8mm memories / by KirstenStudio

Yesterday afternoon I treated myself to a Tribeca Film Festival screening.  I got on the band wagon a little late, but I did snag a couple of great tickets.  The first being the 2:30p.m. Tribeca Short Film Program titled, Shorts: Impressions of Memory.  I specifically purchased yesterday's event tickets for three reasons, Jay Rosenblatt, Johan Kramer (his website suggests a terrific sense of humor) and Felix Dufour-Laperrière.  I was not disappointed because all three filmmakers had beautiful pieces to show. Mr Rosenblatt is an experimental film master and The D Train is no different. A look at a man's lifetime in moments of reflection during a train ride.  Johan Kramer's love letter and farewell to Super 8 Kodachrome film in Bye Bye Super 8, shows off the medium's gorgeous vibrant colors, like no other, and brought me back to my Grandpa Al's home movies (not only that but many experimental filmmakers shoot in 8mm and am also a huge fan of found 8mm footage).  Felix Dufour-Laperrière's Strip (in Cinemascope!) examines what we perceive as erotic by either the exposure or removal of imagery and in this case, literally playing with a vintage strip tease reel.  Cleverly, the film is also separated into graphic strips. All shorts a pleasure to experience and consider.

Others that took me by surprise and keep me revisiting them like (yes) impressions of memory are Paper by Egill Kristbjornsson, which captured my attention with it's amazing visual rhythm and effective use of sound. One Day I forgot and Used My Hands by Charles Lim, beautiful use of light, shadow and color. Melissa Friedling's Garden Roll Bounce Parking Lot, which explored the idea of memories through a one time garden whose vines were supported by a feature length 35mm film strip.  Again beautifully shot and I loved the idea of filming film and also filming film in a garden that now just exists in children's memories.

Each of these films I watched with delight and fascination and all were visually and intellectually layered to last in my sometimes foggy and but brilliantly colored memory. Like those 8mm Kodachrome film strips I watched my Grandpa Al splice and glue in the basement during holiday vacations, the act of filmmaking itself becomes an interpretation or representation of memory and I believe that's why we are so drawn to the medium.  We are by nature, nostalgic.  So many experiences become a series of selections that get saved or lost for one reason or another, or sometimes no reason at all.  Just like an edited piece of film or other artistic composition. Experimental films like these give memory and nostalgia a worthy poetry and mysteriousness.

Tribeca Shorts: Impressions of Memory has a final screening on Sunday, May 1st, 2011.  My second choice for a Tribeca screening before it's done for 2011 is tomorrow night's Independent Women: 15 years of NYWIFT-Funded Film Preservation (yes, the Women's Film Preservation Fund has an event!) at the SVA Theater on 23rd. The 84 minute showing offers a variety of women filmmaker works as well as an impressive and expansive panel discussion line up moderated by Drake Stutesman.  Don't miss out!  Click here for ticket info.