Friday April 17 is a special day for Shooting Down Pictures. The Kino Arsenal in Berlin will be presenting several of my videos as part of a monthly program: "The Art of Mediation: Films About Films." The series, which began in October and concludes in July, includes films and appearances by the likes of Harun Farocki, Alain Bergala, Alexander Horwath, Tag Gallagher and Jean Douchet, among others. The theme of the April 17 program is Films about Films and the Internet. Author, artist and media activist Sebastian Luetgert of Pirate Cinema will discuss the issue of free artistic expression on the internet, and they'll be showing several of my video essays. I'm excited and a bit intimidated to meet Sebastian Luetgert: he's a remarkable and provocative theorist who is as likely to critique the notions of freedom in the internet age as he will argue passionately for them. Read a sample essay of his here. Also in addition to my videos, Matt Zoller Seitz's wonderful video essay on The Art of Bill Melendez will screen. "The Art of Mediation: Films About Films," or known in German as "Kunst der Vermittlung: Aus den Archiven Filmvermittlung Films," is an ambitious project to catalog all existing films about other films, on all formats: DVD extras, films, video essays, etc. Organized by Stefan Pethke, Michael Baute, Volker Pantenburg, Stefanie Schlüter and Erik Stein, the project has already catalogued an impressive number of films about films, including just about every video essay that I've produced to date.
I would love for everyone out there to be on hand in Berlin for this big evening for Shooting Down Pictures. The funny thing is, in a way you can be, at least for the screening part of the presentation, since all of the films screening are already accessible on YouTube. You can find the links below in the program description if you'd like to watch them. I'll send a report upon my return - wish me luck!
Films About Films and the Internet
New forms of distribution of the internet and the digital technologies have made all means for the production of movie-commenting movies easily accessible for today’s web-prosumer. Vast numbers of feature-films and other cinematographic productions exist as digital footage, recording- and editing devices in various complexity are availabe for everyone.
When it comes to working with this treasure, the pertinent questions are analogous or even identical to those that authors of movie-commenting movies are confronted with: Which elements of an existing movie can I work with? What can be used, what am I allowed to use? What is a citation, what is a copy, what is a transmission? What is —in the broadest sense—legally or even morally interesting or possible, what is aesthetically interesting or possible in the working-with or the deictical gestures (the showing)? And who should watch all this? To be more specific: What is the difference between digital footage found on the net and the tangible footage collected in movie archives or found in the dustbin of history? What is algorithmic and what is intellectual indexicalization?
We have been looking for various forms and formats of movie-commenting artefacts in the internet. Starting from these we are going to discuss the questions mentioned above with Sebastian Lütgert (pirate cinema). The film selection focuses on works created within the frame of American Weblogs – particularly "Shooting Down Pictures", the project of our special guest, the filmmaker and critic Kevin B. Lee. Examples include video essays on current and classical films by Nicole Brenez, Kristin Thompson, Jonathan Rosenbaum, Matt Zoller Seitz, and others.
Diskussion mit Sebastian Lütgert, Special Guest: Kevin B. Lee
- Kristin Thompson und Kevin B. Lee: Shooting Down Pictures video essay on E.A. Dupont’s Variety (USA 2009, 5 min 51 sec)
- Christianne Benedikt und Kevin B. Lee: Shooting Down Pictures video essay on George Roy Hill's The World According to Garp (USA 2009, 6 min 32 sec)
- The Film Society of Lincoln Center: Clint Eastwood – A Critics' Roundtable. Part Two: Gran Torino (USA 2009, 7 min 20 sec)
- Jonathan Rosenbaum und Kevin B. Lee: Shooting Down Pictures video essay on John Ford's The Sun Shines Bright and Carl Theodor Dreyer's Gertrud (USA 2008, 15 min 17 sec) First Part, Second Part
- Kevin B. Lee: Shooting Down Pictures video essay on George Sluizer's Spoorlos and David Fincher's Zodiac (USA 2007, 6 min 24 sec)
- Kevin B. Lee: Shooting Down Pictures video essay on Sam Raimi's Evil Dead II (USA 2007, 4 min 51 sec)
Matt Zoller-Seitz: A Little Love: The Art of Bill Melendez (USA 2008, 9 min 31 sec)