Announcing Our Spring 2015 Season

For a PDF version of this press release, click here

Ekrem Serdar

Austin, Texas – Experimental Response Cinema returns with a new wave of cutting-edge films, videos, and cinematic performances. Once again, we will showcase both historical and contemporary works, from Chantal Akerman’s classic Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles, to a screening dedicated to works regarding the recent Transformers film series.

Beginning on January 10th, with a program of recent abstract, essay and dance films by Jeremy Moss, our Spring 2015 program features a number of acclaimed and vital visiting artists: Roger Beebe returns to Austin with his mind-blowing, multi-projector performances; Dani Leventhal will be joining us to show her videos that “capture the banal and the horrific to reveal the transcendent beauty and pain of daily life”; curator and filmmaker Warren Cockerham will be here to present a rare grouping of work from New England, with films (and slides!) by Luther Price, Jodie Mack, Robert Todd, Jonathan Schwartz, Jo Dery, and Colin Brant; Jesse McLean will be our guest in April, presenting her found footage meditations on the power of pop culture; finally, Mary Helena Clark will join us from Oakland to screen her hypnotic and mysterious films and videos.

Our program of commissioned program notes also continues, with texts by J. Ron Green (for Roger Beebe), Jason Livingston (for Jesse McLean), Chris Stults (for Dani Leventhal), and Federico Windhausen (for Mary Helena Clark).

We are expanding our partnership with the Alamo Drafthouse at the Ritz and its creative manager Tommy Swenson. For years, Swenson has been one of the most adventurous programmers in our city, his choices often in close alignment with the aesthetic parameters of both our group and with the history of alternative moving image practices. We are pleased to co-present a number of their screenings, including Maidan (dir. Sergei Loznitsa), The Vanquishing of the Witch Baba Yaga (dir. Jessica Oreck), A Spell to Ward off the Darkness (dir. Ben Rivers & Ben Russell), among other titles. We are also happy to once again collaborate with independent programmer Nayantara Bhattacharya, who will present a screening of early video work by Theresa Hak Kyung Cha (1951-1982).

Finally, this season sees us reaching two numerical landmarks: We will be celebrating our third anniversary on February 15th with another erotica screening programmed by Scott Stark: a double bill featuring Peggy Ahwesh and Keith Sanborn’s The Deadman, along with legendary sexploitation director Doris Wishman’s Let Me Die a Woman. Finally, we will celebrate both the end of our season and (what is currently slated as) our 100th screening with Andy Warhol’s Chelsea Girls, presented on 16mm double-projection.

All this to say, we couldn’t be more excited to share all this with you. As always, we may add more screenings as time progresses. Onwards.

Partners and Sponsors

Alamo Drafthouse at the Ritz | Austin Film Society | City of Austin Cultural Arts DivisionCo-Lab Projects | Department of Art & Art History (UT Austin) | Department of Art History (Texas State University) | Farewell Books | grayDUCK Gallery | MASS Gallery | Museum of Human Achievement | Sixth Street PrintingVulcan Video | Women & Their Work


January 10th, 2015
@ grayDUCK Gallery
Filmmaker Jeremy Moss, whose work has screened around the globe brings a 60-minute program of recent moving image work. In the summer of 2011, Moss began expanding
beyond his narrative training to fully explore expressionistic structural tendencies and its application to place and the moving body, creating the Super8 surrealist documentary THOSE INESCAPABLE SLIVERS OF CELLULOID, the abstract hand-made 16mm films produced at the Independent Imaging Retreat, THE SIGHT and CICATRIX, the dance for camera pieces in collaboration with choreographer Pamela Vail, (UN)TETHERED, CHROMA, and THAT DIZZYING CREST, and the essay film in collaboration with writer Erik Anderson, THE BLUE RECORD. As a program, these works cohesively embody an immersive optical and sonic experience reveling in cinema’s capacity for both meditative expression and the rigors of formal experimentation.

“Considering the robust traditions of collaboration between experimental filmmakers and dancers/choreographers (a legacy which includes Abigail Child, Maya Deren, Henry Hills and Yvonne Rainer, as well as numerous contemporary artists), Moss’ contributions in this field are without a doubt exemplary and innovative.” – Steve Polta, San Francisco Cinematheque

January 18th, 2015
@ Alamo Drafthouse at the Ritz
Following fairy-tales and personal memories like a trail of breadcrumbs, The Vanquishing of the Witch Baba Yaga descends into Eastern Europe’s haunted woodlands to uncover the secrets and bloody histories that shape our understanding of man’s place in nature. Programmed by Tommy Swenson.

“In her singular assemblage of disparate aesthetic strands, and her radical disregard for conventional modes of storytelling, Oreck may most fully embody another, far more exciting interpretation of the label of a new director or a new film, that of fresh filmmaker creating an altogether new kind of art.” – Jordan Cronk, Fandor

“…a staggeringly polymorphous documentary that often suggests a collaboration between Carlos Reygadas, Godfrey Reggio, and Apichatpong Weerasethakul. Part meditative nature film, part urban observational, part fairy tale, these seemingly disparate parts consistently juxtapose throughout to form not just an evocative mood piece, but a larger, discursive work that achieves something resembling Sergei Eisenstein’s concept of dialectical montage.” – Clayton Dillard, SLANT Magazine

January 25th, 2015
Films for One to Eight Projectors: Roger Beebe in Person
@ Alamo Drafthouse at the Ritz
Filmmaker/curator/professor Roger Beebe returns to Austin in January 2015 with a touring program of his multiple-projector performances that takes him to three corners of North America with an additional stop off in the Antipodes (Australia/New Zealand). The tour features several of his best-known projector performances (including the six-projector show-stopping space jam Last Light of a Dying Star) alongside recent award-winning work in single-channel HD video as well as the premiere of his latest multi-projector mayhem, SOUND FILM. These works take on a range of topics from the forbidden pleasures of men crying (Historia Calamitatum (The Story of My Misfortunes)) and the secret logic of the book of Genesis (Beginnings) to Las Vegas suicides (Money Changes Everything) and companies jockeying to be at the start of the phone book (AAAAA Motion Picture).

“Beebe’s films are both erudite and punk, lo-fi yet high-brow shorts that wrestle with a disfigured, contemporary American landscape.” –Wyatt Williams, Creative Loafing (Atlanta)

January 26th, 2015
The New England Home Movie Tour
@ grayDUCK Gallery
The New England Home Movie Tour features handmade and homemade poetic film works from the northeast that celebrate the tactility and intimacy of celluloid-based moving images. As the commercial film industry forces us to embrace digital moving images and the planned obsolescence of the means to produce and distribute those products, this film tour aims to share films that embrace the contemporary DIY strategies, politics, and aesthetics of an enduring, artisanal, and personal approach to filmmaking. This traveling program carries with it more than 30 16mm works and 120 35mm slides that will ensure a uniquely arranged program at each stop along its way. With curator and filmmaker Warren Cockerham in Person!

With works by Luther Price, Jodie Mack, Robert Todd, Jonathan Schwartz, Jo Dery, Warren Cockerham, and Colin Brant.

January 31st, 2015
Platonic: Dani Leventhal in Person
@ MASS Gallery
Experimental Response Cinema is pleased to bring you a selection of experiential video works by Dani Leventhal presented by the artist in person. Leventhal peruses and captures her environment with a handheld camera that, as she describes it, functions as an extension of the body. Using intuitive montage strategies, she coaxes unexpected relationships out of tangled moments of curiosity, banality, terror, humor, and beauty. Conversations with loved ones are interrupted by examinations of road kill; mammograms and heart sonograms jut into lingering images of plant life, folds of skin, and ornate pressed tin ceilings. These works evoke emotional tones that fluctuate and clash in ways more similar to our experience of reality than of cinema, and yield diaristic style that isn’t simply recorded but actively hunted, poked and prodded.

“Since 2003’s Draft 9, Leventhal has made over a dozen films that blend diaristic fragments and staged scenes from her own life, all of them arresting, intimate, and to my mind some of the most insistently vital work made in the past decade.” – Genevieve Yue, Reverse Shot

Presented in collaboration with the Art & Art History Department at the University of Texas in Austin. Special thanks to Prof. Kristin Lucas in co-organizing this screening.

February 10th, 2015
Sergei Loznitsa’s MAIDAN
@ Alamo Drafthouse at the Ritz
Directed by acclaimed filmmaker Sergei Loznitsa, Maidan chronicles the civil uprising that toppled the government of Ukrainian president Victor Yanukovich and has since developed into an international crisis between Russia and the West. Filmed in stunning long takes, sans commentary, Maidan is a record of a momentous historical event and an extraordinary study of the popular uprising as a social, cultural and philosophical phenomenon. Programmed by Tommy Swenson.

“An impressive, bold treatment of a complex subject. One of the few documentaries about a recent revolution that won’t feel dated in five years.” – Variety

“Harkens back to the heroic, journalistic roots of documentary-making and yet feels ineffably modern and formally daring. If the communards in Paris in 1871 had owned top-grade digital cameras, they would have made a movie much like Maidan.” – Hollywood Reporter

“Starkly beautiful. Succeeds in chronicling a remarkable historical moment and delivering an emotional wallop.” – Cinema Scope

February 15th, 2015
@ Alamo Drafthouse at the Ritz
Celebrating our third anniversary, Experimental Response Cinema is pleased to offer its third installment of Avant Erotica, a post-Valentines Day double-shot hangover remedy of sexual disorientation. Leading off is avant garde artist Peggy Ahwesh’s notoriously provocative The Deadman (1990, 16mm, 39 mins.), made with Keith Sanborn and based on the transgressive novel by George Bataille, charting “the adventures of a near-naked heroine who sets in motion a scabrous free-from orgy before returning to the house to die — a combination of elegance, raunchy defilement and barbaric splendor.” (Jonathan Rosenbaum)

Completing the program is the 1975 feature Let Me Die A Woman (1977, 35mm, 79 mins.) — part documentary, part exploitation film — profiling the work of “sex reassignment” surgeon Dr. Leo Wollman and his various transexual patients, directed with equal parts sensitivity and titillation by low budget sexploitation queen Doris Wishman, who is arguably the most prolific female filmmaker of the post-silent movie era. Programmed by Scott Stark.

March 4th, 2015
@ Alamo Drafthouse at the Ritz
In a small apartment in Brussels lives Jeanne Dielman (Delphine Seyrig), a middle-aged widow, mother, homemaker, and prostitute whose existence is dominated by routine – the preparation of meals, the running of errands, visits from her clients, and evenings with her teenage son Sylvain (Jan Decorte) – until the cracks start to show. As towering a cinematic landmark as L’avventura or Weekend, Jeanne Dielman is a singular blend of feminism, modernism, and the avant-garde whose hypnotic rhythms and rigorous attention to detail make for a riveting, unforgettable experience.

Experimental Response Cinema and the Alamo Drafthouse at the Ritz are excited to present a 35mm print of this legendary film.

“A feminist masterwork of minimalist constraint; a cinematic powerhouse of narrative innuendo: Chantal Akerman’s pièce de résistance.” – Todd Haynes

“A structuralist-materialist-feminist monument in transfigured time … epochal.” – J. Hoberman, The Village Voice

March 25th, 2015
Ben Rivers and Ben Russell’s A SPELL TO WARD OFF THE DARKNESS
@ Alamo Drafthouse at the Ritz
A SPELL follows an unnamed character through three seemingly disparate moments in his life. With little explanation, we join him in the midst of a 15-person collective on a small Estonian island; in isolation in the majestic wilderness of Northern Finland; and during a concert as the singer and guitarist of a black metal band in Norway. Marked by loneliness, ecstatic beauty and an optimism of the darkest sort, A SPELL is a radical proposition for the existence of utopia in the present.Starring musician Robert AA Lowe (best known for his intense live performances under the name LICHENS) in the lead role, A SPELL lies somewhere between fiction and non-fiction – it is at once a document of experience and an experience itself, an inquiry into transcendence that sees the cinema as a site for transformation. Programmed by Tommy Swenson.

“…SPELL’s central concern: that utopia is a construction, an experience that is made up, not found but created. All social formations are possessive of their own pleasures and problems. But each may contain moments of rare gratification and meaning. In the film, Rivers and Russell prove themselves able to sculpt (or maybe even just reveal) these pockets of meaning. It makes their docu-fictional exploration of community, seclusion, and rejection feel like that rarest of things: a gift.” – John Semley, SLANT Magazine

April 17th, 2015
Just Like Us: Jesse McLean in Person
@ Museum of Human Achievement
A media artist whose research is motivated by a deep curiosity about human behavior and relationships, Jesse McLean’s work is concerned with both the power and the failure of the mediated experience to bring people together. She has presented her work at museums, galleries, and film festivals worldwide, including the International Film Festival Rotterdam, the Venice Film Festival, CPH:DOX (Copenhagen), the Images Festival (Toronto), among many others. Experimental Response Cinema, in collaboration with the Department of Art & Art History at Texas State University, is excited to present this screening with the artist in person!

“McLean works primarily with found footage, a natural outgrowth of her concern with irony and authenticity; to re-contextualize footage is to ask fundamental questions about its function within culture and automatically to cast aspersions on its original reception. McLean’s films expertly and violently toggle between outrageous, air-quoted self-doubt and outpourings of urgent, unnerving emotion.” – Tom McCormick, Cinema Scope Magzine

Presented in collaboration with the Art History Department at Texas State University in San Marcos. Special thanks to Prof. Jennifer Stob in co-organizing this screening.

Late April
Theresa Hak Kyung Cha: Early Video Works
@ Location TBD
From the mid-1970s until her death at age 31 in 1982, Korean-born artist Theresa Hak Kyung Cha created a rich body of conceptual art that explored displacement and loss. Her works included artists’ books, mail art, performance, audio, video, film, and installation. Although grounded in French psychoanalytic film theory, her art is also informed by far-ranging cultural and symbolic references, from shamanism to Confucianism and Catholicism. Her collage-like book Dictée, which was published posthumously in 1982, is recognized as an influential investigation of identity in the context of history, ethnicity and gender. Experimental Response Cinema is excited to present this program of early video works. Progammed by Nayantara Bhattacharya

April 29th, 2015
Michael Klier’s DER RIESE (THE GIANT)
@ Alamo Drafthouse at the Ritz
“Comprised entirely of material generated by surveillance cameras, Der Riese is a rhapsodic but ominous work depicting the world with a cold mechanical spirit. That nothing can escape the chill stare of surveillance is only the starting point of Klier’s tape. People come and go in public places-parks, department stores, banks, airports-like lifeless ciphers, unaware of the authoritarian stare of the camera. The flattened field of vision, black-and-white imagery, and sterile quality of the technology make the inhabitants of Der Riese emptied shadows. They are the signs of life; truly signs, not the flesh rendered in two dimensions. Lyrically constructed sequences unfold to the strains of Mahler and Wagner, adding an almost heroic mood to much of this dark work. But this is where Der Riese excels-footage seemingly impervious to meaning here acquires the energy of high drama. Even the unblinking eye of the surveillance camera can be foiled.” – Steve Seid, Pacific Film Archive

May 9th, 2015
AGE OF EXTINCTION: Films for Transformers
@ Co-Lab Projects
Infinitely ridiculed, seen as a canary for the decline of civilization, but also as kinetic/maximalist/avant-garde art films, Michael Bay’s Transformers series has ruled the world’s collective wallet for the better part of the last decade. As Bay contemplates passing on directing the inevitable Transformers 5 in favor of “a new direction [for his] movies”, Experimental Response Cinema & Co-Lab Projects presents four works – including one on Super 8mm – that take the movies in disguise as take-off point. Featuring films and videos by Bradley Eros & Tim Geraghty, Kevin B. Lee, and two works by Austin’s own Martin & Lawrence (Bryan Connolly & Tommy Swenson). Programmed by Ekrem Serdar.

May 15th, 2015
By foot-candle light: Mary Helena Clark in Person
@ Farewell Books
A filmmaker based in Berkeley, California, Mary Helena Clark’s films explore genre tropes, the materiality of film, and the pleasure of tromp l’oeil. Bringing together observational, appropriated, staged and abstract footage, they operate on dream logic until disrupted by moments of self-reflexivity. She has exhibited at the Wexner Center for the Arts, the National Gallery of Art (DC), Anthology Film Archives (NYC), Cleopatra’s (Brooklyn), Vox Populi (Philadelphia), Brooklyn Museum of Art, and at the New York, San Francisco International, Ann Arbor, BFI London, Toronto International, and Hong Kong International Film Festivals.

“Poetry in the cinema today is a willingness to work productively on the edge of inscrutability, opacity, meaninglessness, fears which are only the products of capital’s smear campaign against the time of contemplation; an ability to arrange images such that they regain their mystery… and choose the possibility of being loved some day over selling you straight away on a feeling, a thrill, an idea; and a properly historical understanding of what an image has meant, and will mean. In short, poetry in the cinema today would give images back the fullness of their possibility. It might look like the films of Mary Helena Clark, and as I had started to say, there’s something about her poetic cinema in particular…” – Phil Coldiron, Cinema Scope Magazine

May 27th, 2015
@ Alamo Drafthouse at the Ritz
Our 100th screening! Presented in it’s original 16mm double projection format!
“The most celebrated Andy Warhol feature (1966), and for many the best, is made up of a dozen 33-minute reels that are projected two at a time, side by side. The sound varies according to chance and the projectionist, as only one sound track is played at a time. The people shown include such Warhol “superstars” as Nico, Ondine, Gerard Malanga, Marie Menken, Mary Woronov (who later co-starred in Eating Raoul), Ingrid Superstar, Brigid Polk, and International Velvet. All apparently residents of Manhattan’s Chelsea Hotel, they engage in a number of activities and dialogues for 210 minutes, and the results are often spellbinding; the juxtaposition of two film images at once gives the spectator an unusual amount of freedom in what to concentrate on and what to make of these variously whacked-out performers.” -Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader