FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
HOUSTON CINEMA ARTS FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES HIGHLIGHTS OF 2013 “CINEMA ON THE VERGE” SCREENING AND INSTALLATION PROGRAM
LEGENDARY EXPERIMENTAL FILMMAKERS JONAS MEKAS, BARBARA HAMMER JOINING HCAF 2013
HOUSTON – The 2013 Houston Cinema Arts Festival (HCAF) will host two of the preeminent experimental filmmakers in the United States, Jonas Mekas and Barbara Hammer. Their film and video works at the Nov. 6-10 festival will be supplemented by a live performance by Hammer, a pioneer in experimental and queer cinema, and a gallery exhibition by Mekas, widely known as the “godfather of American avant-garde cinema.” Their involvement is part of the “Cinema on the Verge” programming at HCAF 2013, which is also highlighted by a special immersive four-screen feature film installation by artist Meredith Danluck titled North of South, West of East.
HCAF’s “Cinema on the Verge” highlights the most adventurous film and installation work by experimental media artists. This year’s “Cinema on the Verge” screening programs will be centered in the Cinema 16 Microcinema located in the 2013 Festival Headquarters in downtown Greenstreet (formerly Houston Pavilions) at 1201 Main St. (1st Level, across from Forever 21), with supplementary exhibitions and programs at the Deborah Colton Gallery and Aurora Picture Show.
North of South, West of East (2011, 82 min.) will screen twice daily during the festival in the Cinema 16 gallery. Danluck’s fun and feverish four-channel movie, a remarkable achievement in multi-linear storytelling and pop-culture black comedy, will be shown to an audience of 25 people seated on swivel chairs, surrounded by four screens. Shot on location in Detroit, Mich., and Marfa, Texas, the film features performances by Ben Foster, Stella Schnabel and Sue Galloway, and a soundtrack by Marfa punk band Solid Waste. Danluck, a graduate of the School of Visual Arts in New York, exhibited the film as part of the New Frontier program at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.
Mekas, 90, will present his feature Sleepless Nights Stories, which debuted at the Berlin Film Festival in February 2011, and also conduct a tour of his exhibition at the Deborah Colton Gallery during HCAF 2013. Inspired by the classic Arabian “One Thousand and One Nights,” Sleepless Nights Stories film follows Mekas, a chronic insomniac, through 1,001 sleepless New York nights. Mekas creates a deeply personal visual diary, recollecting stories as he keeps late-night company with artist friends including Yoko Ono, Patti Smith, Carolee Schneemann, Marina Abramovic, Hans Ulrich Obrist and Harmony Korine, together with brothers and sisters, sons and daughters.
Deborah Colton Gallery will present select photographic works and video installations by Mekas in an exhibition entitled “LIFE GOES ON…I KEEP SINGING” during HCAF 2013. In addition to still frame photographs from several of Mekas’ works, the gallery will screen WTC Haikus (2010, 14 min.) and a video created for the exhibition, Fragments of Paradise (2013, 6 min.). The Gallery will have an Opening Reception on Saturday, Nov. 9, from 6:00-8:00 PM, and a Q&A with Mekas and Deborah M. Colton on Sunday, Nov. 10, at 2:00 PM.
Mekas currently lives in New York City, where he moved from his native Lithuania in 1949. The legendary filmmaker, poet, artist and critic has published more than 20 books of prose and poetry that have been translated into more than 12 languages. Mekas became a key figure in the postwar American avant-garde film movement as a Village Voice film critic and co-founder of the Filmmakers’ Cooperative and Anthology Film Archives. His film The Brig was awarded the Grand Prize at the Venice Film Festival in 1963. Other Mekas films include Walden (1969), Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania (1972), Lost Lost Lost (1975), Scenes from the Life of Andy Warhol (1990), Scenes from the Life of George Maciunas (1992), As I was Moving Ahead I saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty (2000) and Letter from Greenpoint (2005).
Hammer will present three of her works during HCAF 2013, in addition to conducting a special master class on her full body of work three days before the festival. A visual artist working primarily in film and video, Hammer has made more than 80 works in a career that spans 30-plus years. Her films of the 1970s are considered pioneering works of experimental and queer cinema. These, along with her optically printed films of the ‘80s and documentary film essays of the ‘90s, have been celebrated in recent retrospectives at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Tate Modern in London and Jeu de Paume in Paris.
On Sunday, Nov. 3, from 1:00-5:00 PM, Hammer and HCAF Artistic Director Richard Herskowitz will conduct a tour through four decades of Hammer’s career, interspersing screenings of Hammer classics (including Optic Nerve, Dyketactics, Sanctus, Nitrate Kisses, and Generations) with introductions and class discussions. Introducing Barbara Hammer: A Glassell School Master Class will be open for $30 admission at Glassell School of Art at Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH).
On Nov. 7, Hammer will present her films Lover Other (2006) and Maya Deren’s Sink (2011) in Portraits of Women Artists at Sundance Cinemas at 4:00 PM. Surrealist 1920s artists Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore, lesbians and heroic anti-Nazi resisters, come to life in Lover Other, a hybrid documentary. Maya Deren’s Sink explores experimental film pioneer Deren’s concepts of space, time and form through visits and projections filmed in her Los Angeles and New York homes.
On Nov. 8, Hammer will present Witness: Palestine (A Tribute to Pasolini) at the Aurora Picture Show. In this live cinema event, Hammer deftly layers film practice, politics and performance. Inspired in form by Italian artist Fabio Mauri’s 1975 performance in which he projected Pier Paolo Pasolini’s The Gospel According to St Matthew onto Pasolini himself, Hammer has created a work of startling intimacy and urgency. Moved by the stories of men and women she met while on the first LGBTQ Solidarity Tour of Palestine in January 2012, Hammer sought to find a way to share their voices in a manner that would underline the humanity and vulnerability of her subjects.
Along with Witness: Palestine, which complements the Pasolini retrospective at the MFAH Film Program, HCAF and the Aurora Picture Show will present Cathy Crane’s Pasolini’s Last Words and a reconstruction of Fabio Mauri’s installation, Intelletuale, featuring a projection of Gospel According to St. Matthew on a shirt and jacket standing in for the murdered filmmaker-poet, Pasolini.
Additional “Cinema on the Verge” programming will be announced on Oct. 15 with the complete festival program at the HCAF 2013 Launch Party at The Sam Hotel.
ABOUT THE HOUSTON CINEMA ARTS SOCIETY
Houston Cinema Arts Society is a non-profit organization created in 2008 with the support of former Houston Mayor Bill White and the leadership of Franci Crane. HCAS organizes and hosts the annual Houston Cinema Arts Festival, a groundbreaking and innovative arts festival featuring films and new media by and about artists in the visual, performing and literary arts. The festival celebrates the vitality and diversity of the arts in Houston and enriches the city’s film and arts community. HCAS sponsors include the Crane Foundation, a grant from the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance, Levantine Entertainment, Houston First Corporation, Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, Champion Energy Services, Amegy Bank of Texas, The Brown Foundation, Inc. and others. The project is also supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Texas Commission on the Arts. The 2013 Houston Cinema Arts Festival was held Nov. 6-10. For more information, please visit HCAS at www.cinemartsociety.org.