Canyon Cinema 50 Screenings and Events!
Mark your calendars! Canyon Cinema 50 has begun. Throughout the year, we will be hosting many performances and events commemorating the 50th anniversary of the formal incorporation of the Canyon Cinema Co-op.
We’re planning eleven months of programming in the Bay Area with our presenting partners Exploratorium, Pro Arts Gallery, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, San Francisco Film Society and San Francisco Cinematheque. We’re adding more events by the week, so sign up for our newsletter if you don’t want to miss out!
An artist of unmatched, playful meticulousness, filmmaking-tour-de-force Jodie Mack joins us to present a screening highlighting the fun side of language, the essence of human understanding. Jodie’s films are handcrafted gems of abstract animation remarkable for their balance of bombast and delicacy. Her films often employ recycled materials and examine patterns, craftwork, and human-made design. In this screening, she’ll pair her work with those from the inspiring Canyon Cinema collection of artist made 16mm films. Viewed together, these works showcase playful and wildly creative techniques that often underpin the exploration of language in experimental films.
Upon its release in 1991, Tribulation 99 became an instant counter-culture classic. Craig Baldwin’s “pseudo-pseudo-documentary” presents a factual chronicle of US intervention in Latin America in the form of the ultimate far-right conspiracy theory, combining covert action, environmental catastrophe, space aliens, cattle mutilations, killer bees, religious prophecy, doomsday diatribes, and just about every other crackpot theory broadcast through the dentures of the modern paranoiac. A delirious vortex of hard truths, deadpan irony, and archival mash-ups—industrials, graphs, cartoons, movies from Hollywood B to Mexican Z—Tribulation 99 constructs a truly perverse vision of American imperialism.
“The purveyor of some of the most hallucinatory experiments in modern cinema, Guy Maddin turns his eye for the delectably idiosyncratic to the collection of Canyon Cinema. Boasting a catalog of over 3,200 artist-made film and media works, Canyon Cinema has, for 50 years, been an incubator of the avant-garde, catalyzing artists and viewers to explore the outer limits of cinema. In conjunction with Canyon Cinema 50, a year-long celebration of the organization’s historic anniversary, Maddin presents a handful of delightful diversions from its catalog. Ripe with rambling charm, Robert Nelson and William T. Wiley’s ’s inspired classic of the West Coast avant-garde, The Great Blondino, anchors the program, which eschews realism in favor of the ecstatic. Like Maddin’s own work, each film is a handcrafted microcosmos characterized by its artist’s singular—and peculiar—vision and guaranteed to leave an indelible mark in each viewer’s memory.” —Kathleen Maguire
Fake Newsroom, Canyon Cinema, and Minnesota Street Project present ALTERNATIVE FACTOIDS, an hour-long program of short 16mm films from the collection of Canyon Cinema that question the veracity of cinematic images. The program is curated by Antonella Bonfanti and Jeff Lambert and introduced by Fake Newsroom editor Jason Fulford.
Presented in association with the San Francisco Cinematheque.
“By the mid-1960s I had been drawn to film because of its hopelessly shabby integrity, and also because of its restive and anarchic aspects, which implicitly challenged the progressivism of the art market. At the same time, and perhaps even because of its unruliness and freedom from the market, I felt that film could be used to construct esthetic challenges that the existing market disciplines in art did not, would not, or could not touch. It seemed to me quite rational to look to the border regions of art for its greatest mobility and interest. After all, it had been within music, not painting or sculpture, that the most radical artistic challenges of the early 1960s had appeared.” — Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad (1940–2016) was the subject of an NEA-funded Immersive Cinema residency hosted by San Francisco Cinematheque in 2009. In his memory we are proud to present Tony Conrad: Completely in the Present, Tyler Hubby’s rich and loving portrait of Conrad as well as tonight’s evening of films. A 2009 interview with Conrad by Cinematheque’s Artistic Director Steve Polta is available here for the very first time.
Composer, filmmaker, conceptual artist, media activist, radical mathematician and more, Tony Conrad was one the most influential and inspiring American artists of his time. Known for musical works that push issues of drone, repetition and duration into forms evoking of infinity, Conrad’s work with visual minimalism and flicker is equally ecstatic and overwhelming. Tonight’s screening includes Conrad’s “notorious” 1966 film The Flicker—a maximalist masterpiece in black-and-white frames—as well as The Eye of Count Flickerstein, Articulation of Boolean Algebra for Film Opticals and more.
Filmmaker Tyler Hubby in person. Presented in association with the San Francisco Cinematheque.
“Time, time, time. Life should be abundant enough for each person to feel what it is to have their greatest pleasure in wasting time.” — Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad (1940–2016) was the subject of an NEA-funded Immersive Cinema residency hosted by Cinematheque in 2009. In his memory we are proud to present Tony Conrad: Completely in the Present, Tyler Hubby’s rich and loving portrait of Conrad as well as an evening of his films. A 2009 interview with Conrad by Cinematheque’s Artistic Director Steve Polta is available here for the very first time.
The screening opens with Straight and Narrow, a rare 16mm film created by Beverly and Tony Conrad in 1970. A full evening of Tony Conrad’s 16mm films (including the 1966 classic The Flicker) will be presented at The Center for New Music on Sunday, March 26.
Please join Canyon Cinema for another installation of our Salon series, with Bilbao-born, California-based filmmaker Laida Lertxundi.
“I work with 16mm motion picture film, photography and printmaking in a process I call Landscape Plus, documenting California landscapes while bringing equal attention to sound, people and the passage of time. My work moves between intimate interior architectures and the magnitude of open landscapes to map out a geography transformed by affective and subjective states. I employ a fragmentary approach to editing in which cinematic forms of storytelling are replaced by a focus on process and materiality. I’m interested in the tension between form and the experience that will always exceed it. I present the environment from an embodied female position with a radical appreciation for everything that we have to lose.” – Laida Lertxundi
Expanded Cinema Selections from the Canyon Collection
Saturday, March 11th, 2017 // 4:30pm
Kanbar Forum, Exploratorium // Pier 15, San Francisco
Presented by Alex Mackenzie. Event is free. No museum access; enter through historic Bulkhead.
Emerging in the 1960s as a counterpoint to established cinematic traditions, the trajectory of expanded cinema is rich in experimentation, aesthetic diversity, and works that are enduringly relevant. Nestled within the collection of local film distributor Canyon Cinema are several essential expanded cinema works that track the breadth of this particular form of cinema experience. Join media artist and expanded cinema provocateur Alex Mackenzie for a fascinating array of expanded cinema works from Canyon’s shelves. From films that create visual conversations through multiple projectors to works that forgo the traditional movie screen entirely, each selection radically reimagines the language of cinema.
In this workshop, media artist Alex MacKenzie offers a closer look at the original engine of expanded cinema: the film projector. Learn how to work with 16mm projection devices and consider ways to extend their potential and repurpose their function. Examine the elements of projection—light, lens, focal plane, film gate, speed, shutter, motor, bulb, screen—with a hands-on approach and discuss works of contemporary as well as historically significant artists. You’ll have the opportunity to try out various techniques and leave with a deeper understanding of these interconnected elements as well as the 16mm projector itself.
“The artists working with expanded cinema have tried to make the relationship between the screen and the audience active, not passive… Sometimes it’s making the mechanisms of cinema visible; sometimes it’s simply making you think about that whole relationship between the screen and yourself as a viewer.”
—David Curtis, “Tate Live: Expanded Cinema”
Join Vancouver-based media artist Alex MacKenzie for a presentation of Apparitions (2016), an expanded cinema work exploring the transitional space between image and abstraction, and nature and culture.
In 2017 Canyon Cinema is celebrating 50 years as one of the world’s key independent distributors of artist-made film and media. Join us for an evening of film and musical performances, seasonal hors d’oeuvres, libations and dancing to commemorate the remarkable achievements of the community who supported Canyon for five decades. Mingle with filmmakers and friends as we honor Canyon’s half-century journey and celebrate the future of experimental film.
The warm glow of the projected image invites us to in-between worlds. During this cinematic celebration, now an annual favorite, the passive act of watching turns to listening, peering, touching, and interacting as Exploratorium Cinema Arts takes over museum spaces to provide experiences—both on and off the screen—created by artists and filmmakers from the Bay Area and beyond.
Changing the Shape of Film: An Evening with Barbara Hammer
Thursday, February 16th, 2017 // 7:30pm
Kanbar Forum, Exploratorium // Pier 15, San Francisco
Join us for an evening of transmuted cinema, where images break through the traditional rectangular screen and emerge as unexpected and amorphous shapes. Working since the late 1960s, Barbara Hammer’s career has been marked by experimentation, intellectual rigor, and a commitment to testing boundaries.
Hammer will present two works of expanded cinema that reconsider exactly where film images belong. With Changing the Shape of Film, a 12-foot weather balloon becomes the screen for Hammer’s own films, forcing the audience to find new perspectives, and seating arrangements. In Available Space, a 16mm projector is mobilized and the architecture of the space becomes the screen. In this work, the viewer is also mobilized and forced into continuous physical motion to view it.
Inside and Out: More or Less of Me presented by Mark Street
Wednesday, February 15th, 2017 // 7:00pm
California College of the Arts // Carmen M. Christensen Production Stage
Please join Canyon Cinema and California College of Arts Film Program for a joint Salon and Cinema Rendezvous Series presentation with New York based artist Mark Street.
“Over the years I’ve dealt with autobiography directly and glancingly in my films. At times I’ve inhabited the straight ahead diary film idiom, other times I’ve veiled my presence by abstract imagery and fictionalized scenarios. I’m inspired by filmmakers whose artistic journey begins with their quotidian life and takes us into uncharted terrain.” – Mark Street404