Walter Ungerer

In a way my life as a filmmaker began in 1955 when I received a Bolex camera. At the time I was an art student at the Pratt Institute. They had no film courses, so the Bolex was my introduction to filmmaking. It used 8mm film, which was really 16mm film. ...

Over the next forty years, I went from the hand-wind Bolex to another hand-wind camera, the Bell and Howell 70E; then an Auricon; then an Arriflex S and BL.

By necessity my first films were shot without sound. Sound was added in post production: MEET ME, JESUS (1966) and A LION'S TALE (1968). An exception was THE TASMANIAN DEVIL (1965) a cinema verit? style documentary about a dragster automobile and its builders, shot with an Auricon and Nagra.

Then came the five-part OOBIELAND series. It started as an exercise for a production class I was teaching at Columbia University. ... We used outdated color stock from CBS. ... [It] became the basis for parts one and two of OOBIELAND: INTRODUCTION TO OOBIELAND (1969) and UBI ESTERAM OOBIAE? (1969). They toured Europe as part of a Museum of Modern Art program.

In 1969 I moved to Vermont. My films got longer, more controlled and slower-paced. They had a narrative, though minimal. They required actors, a crew, and sync sound. At one of MoMA's Cineprobes devoted to my work, I was introduced as an experimental narrative filmmaker, I believe based on the style of the Vermont films ....

For the past few years I've been working with the computer and video: BIRDS 2/93 (1993); A WARM DAY COMES AFTER A LONG WINTER (1995); RELATIVES IN X, Y, AND Z (1996); and THE WINDOW (1997). It seems as if I'm back to the OOBIELAND days: drawing on film, but now the computer screen; and experimenting with the possibilities.

A selection of Walter Ungerer's works are available on Fandor: