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13th Annual Experimental Lecture. For past lectures, visit this page!
NYU’s Martin Scorsese Department of Cinema Studies and Undergraduate Film & TV Department
Friday, Nov. 3, 2023 7:00 PM — 10:00 PM
New York University, 721 Broadway, Room 006

Su Friedrich  “How to Eventually Drag Your Private Life, Kicking and Screaming, Into the Public…After Passing a Few Roadblocks”

Free and open to the public. RSVP required.

Since 2008, the Experimental Lecture Series has presented veteran filmmakers who immerse themselves in the world of alternative, experimental film. Our intention is to lay bare an artist’s challenges rather than their successes, to examine the gnawing, ecstatic reality of the work of making art. Our previous speakers for the Experimental Lecture Series have been Peggy Ahwesh, Craig Baldwin, Abigail Child, Peter Cramer & Jack Waters, Nick Dorsky,  Bradley Eros, Ernie Gehr, Barbara Hammer, Ken Jacobs, Jonas Mekas, Carolee Schneemann, and M.M. Serra.    – Programmed by Lynne Sachs

“I will give the background story on the motivation, ideas and formal concerns surrounding the making of my films. You will also hear about the technical, aesthetic, financial, and emotional roadblocks that I’ve hit along the way to finishing them (or in some cases, dumping them). I will then show excerpts from some of the films that actually survived scrutiny. Time doesn’t allow for me to cover all 23 of my films, but I’ll talk about a good number of them along the way.” – Su Friedrich

Artist Biography

Su Friedrich is a fearless artist and a leader in the avant-garde filmmaking community. She started making movies in the late 1970s, and never looked back, creating a radical yet personal body of work that pushes us to think in a truly engaged way about our presence in a fraught and troubling world.  Recognized by over 26 retrospectives worldwide, her short and feature-length films move from the personal to the political — from the subconscious, to family, to illness, to sexuality and desire, to urban real-estate inequities. Su Friedrich is constantly observing with her camera and her pen, facing the struggle of making work that never turns away from the pain, confusion and exaltation of living.

Lynne’s Intro

Tonight I present Su Friedrich.

The first film by Su that I ever saw was her 14 minute oneiric “Gently Down the Stream”. I could not believe what I saw. How could a movie be so intensely intertwined with a dream or with the subconscious? I was stunned, shaken in a way that pushed me to know that this was the medium I too would embrace with every bit of my being. It was not a choice, it was an inevitability.

I would like to read a few thoughts that Su herself wrote exactly 40 years ago on the night of the premiere of “Gently Down the Stream”.

“I was extremely nervous before the film. I was worried about what C and G would think, but secretly I felt as if I was about to surprise them with the film, as if the film’s strength wouldn’t be determined by their response to me, as if I had laid a trap for them, and was waiting to see if they’d fall into it, rather than that the film, and I, were waiting to become real as a result of their response. It’s one of those reversed cases of confusing hindsight, with the original feelings I had when making the film, so I guess it’s hind-blind-ness Does that seem weird? It does to me, and then I watch the film, clutching my sides with a secret smile on my face, embarrassed to show my cowboy-ish yippee and wow. For once, I was enjoying the film. I felt as if I made it for myself, that it was a gift to myself, that every choice was made completely for my pleasure, and yet yes, I also started feeling strange, as if it had its own determined, predetermined trajectory one that I couldn’t see before because I was making it and so it took me, forced me, dragged me headlong through the paces until the moment that I knew it was complete.”

This journey of doubt, of desire, of commitment and of exaltation is all that I have hoped to celebrate in this series of experimental lectures.

Su Friedrich during her lecture.