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Amy Halpern

AMY HALPERN, 1953-2022

Amy Halpern was the maker of nearly 40 short films, almost all in 16mm, and of the feature film FALLING LESSONS (1991). Halpern was born and raised in New York City and lived and worked in Los Angeles for more than 40 years.

Amy Halpern's films are abstract in their concern with light, movement and the film medium, but they are also human in their elements and themes. The idea which persists throughout her work is that of liberation - from social, political, psychological, perceptual and even bodily constraints.

In 2012 Halpern completed ASSORTED MORSELS, a suite of eight short films exaltations. It included THREE MINUTE HELLS, INJURY ON A THEME, BY HALVES, PALM DOWN and ELIXIR. In 2022 she completed VERGE, another suite of 12 short films including HULA, CHABROT, FOUR FINGERS FIVE TOES and I TREMBLE, which premiered in June 2022 at the S8 Mostra de Cinema Periférico in A Coruña, Spain.

Committed to encouraging a wider awareness of abstract film, Halpern co-founded two screening cooperatives: the New York Collective for Living Cinema (1972-1982) and the Los Angeles Independent Film Oasis (1975-1980). She taught at various institutions, including for seven years in the University of Southern California Department of Cinema.

Halpern worked for decades in the film industry, both to refine her craft and to support her work as an independent film artist. Halpern collaborated as cinematographer or gaffer on many films, including Julie Dash's ILLUSIONS, Charles Burnett's MY BROTHER'S WEDDING, Pat O'Neill's THE DECAY OF FICTION, and David Lebrun's BREAKING THE MAYA CODE, and worked in various crew capacities on more than 50 feature films, television series, documentaries and music videos. She also appeared on camera in several films, including O'Neill's WATER AND POWER and Chick Strand's SOFT FICTON, KRYSTALNACHT, CARTOON LE MOOSE, and FEVER DREAM.

Her work in multimedia included collaboration in the 1970s with Ken and Flo Jacobs NEW YORK APPARITION THEATER, a 3D shadow play company, and between 2010 and 2015 as a member of the classic West Coast light show group, SINGLE WING TURQUOISE BIRD.

For complete filmography and more: go to