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Underground Film Random News & Notes: Dec. 7

Woman with a gag in her mouth

While I typically like to group similar news items into a single post, e.g. upcoming screenings, here are a couple random interesting things I came across today:

1) John R. Hand has shot and edited a short film by Mike Ensley called The House Where People Die. The actual short should be up in a few days and I’ll alert readers to that when it is. But, in the meantime, Hand has put up a bunch of stills from the film on his blog. That’s one of them up above and if that kind of thing turns you on, go look at some more. From the title and the pictures, it looks pretty sick.

Book cover for Light Moving in Time

2) Via Ed Halter’s bookmarks, the entire 1992 book Light Moving in Time: Studies in the Visual Aesthetics of Avant-Garde Film by William C. Wees is now online at the site eScholarship. I just found this link today, so I haven’t read it, nor am I sure if I will. Don’t get me wrong, sounds like a fantastic book, but I haven’t adjusted to the world of book reading online yet. There are chapters on Stan Brakhage, Kenneth Anger and Michael Snow and other underground film legends, so it looks like a terrific read and, even better, as a resource.

I also really prefer the web-text format of eScholarship that has links to each chapter, plus links for each footnote. For my Underground Yearbook series, I keep finding good references via Google Books, but Google’s image scans of the books gives me a headache to read in depth. If I were to read an entire book online, I’d be more willing to give the eScholarship format a try. But, I’m not quite there yet though I will have to admit it’s nice having all of these resources available without having to keep a ton of books around. On the other hand, there’s nothing like having a book I love at hand and thumbing through it to find the info I need for an article.

Scott Baker hammers a nail into his nose

3) I don’t have a link for this last item, but filmmaker Gary Beeber told me something very interesting via email today. Beeber is the director of the Coney Island documentary Bally-Master, which just played at the Tulsa United Film Festival this weekend. Although Beeber couldn’t attend the festival, he still participated in a video Q&A after the film screened. This was done in real time via iChat and conducted by festival director Jason Connell. Beeber tells me that he could see the audience and they could see him during the entire presentation.

I think this is a really terrific idea and one I hope catches on, especially in the underground film world. Nothing beats going to a film festival, for both filmmakers and audiences alike, but underground directors don’t have a ton of money to travel everywhere their films play. If they can’t make it out, hook ’em up to iChat so they can gauge the reaction to their film from a distance.

And Beeber’s news comes hot on the heels of another filmmaking friend of mine who actually went to a film festival where his movie was playing and the fest neither introduced the filmmakers nor did any kind of Q&A, which is really in poor form. Hope festivals go more the route of using the iChat than this one. Also, between festivals streaming films online and now this, there’s a good chance somebody will create the first entirely virtual film festival, where people watch movies online in their home, then ask the filmmakers questions right after.