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Canyon Cinema Confessions // May 2014



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Fog Line, Larry Gottheim
Yes, May has come and gone. Please forgive us–summer gets pretty foggy here in San Francisco. But we are making up for lost time: a new Mark LaPore print, DVDs from Larry Gottheim, saving film, and more…

Five Bad Elements, Mark LaPore
“I was more interested in who put those things into Pandora’s Box than I was in who let them out,” Mark LaPore said of the experimental ethnography Five Bad Elements. With his tragic passing in 2005, film lost one of its most adept practitioners. LaPore was a truly independent artist, whose work represents a significant contribution to both avant-garde and documentary cinema. Five Bad Elements, a personal study of imperialism and loss, is characteristic of this underrepresented filmmaker, and we are lucky to have a new print of the film (straight from the Academy Film Archive) now available to screen.
Mouches Volantes, Larry Gottheim
There is a deep meditative thread running through Larry Gottheim’s whole body of work. From his early structural work (a label he now eschews) to the more recent ethno/graphic collages, Gottheim has a strong understanding of cinema’s particular language, the way it can register and dilate our experience of time and place. The result is something close to a revelation, and with the recent arrival of a number of his films on DVD, we are thrilled to be able to share it more widely with you. Click here to see the selection of Gottheim’s work available for purchase, and as always, you can find a complete list of our available DVDs here.
Save Film!
Here at Canyon, we spend enough time around film in its physical form to know that there is something magical about it. And we know that you know that, too (why else would you be here?)–so we are inviting you to sign this petition calling on UNESCO to designate the medium a cultural artifact worthy of protection. While you’re at it, click here to see what the Association of Moving Image Archivists is doing to defend film from the rising wave of digital determinism. It is a platitude that bears repeating: there is nothing quite like watching film on film. It’s an experience to which we will always be committed, and one that needs to be saved.
Microcinemas: Cinema Project
Of course, we aren’t the only ones who feel this way. All across the country, people who are passionate about film are experimenting with alternative exhibition spaces and new curatorial models. The microcinema is experiencing a resurgence. That’s why we’re inaugurating a new spotlight series on groups and collaborators we admire, and we begin this month with Cinema Project, a collective that has been programming in Portland for more than ten years. Read our interview with CP here, and if you’re in the area, be sure to check out their anniversary program this Saturday–with a number of Canyon filmmakers on deck!
Groups like Cinema Project give us the praxis–what about theory? For that, we turn to INCITE: Journal of Experimental Media, a journal of film art whose most recent issue, “Exhibition Guide,” is devoted entirely to the phenomenon of the microcinema. Bursting with history and context, the magazine is about to be reprinted and will soon be available to order over on the INCITE website. To tide you over, you can take a look at the table of contents here, or read David Cox’s anecdotal history of Canyon mainstay Craig Baldwin’s Other Cinema, which INCITE was generous enough to provide free of charge for this month’s Selections.
Canyon + Frameline 38
There are lots of film happenings in the Bay Area this month to be thankful for. We are even helping out with a few of them. The 38th Annual Frameline LGBT Film Festival will be kicking off on June 19th, and we are proud to co-sponsor “The Gem People,” a program of queer experimental shorts, on Sunday, June 22nd. And as a part of the 2014 SF DocFest, our Director of Operations Denah Johnston is participating in a panel discussion at the Roxie this Sunday, June 8th, “Fact or Fiction or ?,” which will examine what it means to be a documentary filmmaker as the category of “nonfiction” continues to shift and slide. It’s free, so there’s no excuse to miss it!
From the Archives
Our office is overflowing with archival material from Canyon’s long history. This month, we spent a little bit of time poking through old issues of Canyon CinemaNews, one of the main organs of experimental cinema in the second half of the twentieth century. There was too much to share, so we closed our eyes and picked a few (CinemaNews is going to receive a much fuller treatment in the coming months, we promise). We scanned the results and put them up on our Tumblr, which now hosts a series of beautiful line drawings from Patricia Oberhaus, a profound letter from Bruce Conner, and plans for a (proto-)micro-cinema by Ray Craig.

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