We wanted to chime in and take you on a look back on our past Fall 2014 and Spring 2015 seasons – it’s been an amazing year! Not only did we present a very busy slate of 33 screenings, but it has also been our most successful year by far: so many of our screenings were packed to the brim – we’ve never seen Austin come out so consistently and so enthusiastically to so many of our events! And what events they were, a treasure-trove of cinematic delights and spine-activating jolts.
As always, visiting artists were our priority, with 18 visiting artsts traveling under the violet crown: The BASEMENT MEDIA FEST (LJ Frezza and Nicholas Tamburo), Roger Beebe, Gregg Biermann, CINEMA BABYLON (Michael Bucuzzo, Christina Kolozsvary, and Stephen Quinlan), Mary Helena Clark, E.S.P. TV (Victoria Keddie and Scott Kiernan, a co-presentation with the Museum of Human Achievement), David Finkelstein, Jon Jost (co-presented with the Austin Film Society), Dani Leventhal, Jodie Mack, Jesse McLean, Jeremy Moss, NEW ENGLAND HOME MOVIE TOUR (Colin Brant and Warren Cockerham). Guest curator Russell Etchen kicked-off our Fall season with AN BREAKPOINT before departing Austin, and guest presenters Jason Cortlund and Chelsea Weathers very graciously lent their knowledge and wisdom for Chantal Akerman’s Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles and Andy Warhol’s The Chelsea Girls, respectively. Speaking of The Chelsea Girls, we celebrated two benchmarks this year: Warhol’s three-hour, two-projector work marked our 100th screening, while we also celebrated our third birthday with a screening of Peggy Ahwesh and Keith Sanborn’s The Deadman, coupled with sexploitation legend Doris Wishman’s Let Me Die a Woman. We held our annual ERCATX event featuring Austin-based moving image makers, and we also again presented Home Movie Day along with many other venues around the world. As has become tradition, we ended our year at the New Media Sound and Art Summit, that essential small festival organized by the Church of the Friendly Ghost.
Along with Jeanne Dielman and The Chelsea Girls, feature length work took a special place this year: We screened Jennifer Montgomery’s Deliver, Michael Klier’s Der Riese, and Yvonne Rainer’s Journeys from Berlin/1971. We also began a collaboration with the Alamo Drafthouse at the Ritz, co-presenting a number of the radical efforts of Alamo programmer Tommy Swenson, such as Sergei Losnitza’s Maidan, Jessica Oreck’s The Vanquishing of the Witch Baba Yaga, Ben Rivers and Ben Russell’s A Spell to Ward Off the Darkness, Stephanie Spray and Pacho Velez’ Manakamana, and Kasumi X’s Shockwaves.
The past year also featured three artist spotlights, including a memorial screening of work by Harun Farocki, along with screenings dedicated to work by Theresa Hak Kyung Cha and Andy Mann. All of this, along with shorts programs such as A MINOR CINEMA, inspired and based on Tom Gunning’s now classic 1989 article “Towards a Minor Cinema”, and AGE OF EXTINCTION, a screening of works made of and about the recent Transformers blockbusters, rounded our programming efforts of the year.
We also began our NOTES series, where we commissioned program notes for our visiting artists and other events. NOTES writers have included Jamie Baron (for Gregg Biermann), Ron Greene (for Roger Beebe), Jason Livingston (for Jesse McLean), Lynne Sachs (for David Finkelstein), Chris Stults (for Dani Leventhal), and Federico Windhausen (for Mary Helena Clark). ERC programmer Jarrett Hayman also wrote an essay regarding Andy Mann, and Ekrem Serdar and Jennifer Stob re-translated a brief introduction by Harun Farocki for Der Riese.
Meanwhile ERC had some fair travelling too! Ekrem Serdar and Scott Stark travelled to San Francisco to present the TEXAS KICK-ASS SAMPLER at Craig Baldwin’s Other Cinema series at Artists Television Access, while Jarrett Hayman travelled to Dallas to present Austin-area film and video makers at the Dallas Medianale. In May, Ekrem Serdar and filmmaker Bryan Connolly took AGE OF EXTINCTION to the 2015 CineMarfa Festival in Marfa.
Our band of programmers saw some changes as well: Ekrem Serdar has left Austin but will continue to support us from afar. Meanwhile, we’re very excited to have Jennifer Stob joining us! Jennifer has been one of ERC’s most supportive audience members since she moved to Austin last summer, joining Texas State University as an Assistant Professor of Art History in School of Art and Design. An erudite scholar who also programmed films at the Alternative Cinema series at Colgate University, we are over the moon to have her join the team. Of course, the existing team of Jarrett Hayman, Scott Stark, and Rachel Stuckey, who will continue imparting their considerable programming muscle.
Finally, many of you know that we held a small flash fund raiser at the end of the year. We’re very happy to report that it was a thoroughly success, as we came very close to reaching our goal – all the more significant considering that we had no perks, no gifts, nothing to offer at all, other than our continued efforts to bring boundary-pushing cinema to Austin. To all those who donated, near and far, we can’t thank you enough!
Spellerberg Associates LLC
David R. Strong
And of course, as always, we’re grateful to our many sponsors and partners who have supported us through the year, including the Alamo Drafthouse at the Ritz, Austin Film Society, Big Medium, BLAFFER Museum at the University of Houston, the Church of the Friendly Ghost, the City of Austin Cultural Arts Division, Co-Lab Projects, Farewell Books, grayDUCK Gallery, Intermedia Workshop, Mad Stork Cinema, MASS Gallery, Vulcan Video, and Women & Their Work.
We’re deep in preparation for our fall season, and we can’t wait to unveil all the frames and pixels we have lined up for you. Stay tuned!