound artist A.J. McClenon was commissioned to “play” the empty house by knocking, pounding, tapping, and scraping different surfaces and objects creating fourteen audio tracks. (Dana Berman Duff)
Michael Campos-Quinn (US) lives and works in the SF Bay Area.
Gina Basso (US) works primarily in video, collage and painting. Her video work has been presented at HÄXÄN Film Festival, CROSSROADS Festival, Artists’ Television Access, the Roxie Theater, Antimatter Experimental Film Festival and online via publicrecords.nyc. As an independent film programmer, she has curated programs for the Roxie Theater (SF), Alamo Drafthouse (SF), Design Within Reach (SF), Hunters Point Shipyard (SF) and the Northwest Film Forum (Seattle).
Mike Rollo’s (Canada) practice explores alternative approaches to non-fiction cinema—methods that thematize vanishing communication cultures, rural industries and transitional spaces through references to memory, history, religion and autobiography. He is a founding member of Montreal’s experimental film collective Double Negative and Independent Visions in Regina, Saskatchewan. Mike’s films have screened at festivals and galleries including the Ann Arbor Film Festival, Atlanta Film Festival, Edinburgh International Film Festival, EXiS (Seoul), International Short Film Festival Oberhausen, Los Angeles Film Forum and International Film Festival Rotterdam, among others. Mike teaches film production at the University of Regina.
Ross Meckfessel (US) is an artist and filmmaker who works primarily in Super-8mm and 16mm film. His films often emphasize materiality and poetic structures while depicting the condition of modern life through an exploration of apocalyptic obsession, contemporary ennui and the technological landscape. His work has screened internationally and throughout the United States including in Toronto International Film Festival, New York Film Festival, San Francisco Cinematheque’s CROSSROADS Film Festival, Internationales Kurzfilm Festival Hamburg, Sheffield Doc/Fest and Curtas Vila Do Conde among others.
Kamila Kuc (Poland/UK) is a multimedia artist based in London. She is a 2021 Jarman Award nominee. Her most recent film, uchronia no.1, received Jurors’ Award at the 59th Ann Arbor Film Festival. Her previous film, noonwraith blues, was awarded the Honourable Mention Award at the 2021 United States Super 8 Film and DV Festival, New Jersey, and was among the three winners of the 2020 Bomb Factory Artist’s Film Festival, London. Her films have been screened at many festivals and galleries worldwide: most recently at the Edinburgh International Film Festival, Ann Arbor Film Festival, Anthology Film Archives New York; Studio Gallery, Warsaw; Whitechapel Gallery. She is also the author and editor of numerous books and articles on experimental media, including Visions of Avant-Garde Film (Indiana University Press).
Vicky Smith’s (UK) work in experimental animation explores the vulnerable and vital body. Her work has screened internationally in galleries and festivals including, in 2021: A Picture of Health at Arnolfini Gallery, Bristol; Raw Vision in Splash, Scratch, Dunk! Films Made by Hand at London Barbican; and Bodies and Boundaries, Cinenova UK. She runs workshops in experimental film practice and has curated many film screenings, including recently Go, Go, Go! Women in Experimental Animation (2019). Publications include: Hand Drawn and Non-Natural Colour in Films by Barbara Hammer and Sandra Lahire in Animation Studies Online (2021); Experimental & Expanded Animation: Current Perspectives and Practices, co-edited with Nicky Hamlyn (2018), and in Animation Practice, Production & Process, Issue 7 (2019).
Bea Haut (UK) is an artist and Experimental filmmaker who works with mainly black and white 16mm film. During the 1990s she worked in the Live Art collective Loophole Cinema and more recently produced Analogue Recurring, a 16mm screening event in London. From 2015–19, she ran Film in Process, a b&w process and print service at the 16mm lab within the University of East London as well as teaching. Her films have been shown internationally in festivals such as Media City Film Festival, Edinburgh International Film Festival, Experiments in Cinema, Alchemy Film & Arts, LightField and the London Film Festival. Her films are distributed by Lightcone Paris.
Ben Balcom (US) is a filmmaker currently living and working in Milwaukee WI. He is an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee and is the co-founder and co-programmer of Microlights Cinema.
Niyaz Saghari (Iran/UK) is an Iranian born, UK based filmmaker. Graduating from Film Directing from Art University of Tehran, she continued her studies on the MA Animation at Newport. She has been directing documentaries and making experimental films. Her work focuses on urban life in her home towns of Tehran and Bristol. She is a member of Bristol Experimental Expanded Film (BEEF), a collective focused on analogue vision and sound.
Dana Berman Duff (US) was named a Cultural Trailblazer by the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs in 2020 and a retrospective of her short films is scheduled in Los Angeles for Fall 2021 at Disney Hall, REDCAT. In 2019, in collaboration with the late Sabina Ott, she mounted a multi-channel video installation, What Does She See When She Shuts Her Eyes at Aspect Ratio, Chicago, and Alchemy Film & Arts, Scotland. Her film A POTENTIALITY (2020) was awarded an Alice Guy Special Mention at the 2020 FIDMarseille Film Festival. Her works in small format film and video have been screened in the Toronto International Film Festival, International Film Festival Rotterdam, Edinburgh International Film Festival, EXiS Festival (Seoul), Experiments in Cinema (Albuquerque), Rencontres Internationales (Paris/Berlin), Dortmund/Cologne International Women’s Film Festival, San Francisco Cinematheque’s CROSSROADS and others. She lives in Los Angeles and rural Mexico.