film/Still: Avant-Garde and Experimental

Posted on October 19, 2012

Guest post by Karla Rodriguez, audience development manager at the Denver Film Society.

“Filmmaking is a chance to live many lifetimes.”

– Robert Altman

As the audience development manager for the Denver Film Society I strive to uphold our mission to develop opportunities for diverse audiences to discover film through creative thought-provoking experiences with each and every program I help coordinate. Through our partnership with the Clyfford Still Museum, film/STILL, we are incredibly proud to explore one of the most overlooked genres in film: avant-garde and experimental.

As an undergraduate student at the University of Colorado-Boulder, I was fortunate to be exposed to the works of avant-garde/experimental filmmakers such as Maya Deren, Phil Solomon, Jay Rosenblatt, Stacey Steers and, of course, the incomparable Stan Brakhage. To say that I’m excited about showcasing the works of ALL of these filmmakers to Denver audiences—many on 16mm prints—at the Denver Film Center is a vast understatement. These films are rare jewels passing through our theatres, many of which our audiences will never see again. In a world where we’ve become so accustomed to being able to find a video on the internet on a whim there is something profound in the idea of limited availability.

Similar to the feeling one might have when surrounded by the life’s work of Clyfford Still at the Clyfford Still Museum, presenting a film program that focuses solely on one experimental filmmaker gives the audience a chance to become completely absorbed into the visceral experience of the art. As you sit in the theatre watching the flicker from the projector flutter in your stream of vision you find yourself going deeper and deeper into the world of the filmmaker. Images and colors that, in a fleeting moment seem random and meaningless, begin to take meaning in some form of organized chaos.

You find yourself, as if for a moment, submersed in a realm where the line between intellect and emotion is nonexistent. And, honestly, isn’t that what being human is all about? Our lives are a constant quest for the co-existence of our emotions and our logic. Art and film are not only the fruit of that labor but a way of achieving said goal. We’re just happy to bring some of those tools to you right from the comfort of a movie theatre.

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