Alternative Visions

9/5/12 to 11/28/12

This rendition of our annual series of experimental films, presented in conjunction with the UC Berkeley course on avant-garde film, features rare local presentations by filmmakers from around the world. With humor, passion, and intelligence they explore the possibilities of cinema-its material properties and its capacity to express radical content. Each program is introduced by an artist, critic, or curator from the community.

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Past Films

  • Early Films of Gunvor Nelson

    • Wednesday, November 28 7 pm

    Gunvor Nelson (Sweden/U.S., 1966–84). Gunvor Nelson in person. Introduced by Lynn Marie Kirby. Nelson, who taught at San Francisco Art Institute for two decades, returns from Sweden for a rare visit to the Bay Area. Films include the early underground classic made with Dorothy Wiley, Schmeerguntz, and Take Off, both witty critiques of mainstream representations of women, and Red Shift, a portrait of two families. (75 mins)

  • Fig Trees

    • Wednesday, November 14 7 pm

    John Greyson (Canada, 2009). John Greyson in person. Introduced by Damon Young. Legendary Canadian videomaker and activist John Greyson's latest feature, narrated by an albino squirrel and riffing off a Gertrude Stein classic, is a genre-bending, jaw-dropping “doc-op” centered on two early AIDS activists. (104 mins)

  • The Films of John Smith

    • Wednesday, November 7 7 pm

    John Smith (U.K., 1976–2011). John Smith in person. Introduced by Craig Baldwin. Fascinated by narrative, British filmmaker John Smith delights in image/sound relationships and often employs puns and puzzles, while also venturing into documentary. Films include Om, The Girl Chewing Gum, The Black Tower, Worst Case Scenario, The Kiss, and more. (89 mins)

  • Avant-Garde Masters: A Decade of Preservation

    • Wednesday, October 31 7 pm

    Introduced by Jeff Lambert. A celebration of the Film Foundation and National Film Preservation Foundation's Avant-Garde Masters program, with three films that portray San Francisco: Ernie Gehr's Side/Walk/Shuttle, Frank Stauffacher's Notes on the Port of St. Francis, and Abigail Child's Pacific Far East Line. (75 mins)

  • Intimate Portraits: Films of Ute Aurand

    • Wednesday, October 24 7 pm

    Ute Aurand (Germany/Japan, 2011). Ute Aurand in person. Introduced by Susan Oxtoby. This program of German filmmaker Aurand's beautiful observed films features her most recent work, a meditation on Japan and portraits of her friends and godchildren. Films include Young Pines and Paulina, Franz, Maria, Susan, Lisbeth. (63 mins)

  • Consuming Spirits

    • Wednesday, October 17 7 pm

    Chris Sullivan (U.S., 2012). Chris Sullivan in person. Introduced by Jeffrey Skoller. Chris Sullivan's intricate mix of hand-drawn animation, cutouts, and collage is an enigmatic, emotional tale centered on the intertwined lives of three intimate strangers in a small rust-belt town. “An artistic achievement so ambitious that most projects seem mundane in comparison” (Daniel Walber, (134 mins)

  • Short Films by Rose Lowder

    • Wednesday, October 10 7 pm

    Rose Lowder (France, 1979–2010). Rose Lowder in person. Introduced by Greta Snider. French filmmaker Rose Lowder has made over fifty experimental films, many of them shot frame-by-frame in rural Europe. Scott MacDonald has observed, “The most memorable of Lowder's films are experiments in creating distinct visual experiences.” Films include Colored Sunflowers, Poppies and Sailboats, Sun Garden, and Sea Salt Flower. (77 mins)

  • Universal, Unique, Untouched: Bay Area Student Film Festival 2012

    • Wednesday, October 3 7 pm

    (U.S., 2011–12). Student filmmakers in person. Introduced by student curators. Tonight's program-presenting the work of fourteen gifted college student filmmakers-includes pieces that explore the less-traveled alleys and alcoves of the Bay Area, unearth fleeting images and sounds of memories long untouched, and employ innovative cinematic structures and forms. (c. 73 mins)

  • Paraguayan Hammock

    • Wednesday, September 26 7 pm

    Paz Encina (Paraguay, 2006). Paz Encina in person. Introduced by Natalia Brizuela. In rural Paraguay circa 1935, an elderly husband and wife wait for their son to return home. “Present blurs with past, life shades to death, and things unseen haunt the melancholy shadows, delicately cast, in this entrancing Paraguayan clearing” (New York Times). Preceded by Encina's newest film, A Wind from the South. (101 mins)

  • As Above, So Below and Short Films

    • Wednesday, September 19 7 pm

    Larry Clark (U.S., 1973) New Print! Introduced by Leigh Raiford. A rediscovered masterpiece, director Larry Clark's portrayal of black insurgency imagines a post-Watts rebellion state of siege and an organized black underground plotting revolution. Preceded by three visionary films, Ben Caldwell's Medea and I & I: An African Allegory, and Don Amis' Ujamii Uhuru Schule Community Freedom School. Presented as part of our series L.A. Rebellion. (100 mins)

  • Nights and Days: A Decade of Lebanese Short Films

    • Wednesday, September 12 7 pm

    Lamia Joreige in person. Introduced by Apsara DiQuinzio. All of the films in tonight's program are concerned with the act of recalling the past-a heavy burden given Lebanon's history. Films include Lamia Joreige's Replay (Bis) and Nights and Days, Jalal Toufic's Saving Face, and Akram Zaatari's Tomorrow Everything Will Be Alright and In This House. (71 mins)

  • The Nervous Films of Janie Geiser

    • Wednesday, September 5 7 pm

    Janie Geiser (U.S., 2002–12). Janie Geiser in person. Geiser's origins in puppet theater are evident in her affinity for cutout figures and antique toys. She collages these and other elements, along with fragments of sounds or music, to construct mysterious worlds that are as beautiful as they are haunting. Films include the Nervous Film series and a premiere of a new film. (60 mins)