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Not an Addict: Experimental Explorations of Addiction and Recovery

  • Maysles Cinema 343 Malcolm X Boulevard New York, NY, 10027 United States (map)

Wednesday, June 12th 7:30PM

Programmed by: Devon Narine-Singh

In curating this program I was thinking less about thematics and more about memory. Who held my hand and guided me into this community? Who acted as a mentor and a friend? Whose films spoke to me on a political level but on a deeply personal one too? Recovery is about community, and on my journey of recovery I was lucky enough to fall into a community of experimental film. The films in this program deal directly or indirectly with many of the emotions people face in recovery: grief, acceptance, serenity. They go about it in a number of different ways, but the one unifying link is, as filmmaker MM Serra would call it, “the personal vision.” These films come directly from the filmmakers’ hearts and hide nothing. Getting sober is about learning to love and accept yourself and to live your honest truth--what better examples than these films? - DNS


The Dragon is the Frame 
Mary Helena Clark, 2014, 14 min, 16mm
An experimental detective film made in remembrance: keeping a diary, footnotes of film history, and the puzzle of depression.

What are you thinking?
I am thinking of how many times this poem
Will be repeated. How many summers
Will torture California
Until the damned maps burn
Until the mad cartographer
Falls to the ground and possesses
The sweet thick earth from which he has been hiding.
What are you thinking now?

- Jack Spicer, Psychoanalysis: An Elegy

Civil War Surveillance Poems: Part One 
Mitch McCabe, 15 min, Digital Video
CIVIL WAR SURVEILLANCE POEMS (Part 1) is the first film in a four-part project of experimental nonfiction films contemplating a second American civil war via lyrical, mixing call-in radio and twenty years of verité footage from the filmmaker's archive. In the end the series builds to a hybrid narrative film of clashing ideology, culminating in an installation of sound sculpture, four-walled video and Americana artifacts. 

After The Rainbow 
Soda_Jerk, 2009, 6 mins, Digital Video
Through a re-imagining of the initial sequence of the film The Wizard of Oz(1939), the fantasy world of cinema and the reality of Judy Garland’s complex life collide. Instead of taking Dorothy to Oz, the twister transports a young, hopeful Garland into the future where she encounters her disillusioned adult self. After the Rainbow is the second work in Soda_Jerk’s Dark Matter series, an ongoing cycle of videos that are concerned with personal and historical experiences of time, and how these relations are mediated by screen technologies. Begun in 2005, each work in this cycle takes the form of a séance fiction where encounters are staged between the past and future selves of a deceased screen star.

Bitch Beauty 
MM Serra, 7 mins, Digital Video
Bitch-Beauty is an experimental documentary paralleling the lives of Anne Hanavan, whose experiences as part of the underground scene in the East Village of the 1980s was contemporary with now-deceased actress Zoe Tamerlis Lund, the actor and screenwriter of Bad Lieutenant, who died of a heroin/cocaine overdose in 1999. Using Hanavan's films, performances, readings, and music as well as footage from Lund's work, Bitch-Beauty is an intense seven-minute time capsule of addiction, the perils of street prostitution, and subsequent renewal or revival through cathartic self-expression.

I woke up in the mud and picked up a camera because of Jonas 
Devon Narine-Singh in collaboration with Elizabeth Hoy and Bailey Jet Vaughn, 14 min, Digital Video
An expanded cinema performance combining hand processed buried underground and coated in mud 16mm film, live narration, dance, iPhone footage, and found sound to create an ever morphing portrait of recovery, but also a film of presences not physically in a space but felt. Be it a friend in recovery who drank again or a legendary filmmaker who leaves behind a world of cinema to inhabit, the ghostly presences still linger on this journey of relapse, recovery and the in between.

Same Stream Twice 
Lynne Sachs with Maya Street-Sachs, 4 min, 16mm
My daughter’s name is Maya. I’ve been told that the word maya means illusion in Hindu philosophy. In 2001, I photographed her at six years old, spinning like a top around me. Even then, I realized that her childhood was not something I could grasp but rather - like the wind - something I could feel tenderly brushing across my cheek. Eleven years later, I pull out my 16mm Bolex camera once again and she allows me to film her - different but somehow the same.

Nervous Magic Lantern: 3D For One Eye 
Ken Jacobs, 20 min, Digital Video
Working at live projection with partner Flo beginning in 1975, we discovered the unexpected effects of interposed black intervals. These could include dimensional illusion. Even stranger was the discovery that a single eye could see the dimensional effect even more emphatically than two. This is our first video-recording and editing of projections by The Nervous Magic Lantern.

Earlier Event: June 9
AFF 26: Visages de Femmes