Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Cinema 16 benefit for Millennium Film Workshop

A fantastic evening of live music and film at Millennium Film Workshop, when Molly Surno presented a special "encore" screening of previous Cinema 16 events as a benefit for the venerable media center.  The film scores were performed by Nick Yulman, Joseph Keckler and Dan Bartfield, Forma, and Ablehearts.

Molly has really tapped into something special with her focus on live music and cinema.  There is a feeling of excitement that permeates a Cinema 16 screening; the sense of being part of a unique experience, with music that isn't part of each performer's repertoire, but is specially created for the event.  There is a mixing of the audience between those who might attend concerts and shows, but who do not ordinarily attend experimental film screenings, and those who are familiar with some of the films and regularly attend screenings, but for whom the musicians and their compositions are a wonderful discovery.  This makes Cinema 16 a little something of an antidote to the potential for provincialism of the different niches of the art scene.


The event was also the first of a series of fundraising endeavors for Millennium Film Workshop.  Like many other arts organizations, the media center is struggling in the face of cutbacks to art and culture that are taking place in a climate where the Republicans in Congress blithely propose such things as the elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts (as well as many other targets, like the NEH, Public Broadcasting, Planned Parenthood, and so on).
For those who remember the "culture wars," this is nothing new, but it is always disconcerting when an organization that is such an important fixture to the cultural life of the city (Millennium has been a resource for artists and a place where scores of film and video makers have shown their work since its founding in 1966) is at risk.  Let's hope this new culture war will soon die down, but in the meantime let's all pitch in and make sure that the arts organizations important to our community don't wind up casualties.


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