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Still from Warm


Telluride International Experimental Cinema Exposition • Telluride, Colorado

by Liz Deschenes


The Telluride International Experimental Cinema Exposition, now in its second year, once again showcased experimental films of the highest caliber. Programmed by Colorado native Christopher May, TIE is quickly becoming the foremost event for experimental cinema in the US.


Although this year the venue was changed from the historic Sheridan Opera House to the Telluride Conference Center, the projection equipment continues to be state-of-the art, a rarity in experimental film screenings. TIE provides the ideal conditions under which to view the most innovative filmmaking from around the world.


Several films stand out in this year’s program. Warm a Minimal film by Ana Gil-Costa and Sonia Gil-Costa, uses only black, white, and yellow to ironically comment on the color of light and our perception of it. A remarkable synthesis of holes, flicker, and altered found footage, where images loose their content as they become literal sources of light. Wit is also present in Tank by Hans Michaud, and Thorsten Fleisch’s Silver Screen. Michaud uses only one word, the title of the film, to create a spellbinding  22 minute play of rhythm on the screen. Fleisch’s film pun Silver Screen is made entirely with aluminum foil paper, each film frame is a different sheet of foil moving in rapid succession to great effect.


Sarah A Reynolds’ film Generations of Degeneration cleverly plays with the idea of time in cinema. A 16mm loop of found footage is gradually scratched as it passes continuously through the projector. The film’s length is indefinite, it ends only when all the emulsion has been scratched off or the loop breaks. Shudder (Top and Bottom)  by Michael Gitlin, where a 35mm film is printed onto 16mm film stock converting each frame of 35mm into 2 frames of 16mm. The result is that the top and bottom of the original image is split into its top and its bottom, creating an optical pulsation which destroys persistence of vision.


The festival also features workshops and unconventional projections. Among these filmmaker Robert Schaller projected his films onto a kite flown by avant-garde kite artist David Wagner. Scenes from the Wayang Kulit, combined images from Indonesian, Malaysian, and Balinese shadow puppet theater in a reflexive turn where the strings of the kite become part of the strings of the puppet themselves.


Over 80 films in 4 days, TIE is dedicated exclusively to work on celluloid, no video is shown. The excellence of May’s programming make the 4 days an event not to be missed. Building on the tradition of the avant-garde, experimental filmmaking has developed new generations of practitioners who continue to stretch the cinema to its limits and bring to it Contemporary concerns.


Liz Deschenes

New York, New York


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