F.I.L.M. Series

Scott MacDonald

Spring 2015 Schedule

Unless otherwise indicated, events are scheduled for Sunday afternoons at 2:00 in the Bradford Auditorium—Room 125, in the Kirner-Johnson Building


3/1: An interactive performance by media artist/explorer Jennifer Proctor

These days, moving-image art finds audiences in a wide range of places: in commercial theaters, in art museums, in college classrooms and film series, and, of course, on-line. Jen Proctor, who earned an MFA in film and video production at the University of Iowa (she teaches at University of Michigan—Dearborn) has made films and videos of many kinds: hand-processed films, “voodles” (video doodles), remakes of classic independent films (her A Movie by Jen Proctor is a shot-by-shot remake of Bruce Conner’s classic A Movie) and she is always searching for interesting new work on the Web. Jen will be our guide on a voyage through her own work and the work of others she admires. She’ll supply the laser pointers!


3/8: Chuck Workman, in person, with Magician: The Astonishing Life and  Work of Orson Welles (2014)

Chuck Workman established himself as Hollywood’s master “recycler” with his Precious Images, which won the Academy Award 1n 1986 for Best Short Subject and alerted Hollywood to the value of clips from classic films. The montages he has designed for Academy Awards shows are often the most enjoyable moments in those shows! Workman is also a devoted documentarian, who has made a series of features about crucial artists and filmmakers. He returns to Hamilton to present his newest doc, an entertaining and enlightening exploration of the life and work of Orson Welles.

“Look at the works of this amazing film and theater director, scattered in disarray over the four corners of the globe, Workman seems to be saying. Can’t we do better?”—Roger Ebert.


4/5: The Alloy Orchestra performs with Alfred Hitchcock’s Blackmail  (1929)

The Easter Bunny has brought us a special treat!—the Alloy Orchestra (“The best in the world at accompanying silent film”—Roger Ebert) performing with Alfred Hitchcock’s Blackmail (1929), the Master of Suspense’s last silent film and the first of his films that seems quintessentially Hitchcockian. Come see Terry Donahue (accordion, musical saw, junk, vocals), Roger Miller (keyboards), and Ken Winokur (clarinet and junk percussion) do their thing! An Easter feast for eye and ear!


4/19: Scott MacDonald presents a marathon screening of James Benning’s “California Trilogy”

James Benning is cinema’s premiere landscape artist. Among his most impressive achievements is a trio of (environmentally aware) feature films about California. We will show the trilogy in exactly the manner in which it was originally presented. The cine-marathon begins at 2:00 with El Valley Centro (1999), which focuses on California’s central valley, where a remarkable percentage of America’s food is produced. After a break, at 4:00, we’ll show Los (2000), which focuses on LA. Cine-marathoners are invited to join us for dinner in the Azel Backus House at 5:45, for good food and talk; and at 7:00, the Trilogy concludes with SOGOBI (2001), Benning’s homage to what is left of wilderness California. Each film lasts 90 minutes and is constructed of 35 2 ½-minute shots.

Understand that each of the individual films is enjoyable and understandable as a separate work—though the ideal way to see the films is the way we’ll present them.


4/26: Ross McElwee, in person, with Photographic Memory (2011)

The ongoing saga of Ross McElwee’s personal documentaries—Backyard (1984), Sherman’s March (1986), Time Indefinite (1993), Six O’Clock News (1996), Bright Leaves (2003)—is among the most remarkable achievements of the form and the most sophisticated exploration of cinematic narration. McElwee returns to Hamilton with his most recent film, Photographic Memory, which explores the filmmaker’s troubled relationship with his late-adolescent/young-adult son, as well as his own challenges in making a new life after divorce—beginning with what turns out to be a surprising trip to France to revisit a romantic interlude he experienced at a seaside town in Brittany.


5/3: James Benning, in person, with his performance: “Two Cabins”

James Benning has many fascinations: the American landscape, “outsider painting,” mathematics, Henry David Thoreau and Ted Kaczynski (“the Unibomber”)—in fact, on a plot of land he owns in the Sierra Nevada Mountains north of LA he has built facsimiles of Thoreau’s and Kaczynski’s cabins! His many films are among the most remarkable cinematic representations of American landscape: challenging, thoughtful, beautiful; and as a result, we have invited him to F.I.L.M. with some regularity. This time, he comes to present his performance piece, “Two Cabins,” a trip through personal and national history and geography—a great way to get to know this remarkable film artist and his fascinations. Join us!