Apr 29, 2013

black mariah films review

I meant to post on the blog last month about Austin's ongoing series/final project Black Mariah films but got sidetracked and never did. The most recent program was this past Sunday, so I wanted to put in a plug and encourage people to check them out. Unlike last months' screening—the mesmerizing Spirit of the Beehive, paired with a short called Bees and Spiders from the Museum of Natural History…which suited the dreary rainy night perfectly—Sunday's program consisted of curated short films, organized around the theme of drugged state/altered consciousness. In a diverse lineup that began with Buster Keaton field and stream antics (The Balloonatic) and ended with a surreal advertisement for a tranquilizer entitled The Relaxed Wife, there were many different iterations on the affects of drugs on the body (which is always a fun ride). Along with the classic Nicotine Princess from 1909, there was a truly bizarre Betty Boop short in which the animated Betty draws laughing gas that then spreads to the "real world," and my favorite film on the program, The Mystery of the Leaping Fish. This latter film, starring Douglas Fairbanks and co-written by Todd Browning and D.W. Griffith, followed the misadventures of a drug-addicted detective "Coke Ennyday," who took down his Chinatown foes (there is a white slavery plot, naturally) by blowing Cocaine into their faces. I never knew this film existed, but its incredible use of Fairbanks' kinetic energy and outrageous costume design made it unforgettable. The diversity of these films made for a compelling program, and a very different experience than last month's screening. The beautiful Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural & Educational Center in the L.E.S.—where they host the screenings—is inauspicious and intimate; the creak of the screening room chairs and sight of the single projector add to the low-key cineclub ambiance that gives the series its interesting quality. I recommend everyone check out https://www.facebook.com/BlackMariahFilm

to see what Austin and his colleagues are up to—the screenings (I've been to the 8 o'clock ones) varied in traffic, but both times were (different, but) interesting and laidback experiences. They also have free wine and PBR, which no one in the audience takes enough advantage of. I've attached the program notes from Sunday's screening so you can get a sense what they do (sorry for the poor quality, my scanner hates me)


Madeline Ostdick

Apr 24, 2013

[Curating MIs] Presentation dates assigned.

Fred says:

Below is the promised P.S. about our final 2 course meetings.  Please read the details carefully.

Not enough people agreed to present on April 30 (though anyone I ask to do so should be able to do so).  As I mentioned, if you are presented a week earlier than others, I/we know that you have had less time to prepare and therefore are presenting a more preliminary version of what you will submit in the end.  But everyone who has kept up with the coursework and taken advantage of consultations should be perfectly able to give an excellent presentation on the first week. Your challenge should not be "do I have enough to say?," but "how can I limit my presentation to 15 minutes?"

Below is the roster as I have it. Let me know if you see an error.
(The names on each date are not necessarily in a required sequence of presentations for that date.)

Reminder that everyone is expected to attend both sessions and listen to and respond to all presentations.

Present on  Tuesday, April 30
1.  Sylvie Vitaglione
2.  Rebecca Fraimow
3.  Dan Erdman and 4.  Kathryn Gronsbell
5.  Matt Prigge
6.  Jessica Pitcher
7.  Shira Peltzman
8.  Erica Titkemeyer

Present on Tuesday, May 7th
1.   Xin Zhou and 2. Pawarisa Nipawattanapong
3.  Juana Suárez
4.  Federica Liberi
5.  Jared Eisenstat
6.  Austin Kim
7.  Chris Banuelos
8.  Julia Kim
9.  Madeline Ostdick
10.  Kristin MacDonough

If the timing goes as expected, we will use the empty 15-20 minute slot on April 30 to fill out the department's required course evaluation forms. (Thank you, in advance.)

If the timing goes as expected, we might need to go a little past 4:30 on May 7, or shorten our mid-class break.  (I assume this is preferable to reconvening during what would be the NYU assigned day/time for an exam period, after May 7.)  However, if people arrive on time, we should be able to be finished on time. (Thank you, in advance.) 
I say this because MORE THAN HALF of the class population has been LATE to the start of recent class meetings, and usually more than a little bit late. So, thank you in advance for being diligent about getting the to class on time and also getting your computer files loaded expeditiously. 

If there is online content you would like your audience to view before your presentation, you might use the course blog to post descriptions and links to that material. Heck, you can use the blog to post as much text or pix relevant to your final project as you care to. It need not be terribly formal, so long as it's useful and smart. (You're all smart.) Since the Blogspot e-mail posting system is not working, please IDENTIFY YOURSELF BY NAME in the posting, and CC me on your e-mail to streible1.miap@blogger.com 

Please feel free to ask specific questions before our meeting if you are unclear about anything. 

Looking forward to seeing your good ideas in motion. 

Dan Streible
instructor of record

Apr 23, 2013

more more access, by Julia Kim

By limiting access to stag films, they are effectively ensuring that "the most orphaned of orphan film" will remain little known or understood (109). 

-This in turn will perpetuate the poor care they are in.  The films will continue degrading without appropriate care (no archivist!).  

-in this age of digital access, to not allow scholars (not a paying public) access to these controversial materials off-site will limit the ability of scholars to engage them for publication.  This is especially important in the case of these orphaned works.

-W/ the KKK Knight Riders, for example, Williams points out that however difficult the material is, "this film is an important historical document of the limits of female agency in stag films is that it reminds us of a history of actual sexual slavery that the term "sexworker" cannot encompass (126)."  This film offers a counterpoint to previous scholarly attempts to assert humor and some female agency.

-also, i would like to point out that the argument is not for opening this up to the paying public (nor am i necessarily going to address the argument for distribution by Kino), but for off-site access to scholars within the framework of scholarship.

-- Julia Kim


more access, by Anonymous [!!]

-By limiting access to stag films, they are effectively ensuring that "the most orphaned of orphan film" will remain little known or understood (109). 

-This in turn will perpetuate the poor care they are in.  The films will continue degrading without appropriate care (no archivist!).  

-in this age of digital access, to not allow scholars (not a paying public) access to these controversial materials off-site will limit the ability of scholars to engage them for publication.  This is especially important in the case of these orphaned works.

-W/ the KKK Knight Riders, for example, Williams points out that however difficult the material is, "this film is an important historical document of the limits of female agency in stag films is that it reminds us of a history of actual sexual slavery that the term "sexworker" cannot encompass (126)."  This film offers a counterpoint to previous scholarly attempts to assert humor and some female agency.

-also, i would like to point out that the argument is not for opening this up to the paying public (nor am i necessarily going to address the argument for distribution by Kino), but for off-site access to scholars within the framework of scholarship.

Madeline O. on Kinsey films, Zapruder film, Guerilla Manifesto

There is a certain degree of empowerment at the end of Linda William's "White Slavery Versus the Ethnography of Sex Workers" essay, in which the famous feminist film scholar gains access to films made exclusively "for private consumption by prurient men." We do have a history of sexuality, whether we bury it or try and bring it to the surface.

If the Zapruder film--on the on-air execution of Vietcong operatives--are "allowed" to exist in the popular consciousness, why is there censorship of sex? If there was an "art" pretense to these films would they be actively exhibited?

The Kinsey archive should have less restrictive access policies, contingent with the ICA's standards of access: the public has a right to access these artifacts. Films are meant to be seem, and these films reflect as much a part of the American landscape as the violent narratives and images that have shaped this nation. Even Linda Williams' discussion of the horrible KKK rape film reveals compelling historical tensions between race and sexuality. Feminists of color have spoken expansively about the conflation of slavery and sexual exploitation, and the myth of the inherent sexually lascivious black women persisits to this day. With this particular film, this theory is immediately apparent--white patriarchy used sexual abuse as a means of reasserting their dominance over racially "inferior" women....the women's complicity in the film can be seen as a potent example of that myth making.

Limiting the archive to "qualified researchers"  smacks of the exclusion Aaron Swartz spoke of in his "Guerilla Manifesto." While I think you could call Swartz naive, you cannot argue that his ideas are baseless. AFter all, this is what curating is about: the spread of information; making the public understand the importance of the archive and the significance of its holdings. This exclusion establishes who is "capable" of handling/understanding such material. The influence of capital (through education) in this circumstance cannot be ignored. I say, open the archives for anyone who wants to see these films, regardless of class or status.

Madeline Ostdick

Williams v. Kinsey argument

I'll say something to this effect today:

Linda Williams does a rigorous job contextualizing and analyzing the stag films she saw from the Kinsey Institute archives. Unfortunately, not everyone is Linda Williams. Access to an archives' wares should not be severely constricted, but it should also be responsibly regulated. Simply allowing everyone to see these films, as she proposes, could result in unwanted controversy. A film like "KKK Night Riders," much less the other racist, sexist or otherwise offensive films in this archive, requires contextualization. It was not collected because the Kinsey Institute simply wanted to preserve something offensive. Williams proposes releasing certain films in a package, as with the French stag film compilation that wound up being distributed in America under the title "The Good Old Naughty Days." But even she confesses that title and the way it was packaged last decade cheapens the films. The majority of audiences who saw this compilation film did get context and only viewed them as mere sex films at which to chuckle. If everyone was Linda Williams, then all of the Institute's stag films should be available without any stipulations. But everyone is not.

above, I did not write. -- Dan S.

Sylvie Vitaglione: ] Notes on Found Footage

Notes on found footage
by Sylvie V. 

This week's topic triggered many thoughts for me on the connections between "found"

footage and what post-modern choreographers have called "found movement". Both seemingly originating in the 1960s artistic circles, and especially in New York City, they suggest that one could go on a scavenger hunt and gather bits and pieces of "stuff" and make a collage out of them. Choreographers "collect" pedestrian movements, such as walking, sitting, standing, or jumping, and gestures from everyday life and insert them into their work, repositioning these fragments within a different context. Where the two practices differ of course is in the nature of the material collected and its pseudo-availability.

 Filmmaker Craig Baldwin makes the distinction between using archival footage and "found" footage. He claims that even though there is an overlap between the two, his films use found materials: "I make what I have work, I call it 'availabilism'" (Baldwin in interview). This distinction is one that suggests that the process of obtaining footage and its final purpose are rather different. How does one "find" footage vs. "buy" footage (Baldwin mentions the cost of footage going up)? Found-footage proper comes from private collections, junk stores, garbage bins, and is seen as detritus, while archival-footage is clearly saved for a reason, protected and not free.

     What are the ethics of this re-purposing, or recycling, of material? Tilly Walnes, writing about the shift to "finding" footage online, proposes that such collages can no longer really qualify as "found footage", rather they are more like "recycled moving image collages". These "mash-ups" seem to move away from the previous tradition of artisanal filmmaking, using film as a plastic art, and the availability of materials online becomes increasingly dependent on what certain websites are willing to release at no cost. Guy Debord's ideas of détournement and Michael Zyrd's article, which focuses on the impact of found-footage films on history, both demonstrate that re-purposing, in other words re-contextualizing, fragments of film is a political act.

            To conclude, I bring as an example a recent experimental dance video: Snow (2003) made by British filmmaker David Hinton and choreographer Rosemary Lee. The 8 minute black and white video is composed entirely of archival footage of people moving on snow or ice, from 1860-1960. What might the video's project be in terms of presenting movement "found" on film? How is it choreographing history? How "available" was this movement?




Apr 22, 2013

Re: [Curating Moving Images] Which side are you on?


Everyone got the side of the debate requested. If you did not request, find your name below and prepare to argue on behalf of your side.  Note we have 20 enrolled students and 2 auditors, so I've assigned one auditor to each side (even though auditors have the right to just listen if they choose).  

If you want to post the text of your 1-minute prepared statement on the course blog, please do so.  (E-mail it to  streible1.miap@blogger.com ). 

More access  (the "Linda Williams side")
1.  Madeline Ostdick  
2.  Julia Kim
3.  Jessica Pitcher
4.  Chris Banuelos
5.  Austin Kim
6.  Kristin MacDonough
7.  Chris Banuelos
8.  Tayla Sanchez Tzirulnik
9.  Kathryn Gronsbell
10.  Erica Titkemeyer
11.               Ariane Lebot

Controlled access (the Kinsey Institute side )
1.  Xin Zhou
2.  Jared Eisenstat
3.  Dan Erdman
4.  Rebecca Fraimow
5.  Federica Liberi
6.  Pawarisa Nipawattanapong
7.  Shira Peltzman
8.  Matt Prigge
9.  Juana Suárez
10.  Sylvie Vitaglione
11.               Maria Vinogradova


Wavemakers: Preview Screening with Filmmaker Caroline Martel - this Wednesday, April 24

NYU's Department of Cinema Studies presents

Wavemakers (2012, 96 min., dir. Caroline Martel)
A preview screening with filmmaker Caroline Martel

Following the legacy of Maurice Martenot's wondrous electronic musical instrument.

"Amazing! A film as beautiful and tender as the instrument itself."

– Jonny Greenwood, composer, multi-instrumentalist (Radiohead)

Wednesday, April 24, 6:15pm
NYU Tisch School of the Arts
Department of Cinema Studies
721 Broadway, 6th Floor, Michelson Theater

Screening followed by a discussion with the filmmaker.

Moderated by Dan Streible (NYU Cinema Studies).

About the film:
WAVEMAKERS (2012, 96 min., dir. Caroline Martel)
View the trailer

After its international premiere at the Rotterdam Film Festival, and a four-week theatrical run in Montréal, Caroline Martel's latest documentary gets a preview screening at NYU's Department of Cinema Studies.

Wavemakers pursues the legacy of an electronic musical instrument as fragile as it is magical: the Ondes Martenot. The Martenot is indeed so sensitive, so expressive, that nearly a century after its invention, musicians, artisans and scientists are still trying to unravel its secrets. Among them are the inventor's son, Jean-Louis Martenot, Suzanne Binet-Audet, the "Jimi Hendrix of the Martenot", and Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead.

Integrating vérité, never-before-seen archival material and an entrancing soundtrack, this feature documentary explores the origins and workings of the Martenot, and draws us inexorably into its spell. A modern-day story set against a historical background, Wavemakers is a journey into the very heart of the mystery of music.

With Wavemakers, Caroline Martel returns with the signature approach that turned her first feature doc about telephone operators into a "non-stop visual and intellectual stimulation… an enormously creative documentary." (Variety). She pursues her fascination with culture and technology, using her distinctive blend of humanism, lyricism and experimentation.

About the filmmaker:

Award-winning filmmaker Caroline Martel's work has been presented to critical acclaim internationally, including at the Toronto International Film Festival and IDFA, on SRC, NHK, and SVT, at the Museum of Modern Art and the Georges Pompidou Centre, as well as at the Flaherty Seminar. Her first feature documentary, The Phantom of the Operator, showed in more than 50 venues and was reviewed as "… an enormously imaginative docu … an hour of nonstop visual and intellectual stimulation." (Variety). Martel has been synthesizing documentary theory and practice for over a decade, with a special interest in archives, invisible histories, and audio/visual technologies and heritage. Her first gallery show, the montage installation Industry/Cinema, was presented at the Museum of the Moving Image in New York in 2012. Martel holds a BA in Communications and an MA in Media Studies, and is a research-creation PhD candidate in the joint Communications Studies program at Concordia University in Montréal. She is currently starting to develop an experimental webdoc on the prehistory of telecommunications technologies.

For additional information, please visit the film's official website.

This event is free and open to the public.

NYU's Department of Cinema Studies
Tisch School of the Arts
721 Broadway, 6th Floor
New York, NY 10003

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Apr 19, 2013

What should the Kinsey Institute do with its films?

Curating Moving Images:  How [Not] to Curate Stag Films                                 

What should the Kinsey Institute do with its films?



Read:  Linda Williams, "'White Slavery' versus the Ethnography of 'Sexworkers': Women in Stag Films at the Kinsey Archive," The Moving Image 5.2 (2006): 106-35. 

 Does withholding a study copy of the film KKK Night Riders from a prominent, invited researcher constitute a violation of principled archival practice?  Or is the Kinsey Institute Film Archive justified in keeping items in its collection out of the hands of researchers?  Who has the better argument, the scholar or the archivist?  Should institutions put restrictions on access to some items and not others?  What kind/s of access are possible? wise? Is the Kinsey different from most other archives?  Should curators and archivists make restrictions on a case-by-case basis?  Should some types of users be given special privileges, while other types of users are denied access?


Prepare for a debate in which you either defend or refute this resolution:


Resolved:  The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction at Indiana University should make the works in its Film Archive more accessible to researchers. 


We will not attempt a conventional debate with teams debating one another.  Instead, each of you will prepare to argue for one side or the other. Prepare by not only reading the article, but clarifying for yourself the facts of the case.  Build your arguments from those facts, as well as from general principles.

            The debate will begin with each person giving a one-minute statement in which you defend your assigned position.  You should write this out in advance and read it aloud when called upon.  If you do not write a statement, be prepared to speak in complete sentences with a well-thought-out minute of talk.  

            After the opening statements, the moderator will pose questions to individuals.  Each response may be rebutted by a member of the opposition (either by a volunteering member or by someone the moderator calls upon).     


Finally, Williams ends her essay by asserting:


Scholars and students should be able to screen and study the history of stag films through the greater access to the Kinsey collection.  It is no longer enough to be able to view stag films on Kinsey Institute premises at Indiana University in private screenings. The stag film heritage needs the collaboration of scholars and archivists to preserve and study a body of work that has been far too long neglected.


We will conclude by stepping out of debate mode to pose the question differently:  Might "the collaboration of scholars and archivists" resolve the access dilemma?  If so, what form should this collaboration take? 

Apr 18, 2013

Fwd: Possible outreach for Jon Gartenberg's TFF '13 experimental programs

Here's an example of "possible outreach" for Tribeca Film Festival.  

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Jeffrey Bowers <bowers.jeffrey.a@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, Apr 18, 2013 at 4:58 PM
Subject: Possible outreach for Jon Gartenberg's TFF '13 experimental programs
To: dan.streible@nyu.edu, acs1@nyu.edu, ra4@nyu.edu, john.canemaker@nyu.edu, Alicia.kubes@nyu.edu

Dear all,

My name is Jeffrey Bowers and I'm Jon Gartenberg's assistant for this year's Tribeca Film Festival. I'm writing to you on his behalf, about two experimental programs he curated at the festival that might interest you. The first is a feature documentary titled Big Joy: The Adventures of James Broughton, which chronicles and explores the life of the visionary poet and filmmaker. We're excited to be having the New York premiere of this already award-winning film during National Poetry Month. We were hoping you might be interested in sharing this special film with your social and/or professional network.  Both Jon and I were surprised and fascinated by new details and influences on his life revealed in the film and feel you and your audience will be similarly surprised.

The second program is the experimental shorts titled "Let There Be Light: The Cycle of Life" and contains 13 films. Many of the filmmakers will be attending from as close as New York and as far as Russia!
We also encourage you to attend the festival which started yesterday and will end on April 28.  The experimental shorts premiere tonight at Chelsea Clearview Cinemas at 7 pm.  Big Joy premieres on Sunday at 6:45 pm in Chelsea Clearview Cinema. Both programs will play four times throughout the festival.  I've attached a trailer, summary by Jon, and a link to the films in our program below. Thank you for your time and keep up the wonderful work at NYU!

BIG JOY is a celebratory portrait of James Broughton, a visionary poet and filmmaker who emerged from the artistic renaissance that flowered in post-WWII San Francisco. A charismatic figure, Broughton led a completely unconventional, countercultural existence. The directors of BIG JOY vividly follow the course of Broughton's deeply intertwined creative and personal lives through his involvement with a wide array of artists, activists and spiritual guides. Among them figure movie critic Pauline Kael, choreographer and dancer Anna Halprin, filmmaker Sidney Peterson, theater actor and playwright Kermit Sheets, designer Suzanna Hart, poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Eastern philosopher Alan Watts and film student protégé Joel Singer.

BIG JOY delves substantially into Broughton's own artistic endeavors, especially his creative writing and filmmaking. His experimental film The Pleasure Garden was accorded a special prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 1954, awarded to Broughton in person by one of his great poetic heroes, Jean Cocteau. In weaving together home movies and historic photographs, contemporary interviews and performance, quotations from Broughton's writings and clips from his movies, the filmmakers construct a cinematic mosaic that is as richly textured as Broughton's own life experiences. They create an unusually intimate and unflinching portrait of the arc of Broughton's life from childhood to death and from the dark depths of his own depression to the ecstasy of his creative freedom and sexual liberation, all in the service of Broughton's lifelong quest to find his own "Big Joy."

Big Joy: The Adventures of James Broughton program listing: http://www.tribecafilm.com/filmguide/513a82b3c07f5d4713000026-big-joy-the-adventures-of

Experimental Shorts: "Let There Be Light: The Cycle of Life"

In their artistic practice, experimental filmmakers are acutely aware of the quality of light that informs their work. This selection highlights the unique manner in which they seek inspiration from the power of the sun, the reflections of the moon and the luminosity emitted by artificial light sources. In linking their own vision directly to that of the eye of the camera, these artists create brilliant moving works that both illuminate the human condition and reflect the cycles of life.

Jeffrey Bowers
Tribeca Film Festival PA

Apr 1, 2013

Fwd: IU Cinema - Week of April 1 - Iraq in Fragments, Abbas Kiarostami's Like Someone in Love, Ponyo - a children's feature and so much more...

Note, at Indiana University's IU Cinema, all of the individuals selection are parts of film series. 

---------- Forwarded message ---------- 

Dear IU Cinema Supporters,


Below is a listing of screenings for this week.


We are in the process of developing an HTML newsletter design format. Until it has been competed, we will be sending the weekly listing in a plain text format to avoid image attachments.  The titles are linked to our web pages for your convenience.


For more information visit the calendar link to film descriptions. Tickets for the screenings are available through the IU Auditorium Ticket Office during regular business hours (Monday through Friday from 10am-5:00pm), and in the IU Cinema lobby 60 minutes prior to any screening. For more ticketing information, call 812-855-1103.


If you have questions, or would like to be removed from this email list, you can contact us at iucinema@indiana.edu, or 812-855-7632. Here are the listings:

Week of April 1

Monday, April 1

Iraq in Fragments (2006) – Photojournalists at War - Documentary

·         Free, but ticketed

·         7:00 pm

Tuesday, April 2

Dallas Pashamende (2005) – Representing Roma – Drama, Foreign Language

·         Free, but ticketed

·         7:00 pm

Thursday, April 4

Like Someone in Love (2013) –  International Arthouse Series - Drama, Foreign Language

·         $3 students and $6 public

·         7:00 pm

Friday, April 5

Los Angeles Plays Itself (2003) – Underground Film Series – Documentary, Experimental

·         Free, but ticketed

·         6:30 pm

Like Someone in Love (2013) –  International Arthouse Series - Drama, Foreign Language

·         $3 students and $6 public

·         9:30 pm

Saturday, April 6

Ponyo (2009) – CINEKids – Animation, Children's

·         Free, but ticketed

·         3:00 pm

Poetry (2010) – East Asian Film Series – Drama, Foreign Language

·         Free, but ticketed

·         6:30 pm

Like Someone in Love (2013) –  International Arthouse Series – Drama Foreign Language

·         $3 students and $6 public

·         9:30 pm

Sunday, April 7

Reel Injun (2009) – 7th Native Film Series - Documentary

·         Free, but ticketed

·         3:00 pm

The Chicago Conspiracy (2011) – Direct Action Film Series - Documentary

·         Free, but ticketed

·         6:30 pm

Thank you for your patronage. Hope to see you this week at the IU Cinema.