Last night I went out to an EX-is screening, with my friend Amber, who plays lead in Marcella’s film Landing in the Morning Calm. Wending our way down-town, we inquired just where was the Samillo Changgo theater, since our map was less than clear. From another EX-is venue a young staff girl guided us (stopping to leap and then cover her mouth, laughing in Korean fashion, as a brown rat, no very big, strangely nosed around on a street corner, seemingly unafraid of people and cars – was rather a cute rat) up a rampway, and finally some stairs, to a small little theater, with some outdoor terraces, where we got tickets, bumped into some friends, and saw Daniel Cockburn, who’d invited us to his screening. We went nearby and had a BBQ dinner of pork first (about $20 for two plus beer), and then returned for screening.
In a lovely small theater, seating 60, marred by a rather wrinkled screen, we sat in what seemed a packed house, and as I noted to Amber, the avant-garde sex ratio seemed tilted heavily to the female side – seemed like 3 girls to 1 guy in the audience. After a little pitter-patter intro the first film came up, a fuzzy going in-out of focus diagram, which at first had my heart and psyche drop as I thought, “Oh god, more amateur night AG crap…” However the voice-over was witty, intelligent and engaging, and I gave it some space. Can’t say I liked it – the fuzzy image of line drawings in 8mm was off-putting, but the talk was droll and smart. The next piece turned the corner and revealed Daniel Cockburn (pronounced, we presume for long-ago learned reasons, “Coburn”), of Toronto, a sly, visually adept, and witty natural performer. The following selection of short works covered a range of visual dazzle and convoluted verbal and intellectual play that had me entranced, and reminded me slightly of another “about the process” filmmaker whom I like a lot, Morgan Fisher. Real fun. I’ve asked Daniel to swap DVDs and when he’s returned to Berlin, where he’s living this year (grant I suppose) he said he’ll do so. I’ll do a proper write-up then. Meantime if he’s screening near you, go see. It’s good.
Pasadena Freeway Stills, Gary Beydler
Morgan Fisher films: Standard Gauge, Production Stills, Projection Instructions