Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Cinema 16 at the Kitchen

Cinema 16 is going strong!  Molly Surno's reinvention of Amos Vogel's venerable film series has taken a different approach from its precursor in the presentation of experiential works; consistently featuring the combination of live music and film.

On March 8, 2011 the following sold-out show took place at The Kitchen:
Psychic Ills performing live music to:
"Chumlum" by Ron Rice
"Necromancia" by Beryl Sokoloff & Crita Grauer
"The Voices" by John E Schmitz
"Light Sleep" Lichter Peter
"Gradiva Sketch I" by Raymonde Carasco


A screening with music performed "live" is a tangibly different experience from the experience of a film with a pre-recorded soundtrack.  And Molly's film series has made good on this concept, with a sense of anticipation of seeing familiar works a different light and being introduced to unfamiliar works in a completely unique way.  One aspect in particular -- less so about the experience itself -- is the way she has managed to introduce an audience to these films who would not necessarily have sought out an experimental film screening.  These are people who are ostensibly are there to hear the band.  And yet each film is given its due; it's not "wallpaper" behind the band.  And so, as a method for expanding the audience for experimental films, Cinema 16 has been admirably successful.

On a few occasions my short films have shown in Cinema 16 programs, and I've been asked if I had heard the score ahead of time, before the screening.  Did I go to the screening not knowing how the film I'd made had been scored and finding out the same time as everyone else?  But it seemed to me this question was missing the point somehow.  One of the wonderful things is not knowing what the score will be -- having a chance to be surprised by how someone else would reinterpret your work.  Some sort of prior approval of the score would dampen the whole nature of this collaborative venture -- it would spoil the surprise to know ahead of time.


The next Cinema 16 screening will be on April 16th at PS1. See you there!


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