BREAKING THE MAGICIAN’S CODE is so outmoded. IMPAKT therefore now shifts focus to artists. All secrets of the trade are for the taking in this programme. For everyone who always wanted to know why films make us laugh and cry and scare us: The curtain falls, but new mysteries come to the fore.
Self Portrait – Emilia Ukkonen
Finland, 2007, video, 06:15 min
“The video Self Portrait is a portrayal of expectations and desires. A small-town girl wants to be someone. This semi autobiographical video challenges the motivations of my own actions, too. Why do I do what I do? If I claimed that my art is motivated by higher ideals, and stated that I make art to enrich the world, find truth or solve existential questions, this would be extremely naive or even hypocritical and false. The reasons for making art often include such human traits as vanity, self-aggrandisement and need for recognition. Self Portrait is made to portray the Finnish inborn state making us feel that everything is smarter, better and grander elsewhere. Life is like an endless dress rehearsal and continuous overreaching, without a chance to show our true capacities: why does no one see the genius in me? In the video, life is just plain miserable trudging through gray bleakness. We wait for sum- mer, for holidays, for retirement, or for that big breakthrough exhibition in New York, for the moment when our life truly begins. There must be a place where life is worth living, where happiness awaits us. Life is elsewhere, but where? A person moves from place to place, but life is always somewhere else.” (Emilia Ukkonen)
The Fantastical World of Scriptwriting – Jack Feldstein
Australia, 2007, video, 32:00 min
An amazing, perceptive and fun neon animation film on how to write a script by stream- of-consciousness neon filmmaker Jack Feldstein.
JLG/PG- Paolo Gregori
Croatia/Brazil, 2008, 16mm > video, 08:06 min
A 20,000 km journey to meet the master of modern cinema and how this encounter turned out to be deceitful.
Mount Shasta – Oliver Husain
Canada, 2008, 16mm, 08:05 min
“It’s always a pleasure to get blindsided by a great new film. I’ve been vaguely aware of Oliver Husain, mostly as a video artist, over the past few years, but this 16mm production represents my first encounter with his work, and I must say I am duly impressed. Judging from his website, Husain frequently employs puppetry, props, and other sculptural and musical elements in his work, but the bizarre confluence of text, performance, gesture and ambiance that goes to concoct Mount Shasta is really rather thrilling. This is a film that doesn’t look like anything else out there, but points of comparison can be drawn if you stretch the pencil far enough. My initial thought was “Spike Jonze doing Owen Land, sort of,” and there is a hint of truth to this. Like Land’s films, Mount Shasta plays with conventions of text / image relations, the fallibility of narrative drive, the mismatch between the written word and its performative visualization. And, like Land’s best work, Mount Shasta evokes a time and place — an earnest 1970s, before the social and educational theories of the 60s had been rejected as failures. Pastel-coloured institutional walls contain fabric-and-pipe-cleaner inventions of a whimsy that almost seems forced, were it not for the total belief evinced by those participating in it. In the background, a bearded man at a cheap keyboard (again, of the sort familiar from middle-school music rooms of a certain era) warbles a story-song as half-formed handkerchief puppets fly around each other on visible wires, the puppeteers made “invisible” by their white canvas beekeeper suits. Husain’s story is about a mountain trip waylaid by a fog which turns out to be the smoke from a destructive fire. In a sense, this could be a way of understanding Mount Shasta as a film. The elements that envelop this gorgeous film in mystery (is this avantgarde? a narrative short? a children’s film?) are also the ones that threaten to unmake it at every turn, since “the spell” is always already about our ability to turn away from its blatant disenchantment.”
A Necessary Music – Beatrice Gibson
USA, 2008, video, 20:00 min
Derived from texts by residents of Roosevelt Island, and Bioy Casares, A Necessary Music is a musically conceived science fiction film featuring Robert Ashley. The takes long, languid and beautifully pictorial – in a narration shared between Robert Ashley (perhaps one of the most distinguished voices in contemporary music) and dwellers of Roosevelt Island (a small sliver of land situated between NYC burrows Manhattan and Queens) – A Necessary Music is a musically conceived science fiction film, exploring the social imaginary of a utopian landscape through directed attention to the voices that inhabit it.