The Experimental Film PodcastNov 12, 2022
Season 3 Episode 17 - Ken Hess - Season Finale
This podcast focuses on film festivals. I cover increasing your chances at getting Official Selection status, getting screened, and getting discounts. I also cover fee waivers, withdrawing your films, film editing, and some war stories from the Film Festival Director trenches.
Season 3 Episode 16 - Experimental Filmmaker Shu Lee
Malaysian-born Shu Qin Lee was raised in Australia and initially encountered photography when his uncle in Singapore gifted him his first manual film camera in the 1990’s.
This love for photography led Shu to capturing simple moving images like a crystal ball rotating on a mini water fountain when the first Nokia phones were available. Here the seed of experimental filmmaking was planted.
Many years later, after having studied languages, religion, philosophy and attained a Masters of Teaching, Shu started teaching humanities. Through the recommendation of a friend, he also took up background acting for films and commercials. It was on a movie set after an impressive mock performance as an extra that he met another extra who promised that they would make a film together and submit it to film festivals. That plan never materialized. In the face of this major ideological disappointment, Shu became determined to make his own films.
As a passionate musician, he started making video recordings of his compositions to store his own music. Then he ventured into writing and producing mini skits where he would play all the parts. These short videos would include the people and environment within his regular social life.
It was at a Kino screening that Shu watched his first experimental film. A film so obscure purely because it was unlike all the other shorts that had been screened.
During his time as a relieving librarian, Shu rummaged through two books on film, paying particular attention to the chapter on “Experimental Films.” With a fully inspired heart, he would self-produce seventy-plus experimental shorts that include elements of music, comedy, home theatrics, vlogging, travel, documentary, visual arts, nature, children, horror, sport, dance, and multiculturalism. His mainstream approach includes “spin-blending,” “juxtapositioning,” and the recurrent themes of nature and children at play.
Season 3 Episode 15 - Interdisciplinary Artist Lisa Birke
Interdisciplinary artist Lisa Birke's work results from the collision of video, performance art, and installation. She is interested in the stories that we re-cite and re-brand and how these inform our conception of the world and the tragi-comic perception of ourselves. Recently, Birke has been exploring immersive multi-media approaches using special effects, AR, and 360 videos. Her award-winning video work has seen more than100 screenings and installations at film festivals, media centers, and in galleries and museums internationally, including the Vancouver International Film Festival, Slamdance Film Festival, Florida Film Festival, International Short Film Week Regensburg, TIME is Love, The New Museum of Networked Art, and Remai Modern. Birke is an Assistant Professor of Digital and Extended Media and area chair of the Digital and Integrated Practice area in the Department of Art & Art History at the University of Saskatchewan.
Season 3 Episode 14 - Director and Cinematographer Guillaume Simonin
Director and Cinematographer Guillaume Simonin mainly works as a director and cinematographer for commercials, corporate movies, and art movies and specializes in using color and liquids. You can find Guillaume's work on his Vimeo page or on his website.
Guillaume and I spoke about his underwater work and about his experimental films. Be sure to check out his Cinematography Showreel. I think you'll agree that his work is beautiful and engaging.
Season 3 Episode 13 - Interdisciplinary Artist and Experimental Filmmaker Jessica Parnell
Jessica Parnell is one of the most fun guests I've ever interviewed on the podcast. She and I need our own BBC talk show featuring interviews, short experimental films, and just crazy talk. We'd also explore some of our ideas live, on camera, while our audience comes along for the ride. This interview is over two hours long and took a few weeks to edit, but it's worth it. You'll enjoy Jessica's fresh perspectives on art and experimental filmmaking. She is a Psychotherapist in England and enjoys many different types of self-expression. You'll find her films available on YouTube and Instagram.
Jessica's short experimental films are humorous, fun, fast-moving, and some are borderline erotic. She has a lot of fun with full-body action and video collage. You'll enjoy the pace of her work and its intricate details. After listening to the podcast and checking out her work, you too will become a fast fan.
Season 3 Episode 12 - Experimental Filmmaker Dave Baeumler
David Baeumler grew up in Buffalo, NY, when all the elm trees were dying. Dave went to Bard College and received a filmmaking degree under the direction of filmmakers Peter Hutton, Adolfas Mekas, and Peggy Ahwesh. His films defy simple categories because they blend "experimental" techniques with storytelling threads. They can be poetic and philosophical but also blunt and satirical. And while they can be fun to watch with the sound off, you could also listen to them with your eyes closed. A collection of his films, called "Intolerable Questions", is available at amazon.com.
Season 3 Episode 11 - Visual Artist and Experimental Filmmaker Natasa Prosenc Stearns
Natasa Prosenc Stearns graduated in design from the Academy of Fine Arts in Ljubljana. She first worked as a graphic designer. After receiving a Fulbright scholarship, she went to Los Angeles to specialize, where she studied film and video production at the California Institute of the Arts. Prosenc Stearns is a director, screenwriter, editor, and visual artist, but she mainly works with video installation.
In her films, she explores new techniques and visual expression. In her videos, she uses the effects of textures and natural elements, especially water, which erodes and dissolves its immediate surroundings in an ongoing process. She creates a series of images that combine contradictions such as beauty and decay, carefreeness and discomfort, attention and dreaminess, and tension and balance. Natasa lives and works in Los Angeles and Ljubljana.
Season 3 Episode 10 - Songkai Zhou
Songkai Zhou was born in Henan, China but now lives and works in London.
Songkai studied filmmaking, literature, and philosophy of art at the China Academy of Art and the Royal College of Art. His works are about personal existence, public life, relationships between natural elements and human beings, or historical memory in the contemporary technology era. His works span diverse artistic media, such as poetry, painting, film, photography, and other mediums. In his film works, he utilizes a non-logical implicit narrative to explore the visual poetics of cinematography in the flow of time.
Season 3 Episode 9 - French Filmmaker Enora Keller
Enora Keller is a French mixed-media artist, filmmaker, and experimental theater actress. We spoke on various film topics and her experiences in college that shaped her art.
**CONTENT WARNING: This podcast contains dialog about sexual assault.**
Enora's artist statement: I am my own lab rat. I explore the damaged lands of the self, facing its multiple mirrors. I instinctively try to expose the fissures of perception, these white holes suspended in matter. I am also a traveler, trying to move within the self through physical movement. I seek to highlight the nomadic reflections of a blurred identity. I find myself questioning the theatrical scene of our social anthropology, between alteration, evolution, destruction and reproduction. My goal is to stage the chosen materials (bodies, photographic materials, words, noises...) so that the viewer can experience the oscillations of the self, where space becomes the architecture of these internal movements.
Season 3 Episode 8 - Experimental Filmmaker Johnny Kalangis
Johnny Kalangis (he/him) is a multi-award-winning film director, installation artist, and digital media creative from Toronto/T'karonto, Canada. He is a first-generation white settler of Greek descent. His first feature film, the anti-romantic micro-budget comedy Jack & Jill, premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival (1999) and was executive produced by Atom Egoyan. His second film, Love Is Work, won the People’s Choice Award at the Whistler International Film Festival (2005) and was the closing gala at the Canadian Film Festival in Toronto. His horror-comedy, The Mad (2007), starring Billy Zane, opened the Canadian Film Festival (Toronto) and enjoys cult classic status.
Johnny has done interactive, narrative film art installations at Toronto’s Nuit Blanche on three occasions. The pieces Road Trips, Road Trips (1984), and, Airwaves allowed visitors to interact with their physical space to create and collaborate on their narrative experiences.
Johnny is currently the VP of Digital at Toronto’s Cream Productions. He executive produced CNN's Behind The Desk, The Story of Late Night (WINNER! 2022 Webby Award) podcast, and the A Ghost Ruined My Life with Eli Roth (Discovery) podcasts. He also creates interactive digital media projects in augmented and virtual reality. He has designed games and game narratives and, this year, is also the executive producer on an album release. In the past, he was a producer and executive at CBC Digital/TV and VP, Creative Director, Digital, and the multi-award-winning company, marblemedia.
He studied English, film theory and criticism, filmmaking, and interactive digital media at Western University, New York University, and the Canadian Film Centre.
Season 3 Episode 7 - Experimental Poet and Filmmaker Richard Bailey
Richard is currently editing a macabre feature film called The Dark Sisters. His feature film King Judith is available in wide release through Indie Rights Movies. My previous feature, A Ship of Human Skin, is available in wide release through Gravitas Ventures. His films have been shown at Alchemy Moving Image, Anthology Film Archives, Arizona Underground, AVIFF Cannes, Bare Bones, Berlin Revolution, Black Maria, Blow-Up (Chicago Art House), Dallas VideoFest, KERA (PBS), Proyector International, SENE, ShockFest, SXSW, and many other festivals.
Season 3 Episode 6 - Experimental Filmmaker and Composer Christopher Rakas
Born in the '70s, raised in the '80s, and grew up in El Paso, Texas, Christopher was a troubled kid who needed an artistic outlet, He always loved watching Elvira, not for her physical attributes, but for the cheesy horror and sci-fi movies, she screened every week. Christopher started making home horror movies when he was 12 and was particularly interested in the special effects make-up side of filmmaking. "I was obsessed with Tom Savini and Stan Winston. And I loved directors like John Carpenter and Wes Craven." He's always leaned toward the darker, more experimental side of the arts. In the '90s, he formed an experimental band called The Fold, which was off to a hot start until drug use and alcohol abuse derailed those ambitions. For the past 11 years, he's owned a pizzeria in downtown El Paso. A silver lining to the pandemic was the rekindling of his love for filmmaking. Dada Noise is his first professional film project. He's currently writing a TV series called On Bloody Paths with Ingmar Koch and Mary Susan Applegate. Applegate wrote the music for the film Bend It Like Beckham. Marc Caro, the director from City of the Lost Children and Delicatessen, will direct a few episodes. And Christopher has a film in this year’s Experimental Film Fest titled Dada Noise 2.
Season 3 Episode 5 - Experimental Composer and Filmmaker Joey Bargsten
Joey Bargsten creates electronic and acoustic music, transmedia opera, interactive media, digital films, software, and virtual reality experiences. His music has been played by the Indianapolis Symphony and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. It has been featured at New York’s Symphony Space, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Atlanta Arts Festival, and National Public Radio's International Concert Hall. Bargsten won a Knight Arts Challenge Award for his transmedia opera MelanchoLalaland ™, which premiered in Miami Beach in 2015 (www.melancholalaland.com).
He won the audience award at the 2004 Stuttgart Filmwinter Expanded Media Festival for his interactive website BAD MIND TIME™ (www.badmindtime.com), which has been featured in exhibitions of digital art internationally—in Istanbul, London, Penang, and Los Angeles. Bargsten taught at the University of Iowa, Georgia Tech, Atlanta College of Art, and the University of Oregon before his current position in interactive multimedia at the School of Communication and Multimedia Studies, at Florida Atlantic University.
Season 3 Episode 4 - Colette Copeland - Experimental Filmmaker
Inspired by Dada and Situationist Theater, Colette Copeland is a multi-media visual artist whose work examines issues surrounding gender, death, and contemporary culture. Sourcing personal narratives and popular media, she utilizes video, photography, performance, and sculptural installation to question societal roles and the pervasive influence of media and technology on our communal enculturation. Her videos employ experimental narrative techniques and absurdist humor to explore the landscape of human relationships.
Over the past 26 years, Copeland’s work has been exhibited in 27 solo exhibitions and 143 group exhibitions/festivals spanning 35 countries. She received her BFA from Pratt Institute in New York and her MFA from Syracuse University. She teaches art and digital media at the University of Texas and Collin Colleges in Dallas, Texas.
Season 3 Episode 3 - Stefan DiMuzio - A Unique Perspective
Stefan Kei DiMuzio is a rare filmmaker whose (filmmaker) voice is creative, off-the-wall, and refreshing. His interview is one of my all-time favorites. His film "Good Listeners Anonymous" is an Official Selection in The Experimental Film Fest (2022). This conversation covers some discussion of that plus his overall techniques, equipment, and unique perspective. The following is a quote from another interview:
“My absolute favorite thing when creating whatever I make – is tricking people,” he says. “Seeing people’s eyebrows raise and their eyes kind of light up when I show them something I’ve made is just great. It’s one of the best feelings I’ve ever had in my life…I absolutely love subverting people’s expectations in the stuff that I make."
Stefan DiMuzio is a name you should remember. You'll be hearing more from him in the future.
Season 3 Episode 2 - Christopher Byrne - Filmmaker
My original idea was to have characters speak the haikus as their dialogue, but I couldn’t nail down what I wanted the film to be about. So, the idea laid dormant in my brain until I took Experimental Filmmaking 1 here at DePaul. Experimental filmmaking is not really my jam. Not that I have anything against it; I just didn’t get it. So, I struggled to come up with ideas for the class, so much so that it was anxiety-inducing. That’s when the lightbulb finally clicked in my head.
I wanted this film to be about what I’ve learned about being an artist over the years. The lessons are the haikus. Some of them are funny. Some are sad. But I hope that they connect with the other artists who watch it. I know I’m not the only one who’s gone through the trials of being an artist, so if I can make a film that can resonate with everyone who has, then the film has done its job.
Season 3 Episode 1 - Fabrizio Federico - Experimental and Guerilla Filmmaker
I met Fabrizio quite by accident in The Experimental Film Society Facebook group. I checked out his films and decided he is the kind of filmmaker who could inspire an entire generation of new experimental filmmakers. Fabrizio is an accomplished filmmaker who creates feature-length experimental films with controversy, symbolism, and fun. Fabrizio has inspired me to go for it and create that feature-length avant-garde film bursting to get out.
Season 2 Episode 15 - Season 2 Finale with Ken Hess
Yes, finally, the Season 2 finale! It's been a while since my last podcast. No, I don't want to know how long. But now, it's the end of Season 2, and next time you'll hear Episode 1 of Season 3. This episode includes information about The Experimental Film Fest, The North Carolina Film Festival, some things I'm working on, and some notes on making your own experimental films.
Thank you for hanging in there and patiently waiting for this Season 2 finale. I think you'll enjoy Season 3.
Remember that you can suggest a filmmaker for the podcast. You can suggest topics. And you can bring me a sponsorship or two (please).
Thanks for listening and stay tuned for Season 3!
Season 2 Episode 14 - Caren Messing - Experimental Filmmaker, Singer, Actor, and Artist
Caren Messing is a native New Yorker and went to The High School of Performing Arts for Drama. She attended college at SUNY at Purchase graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts.
She is an actor, vocalist, writer, and dabbles in photography, digital art, and film. Most recently musical short film won “Best Animated Short” in The Manhattan Film Festival 2021 and Festival Winner of The Experimental Film Fest in New Bern, North Carolina.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Caren for about an hour-and-a-half one day and could have talked for hours. Caren is a fascinating artist who explores film, music, and photography with an original, energetic, and thoughtful perspective. Take some time to explore her work. I think you'll agree.
Season 2 Episode 13 - Experimental filmmaking with Zachary Blackwell
OK, I know it's been a while since I've posted an episode but with a major move to a new house, getting settled, other projects, The North Carolina Film Festival, family, and day job obligations, it's been a lot. That, and the fact that this interview had some sound problems. I think I've cropped most of them out but rest assured that this is a good interview that you should hear. Zachary Blackwell is an experimental filmmaker who also makes other films, mostly horror and thrillers. We had a great discussion about making feature-length films and I overuse the word daunting so be prepared for that. I think you'll find Zachary engaging, knowledgeable, and thoughtful about what goes into making a film of any length. Thank you for your patience.
Season 2 Episode 12 Susan Hughes Artist, Musician, and Filmmaker
Susan Hughes is from Belfast. She has completed many artist residencies in Ireland and Scandinavia where she has used her fiddle playing as a bartering tool to gain access to local stories. She graduated in 2021 from the University of Ulster receiving the Centre for Contemporary Art (Derry) and Platform Arts (Belfast) graduate awards and was longlisted for the Royal Dublin Society graduate award.
Hughes is led by stories down roads of research arriving at the production of artworks in the form of video, installation, and sculpture. She and her subjects describe deeply personal physical and physiological sensations while being inside their bodies, inside intense encounters with nature. Language is used as a malleable material creating space for alternative narratives to be invented. Manufactured materials such as electrical light, digital video, and bright perspex have been effective in their artifice as tools to explore and express these natural, yet often psychedelic, sensual experiences.
She is interested in the interaction of human and non-human at the edges of seas and mountains where the membrane between this world and the otherworld seems to be thin enough to briefly pass through.
"Evidenced by the upsurge during lockdown of the popularity of sea swimming and gardening, it’s catching on: this thing of grabbing onto rocks, being held tightly by cold water, plunging a hand deep into earth, lingering there for a bit too long, indulging in this touch. Surely I’m not the only person who sneakily licks salt residue off my own arm?"
Season 2 Episode 11 - Robin Starbuck - Artist and Filmmaker
Robin Starbuck's "The Flight of a Bird Does not Scar the Sky" is an official selection and a film that was screened in The Experimental Film Fest 2021. Robin is an artist, filmmaker, professor of Experimental Film and Animation, and the current Chair of Filmmaking & Moving Image Arts at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, NY.
An award-winning filmmaker and artist who produces experimental nonfiction films, installations, and animated media for theatre and opera, Starbuck employs a mixture of documentary and reflexive film styles in her work. By working in a nontraditional form, she strives to create a cinematic space in which the world is perceived rather than known. In response to her work, viewers are invited to interact with what they see on the screen and to create meaning by reflecting on their own experiences, ideas, and truths.
She has exhibited works at the Boston Center for the Arts, The Walker’s Point Art Center, Milan Biennale, Indie Open in New York City, Anthology Film Archives, Deluge Contemporary Art & Antimatter, Collected Voices Chicago, XVI Cine Pobre Cuba, the Madrid Film Festival, the Ethnograpfia Film Festival in Paris, The Stockholm Experimental and Animation Film festival, and other festivals, art centers, and galleries in the United States, Europe, and Asia. Most recently, her film, How We See Water, was nominated for four international documentary awards at the X Short Film Festival in Rome. Starbuck is currently an active member of the Women in Animation Association.
Season 2 Episode 10 - Kai Lendzion - Photographer and Filmmaker
Kai Lendzion and I spoke about his film, Residue, that he entered into The Experimental Film Fest, his work as a photographer, his student experience at Ringling College of Art and Design in Florida, his move to North Carolina, and his upcoming show in Asheville, NC. I think you'll enjoy his perspectives on film, photography, social justice, and other topics.
You can view his incredible body of work on his website: kailendzion.com. You should keep a close eye on this young man and his work. I know I will be.
Season 2 Episode 9 - Jessica O'Keefe - Diverse Voices
Jessica O'Keefe is an award-winning writer, director, and producer. In 2009, Jessica and her husband, Ken O'Keefe, founded their small multi-media company Breatheasy Productions to create memorable media adventures that initiate social change. Jessica is a Theater and Film graduate from Santa Monica College and a graduate in Women's Studies and LGBT Studies from UCLA.
Jessica and I discussed her films, her production company, her background, The Bechdel Test, diverse voices in film, diversity, her women's group involvement, and lots of other topics. You can check out some of her work at Who is Jane Love?.
Jessica entered her experimental film, Abigail Threadless, into this year's Experimental Film Fest. It stars Charissa Barton who also choreographed the film. Simply described as "A manifesto of hope," Abigail Threadless is an introspective analysis of a woman's desire to be free to grow, explore, and become.
Season 2 Episode 8 - Dexter Marsh-Taylor - Artist and Filmmaker
If the name Dexter Marsh-Taylor sounds familiar to you, it should. Dexter was a guest last season. This year he has new projects and a renewed energy for his latest pair of films that he's circulating through the wonderful worldwide array of film festivals. This year, he submitted two films: A Quiet Declaration of Independence and I don't want to make art about you anymore.
His film, Not an Orphan, was an Official Selection and premiered at last year's Experimental Film Fest.I use archival media, slow cinema, and narrative methods to investigate family history, nostalgia, and emotional geography. By contextualizing places and loved ones, I explore the relationships between sentiment and environment.
My films encompass documentary, narrative, and the space in between. I strive to utilize filmic and photography mediums as well as physical documents and memorabilia to reflect on life experiences in an effort to create relatable stories.
In this year's podcast, Dexter discusses his two new films, directing, his inspirations, and his passion for film, and even some new projects on the horizon.
This podcast is just over one hour long, is safe for work, and for all audiences.
Season 2 Episode 7 - Andy Motz - Experimental Filmmaker
Andy Motz (he/him) is an award-winning filmmaker and educator. Andy works within narrative, documentary, and experimental formats to explore pressing issues including HIV awareness, queer identity, masculinity, and more. I had the pleasure of speaking with Andy about alternative masculinity, his films, his process, and his goals. Andy's films are engaging and pointed without being preachy or over-the-top. He is a passionate artist who seeks equality for all filmmakers and is a true believer in the power of film and the messages it brings to the viewer. We discussed his film, An Approaching World, which he entered into The Experimental Film Fest and its underlying messages and its reflection of his own story.
"An Approaching World is an experimental film reflecting on the journey I, and so many queer people, take from rural to urban, from unsafe to safe, and from storm to shelter in search of liberation."
His films have been screened at festivals around the world including Cinema Diverse: Palm Springs LGBTQ Festival, Awareness Festival, Global Peace Festival, and Paris Shorts Film Festival. His poetry has been published in various literary journals including Human Obscura, Ghost City Press, and SnapDragon.
Andy most recently co-curated a digital film and poetry festival with the arts collective Level Ground and is currently working on a feature-length experimental documentary about alternative masculinity.
Season 2 Episode 6 - Keisha Martin - Filmmaker
Keisha Martin is an artist and filmmaker whose narrative films explore the dark and often comedic stories of women. A fond lover of the Midwest and the people who reside here, she strives to tell their stories that inspire her "midwestern gothic-esque" style. While her experimental films focus more on the creation of images utilizing different visual mediums and then digitizing them. Exploring animation, stop motion, 16mm, projection, and so on. A creative at heart Keisha strives to bring the world of filmmaking to others so that they too may find their own creative voice. Keisha and I spoke about her films, her unique film style, her process, and her ideas for films.
You should check out Keisha's work on her YouTube Channel. I think you'll find them refreshingly different and fun. See if you can identify all the ones we discuss in the podcast. Her film, Commitment issues is an entry in The Experimental Film Fest 2021.
Season 2 Episode 5 - Marc Cartwright - Filmmaker and Photographer
It was fun to speak with Marc Cartwright who not only makes narrative and experimental films but his day job (professional photographer) is the envy of anyone who loves high fashion and celebrities. Marc is, in my opinion, a brilliant photographer and filmmaker whose short experimental films are some of the most intriguing that I've ever seen. His short, experimental films, Orbital Discourse and A Machine for Boredom are entries in The Experimental Film Fest 2021.
Marc grew up in New York on Long Island's East End. Partially raised by his grandparents, who were avid fans of Hollywood classics, he developed a passion for the entertainment industry. A graduate of NYU, Marc runs a successful photography business, where he photographs established, as well as up-and-coming talents in Film and Television.
With his experience behind the camera as a photographer, Marc founded his motion picture production company Glass Cabin Films, to direct and produce short and feature-length content.
We discuss his film work, his photography, and his perspectives on lighting and composition. I think you'll enjoy this engaging interview with a filmmaker who is definitely one to watch.
Season 2 Episode 4 - Mark Street - Tales of Urban Fascination
I had the privilege of speaking with the experimental filmmaker, author, and installation artist, Mark Street. In this podcast, Mark and I discuss his films from his Tales of Urban Fascination (Selected Films V2) collection. Mark's work has been screened at the world's most prestigious film festivals and museums including Museum of Modern Art, NY, Whitney Museum, Toronto Film Festival, New York Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival, London Film Festival, Festival du Cinema Nouveau, Montreal, Oberhausen Film Festival, Viennale International Film Festival, Vienna, VIPER Film Festival, Zurich, European Media Arts Festival, Pacific Film Archive, SF Cinematheque, San Francisco International Film Festival, NY Underground Film Festival, Reel NY, CH 13 WNET NY, Ann Arbor Film Festival, Black Maria Film Festival, Wisconsin Film Festival.
In this podcast, we focused mainly on his films: Happy?, Brooklyn Promenade, and A Year. We discussed some of his other works too. Frankly, his body of work is too large to cover in a single short-form podcast. You can view some of his work on his YouTube channel. If you're a fan of experimental film, your repertoire isn't complete without knowing Mark Street's work.
Season 2 Episode 3 - Daniel Hess - My Spirit Will Stay
Daniel Hess is a filmmaker who generally creates narrative and commercial films with his Baltimore-based production company, To Tony Productions. But he also created an experimental film, My Spirit Will Stay, which got this whole conversation started. Yes, Daniel and I have the same last name, but we don't think that we're related. But who knows for sure? I met Daniel through a site called PodMatch that connects Podcasters with guests. I was intrigued that another Hess, apart from Jared and Jerusha Hess of Napolean Dynamite fame, was into filmmaking--especially experimental filmmaking. So I reached out to him. We connected and this podcast is the result.
Daniel gave me access to his experimental film, My Spirit Will Stay starring Emily Classen, who is the sole actor in the film. I won't spoil the film for you but we discuss it in the podcast. We also discuss Emily's character and superb acting and on-camera presence as well. It is a rare actor indeed who can make such a part convincing, sincere, and engaging. Emily, as I put it in the podcast, fills the frame. Daniel's writing and directing are spot-on in this in-depth dive into someone's psyche and inner dialogue. Daniel also explains the origin of his production company's name and we discuss creating an underground film group.
It was a pleasure to speak with Daniel and I wish him and his production crew the very best, even if we're probably not related (wink).
Season 2 Episode 2 - Experimental Filmmaker and Author Joel Schlemowitz
I had the pleasure of interviewing Joel Schlemowitz for the second episode of Season 2. It was a pleasure to get Joel on the show. There were delays, on my part, due to my cross-country move and my need to get packed, move, and resettle into my new digs. I've done that. Joel is one of the first filmmakers I reached out to after my hackles receded from the post-move raising.
Joel Schlemowitz is a highly accomplished filmmaker who has been exhibited at many of the world's premier locations such as museums, festivals, and at filmmaker cooperative outlets. He's also the author of "Experimental Filmmaking and the Motion Picture Camera: An Introductory Guide for Artists and Filmmakers."
Check out his work at:
I suggest you begin with the sites above if you want to check out his work.
Season 2 Episode 1 - Removed at the Artist's request
This podcast has been removed at the request of the artist.
Bonus Episode 4 – Experimental Filmmaker Dustin Rosemark
I can’t exactly remember how I met Dustin Rosemark but it was several years ago and I was interested in his experimental film, Blue Hands Worksample. This experimental film was made entirely using the cyanotype printing process. Since that time, Dustin has created new works such as 51 Fragments of a Wandering Mind using the Lomokino hand-cranked 35mm film camera, Inferno, and more. He also operates mediastudio1.com with his wife, Amanda (also an artist) where they create and sell accessible fine art for the masses. You can purchase DVDs of “51 Fragments” and Inferno from his website.
Dustin explores the world through antiquated processes such as cyanotype, 35mm film, hand processing, and other techniques that had their beginnings more than 100 years ago. I think you’ll find him fascinating to listen to and I hope you’ll explore his work. It’s well worth your time.
This podcast is over two hours long, so it’s perfect for a long walk, painting, producing your own artwork, or just chilling on a lazy afternoon. This podcast marks the end of Season One of The Experimental Film Podcast.
Episode 22 - Walter Smits - Director and Animator
Walter Smits is a multimedia visual artist focusing on abstract video. His lens is youthful and curious, broken down into absurd collages of spontaneous language and fragmented imagery. His work critiques filmmaking structures and examines the intangibility of memory, childhood, and sexuality. Transcending these constructs via playful curiosity allows him to provide an earnest and heartfelt analysis of the ephemeral.
Smits' recent work focuses on feature films. He's interested in challenging what it means to make a 70-minute movie. It is a performance about filmmaking and time that does not care for a coherent narrative. The process is a rejection of Hollywood’s capitalist intentions while still adhering to the production rules as taught by creative institutions.
Episode 21 - Michele Saint-Michel - Don't Tell Me I'm Beautiful
I had the pleasure of speaking with performance artist and experimental filmmaker, Michele Saint-Michel about her films, books, performance art, and grief. Michele is a rare soul who has wisdom beyond those of regular mortals. Her poetry films and her perspectives on grief are refreshing and most needed in light of having lost so many loved ones over the past year. There have been so many deaths due to COVID-19, loneliness, suicide, and stress that we need a touchstone of sanity to ground us. Her book, Grief Is an Origami Swan: An Art Book About Grief is available on Amazon.
From Michele's website:
"Through overlapping layers of imagery, sound, film, textiles, language, and movement, Saint-Michel’s works function as settings, soundtracks, movements, and networks–attending to how time is constructed, manipulated, and, above all, experienced.
Often rendered as experimental film, books, poems, and audio recordings, mixed with the detritus of the natural world (preserved plants and insects), her works create digital and physical spaces of layered cross-sections. The overlap between the cultural, the environmental, and the emotional creates the conditional and reactive multi-temporal space."
Also, check out her Vimeo page for her recent work.
Episode 20 - Charles Jiminez - A Fugue
Charles Jiminez is a multidisciplinary Artist and Director who explores identity and unconscious influences through a surrealist, oneiric, and uncanny lens.
On "A Fugue," Charles writes, "For me, this piece was very much a reflection of the mental inertia I was experiencing as I was conceiving the idea for the piece, and due to that experience, this piece explores the nature of time and space through a series of subconsciously linked scenarios that denote a determination or a commensuration of an encompassing force we all feel possessed by."
Young filmmakers continue to impress me with their attention to detail, their analyses of the psychological aspects, and their extreme understanding of the process of experimental filmmaking. To me, these young artists, like Charles Jiminez, are ushering in a new golden age of experimental and avant-garde film. As I told Charles, I'm envious of this new culture and this new wave of filmmaking. It's a great time to be involved.
Episode 19 - Claudia Collett - Experimental Filmmaker and Interdisciplinary Artist
I met Claudia quite by accident through a Facebook film group (neither of us could remember which one) and agreed to a time for an interview. Claudia's work is exciting, fresh, and fun. I'm glad I met them regardless of venue. Claudia is a talented young filmmaker who you need to watch.
Check out Claudia's work on their YouTube channel.
Award-winning cinéma puritan Claudia Collett creates autobiographical films about queer love. Claudia directed and produced 'Lonely' in the 1st fortnight of the UK's COVID-19 lockdown, which was consequently aired across the global field of online film festivals throughout 2020, and lead to them being shortlisted for Young Filmmaker of the Year at Cinemagic. Through a startling, personal camera-view and dreamy drifts through time, Claudia's darkness will have you on the edge of your front-row seat.
Episode 18 - Hanna-Mari Ojala - Fireflies and This Empty Space
Hanna Ojala, 36, is a poet, a musician, and a self-made filmmaker as well as a dance movement therapist from Finland who has finally found her way of creative expression through experimental dance, music, and video poetry, and is keenly learning more every day. She savors verbalizing actual events in an abstract way as well as describing the visceral effects of inner emotions – making invisible visible and visible indefinite.
Check out all of Hanna's work on her YouTube channel. My personal favorite music video (so far) is Happy Hour.
Episode 17 - Bosco Cabello - Phobos
In 2017 at the age of 15, Bosco Cabello directed, produced, and edited his first short "Catarsis" in the city of Castro. which received "special mention from the Jury" at the Fish Eye Festival and an Award at the Puerto Montt International Festival in 2018. After that, while working on different audiovisual projects, at the age of 17 he recorded his second short film "Phobos".
Phobos was an official selection in The Experimental Film Fest 2020.
Episode 16 - Dan Kofoed - New Year's Kiss
A lifelong fan of cinema, DT "Dan" Kofoed has studied the theory and visual narrative conventions of comics and film, published academically on those subjects, and taught creative writing at both Michigan State University and the University of South Dakota. Through hands-on experience and pure hubris, he has reverse-engineered that theory into crude practice.
As a working filmmaker with a neuro-muscular disability, frequently wearing the hats of Writer, Director, Cinematographer, Editor, Effects Artist, and Producer all at once, he has come to believe that life is too uncertain to waste time with timid Art.
He lives and shoots in Lansing's REO Town, in the heart of Michigan. Half his year is sacrificed to the Threadbare Mitten Film Festival.
Bonus Episode 3 - Alan Berliner
Alan Berliner is one of the most influential contemporary experimental filmmakers. It was my pleasure to interview Alan about his films and to gain an insight into how he thinks about film, a bit about his process, and to touch on his personal involvement with his films. His films, as you'll hear in the podcast, are personal works. I love all of his films, but if you need a place to start, find "The Sweetest Sound" and "Wide Awake" to get a sense of his style and technique. Alan's website lists his films, other interviews, photos, installation work, and more.
Alan Berliner is an experimental documentarian who entertains, educates, and engages the viewer. He pulls you inside the story and makes it personal for you as well. He has a unique storytelling style that makes you immediately care and empathize with his characters. I also asked Alan to give filmmakers some advice, which you'll hear toward the end of the podcast, so stay tuned for it.
Episode 15 - Rob Underhill - This Was My Son
Rob Underhill directed, "This Was My Son," a film in which Mamie Till recounts the heart-rending part she played in identifying the body of her only son, Emmett Till after he had been lynched for whistling at a white woman in Money, Mississippi in 1955. She speaks to the thought process behind the choices she made that helped ignite and then fuel the Civil Rights movement in America. Mamie would go on to spend the rest of her life championing the cause and continuing to tell her cautionary tale of the effects of racial hatred and bigotry.
This Was My Son was an Official Selection and a Finalist in The Experimental Film Fest.
Episode 14 - Artist, Filmmaker, and Publisher Kate Pelling
Kate Pelling and I discuss her experimental film, I'm Sorry I Abandoned You, language, her other films, her filmmaking process, her art, and her publishing business. You can catch more of her work at katepelling.com. In 2012, Kate Pelling founded Fifth Floor Publications, a publishing platform for artists’ books that use transdisciplinary methods with an emphasis on experimental works that examine aspects of making artists’ film and video and/or drawing practices.
Kate mixes drawing, video, and a blind-editing technique to produce her experimental films. Kate Pelling studied at Wirral Metropolitan College, Birkenhead, Wimbledon School of Art, London, and Birkbeck, University of London. In 2016, she completed her Ph.D. at Chelsea College of Arts, University of the Arts London, titled 'Select Reject Reconfigure: Editing Speech in Artists' Direct Address to Camera'. Her film, I'm Sorry I Abandoned You, is an example of edited speech in artists' direct address to camera. It was also an Official Selection and selected as a Finalist in The Experimental Film Fest 2020.
Episode 13 - Jackson McKeehan discusses Blue, Diane
Experimental filmmaker, fashion designer, and performance artist, Jackson McKeehan and I spoke about his film, Blue, Diane, which is an official selection in The Experimental Film Fest in Tulsa, OK. We also discuss his actors, his influences and inspirations for Blue, Diane, his performance artwork, and LGBTQIA and gender equality issues that are relevant to him and his work as a filmmaker and performance artist. Blue, Diane was also chosen as a Finalist in The Experimental Film Fest.
You can catch Jackson’s latest musings on his Instagram account @jacksonmckeehan.
Episode 12 - Joseph Culp and Sunset Strip Self-Improvement Affirmations
My guest for Episode 12 is actor, director, producer, and experimental filmmaker, Joseph Culp. Joseph's film, Sunset Strip Self-Improvement Affirmations, is an official selection and Festival Winner of the Experimental Film Fest (2020) held in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I had the pleasure of speaking to Joseph during the worst part of the COVID-19 pandemic when we were both isolated (myself in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Joseph somewhere in France—I'm totally not jealous). Because of the pandemic lockdown, we had the opportunity to speak without time restriction.
Joseph is involved in and co-developed the Walking-In-Your-Shoes® body/mind process. It is described as, "A direct, powerful and highly effective sensorimotor processing technique used to access hidden information, transform obstacles, and receive personal empowerment for your life." Sign up for free online sessions every Thursday and Sunday with Joseph Culp and Peter Davies. For more information on WIYS or any of Joseph's work, please check out his website, josephculp.com.
Bonus Episode 2 - Craig Baldwin - Other Cinema
It was my pleasure to interview, Craig Baldwin. Craig operates Other Cinema and Artists’ Television Access. He is a found footage collage filmmaker, activist, and film curator. Craig's influence on contemporary filmmakers is immeasurable. I was excited to speak with him and glad that he was able to take time away from his many projects and businesses to be a guest on the podcast.
If you're in the San Francisco area, please consider volunteering at ATA and Other Cinema. If you aren't in the area and appreciate the work he and the volunteers do, please contact the ATA at (415) 824-3890 or firstname.lastname@example.org to donate films, supplies, tools, or to make cash donations. His films can be rented at Canyon Cinema or at The Filmmaker Cooperative.
Episode 11 - Imagine This: A Story Told with Sound Effects with Dick Jordan
Since 2013, producer and director, Dick Jordan, has produced many short films for the public access television station, MarinTV, operated by the non-profit Community Media Center of Marin (cmcm.tv) in San Rafael, California. Several have been aired by other public access stations across the United States.
His award-winning feature-length documentary film "Cuba, Libre?" has been an Official Selection of 53 film festivals and film award competitions. His short films shot in Oregon, "McKenzie Power" and "The Sweetness of Spring," were screened at film festivals in that state in 2018 and 2019. He made his acting debut as the "Aces of Spies" in the film noir spy spoof, "The White Bag," a film festival Official Selection in 2016 and 2019. Dick has been a freelance travel writer and blogger since 2009. Dick Jordan's travel stories and photographs have appeared in the Sunday Travel sections of the Dallas Morning News, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicles, and newspapers published by the Bay Area News Group.
Episode 10 - Breathed Away with Chen Xiang-Yun and Steve Cossman
In this episode, I speak with Chen "Chen" Xiang-Yun, the writer and director of the beautiful experimental film, Breathed Away, which was selected for screening at The Experimental Film Fest. Steve Crossman, founder of Brooklyn's Mono No Aware, which is a cinema-arts non-profit organization and film positive community.
Chen is a visual artist from mainland China. She created Breathed Away using a 16mm film camera (Bolex) from Mono No Aware.
Episode 9 - Experimental Artist Scott Turri - Solastalgia
Hailing from suburban Philadelphia, where he spent his formative years, Turri now calls Pittsburgh home and has become enmeshed in its regional art community. He has had a broad range of artistic experiences: as a self-taught drummer playing in punk rock, to an improvising percussionist in a performance art band, writing for New Art Examiner, BOMB, and Afterimage magazines, to currently concentrating primarily on painting and experimental animation. He is represented by James Gallery. Along with these pursuits, Turri is also an educator and holds a full-time lecturer position in the Studio Arts Department at the University of Pittsburgh.
Scott and I discuss his experimental animation Solastalgia.
Scott explains Solastalgia, "I step into muddy ground and spot families of deer examining me while their jaws move in a rhythmic circular motion munching on new leaf growth and the distant steel mills are behemoths on the horizon. I look through the void to get to the memory. The rituals start in the bedroom. The pill shape comes from the laundry baskets filled with stuffed animals on top of our wardrobe. The void is beckoning. Sometimes we are on the inside, sometimes on the outside. The interior is my bedroom, where I dream. The pills are my eyes."
Bonus Episode 1 - Lynne Sachs discusses Film About a Father Who
Lynne Sachs returns to The Experimental Film Podcast to discuss her film, Film About a Father Who. This cathartic adventure is a discovery of Lynne's father's activities and how they affected her family, which includes several new siblings. The footage spans more than 50 years and provides a unique insight into life that turns out to be sort of a longitudinal study in family dynamics. The film has its own website at filmaboutafatherwho.com.
If you have a chance to view this film or any other Lynne Sachs production, you should do it. You can view many of her films on her website at lynnesachs.com. Lynne's films are much like a popular snack food in that you won't be able to stop at just one. I challenge you to try.