The Parks The Other Festival - 2004 
    Music. Dance. Drama. Art. You.   

    The Chinmaya Heritage Centre, Chennai  
    # 2, 13th Avenue  
    Harrington Road, Chennai 600034  
     

     
    EXPERIMENTA at The Park's THE OTHER FESTIVAL 
    An avant-garde film festival 
    December 2 - 7, 2004, 10.00am-12.30pm  
    Film Chamber of Commerce, Chennai 
    In association with The British Council 
    Curated by Shai Heredia    
     
     
     
    EXPERIMENTA - The International festival of experimental film in India is designed for the growing community of filmmakers, artists, film/art students and cinephiles. In its first two years itself, EXPERIMENTA has showcased some radical contemporary experimental films, alongside seminal avant garde classics. 

    The most outstanding feature of EXPERIMENTA is the meticulousness with which its program is compiled. The works are selected for their positions vis-à-vis social reality, cultural differences and aesthetic innovation, allowing cutting edge ideas and trends to be elaborated. By creating a cultural dialogue on moving image aesthetics, EXPERIMENTA seeks to significantly challenge, and extend current artistic practice in the Indian cinematic form. 

    As the only platform for uncompromising, fresh, compelling and critically urgent experimental films, EXPERIMENTA provides a public profile and support to a marginalised community in India that is concerned with film as a medium  
    for personal expression, and its flexibility in dealing with political and aesthetic change. 

    Experimenta at The Park's THE OTHER FESTIVAL is curated by Bombay-based SHAI HEREDIA who has for the last 2 years organised this cutting edge festival in Bombay and Delhi. This year, EXPERIMENTA showcases the experimental works of visionary Indian filmmakers from the 60's and 70's, and contemporary Indian films that explore ideas around experimental film ethnography.  In association with The British Council, EXPERIMENTA also offers Chennai film  
    buffs an exciting range of works from the British avant-garde that focus on the exploration of film as art. 

    Schedule 
     
    DAY & DATE MOVIES
    Thurs, Dec 2, 2004 Visual Grammar (16mm; 1 hr 13 mins) 
    Curated by Karen Mirza & Brad Butler 
    1. Short Film Series: Cat, Eye, Tree Reflection by Guy Sherwin (9 mins) 
    2. Musical Stairs by Guy Sherwin (10 mins) 
    3. Penumbra by Nicky Hamlyn (9 mins) 
    4. So Is This by Michael Snow (45 mins)
    Fri, Dec 3, 2004 Processed Spaces (16mm; 1 hr 15mins) 
    Curated by Karen Mirza & Brad Butler 
    1. Threshold by Malcolm Le Grice (10 mins) 
    2. Rallentando (Movements By Rail Series) by Guy Sherwin (9 mins) 
    3. The Black Tower by John Smith (24 mins) 
    4. Where A Straight Line Meets A Curve by Mirza/Butler (32 mins)
    Sat, Dec 4, 2004 Film Ethnography 1 (35mm; 30 mins) 
    Curated By Shai Heredia 
    1. Abid by Pramod Pati (1min) 
    2. Trip by Pramod Pati (4 mins) 
    3. Explorer by Pramod Pati (7 mins) 
    4. HomoSaps by G.K.Gokhale (50secs) 
    5. Expression by Biren Das (9 mins) 
    6. Child on a Chess Board by Vijay B.Chandra (8 mins)
    Sun, Dec 5, 2004 HOLIDAY
    Mon, Dec 6, 2004 FILM ETHNOGRAPHY 2 (16mm; 1hr 16 mins) 
    Curated By Shai Heredia 
    1. 18 (+2) Blinks of an Eye by Anuradha Chandra (23 mins)
    2. Atreyee by Shumona Goel (20 mins)
    3. Kalighat Fetish by Ashish Avikunthak (22 mins)
    Tues, Dec 7, 2004 FICTION (35mm, 16mm; 2hrs 13 mins) 
    Curated By Shai Heredia 
    1. Im Bobby by Xav Leplae (32 mins)
    2. Om Dar-B-DAR by Kamal Swaroop (101 mins)

     
     
    INDIAN FILMS 

    FILM ETHNOGRAPHY 1 
    Curated by Shai Heredia 

    In the late 60's and early 70's, a small group of radical film artists made use of found footage, animation and stylised montage to develop an alternative syntax for the state funded documentary films of Films Division India. These films were referred to as, short experimental documentaries. By recontextualising these films into a more befitting genre, EXPERIMENTA celebrates these visionary filmmakers and the experimental new syntax of Indian film that they created. This package attempts to rediscover these lost experimental films by presenting them within a context that looks to explore ideas around experimental film ethnography 
     

    1. Pramod Pati 'Trip' 
    India; 1970; 35mm; Sound; B&W; 4 mins 

    A film, which uses pixilation to depict the transitoriness of daily life in an urban context. 
     

    2. S.N.S.Sastry 'And I Make Short Films' 
    India; 1968; 35mm; Sound; B&W; 16 mins  

    An impressionistic portrayal of short film making by a short film maker. The views expressed in the film are sometimes bitter, often humorous, at times satirical but seldom complimentary. 
     

    3. Biren Das 'Expression' 
    India; 1969; 35mm; Sound; B&W; 9 mins 

    Set in Bombay in 1969, this is an experimental film about city life the activities occurring around a busy city square. Narrated through abstract images, this film is created from the perspective of the statue at the centre of the square. 
     

    4. Vijay B.Chandra 'Child on a Chess Board' 
    India; 1979; 35mm; Sound; B&W; 8 mins 

    An experimental film that explores nationhood, industrial progress and scientific development through the eyes of a child. 
     
     

    FILM ETHNOGRAPHY 2 
    Curated by Shai Heredia 

    As Indian filmmakers are increasingly exposed to alternative visual forms and styles, new relationships have developed to the aesthetic of film. These path breaking personal films are experimental ethnographic documents of the filmmakers' urban contexts. By exposing the complex cultural relationship that these filmmakers' share with the medium and process of filmmaking, these films attempt to explore ideas around migration, gender, sexuality and religion. This showcase of films by young emerging filmmakers based in India is an exciting reflection of changing relationships towards the moving image. 
     

    1. Anuradha Chandra '18 (+2) Blinks of an Eye' 
    India/USA; 2004; 16mm; Sound; B&W; 23mins 

    Measurement is a symptom of humanity's attempt to tame the chaotic universe and subjugate it to our control. 12 months in a year, 365 days in a year, 24 hours in a day. In film the smallest unit is the frame, in time it is the  
    second or even a blink of an eye. This film questions what happens when it is not possible to observe or measure reality without changing it and we are unable to eliminate ourselves from the picture. 

    The film takes images and sounds from the filmmaker's immediate environment (at the time- Chicago) and tempered by process and chance, weaves them together to create a perceptual world of the filmmaker. The interiority of  
    the film resonates with the space inside the cave. Working in the tradition of the direct film, it records in its own physical nature the traces of its process of evolution as a fragment of meaning. The film's content and process are intricately connected. 
     

    2. Shumona Goel 'Atreyee' 
    India; 2004; 16mm; Sound; Colour; 20mins 

    Atreyee, a young Bengali woman leaves Calcutta in search of a new life in Bombay. She finds paying guest accommodation in the suburbs.  In a series of still photographs, the film records her establishing daily routines.  
    Eventually, she travels home to Calcutta. Marriage is an option to lonely and disinterested modern life. 
     

    3. Ashish Avikunthak 'Kalighat Fetish' 
    India; 1999; 16mm; Sound; Colour; 22 mins 

    The film attempts to negotiate with the duality that is associated with the ceremonial veneration of the Mother Goddess Kali. It ruminates on the nuanced transsexuality that is prevalent in the ceremonial performance of  
    male devotees cross dressing as Kali. This is interwoven with grotesque elements of a sacrificial ceremony, which forms a vital part of the worship of the Goddess. 

    (Please be advised that the film contains images of animal sacrifice). 
     
     

    FICTION 
    Curated by Shai Heredia 

    The films in this package have been selected for their eccentric style of breaking down the conventions of Indian narrative fiction and the Bollywood formula. These rarely seen films have been responsible for developing avant garde visual and intellectual perspectives on narrative fiction filmmaking in India. 
     

    1. Xav Leplae 'I'm Bobby' 
    USA/India; 2003; 35mm; Sound; Colour; 32 min 

    Shot directly to the sound track of 'Bobby', Raj Kapoor's 1973 Bollywood classic, 'I'm Bobby' casts street children, child laborers and drawn puppet figures in place of Rishi, the grown up superstars of the 1970s original. While Kapoor's Bobby was loosely based on 'Romeo and Juliet', set in modern India 'I'm Bobby' newly relays it own messages about society and culture. 

    Having won the Special Jury Prize for Defying Categories at The Chicago Underground Film Festival and in selection this year for the Sundance Film Festival, this is 'I'm Bobby's premiere screening in India. 
     

    2. Kamal Swaroop 'Om Dar-B-Dar' 
    India; 1988; 35mm; Sound; Colour; 101 mins 

    Om-Dar-Ba-Dar is a fantastical portrait of life in a mythical small town.   The film tells the story of a young boy called Om in the period of his carefree adolescence and its harsh disillusionments. Om has a rather strange family. His father quits his government job to dedicate himself to astrology, and his older sister is dating a good-for-nothing. Om is involved in science, but is also attracted to magic and religion. Above all it seems as if his only outstanding skill is his ability to hold his breath underwater for a long time. 

    'Om-Dar-Ba-Dar' has been referred to as an anomaly or accident by the few who have seen it from within the mainstream Indian film history because of its progressive cinematic nature. By recontextualising this rarely seen film  
    within the context of the Indian avant garde, Experimenta is celebrating this path breaking film by making it accessible to a larger audience. 
     
     

    UK FILMS 
    NICKY HAMLYN 
    PENUMBRA 
    UK, 2003, silent, B&W, 9 mins, 16mm 

    Shot in a bathroom, the film is a continuous unbroken image which fluctuates and alters as the camera encounters irregularities and interruptions in the grid system of tiles. The composition of the image is dictated by the  
    squareness of the tiles in conjunction with the rectangular dimensions of the film-frame, which is based on a 'four by three' approximate to the ration of the 'golden section'. 

    Winner of the Chris Coppola prize at the San Francisco Art Institute Film and Video Festival 2004. 
     

    MALCOLM LE GRICE 
    THRESHOLD 
    UK, 1972, sound, colour, 10 mins, 16mm 

    "Threshold, made five years later, aptly offers points of comparison with LITTLE DOG FOR ROGER. Le Grice no longer simply uses the printer as a reflexive mechanism, but utilises the possibilities of colour-shift and permutation of imagery as the film progresses from simplicity to complexity.  The initial use of pure red and green filters gives way to a broad variety of colours and the introductionof strips of coloured/celluloid which are drawn through the printer begins to build an image which becomes graphically and spatially complex - if still abstract - and which evokes the paintings of, say, Clifford Still or Morris Louis. With the film's culmination in representational, photographic imagery, one would anticipate a culminating 'richness' of image; yet the insistent evidence of splice bars and the loop and repetition of the short piece of found footage and the conflicting superimposition of filtered loops all reiterate (as in LITTLE DOG) the work which is necessary to decipher that cinematic image." - Deke Dusinberre. 
     

    JOHN SMITH 
    THE BLACK TOWER 
    UK, 1985-1987, sound, colour, 24 mins, 16mm & video 

    In The Black Tower we enter the world of a man haunted by a tower which, he believes, is following him around London. While the character of the central protagonist is indicated only by a narrative voice-over which takes us from unease to breakdown to mysterious death, the images, meticulously controlled and articulated, deliver a series of colour coded puzzles, games, jokes and puns which pull the viewer into a mind-teasing engagement. Smith's assurance and skill as a filmmaker undercuts the notion of the avant-garde as dry, unprofessional and dull and in Tower we have an example of a film which plays with the emotions as well as the language of film.' - Nik Houghton,  
    Independent Media. 

    'The Black Tower expands the core of Smith's interests: chiefly, the image as a filmic fact which is constantly questioned and often undermined by language and soundtrack. Like his earlier films, The Black Tower is concerned with description, but this time framed by a story whose undertow of melancholy balances its wit and wry humour, and which is a remarkable fiction in its own right.' - A.L. Rees. 

    'The hilarious and slightly menacing The Black Tower is one of the most accomplished films to come from the British avant-garde for years.' - Michael O'Pray, Independent Media. 
     

    MICHAEL SNOW 
    SO IS THIS 
    Canada, 1982, silent, colour, 45 mins, 16mm 

    ..It is an odd film: a text-film, a silent black and white talky in colour, a self-reflexive document and a fictive construct, a non-movie that paradoxically fulfils and subverts the implications in the titles of such books as'The Language of Cinema' and 'How to Read a Film'.' - Michael Ethan Brodzky: Arts Canada Nov 1982. 

    'The brilliance of So Is This is that it challenges apparently obvious truths about discourse. Snow's film addresses all the issues which Socrates' condemnation (in Plato's 'Phaedrus' quoted in the film) of written languageraises.-R.Bruce Elder: Parachute Feb 1983. 

    'Snow creates a visual dynamo that loses nothing to motion for its absenceof pictures. If you let it Snow's film stretches your definition of what film is.' - J.Hoberman: Village Voice Sept 28th 1982. 
     

    GUY SHERWIN 
    SHORT FILM SERIES [EXRACTS] 
    UK, 1976-79, silent, B&W, 3 mins x 20+, 16mm 

    It is literally impossible to offer a definitive description of GuySherwin's Short Film Series, since the film has no beginning, middle or end.  It is instead composed of a series of three minute (100ft.) sections which 
    can be projected in any order. The hirer of the series may select which sections he/she wants to book and in which order they are to be seen, the only stipulation being that a minimum of four sections be screened together. 
    There are upwards of twenty-five sections, all silent and in black-and-white. The majority were made in the years 1976 to 1979, although the series is theoretically open-ended and ongoing.  If the film itself is impossible to describe, some of its recurring ideas and cinematic interests can at least be traced. This can perhaps best be done by considering a reel of six sections currently available as a unit for those interested in booking the film for the first time. Although the individual sections themselves are simple, the issues they raise are varied and complex. Some of the ideas woven through this reel include film as a record of life, and autobiographical document, the image surface as a 
    controlled pattern of light and rhythm, the camera apparatus as a 'clock' which actually 'marks time'. 
     

    GUY SHERWIN 
    MUSICAL STAIRS 
    UK, 1977, sound mag stripe, B&W, 10 mins, 16mm 

    One of a series of films that uses soundtracks generated directly from their own imagery. I shot the images of a staircase specifically for the range of sounds they would produce. I used a fixed lens to film from a fixed position at the bottom of the stairs. Tilting the camera up increases the number of steps that are included in the frame. The more steps that are included the higher the pitch of sound. A simple procedure gave rise to a musical scale (in eleven steps which is based on the laws of visual perspective. A range of volume is introduced by varying the exposure. The darker the image the louder the sound (it can be the other way round, but Musical Stairs uses a soundtrack made from the negative of the image.) The fact that the staircase is neither a synthetic image, nor a particularly clean one (there happened to be leaves on the stairs when I shot the film) means that the sound is not pure, but dense with strange harmonies. - G.S. 
     

    KAREN MIRZA & BRAD BUTLER 
    WHERE A STRAIGHT LINE MEETS A CURVE 
    UK, sound, colour, 30 mins, 16mm double-screen 

    Where a straight line meets a curve is a durational sculpture, of real and imagined activity shot entirely in one room. It is a film concerned with the objective reduction of space, a film 'about' the recording and representation of space and the politics of the viewing space of film itself. Projected onto two adjacent screens, the visual material is 
    constructed so that light and colour form relationships between and across screens continuously, redefining the viewer's perception of the space presented through the images. Time is measured out in ways analogous to the 
    coming and going of the everyday, exposing the passing of time to a (continuous) present. 

    The work questions the usual strategies of the viewer, mediating between the mental image, the dimension of physical space, and the illusionistic space of cinema. The sound is constructed from the speech of the filmakers within the space broken down by a process of re-amplification and re-recording to a point where the resonant frequencies of the space have an equal value to any spoken content. A structure of loops and phase patterns internally 
    resonating both within the filmic space and in parallel with the textual content of the intertitles. Through the framing and re-framing of images and the constructed relationship of sound, text and image, the film creates perspectual shifts and unexpected confrontations that confound our usual way of distinguishing between the actual and the representational.

     

    What is The Other Festival?   
    The Other Festival   2004