Canyon Cinema 50 — Into October

Posted October 7th, 2017 in Canyon Cinema 50, News / Events

Canyon Cinema 50

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!

UPCOMING EVENTS

Women Take Off

Women Take Off

Tuesday, October 24th, 2017 // 7:30 PM
California College of the Arts // 1111 8th Street, San Francisco
Free admission

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Presented in association with California College of the Arts.

This program is a collaboration between two curators, Tess Takahashi and Denah Johnston, each of whom have wandered passionately and separately through the Canyon collection, specifically considering work made by women. Found footage, optical printing, documentary, dance, performance, repetition, time-lapse and other approaches engage in dialogue about everything from calling out patriarchy, representation of women in pop culture, and cosmic strip tease. Bringing together an assortment of diverse talents from Canyon – this program scratches the surface of the wealth of women’s films distributed by the 50-year old organization. We hope it will incite further investigation of its holdings.

Coding and Decoding

Coding and Decoding

Wednesday, November 1st, 2017 // 7:00 PM
Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive // 2155 Center Street, Berkeley
$12.00 General Admission ($7.00 BAMPFA members) // Buy Tickets
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Introduction by David Sherman. Dominic Angerame and Greta Snider in person. 

David Sherman worked at Canyon Cinema from 1989 to 2001, and in 1993 began the artist collaboration Total Mobile Home, the first microcinema. He has selected a program of films that explore place and time through artists’ observations and others’ documentation. Archival and found footage, popular culture, and home movies are collaged or appropriated. Sherman’s To Re-edit the World is assembled from four boxes of film material and audiotapes made by Beat-era filmmaker Dion Vigné, reconstituting a lost history of San Francisco.

Short Films 1967-1973

Short Films 1967-1973 (Center of Gravity: Gunvor Nelson & Dorothy Wiley, program two)

Thursday, November 16th, 2017 // 7:30 PM
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts // 701 Mission Street, San Francisco
$10.00 General Admission ($7.00 Cinematheque members) // Buy Tickets
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Presented in association with San Francisco Cinematheque and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Part of SF Cinematheque’s fall series Center of Gravity: Gunvor Nelson & Dorothy Wiley.

Special guests TBA.

“As friends living in Marin County, Gunvor Nelson and Dorothy Wiley began making films together in the 1960s that foregrounded their personal experiences while examining issues of family, parenthood, partnership and domestic life in the In the context of artist filmmaking in Northern California. Featuring original soundtracks, their collaborative and solo films explore the poetics of everyday life, from portraits of motherhood to close studies of various bodies. Nelson, who is now based in Sweden, and Wiley were among the earliest members of the cooperative Canyon Cinema. An influential force, Gunvor Nelson taught at SFAI from 1970 to 1992.” -Tanya Zimbardo

Silence and Sanctuaries

Silence and Sanctuaries

Wednesday, November 29th, 2017 // 7:00 PM
Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive // 2155 Center Street, Berkeley
$12.00 General Admission ($7.00 BAMPFA members) // Buy Tickets
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Nathaniel Dorsky in person.

Nathaniel Dorsky served on Canyon’s board several times, most recently for twelve years, until Canyon was restructured as a nonprofit in 2013. He has been making films since 1963; his move to San Francisco in 1971 figures in one. Most are 16mm, silent, and projected at 18 frames per second. With his new films, he has begun to shift away from his unique polyvalent editing to explore long sequences of light on plants, or, as he wrote in relation to Elohim, “the energy of light as creation.” His two new films are screened with two hand-painted films by Stan Brakhage, making for a silent evening, or, as Dorsky described Abaton, “a sanctuary for dreaming and healing.”

PAST EVENTS

Five Artists: BillBobBillBillBob

Five Artists: BillBobBillBillBob

Tuesday, October 17th, 2017 // 7:00 PM
San Francisco Art Institute // 800 Chestnut Street, San Francisco
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Presented in association with San Francisco Cinematheque and San Francisco Art Institute’s Graduate Lecture Series. Part of SF Cinematheque’s fall series Center of Gravity: Gunvor Nelson & Dorothy Wiley.

Special guests TBA.

“A personal tribute to artist friendship, this 1971 filmic collaboration reflects on a moment in time in the lives and careers of Bay Area legends William Allan, William Geis, Robert Hudson, Robert Nelson and William T. Wiley. These painters, sculptors and filmmakers and their circle associated with Funk art enjoyed a certain freedom on the West Coast to forge their own territory and forms of expression. Gunvor Nelson and Dorothy Wiley were drawn to documenting the spirit of how this close-knit group, affiliated with SFAI as students and faculty, were ‘working together, dreaming together, and had this unusual and interesting rapport’ (Nelson). Five Artists offers a collective portrait of the everyday life of these artists and their families in Marin County. Alternating between color and black-and-white footage, Nelson and Wiley interweave non-synchronous commentary by the artists and their acquaintances.

As friends living in Marin County, Gunvor Nelson and Dorothy Wiley began making films together in the 1960s that foregrounded their personal experiences while examining issues of family, parenthood, partnership and domestic life in the In the context of artist filmmaking in Northern California. Featuring original soundtracks, their collaborative and solo films explore the poetics of everyday life, from portraits of motherhood to close studies of various bodies. Nelson, who is now based in Sweden, and Wiley were among the earliest members of the cooperative Canyon Cinema. An influential force, Gunvor Nelson taught at SFAI from 1970 to 1992.” -Tanya Zimbardo

Other Cinema 16mm Mothership

Other Cinema: 16mm Mothership

Saturday, October 14th, 2017 // 8:30 PM
Artists’ Television Access // 992 Valencia Street, San Francisco

“The 50th Anniversary of our beloved Bay Area film co-op, Canyon alums Courtney Fellion and Linda Scobie twirl a whirlygig of illusory narratives and critical thoughts. The luv-fest features rarely seen 16mm prints from the legendary collection, including Daina Krumins’ surrealist assemblage Babobilicons and Mark Lapore’s The Glass System, a cross-cultural mediation on the ‘impact of globalization and the hegemony of Western-style capitalism’. Local light Greta Snider’s street-poetic Blood Story precedes headliner Loose Ends, Chick Strand’s kaleidoscopic collage on media oversaturation and psychological entropy. And tying up a final loose end, tonight’s party also sees the release of the fifth, consummating issue of the current configuration of Canyon Cinemazine, as editors Fellion and Scobie return the baton to director Antonella Bonfanti for future incarnations. All five editions of their project are available for purchase, along with a raffle of color posters, test prints, plus free cake and champagne!!” -Other Cinema

Romance and Rage

Romance and Rage

Wednesday, October 11th, 2017 // 7:00 PM
Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive // 2155 Center Street, Berkeley
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Introduction by Jeffrey Skoller. Lynn Marie Kirby and Sandra Davis in person.

Jeffrey Skoller has been distributing his 16mm films through Canyon since 1983. When he served on the board of directors from 1992 to 1994, the biggest issue the board confronted was whether or not to open Canyon to video distribution, something the membership was very divided about. (They eventually did.) He has selected five films, dating from 1978 to 1992, that highlight different strategies women filmmakers used to look at concerns ranging from romantic love to political policy, work, and being an artist.

Child and Sonbert

Child & Sonbert + Ice Balloons + Sunfoot

Friday, September 29th, 2017 // 7:30 PM
Land and Sea // 2428 San Pablo Avenue, Oakland

“Canyon Cinema 50 is a multifaceted project celebrating the 50th anniversary of the famed Bay Area film distributor. Instigated by filmmaker Bruce Baillie as a community screening series in the hills over Oakland in 1961, Canyon formally incorporated as an artists’ distribution cooperative in 1967. As part of ongoing Canyon Cinema 50 programming, we are delighted to present two prints from the collection, both made in 1983 and both works of high-wire montage: Abigail Child’s Mutiny and Warren Sonbert’s A Woman’s Touch.” – Max Goldberg

Screening to be followed by performances by Ice Balloons and Sunfoot!

Portraits and Protests

Wednesday, September 27th, 2017 // 7:00 PM
Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive // 2155 Center Street, Berkeley
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Abigail Child in person.

Abigail Child worked as a shipper at Canyon Cinema in 1977 and 1978. For her, “It was a time to look closely at films on the rewinds, or stay late and get a preview of incoming films. After that, I became coeditor with Henry Hills of Cinemanews magazine, and ultimately an editor of at least one edition.” This program features works made by Canyon members between 1970 and 1981—a diary film, a self-portrait, and a portrait—along with Child’s most recent film, a dazzling collage portrait of Emma Goldman that links her twentieth-century activism to modern-day protests.

Suspended Belief

Suspended Belief

Thursday, September 21st, 2017 // 7:30 PM
Center for New Music // 55 Taylor Street, San Francisco
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“With its precarious positioning at the tectonic edge of the U.S., the San Francisco Bay Area has long been home to dreamers, artists, activists and experimenters of all stripes. With a media history tracing back to the photographic experiments of Muybridge, the region boasts a vibrant film/video history, one which takes many forking paths and which parallels the rich countercultural currents of the region and which is impossible to summarize in a single short program. Suspended Belief—presented as a microscopic intro to films of the region. Opening with Bruce Baillie’s 1966 classic All My Life, the films on this program reflect direct physical engagement with the tools of cinematic expression and a turn toward intimacy and introspection as temporary anti-linguistic explorations of light and landscape. Also screening: Will Hindle’s Billabong (1966), an impressionistic view of a Oregon boy’s camp; Gunvor Nelson’s luminous animated collage, Field Study #2 (1988); Ken Paul Rosenthal’s 1996 work Spring Flavor, a study in hand-processing, re-photography and natural dyes, filmed in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. More recent films include Karly Stark’s luxuriously intimate cinematic love letter I Am Delighted By Your Alchemy, Turning Everything in My Kingdom to Gold (2014); J.M. Martinéz’ crystalline forest view Cyclical Refractions (2017); Malic Amalya’s Roadsides & Waste Grounds, in which human forms and insects merge with ephemeral landscape and Vanessa O’Neill’s twin-projected seascape, Suspension (2012). NOT TO BE MISSED: screening also includes Nathaniel Dorsky’s 17 Reasons Why (1987), a tour-de-force in “unslit” 8mm camerawork and an overwhelming activation of projection screen as energy field.” -Steve Polta

A Salon with Vanessa Renwick

A Salon with Vanessa Renwick

Monday, September 18th, 2017 // 7:30 PM (doors 7:00 PM)
16 Sherman Street, San Francisco
Free Admission // Facebook Event

“While hitchhiking around in the early 80’s I tied up my dog in the SFAI courtyard, snuck into a screening at the SFAI and was exposed to Near The Big Chakra and Hermes Bird. There were other films, but those two films are what I remember from that screening. My mind was blown. I stumbled upon the book Seeing The Light by James Broughton at City Lights and it became my bible. Later, while attending Columbia College, I was often told that I should go to the Art Institute of Chicago instead. I did not, but I was employed there as an artist model and took in a lot of what was offered there. I caught a screening of Kubelka’s Unsere Afrikareise, and its searing, seething brilliance hit me with the same piercing force of those other two films. Raw, base, blunt — pussy, cock, life, death, in your face, speaking truth to power — I remembered one of Broughton’s pledges to take in his book — ‘to swear to attempt the impossible, to exceed myself, and to venture where no one has ever pushed a button before.’” – Vanessa Renwick

New Beginnings

New Beginnings

Thursday, September 14th, 2017 // 7:30 PM
Center for New Music // 55 Taylor Street, San Francisco
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New Beginnings inaugurates a recurring curatorial endeavor oriented to the presentation of historic works of international artist-made cinema in the contemporary context. This new seasonal series intends to open space for new cinematic encounters, revive interest in forgotten (or not forgotten) classics, to problematize canons through the unearthing of unsung cinematic oddities, to provide fresh insights to well-known works, and to offer opportunities for guest curatorial input and experiment.

New Beginnings kicks off Larry Gottheim’s Mnemosyne, Mother of Muses (1987), a dense and swirling cinematic palindrome and tour de force of sound/image collision. ‘As his patterning principle becomes clear, the pleasures multiply: the anticipation of its logical carry-through, the satisfaction of repetitions and the discovery of patterns within patterns, the effort of recalling and identifying sources…as disparate elements are brought together, an increased awareness of the associative power and potential of sound/image relationships, indeed, of the cinema.’ (Kathy Geritz, Pacific Film Archive). Mnemosyne is followed by Su Friedrich’s Sink or Swim (1990), a landmark work of personal cinema exploring inherited generational trauma and the toxicity of the gendered nuclear family in mid-century America. Recognized as a feminist classic, Sink or Swim fuses elegant film formalism and an analytical method of exposition with sensuous photography and deeply personal narrative—’a collage of extraordinary richness, a portrait of a persona that is somewhat less than unified.’ (Fred Camper). A Child Goes Burying Dead InsectsRei Hayama’s 2009 rumination on play, death and regeneration concludes the program.” -SF Cinematheque

The Early Founders

The Early Years

Wednesday, September 13th, 2017 // 7:00 PM
Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive // 2155 Center Street, Berkeley
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When the formation of Canyon Cinema was announced, it was described as “a federation of willing devotees of the magic lantern muse”; Lawrence Jordan topped the charts with nineteen films in the collection. At its incorporation a few months later, Jordan was the new corporation’s president, one of its four directors, and a cosigner of the bylaws. His films have been distributed by Canyon ever since. This program highlights works from 1961 to 1969 by artists involved with Canyon’s exhibition or distribution programs in its early years. We open with two recent collage films by Jordan.

Ding Xin: Blood Beneath

Tuesday, August 15th, 2017 // 7:30 PM
Center for New Music // 55 Taylor Street, San Francisco
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“As prelude to Cinematheque’s Fall 2017 exhibition season, we are thrilled to present this urgent last minute screening. Please join us for this extremely rare presentation of sights and sounds by Beijing filmmaker Ding Xin (aka Sandy Ding).

Using hand-made film techniques (including hand-processing and DIY printing and a beautiful, at times abject, sense of visual poetry), Ding’s films explore the permeable boundaries between being and non-being and the cinematic paradox between photochemical materiality and the transcendent qualities of immaterial light and sound. The anatomical and ever-rising home-printed The Radio Wave of Blood Beneath the Dirt Ice and Flowers (2006; view excerpt) is a ‘celebration of active chemistry in the blood vine underground’ (Ding) while The Moon (2006) portrays our planets partner in flickering emulsive abstraction. The stately landscape study Mancoon (2007) presents lush forest views with a sense of an abiding presence (‘the camera looks at the world and worships what it sees’) while Kolijevka (2016), a dark incantation filmed in a Croatian cemetery, suggests peace in both the cradle and the grave. Dream Enclosure (2014) uses (to quote the Syros Film Festival) ‘looping, flickering imagery and echoing sound create an immersive and hypnotic space that hovers constantly between reality and dream.’ For this very special in-person screening, Ding will perform live electronic soundtracks to his films River in Castle (2016) a hand-made found footage horror film assembled from Croatian film lab leftovers and Prisms (2012; view excerpt), a scintillating amalgam of abstract lens-work and microscopy.” – Steve Polta

Implicit Images

Implicit Images

Saturday, August 12th, 2017 //1:00, 2:00, 3:00, 4:00 PM
Location TBA

Presented in conjunction with the Kadist Art Foundation’s exhibition What We Know that We Don’t Knowand as a part of our ongoing programming for Canyon Cinema 50, we are proud to present Implicit Images, a screening that addresses association and disconnection in semiotics, languages, and senses–what is meant to be seen and what is actually perceived. Featuring the work of Ben Russell, Naomi Uman, David Gatten, and John Smith, the program will be shown four times on Saturday at a location that will be disclosed via email.

NOTE: Admission is free but seating is extremely limited. Write to rsvp@kadist.org to reserve your seat.

A Salon with Mary Helena Clark

A Salon with Mary Helena Clark

Saturday, August 5th, 2017 // 7:30 PM (doors 7:00 PM)
16 Sherman Street, San Francisco
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“In the spirit of the Salon and with my own allegiance to the fragmented film and negligible image, I’ll be screening an assembly of outtakes from my recent film rolls alongside my film from 2012 that was structured as fictional outtakes – the real thing next to its approximation.

Film critic Michael Sicinski brought this story to my attention in his review of my film Palms: Michael Snow was asked what the relationship was between two parts of his film and he answered “a splice.” Relationships by contiguity, resonances, and the connection that becomes the thing itself. Not to suggest the films I’ve chosen from Canyon’s collection are provisional – they sing! – but I believe the form is at its brightest when you can’t quite pin down what holds things together, even when you know its just a splice.” -Mary Helena Clark

Side/Walk/Shuttle and Other Works

Side/Walk/Shuttle and Other Works by Ernie Gehr

Friday, July 21st, 2017 // 6:00 PM
Roxie Theater // 3117 16th Street, San Francisco
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“…illusion pops up in the most rational of spaces. Buildings seem less to move past than to sprout and expand like miraculous stop motion mushrooms.” – Tom Gunning

An Ernie Gehr Variety Show

An Ernie Gehr Variety Show

Thursday, July 20th, 2017 // 7:30 PM
Kanbar Forum, Exploratorium // Pier 15, San Francisco
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Making a rare trip to San Francisco, Ernie Gehr joins us to present a screening of new works—four moving image landscape considerations. An essential filmmaker of the avant-garde, Gehr has worked continuously for over 50 years, crafting hypnotic and perception-shifting studies of the familiar. Within his films, observational studies of cities and land take on magical qualities through which streets and buildings reveal unexpected phenomena.

An Evening with Ernie Gehr

An Evening with Ernie Gehr

Wednesday, July 19th, 2017 // 7:00 PM
Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive // 2155 Center Street, Berkeley
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“Over the years, there have been some external rewards for the works I have created, such as opportunities for teaching, opportunities to show the work, as well as befriend a few individuals near and far that otherwise I would never have met. For all of this I am very grateful, but the reasons for continuing to ‘work’ to this very day have been the same as they were at the very beginning.” -Ernie Gehr

Love, Light & Lyrical Eroticism

Love, Light & Lyrical Eroticism

Friday, July 14th, 2017 // 7:00 PM
Koret Auditorium — de Young Museum // 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive, San Francisco
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1967 was the year that the Canyon Cinema Co-op was born in San Francisco. Formed as a distribution cooperative for films made by members, it grew out of the itinerant Canyon Cinema formed a few years earlier by a loose association of Bay Area artist-filmmakers. The Canyon Co-Op was the west coast’s contribution to a growing international network for showing and seeing films that fell outside the bounds of polite manners, censors’ approval, and art-world decorum. In its early years operating out of apartments, an abandoned church, and a condemned building, the Canyon Co-op sent out dispatches in the form of 16mm film reels screening for audiences around the country hungering for the liberatory gospel of west coast counterculture. This program gathers key figures from of the original generation of Canyon filmmakers, presenting a selection of their works capturing the spirit of that founding year 1967.

O'er the Land with Deborah Stratman

O’er the Land with Deborah Stratman

Wednesday, June 28th, 2017 // 8:30 PM
ProArts Gallery // 150 Frank Ogawa Plaza, Oakland
$5.00 General Admission / Free for ProArts members
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“A meditation on the milieu of elevated threat addressing national identity, gun culture, wilderness, consumption, patriotism and the possibility of personal transcendence. Of particular interest are the ways Americans have come to understand freedom and the increasingly technological reiterations of manifest destiny.

While channeling our national psyche, the film is interrupted by the story of Col. William Rankin who in 1959, was forced to eject from his F8U fighter jet at 48,000 feet without a pressure suit, only to get trapped for 45 minutes in the up and down drafts of a massive thunderstorm. Remarkably, he survived. Rankin’s story represents a non-material, metaphysical kind of freedom. He was vomited up by his own jet, that American icon of progress and strength, but violent purging does not necessarily lead to reassessment or redirection. This film is concerned with the sudden, simple, thorough ways that events can separate us from the system of things, and place us in a kind of limbo. Like when we fall. Or cross a border. Or get shot. Or saved.

The film forces together culturally acceptable icons of heroic national tradition with the suggestion of unacceptable historical consequences, so that seemingly benign locations become zones of moral angst.” – DS

The Handmade Cinema of Jeremy Rourke

The Handmade Cinema of Jeremy Rourke

Saturday, June 17th, 2017 // 2:00 PM
Kanbar Forum, Exploratorium // Pier 15, San Francisco
Tickets included with museum admission.
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“after an exploration of selections of experimental animation from the canyon cinema film collection, a viewing of oskar fischinger’s walking from munich to berlin sort of instantly inspired a project: i would walk and document a journey from brisbane to the to the exploratorium along the san francisco bay coast. walkabouts in the bay area are always welcome and the open doors of canyon cinema just so happen to serendipitously greet the traveler at the halfway point of this proposed journey; and those fine folks took me and my camera in for another viewing of oscar’s film from 1927 as i undertook the route. and then hours and miles and many photographs later the fine folks at the exploratorium took me in as the sun was descending and offered me rest and rejuvenation. what a town! what people! i documented points along my progress with single frame bursts of my digital camera that were then strung together as the stills making up a moving picture. fischinger condensed his 380 mile journey into a three minute film and my 13 mile journey comes in at just about the same. i look forward to sharing both of these works (along with some other gems from the canyon cinema archive) with the audience at the exploratorium. these works will act as a jumping off point into an expanded cinema program of my stop animation films that i will be scoring live with guitar, harp, singing bowls, bells and my voice.” -Jeremy Rourke

Cityscapes with Dominic Angerame

Cityscapes with Dominic Angerame

Thursday, June 8th, 2017
Kanbar Forum, Exploratorium // Pier 15, San Francisco
Buy Tickets ($15.00 General Admission / $10.00 Exploratorium members)
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In this screening of poetic documentaries that meditate on urban environments, familiar cityscapes are reframed through the camera’s lens. An innovator of observant cinema and a key member of the Bay Area experimental film community, Dominic Angerame presents a screening pairing his films with works of inspiration from other artists. As the former long-time director of Canyon Cinema and an educator, Angerame has a deep and wide-ranging knowledge of cinema, evident in his films and masterful curations. In this screening, select Angerame films considering the local cityscapes of the Bay Area are paired with other works in this genre that have influenced him throughout his career.

CROSSROADS 2017

CROSSROADS 2017

Friday, May 19th – Sunday, May 21st, 2017
SFMOMA Phyllis Wattis Theater // 151 3rd St, San Francisco
Buy Tickets ($12.00 General Admission / $10.00 SFMOMA & SF Cinematheque members)

“CROSSROADS . . . is not only a marvelous and wide-ranging film and video festival; under the stewardship of Artistic Director Steve Polta, it has evolved into a vital one for those of us hoping to keep abreast of new directions in the field. It’s also a realm of improbable discovery and surprise. . . . It’s a beautiful thing to get your face blown off, aesthetically speaking.” – Michael Sicinski, Fandor, Keyframe Daily

San Francisco Cinematheque’s CROSSROADS was founded in 2010. Now in its eighth year, the internationally recognized film festival celebrates contemporary artist-made cinema, stimulating aesthetic dialogue between artists and inspiring audiences with rich experiences of experimental film not provided by any other local venue.

CROSSROADS 2017, consisting of nine curated programs of film, video, and performance, will include 59 works by 57 artists representing 15 countries. Major themes of this year’s festival include expressions of rage; resistance to oppression; yearnings for spiritual connection in an alienated and surveilled media-scape; and sensual encounters with visuality and intimate gesture. We are proud to announce that, of these 57 featured artists, 34 are making their CROSSROADS debut in this year’s festival.

Technical Sincerity with Gordon Ball

Technical Sincerity: A Salon with Gordon Ball

Thursday, May 18th, 2017 // 7:30 pm
16 Sherman Street // San Francisco
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Filmmaker Gordon Ball in person. Ball will also be reading from his new short story collection On Tokyo’s Edge at City Lights Bookstore on Wednesday, May 17th at 7:00 PM. Click here for more details.

“Yesterday, a friend who had asked to use a film of mine in a program, said to me ‘Of course, as I’ve said before, the technique of the film (Father Movie) is nothing to write home about.’ I answered, ‘Well yes but I think that’s what gives it its power—in other words, it doesn’t conform to any textbook standards, but instead to the heart, the experience of the event and my feelings toward it as I filmed.’ And he agreed. For Father Movie is a film made (except for prelude) at my father’s death; long sequences of it were shot literally weeping & driving (one hand on camera, one on wheel) through town by old places he’d lived in. For such a mode or ‘technique,’ so much the opposite of anything planned, I recall a prose line from Yeats: ‘When heroism returns to the age, its first sign shall be technical sincerity.’ I’ve never entirely understood what Yeats meant, but as time’s passed the line’s last words have come to represent a kind of personal touchstone for art. Not for heroism—which I don’t understand—but to distinguish internal soul from external formula. Surely this is applicable in film, where almost any Hollywood or other “theatrical” movie works from the latter & those of our most masterful contemporaries—say Brakhage and Kubelka—invariably bear the stamp of the former. Fine or rough, heavy or ethereal, there is always at base an unregretful uncompromising heart & consciousness. It is negligent of all but its own earnest rhythmic awareness: and that, after all, may be what we were looking for—what one person and no other can give us.” – Gordon Ball

Elegy to Ecstasy with Edith Kramer

Elegy to Ecstasy with Edith Kramer

Thursday, May 11th, 2017 // 7:00pm
Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive // 2155 Center Street, Berkeley
Buy Tickets ($12.00 General Admission / $7.00 BAMPFA members)
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“Fifty years after incorporating as an artist cooperative in 1967, Canyon Cinema continues to champion avant-garde and experimental filmmaking in the Bay Area and beyond. Today the internationally renowned distributor cares for a collection of some 3,500 works representing the full range of experimental cinema from the 1930s to the present. A celebration of bodies, film, and light, this program features a selection of works made by several of Canyon’s founding members and their contemporaries. From the mournful lyricism of Mass for the Dakota Sioux to the transcendent kisses of Amphetamine, the rapturous commingled bodies of Dyketactics to the sensory bliss of Straight and Narrow, these films embed elegy and ecstasy in the emulsion of 16mm film.” –Kate MacKay

Whose Line Is It Anyway? with Jodie Mack

Whose Line Is It Anyway? with Jodie Mack

Saturday, April 29th, 2017 // 2:00pm
Kanbar Forum, Exploratorium // Pier 15, San Francisco
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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.

Craig Baldwin at Pro Arts

Craig Baldwin’s Tribulation 99 and Orphan Morphin’

Friday, April 21st, 2017 // 7:00pm
ProArts // 150 Frank Ogawa Plaza, Oakland
$5.00 / free to ProArts members
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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.

Guy Maddin Presents The Great Blondino and Other Delights

Guy Maddin Presents The Great Blondino and Other Delights

Saturday, April 15th, 2017 // 8:30pm
SFMOMA // 151 3rd Street,  San Francisco
$15.00 / Buy Tickets
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“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

Alternative Factoids

Alternative Factoids

Friday, April 14th, 2017 // 8:30pm
Minnesota Street Project // 1275 Minnesota Street – Gallery 200,  San Francisco
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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.

Tony Conrad: Completely in the Present, Program 2

Tony Conrad: Completely in the Present, Program 2

Sunday, March 26th, 2017 // 7:30pm
Center for New Music // 55 Taylor Street, San Francisco
$10.00 / $6.00 to Cinematheque Members
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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.

Tony Conrad: Completely in the Present, Program 1

Tony Conrad: Completely in the Present, Program 1

Friday, March 24th, 2017 // 7:30pm
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts // 701 Mission Street,  San Francisco
$10.00 / $6.00 to Cinematheque Members
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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.

Landscape Plus with Laida Lertxundi

Landscape Plus: A Salon with Laida Lertxundi

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017 // 7:00pm
16 Sherman Street // San Francisco
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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

Expanded Cinema Selections from the Canyon Collection

Saturday, March 11th, 2017 // 4:30pm
Kanbar Forum, Exploratorium // Pier 15, San Francisco
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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.

Expanded Cinema Workshop with Alex Mackenzie

Expanded Cinema Workshop with Alex Mackenzie

Saturday, March 11th, 2017 // 12:00 PM
Kanbar Forum, Exploratorium // Pier 15, San Francisco
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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.

Apparitions by Alex Mackenzie

Apparitions by Alex Mackenzie

Friday, March 10th, 2017 // 7:00pm
Kanbar Forum, Exploratorium // Pier 15, San Francisco
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“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.

Celebrate the Middle Ages with Canyon Cinema!

Celebrate the Middle Ages with Canyon Cinema!

Thursday, March 9th, 2017 // 7:00pm
Starline Social Club // 2236 Martin Luther King Junior Way // Oakland
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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.

After Dark @ The Exploratorium

After Dark: Extended Cinemas

Thursday, March 2nd, 2017 // 6:00pm
Exploratorium // Pier 15, San Francisco
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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.

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Changing the Shape of Film: An Evening with Barbara Hammer

Thursday, February 16th, 2017 // 7:30pm
Kanbar Forum, Exploratorium // Pier 15, San Francisco
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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.

Mark Street Salon

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
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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 Street

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