This time we have been in London to talk to members of the Exploding Cinema, a volunteer collective of filmmakers and film lovers who run an open access film show where anyone can show any film under 20 minutes. The history of Exploding Cinema is fascinating and well documented on their website. They run regular screenings across London for filmmakers who want an audience and to showcase work that may not be shown otherwise.
"Exploding Cinema was founded in 1991 in a bunker at the back of a squat – a disused sun tan oil factory in Brixton. At that time it was a gathering of media misfits rejected by the ‘Independent’ film/video establishment who decided that rather than griping about the fucked up state of the industry they would stage their own screenings in cafes, pubs and disused buildings and would set about fusing together the isolated and disenchanted fragments of the underground media. The Low/No Budget film is the source of so much talent and creativity, but they need a place to be shown. Not a sterile, unfriendly “arthouse” but a relaxed, open environment where the audience can watch, chat, discuss the film and meet film/video makers."
I met with veteran members of the collective Adam Hodgkins and Ben Slotover along with their newest member Becca Payne.
Ben has been involved with Exploding Cinema for about 20 years now, and in between shows make shorts, teaches filmmaking workshops and runs a YouTube channel devoted to filmmaking tips with an emphasis on super 8.
Becca Pyne recently joined the group after have a positive experience screening her new film ‘Everything’ at a recent Exploding Cinema event. “I turned up by myself to show my film and had agreed to do a Q&A afterwards.” She told us. “I was terrified. But I was so impressed with the inclusive attitude, the visual display, the way everyone was really kind” She left the stage feeling supported and appreciated for sharing her work and having the courage to talk about it. “To have my film seen in an environment where people are supportive, it’s non judgemental, it’s encouraging, you are doing something really empowering, and to be able to give that experience to other people and to share in their work is pretty profound.” You can see her film on her Vimeo site here.
We discuss the early days of exploding cinema, they events they run in London, and how they programme the screening given their non-rejection policy and the huge number of submission they receive.
Madison Brookshire is an artist and filmmaker whose work crosses experimental film, music, painting, and performance. His work has shown at REDCAT, MOCA, the Toronto International Film Festival, DokuFest, Union Docs, the New York Film Festival, International Film Festival Rotterdam, Bradford International Film Festival, Migrating Forms, Exploratorium, Los Angeles Filmforum, Echo Park Film Center, the Hammer Museum, and Artists Television Access. He has had solo exhibitions at Parker Jones, Culver City; and Presents Gallery, Brooklyn; and has been in group shows at the Torrance Art Museum; Gallery 400, Chicago; and Heliopolis, Brooklyn. He frequently collaborates with musicians and composers, such as Tashi Wada, Mark So, and Laura Steenberge.
We talked to Madison when he attended the Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival in Scotland in May 2019. During the festival he presented a talk entitled 'Time And The Untimely' and performed his expanded cinema work 'Fountain', both of which we cover in this episode.
"I believe that a philosophy of time is necessary for political action, and therefore that studying it is necessarily a political act. In my work, I study how combinations of images, sounds, and silences can produce lived experiences of time."
In the interview Madison makes reference to a number of other artists and works including Robert Rauschenberg, Stan Brakhage, Agnes Martin, Hollis Frampton (Zorns Lemma) and Tony Conrad (Yellow Movies.)
Madison performing 'Fountain' at Alchemy Film and Media Festival, photograph by Oliver Benton
For Episode 15 we talked to Canadian filmmaker Stephen Broomer who was in Scotland to attend the Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival. He was one of the main speakers at the filmmakers symposium at the festival, delivering a session entitled 'Mindstrips: The Found Image as a Psychic Analogue. As part of his talk he shared his perceived heritage of film footage to the present day, one of the subjects we talked about in the interview you can hear on the player below. In his talk he mentioned works from filmmakers such as Joseph Cornell, Stan Brakhage, Barbara Hammer and Martin Arnold among others.
This list includes some of the specific works he references in our podcast interview.
Rose Hobart -Joseph Cornell (1936)
Lambeth Walk - Nazi Style - Charles A. Ridley (1941)
Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son - Ken Jacobs (1969)
Berlin Horse - Malcolm Le Grice (1970)
The Hart of London - Jack Chambers (1970)
Variations on a cellophane wrapper - David Rimmer (1972)
Stephen also presented the UK premier of his 2018 work Tondal's Vision at Alchemy. We began our chat with this where Stephen shared background on the original source material for this work and the creative and chemical processes he uses. You can see the trailer below and read more about the inception of Tondal's Vision on Stephen's blog here. To round up our chat I asked Stephen about his recent work Fountains of Paris (2018), a work created from the Jacques Madvo Collection incorporating images of the city at work, its landmarks and architecture and medieval illustrations in stained glass.
On the night that Alchemy Film & Arts launched their 2019 programme went behind the scenes and talk to the team that make this world class experimental film event happen. Interviews include Michael Pattison – Creative Director, Kerry Jones – Festival Producer, Rachael Disbury – Programme Manager and Walt Holland – Installations Manager. We discuss the creative process of bringing such a large programme together and the highlights for this year, the huge amount of work and planning that has to go in on the run up to the festival and how they produce ten moving image installations. The 2018 edition screened 133 films from 30 countries over five days, with 36 world premieres, 18 European premieres, 24 UK premieres, 20 Scottish premieres and more than fifty filmmakers in attendance.
We really enjoyed talking to moving image artist Tereza Stehlíková. Amongst other things, we discussed her recent work From You to Me: 4 Generations of Women, her 2016 impressionistic documentary Trieste : In-between states and her relationship with Jan Švankmajer. 'From You to Me: 4 Generations of Women' is an ongoing project exploring the unique and complex interconnections between four generations of women within the artist’s own family. Tereza’s collection of short experimental films, beginning in 2011, capture the unique moments of her grandmother, her mother, her daughter and herself reuniting between the Czech Republic and Britain over several years. Tereza describes Trieste : In-between states as "An impressionistic documentary, which was inspired by a conversation with John Berger. Trieste, a city with a unique history of fluctuating fortunes, is positioned on cross roads of different cultures and political states. It is a liminal place, “a hallucinatory city, where fantasy easily brushes with fact.” (Jan Morris) The film’s narrative is weaved from fragments of interviews, readings and observations and is a collaboration with writer Deborah Levy." You can see this and images from 'From You to Me on her Vimeo page.
This time we are in Newcastle-upon-Tyne to visit the Hands on Film Lab with its founder Leah Millar. We join Leah for a tour of the lab, take a look at some of the facilities and talk to her about her love of photochemical film. We talk colour theory, seeing images come to life and the best ways to get film out of a cartridge. Join us as I point and ask "what does that do"
"If you are sitting in the dark and just watching your images coming up on this screen, what you have shot kind of comes to life agin. You start to think about what you might want to do with the images, and what order you are going to put them in, and I really enjoy spending that time with the work I’ve shot again. I really like the fact that I film it, and then spend more time with the images, thinking about them, and maybe rediscovering them."
Artists Daniel Fawcett & Clara Pais have been collaborating since 2011 on moving image work, performance and photography. Since meeting they have worked exclusively together seeing themselves as two halves of a single artist. In this episode they talk about their working practice, being present in their work, their ongoing exploration of mythology and their latest 'studio diaries' project.
They also produce Film Panic magazine, a publication dedicated to contemporary artist moving image and experimental film featuring interviews, essays, manifestos and diaries. Their manifesto 'The Quest For The Cine-Rebis' was published in Issue 2 of Film Panic and is worth a read.
"The Quest For The Cine-Rebis, a manifesto that calls for new approaches to cinema and challenges the patriarchal, industrial approaches that have dominated for the last century. Our intention is to strive for a new art cinema that claims the medium back from the overly rational, conservative and commercial forms that have created a conformity of expression in a time when we should be seeing a myriad of possibilities."
As with most of our contributors you can see work from Daniel & Clara on their vimeo page, and listen to our chat on the player below.
Experimental film and installation artist Jason Moyes lives and works in rural Scotland and has been exploring the moving image since 2007. His work has been shown in the UK, North America, Europe and Asia. He is a founding member of the Moving Image Makers Collective and presents the experimental film podcast Into the Mothlight.