Documentary

In the late 1970s, Walter Naegle was walking to Times Square to buy a newspaper when he ran into a striking older African American man on the corner. Walter says that “lightning struck” and his life changed forever at that moment. The man on the corner was Bayard Rustin.

In Dani Leventhal's video, 17 New Dam Rd., we are invited along on a house visit with a familial group. There's trash in the garden, guns on the sofa, and marshall arts in the living room. A photo session records a young woman throwing punches at a man, playacting for the camera, but sweating anyway. A kitten ignores the bullets littered on the ground. Despite the foregrounding of violent pursuits, lost teeth and pool hall fights, there's a rough camaraderie here, a feeling of loyalty and belonging.

37 Stories About Leaving Home provides a rare and personal view into the lives of Japanese women. This beautifully constructed and complex video weaves stories told by a group of Japanese grandmothers, mothers and daughters, ranging in age from 15 to 83. The stories recount each woman’s personal journey from child to adulthood—their experiences of leaving home.

"Scenes from meetings within a company which advises corporations how to design their offices -- and the work done there. The film shows that words are not just tools, they have become an object of speculation." 

-- Harun Farocki

Mexican video artist Ximena Cuevas documented the preparations and opening of the Marina Abramovic Videoinstalaciones exhibit at Mexico City's Laboratorio Arte ALameda, the first Abramovic exhibition ever to take place in Mexico, in November of 2008.  Cuevas captures the self proclaimed "performance grandmother" in a number of personal and performative moments as she readies for the opening.

In the aftermath of a death things may seem very quiet, but there are struggles going on so deep not even those who struggle can recognize them.  This film looks and listens for signs of those struggles.  Psychoanalytic interjections consider the nature of time and rumination, and are used to step outside of the terribly interiorized state of mourning.

-- Jennifer Montgomery

A musical portrait of Vic Chesnutt and company recording the song, CHAIN.

The piece was shot during the recording session for the album, At the Cut, at the Hotel2Tango studio in Montreal, and features appearances by musicians including Efrim Menuck, Guy Picciotto, Jessica Moss, and Chad Jones. CHAIN was written by Chesnutt after viewing Cohen's feature film of that name.

Animal Attraction is a documentary about the relationship between people and animals that questions the way we project our hopes and desires onto our pets, and ascribe human qualities and attributes to their gestures. The video was inspired by the plight of the filmmaker who was frustrated by the obnoxious behavior of her cat, Ernie. As a last resort, she gave in to a friend's suggestion to contact an animal communicator. This is her journey with interspecies telepathic communicator, Dawn Hayman, from Spring Farm CARES, an animal sanctuary in upstate New York.

For four years in the 1860’s, half of the United States was held hostage by an unrecognized white supremacist republic. Shot on 16mm in national military parks, swamps, forests and the suburban sprawl across the former battlefields, the film follows General Grant’s path liberating the southern United States. Part travelogue, part essay film, part landscape documentary, it moves from the Texas-Louisiana border to a prison island off the coast of New England.

Aroma of Enchantment is a video essay investigating the fascination Japanese teenagers have for the America of the 1950s and '60s, sporting bobby socks and hair soaked with Brylcreem. Weaving together historical anecdotes about General Douglas MacArthur and his own feelings of alienation in the midst of Japanese culture, Lord focuses on stories told by collectors of American memorabilia in Japan and advocates of Americanization.

A documentary about Holt’s public installation work Dark Star Park in Arlington, Virginia, this video is about the process of developing and building the park. It includes commentary from the architects, contractors, foremen, and engineers who worked on the project, as well as with people who frequent the park. Holt transforms a site of urban blight into an aesthetically stimulating spot that addresses environmental issues.

Copyright Holt/Smithson Foundation.

This documentary explores the groundbreaking street performances of Cuban artist JuanSí González during the 1980s. A pioneer of relational aesthetic practice in Cuba, González transformed public spaces in Havana into laboratories for edgy exchanges between artists and the public and created numerous works that threw art's role in a socialist society into question. His experiments provoked surprise from his peers and suspicion from state authorities. Twenty years later, the artist sat down to reflect on the relevance of those performances for the development of Cuban contemporary art.

BAGHDAD IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER is an ambient video essay of life in Baghdad before the invasion and occupation. Men dance, women draw and sufis sing as they await the coming of another war. In seven languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Italian and Spanish).

Notes, gifts, promises, paintings, trash, and other ephemera from the city which is now hardly a city. What if Walter Benjamin didn’t kill himself, learned html, bought a camera, and thought himself useful enough to work in an impending war zone?

Martin Sorrondeguy, former vocalist for Los Crudos, produced this powerful and uplifting documentary about the U.S. Latino punk scene and the DIY movement. The video features live performances by bands, including Huasinpungo, Los Crudos, Subsistencia, Sbitch, and many more.

In Birth of a Nation, Jem Cohen takes his camera to Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration and to the next day’s protests.

A portrait of Catania, Sicily. Includes the ocean at 5 a.m., the fish market, the distributor of pornographic films, the woodworker, the elephant statue, housing projects, and a young girl in an orange sweater. Catania is a large and remarkable city without many tourists or tourist attractions. Its people live in the shadow of Mt. Aetna, an active volcano.

Mark Linkous of the band Sparklehorse composed original soundtrack for the project, which also contains music by local Catania musicians.

The BLVD, 1999

An experimental documentary about the street drag racing scene on Chicago’s near West Side. This is a rambling textured film about obsession. It is about the mythos of speed for its own sake, but it’s also about waiting, and it is through waiting that The BLVD exposes community, inner-city landscapes and nomadic experiences of place. The film treats storytelling as a living medium for determining history. And it commands respect, for those who transform cars, or anything else, through passion.

Marielle Nitoslawska’s Breaking the Frame is a feature–length profile of the radical New York artist Carolee Schneemann. A pioneer of performance art and avant-garde cinema, Schneemann has been breaking the frames of the art world for five decades by challenging the taboos leveled against the female body. Breaking the Frame is a kinetic, hyper-cinematic intervention, a critical medita-tion on the intimate correlations animating art and life.

 


Praise for Breaking the Frame:

 

Produced for Britain’s Channel 4, Bright Eyes is an impressive and complex essay detailing the various factors that have colluded to misrepresent the true nature of the threat posed by AIDS. Exposing the relationship between the mass media, scientific systems of classification, and definitions of pathology, Marshall pinpoints the construction of sexual politics based on a reactionary morality. The video places the AIDS crisis in the context of the historical persecution of homosexuals and focuses on the efforts of gay activist groups to combat social and medical prejudice.

In 2002, my troupe, La Pocha Nostra and I were invited to conduct a workshop at Columbia College in Chicago with 15 students and faculty from different departments. At the end of the two-week workshop, we created a large-scale performance-installation with the participants. Canadian video artist Liz Singer was invited to shoot the entire process, from the early workshop exercises, meant to connect students with their bodies and build a sense of community, up to opening night... In this documentary we reveal the working methods and radical pedagogy of La Pocha Nostra.

A conversation with Canadian artist Stephen Andrews returns us to a pre-cocktail moment, when being HIV+ afforded us the consolation of certainty.

Burrow-Cams features footage from cameras that have been placed inside underground animal habitats (dens, burrows, etc.). Animals showcased include: burrowing owl, black-footed ferret, porcupine, badger, prairie vole, swift fox, deer mouse, and black tailed prairie dog.

Note: This title is intended by the artist to be viewed in High Definition. While DVD format is available to enable accessibility, VDB recommends presentation on Blu-ray or HD digital file.

"This film is closely related to my last feature-length project, Counting. I take the temperature of a neighborhood. In this case, the place is my New York. I think about street life and its threatened demise – a death ushered in as Big Money relentlessly re-makes cities in ever more categorical ways. I think with the camera, on the move, in fragments.

This video diary visits two sites that exhibited my visual works this past year, culminating at the VOLTA ART SHOW in N.Y.C., where I sold some paintings and a photograph.

The underling theme of the diary deals with some bloating, scarring and beefcake exposure while on the road to an acting gig where I'm scheduled to play a BI-SEXUAL, paraplegic in heat.

There are some in depth scenes of me working out the romance/sex routines with a young and attractive, male co-star. The all-girl crew appears to be getting off on the whole thing and I don't blame them!

A rising moon and lowering standards in secular shenanigans highlight this documentary on the making of a sci-fi epic for mini-adults. The stakes are high and the porkchops well done as cast and crew blast off to kiddie dimensions only dreamed of by reformed perverts who revert back to more primitive states of fetishistic attire to usher in the new millenium.