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Are We Here, Together?: Experimental Shorts

Saturday, Jul 31, 2021 at 6:30 pm

Location: Redstone Theater

A mining of perception exploring landscapes, cityscapes, bodies, sexuality, feminism, anti-capitalism, and anti-authoritarianism in search of meaning, connection, the self, resolve, and greater ideals. These two programs of shorts conclude with a projector performance by Roger Beebe paying tribute to the filmmaker Norman McLaren.

Program 1: In These Times

Total running time: approximately 60 mins.

We Carry with Us Our Mother

Dir. Olivia Ciummo. U.S. 2019, 5 mins. Planetary events and blood red landscapes blend with ethereal sounds as text leaves clues about difficulties with the mind and body. New York premiere

Garden City Beautiful

Dir. Ben Balcom. U.S. 2019, 12 mins. One sunny afternoon in the Midwest, suspended in a time between, two commuters daydream about a life lived otherwise. New York City premiere

Zen Basketball

Dir. Mike Hoolboom. U.S. 2020, 5 mins. In a series of simple frames, the often misunderstood practice of Zen takes shape as basketball bliss. Now in retirement, the greatest defensive player of the amateur leagues continues to practice on a remote island, far from the madding crowds. His techniques and dedication undergo continual refinement, revealed here in this startling exposé. North American premiere

Eastern State

Dir. Talena Sanders. U.S. 2019, 5 mins. Eastern State brings a found archive of decades of footage documenting the lives of the patients and employees of one of the oldest mental health institutions in the United States into dialogue with Barbara Loden’s 1970 film Wanda. Through digital video corruption, VHS artifacting, stroboscopic effects, direct animation, and overlays, this collage film considers the fidelity of nonfiction media to lived experiences of isolation. Warning: flicker effects.  New York premiere. 

Standing Forward Full

Dir. Alee Peoples. U.S. 2020, 6 mins. A helter skelter is an amusement ride with a spiral slide built around a tower. Like this film, an exorcism attempt of an unrequited desire, itʼs either moving too fast or at a complete standstill. Disorienting but exciting. New York premiere

Curious Fantasies

Dir. Jesse McLean. U.S. 2019, 8 mins. The language and imagery related to celebrity perfumes (both descriptive and visual) are a starting point to think about consumer desires and the corruption of branding. “Give us your songs, your smells, and we will give you everything.” The rich get richer, everyone smells poorer. New York premiere


Dir. Ariel Teal. U.S. 2018, 8 mins. Embodying a body after trauma. Blowjobs, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and memory are interwoven in an attempt to process and find bodily autonomy. Warning: Contains text dealing with sexual trauma. New York premiere

Civil Twilight at the Vernal Equinox

Dirs. Emily Vey Duke, Cooper Battersby. U.S, 12 mins. “What would another world look like, one that is carried by this feeling of empathy, of mutual love between humans and animals, between species? How would our relationship with a largely domesticated nature and environment change? How would established relationships of power and strength be redefined with this thought?”—Tasja Langenbach. New York premiere


Program #2: Perceptual States (with Peter Burr and Ross Meckfessel in person)

Total running time: approximately 75 mins.

Black Square

Dir. Peter Burr. U.S. 2020. 7 mins. An assembly of human figures writhe and squares strobe in rhythm to audio sampled from the opening of the 1965 Op Art exhibition “The Responsive Eye.” Through the friction of this contrast, a portrait emerges of an anxious divided society testing the boundaries of awareness. Warning: flicker effects.  New York premiere.

Another Horizon

Dir. Stephanie Barber. U.S. 2020. 9 mins. The horizon, where the sky and the earth meet, is always elsewhere, a promised place where these two elements come together. A metaphor, an orienting, a promise of transition, change, transcendence. A place where the corporeal and spiritual meet, or are cleaved apart. New York City premiere

Zero Length Spring

Dir. Ross Meckfessel. U.S. 2020. 16 mins. A walk through corridors and rooms culminates in a familial Reiki session—what’s underneath and within. An apotropaic film, imprinted by rituals and symbols, basking in ruptures of the body and the earth. Through ASMR brush tracks and the language of self-help therapy, film surface abrasions and alleged paranormal photos, the film gives shape to various unseeable forces. You’re worth it, you deserve love, you can grow. New York premiere

The I and S of Lives

Dir. Kevin Jerome Everson. U.S. 2021, 7 mins. The “I” and “S” of “Lives” are the smoothest area of resistance. A rollerblader (Jahleel Gardner) navigates the letters on the pavement of Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington D.C. on a summer afternoon, 2020. New York premiere


Dir. Margaret Rorison. U.S. 2021. 22 mins. A montage of the underpopulated streets, shuddered storefronts, and crumbling cornices of Baltimore City suggests a disturbed mind’s-eye recollection of social neglect and physical decay. New York premiere

Live Performance:

Lineage (for Norman McLaren)

Dir. Roger Beebe. U.S. 2019. 15 mins. 16mm projector performance. Lineage is a loop-based “orchestral” film performance for four 16mm projectors. Using as a point of departure Norman McLaren’s abstract animations in Lines Horizontal as well as reworked footage from two documentary portraits of McLaren in his prime and in his later life, the film explores how abstract marks made in a variety of ways—laser printing and etching, contact printing and hand-processing—result in strange and surprising sounds. New York premiere


Tickets: $15 / $11 seniors & students / $9 youth (ages 3–17) / $7 MoMI members. Order online.

After your purchase (limit 4 tickets per order), an electronic ticket will be sent via email to facilitate contactless check-in; seating will be assigned upon arrival on a first-come, first-seated basis. Learn more here.