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Insights into the abstract world of IFL’s Experimental Showcase

Until Monday 12th July 2021, Indy Film Library is streaming some of the best short experimental films we have received over the last year. The Experimental Showcase can be viewed here, and are accessible for a donation of your choice. As part of the event, we asked the directors of all seven films to outline the elaborate methods behind their work, and what their art ultimately means to them.

Monorail (2020)
Director: Shizuko Tabata

“This work examines the relationship between landscape and framing by featuring the changing Tokyo landscape from a monorail window within a picture frame. Each picture is framed individually and then becomes part of a stop motion animated sequence.

By deliberately creating another frame and a blank space within the picture and moving it around, I was playing with the idea of re-framing a “landscape” that normally would have an infinite expanse. I also wanted to portray the psychology of changing perspectives through sound.”

Poem Reply to Sofía (2021)
Director: Sofía del Pedregal

“The video “Poem Reply to Sofía” builds a poetic narration from the documentation of a site-specific installation by Sofía del Pedregal, where she covered different areas of the Ruins of Epecuén in Argentina with semi-transparent lilac fabric. The gaze wanders across the ruins which, with light touches of wind and semi-transparent cloth, begin to speak. We hear an epistolary poem by the writer Catherine Niu addressed to Sofía that evokes an atmosphere of distanced intimacy.

The video attends to faint traces at the edge of disappearance. It is an embodiment of the various and fleeting shapes of silence, nostalgia, and loneliness. “Poem Reply to Sofía” arose from a correspondence of poems between the writer Catherine Niu and the artist Sofía del Pedregal during the ongoing pandemic.”

Yellowstone (2021)
Director: Éanna Mac Cana

“Yellowstone is a moving account on the life cycle of a place, its reason for being; the changing façade of a landmark building in the City of Belfast – a hospital that evolved from a humble 6 bed unit for the sick of the city’s workhouse to a present day 900 bed university teaching hospital.

For myself, this film is deeply personal as it recounts the birth and death of my infant sibling who came before me in the hospital’s Jubilee Maternity Unit. This building would be demolished and replaced by the Cancer Centre – a place with which I would become familiar during my time as an in-patient in the summer of 2017.

Yellowstone is a work interwoven with themes of beginnings, endings, life and death and ultimately of hope.”

For the Women of Belarus (2021)
Director: Rev. Anandha Ray

For the Women of Belarus is an artistic expression to bring awareness to crimes against humanity that are ongoing in Belarus, a small country that is often overlooked. I was formerly a Cultural Ambassador on US Embassy tours called Dance without Borders, and aware of my privilege to speak freely, I used this experience to create a format for Belarusian dancers, who risk government retaliation, to express themselves even in the abstraction of dance. Along with singer and composer Irena Kotvitskaya, a Belarusian native who now lives in Israel, this film extends beyond the literal story of the riots, to engage the heart of the viewer. 

Dancers from several nations were gathered in order to cast a wide web of support for the women of Belarus. The dancers managed language differences and varying time zones to gather all together to film by recording through Skype. 

Awareness is the first step in change. May those who view this film become more aware of the tyranny taking place in Belarus. May that awareness inspire a growing intolerance that raises our collective human consciousness toward humanitarian efforts.”

Chopsticks (2020)
Director: J. Basil

‎”As Kim Knowles wrote in her chapter of Process Cinema: Handmade Film in the Digital Age, ‘It is this fascination with materials that increasingly characterizes celluloid film culture, particularly through engagements with the past as a means of (re)invention and projection towards a potential future— in other words, the process of looking backwards in order to move forward…It is, rather, a survival strategy — a way of adapting to celluloid’s unstable cultural position by establishing new practices and approaches that turn disillusionment into empowerment.'”

Verzerrung [Distortion] (2021)
Director: Samuel J. Punto

“In Verzerrung, I tried to examine the effects of malicious influences on groups of people, without the use of dialogue; this was inspired by the video game, We Become What We Behold.

We filmed Verzerrung during the pandemic lockdown, and the use of masks was both a practical and an aesthetic choice. They created a feeling of stage theatre or pantomime and gave us the opportunity to address the problem of group conflict universally without having to address any ethnicity, religion, or social class. It was particularly important to me not to support any pre-existing prejudices.

The theme of “Verzerrung” or “Distortion” is carried visually throughout the film by our use of hand-developed Super-8 material. The surroundings of an abandoned train station increased the feeling of dereliction and isolation.”

Subordination: Body Image III (2020)
Director: László Gálos

“Humiliation is a two-way relationship. The person who is subdued is not the only one to suffer. The witness to the loss of dignity of a fellow human being also has to process the experience. The effects of the act, position or the whole process of subjugation never go away. Nor do they enter into full awareness. We are hardly ever able to watch and truly witness the breaking of a human being.

The subject of the Subordination Images of the Body Image Series is not the humiliated person, but instead, the state of the observer, or even that of the perpetrator. It is the way conscience protects itself from such a sight.

As I delved into the power relations between individuals, Subordination had to become a multimedia project using different branches of art.”

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