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Maysles Documentary Center Presents– STILL/MOVING: A Poetry & Documentary Workshop

05/25 – 05/27
Maysles Documentary Center
STILL/MOVING: A Poetry & Documentary Workshop

Please join us for STILL/MOVING, a two-part, immersive (and virtual, of course!) poetry and documentary workshop, hosted by renowned artists and longtime collaborators, Lynne Sachs and Paolo Javier!

In this workshop, participants will explore and expand intersections between still/moving images and written/spoken words. Lynne and Paolo will share insights and experiences they have in bridging poetry and cinema in their own work and show examples from their personal collaborations, including Starfish Aorta Colossus (2015, 5 min.). In this film, a stanza from Paolo’s poem of the same name (out of his book Court of the Dragon from the same year) activates nearly 25 years worth of rediscovered 8mm film from Lynne’s personal archives. The film centers both the resonances and ruptures between Paolo’s haunting words and Lynne’s cinematic journeys.

On Day 1, participants will gain insights into this process with examples of filmmakers and poets whose practices explore and encompass both images and texts. Discussion will include (but certainly not be limited to!): the activation of archival images, visualization of poetic texts, overlaying text on the moving image, live poetry and expanded cinema performance (facilitators will touch on the traditional Japanese benshi performers who live-narrated silent films and Walter Lew’s art of movietelling), poetic approaches to observational documentary, the “cine-essay,” and more. 

On Day 2, participants will have the opportunity to work individually or in pairs to produce a short video piece that combines text with footage of their current environment. The session will culminate with a live Zoom screening/performance of work produced in the workshop, and participants will have the option to later showcase work at the Maysles Documentary Center Virtual Cinema.

Tuesday, May 26, between the two workshop sessions, participants will write a short poem and shoot a 60 to 90 second film on their own. We encourage you to send us your video file and your poem by 5 pm on this day. Participants will regroup on Wednesday, May 27th to workshop and share their creations.

So please join us in this multimedia investigation of the sounds, texts, media images, home movies, and sensory experiences that make up this moment of both heightened stillness and rapid motion, of test and of triumph.

Day 1: Monday, May 25th 4:00–7:00PM
Day 2: Wednesday, May 27th 4:00–7:00PM

Lynne Sachs is a filmmaker and poet whose moving image work ranges from short experimental films, to essay films to hybrid live performances. Her approach to her art includes a very genuine, feminist voice. Lynne’s work can best be epitomized by her interests in intimacy, collaboration and space. Her films often include her poetry, making the audience aware of her unique, and probing curiosity about others. Intimacy is also expressed by the way she uses a camera. Textures, objects, places, reflections, faces, hands, all come so close to us in her films. Her work looks for truths in forgotten nooks and crannies, allowing her films to ‘talk nearby instead of talk about’ as feminist theorist Trinh T. Minh Ha would say. Lynne has made 35 films which have screened at the New York Film Festival, the Sundance Film Festival, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Whitney. Lynne received a 2014 Guggenheim Fellowship in the Creative Arts. Tender Buttons Press published her first book YEAR BY YEAR POEMS in 2019. FILM ABOUT A FATHER WHO (2020) is her newest film which hads its world premiere as the opening night movie at Slamdance Film Festival followed by a New York City premiere at the Museum of Modern Art. Lynne lives in Brooklyn, New York.


Paolo Javier was born in the Philippines and grew up in Las Piñas, Metro Manila; Katonah, New York; Cairo, Egypt; and Vancouver, British Columbia. He earned his BFA from the University of British Columbia, working as a freelance journalist and running an experimental theater company before returning to New York City, where he still lives with his family. He earned an MFA and MAT from Bard College. Javier’s collections of poetry include The Feeling Is Actual (2011); 60 lv bo(e)mbs (2005); the time at the end of this writing (2004), recipient of a Small Press Traffic Book of the Year Award; and Court of the Dragon (2015), which Publisher’s Weekly called “a linguistic time machine.” He is the recipient of grants and fellowships from the Queens Council on the Arts and the New York State Council on the Arts. For more than ten years, he edited and published the experimental art and poetry journal 2nd Avenue Poetry. Paolo is the Program Director of Poets House and, from 2010 to 2014, was poet laureate of Queens, New York.

https://www.maysles.org/calendar/StillMoving

Light + Sound Machine Presents… YES/NO: THE CINEMA OF LYNNE SACHS

Light + Sound Machine Presents… YES/NO: THE CINEMA OF LYNNE SACHS

Posted by Third Man on 18 August 2015
Programmed by James Cathcart

YES/NO: THE CINEMA OF LYNNE SACHS
(1986-2015, 16mm & Digital, color & b/w, trt 88min)
SEPTEMBER 17th @ Third Man Records, Doors @ 7pm, films at 8pm
Nashville, Tennessee

Yes no Lynne Sachs Poster Third Man Records Nashville

Light + Sound Machine is co-presented by the Belcourt Theater and Third Man Records. Lynne Sachs will be presenting her work in person, followed by a Q&A

Likely the most accomplished experimental filmmaker to come from Tennessee, Memphis-native Lynne Sachs’ 30-year career has produced some of the most mesmerizing, contemplative observations on culture and communication ever committed to celluloid (and sometimes digital video.) Her work effortlessly infuses personal experiences into broader political/historical contexts, deploying a cinematic style that is uniquely her own while still evoking her collaborations and relationships with a veritable who’s who of avant garde cinema, including Bruce Conner, Chris Marker, Gunvor Nelson, Trinh T. Minh-ha, and George Kuchar. Currently based in New York, September 17th marks Sachs’ return to Tennessee for a sweeping retrospective of her films at the 28th installment of The Light & Sound Machine, sponsored by The Belcourt Theatre and Third Man Records.

PROGRAM INCLUDES:

STILL LIFE WITH WOMAN AND FOUR OBJECTS (4 min. B&W 16mm film, 1986)
A film portrait that falls somewhere between a painting and a prose poem, a look at a woman’s daily routines and thoughts via an exploration of her as a “character”. By interweaving threads of history and fiction, the film is also a tribute to a real woman – Emma Goldman.

FOLLOWING THE OBJECT TO ITS LOGICAL BEGINNING (9 min. color 16mm. 1987)
Like an animal in one of Eadweard Muybridge’s scientific photo experiments, five undramatic moments in a man’s life are observed by a woman. A study in visual obsession and a twist on the notion of the “gaze”. Presented at the Whitney Museum of American Art’s “American Century”, 2000.

DRAWN AND QUARTERED (4 min. color 16mm film, silent, 1986)
Optically printed images of a man and a woman fragmented by a film frame that is divided into four distinct sections. An experiment in form/content relationships that are peculiar to the medium.

INVESTIGATION OF A FLAME (16mm, 45 min. film. 2001)
An intimate, experimental portrait of the Catonsville Nine, a disparate band of Vietnam War peace activists who chose to break the law in a defiant, poetic act of civil disobedience. Produced with Daniel and Philip Berrigan and other members of the Catonsville 9.

PHOTOGRAPH OF WIND (4 min. 16mm film, silent,2001)
My daughter’s name is Maya. I’ve been told that the word maya means illusion in Hindu philosophy. As I watch her growing up, spinning like a top around me, I realize that her childhood is not something I can grasp but rather – like the wind – something I feel tenderly brushing across my cheek. “Sachs suspends in time a single moment of her daughter.” Fred Camper, Chicago Reader. San Francisco Film Festival

NOA, NOA (8 min. b & w 16mm to digital transfer, 2006)

Over the course of three years, Sachs collaborated with her daughter Noa (from 5 to 8 years old), criss-crossing the wooded landscapes of Brooklyn with camera and costumes in hand. Noa’s grand finale is her own rendition of the bluegrass classic “Crawdad Song”.

EVERY FOLD MATTERS (10 min. excerpt from live performance and film, co-written and directed by Lizzie Olesker, 2015)
A live performance which explores the personal and social experience of doing laundry. Four performers weave together improvisation, written text, and dance in the inspiring environs of a public laundromat.

STARFISH AORTA COLOSSUS (4 min., 8mm to digital transfer, 2015)
NYC poet Paolo Javier invited Lynne to create a film that would speak to one of his poems from his newly published book Court of the Dragon (Nightboat Books). Sachs chose Stanza 10 from Javier’s poem “Starfish Aorta Colossus”. This film travels through 25 years of Lynne’s Regular 8 mm film archive — including footage of the A.I.D.S. Quilt from the late 1980s, an arduous drive from Tampa to San Francisco, and a journey into a very untouristic part of Puerto Rico. Throughout the process, Sachs explores the syntactical ruptures, the celebration of nouns and the haunting resonances of Javier’s poem. Created in collaboration with Sean Hanley.

See  Review of this show here in the Nashville Scene:

http://www.nashvillescene.com/nashville/filmmaker-lynne-sachs-visits-third-mans-light-and-sound-machine-for-a-talk-and-screening/Content?oid=5920317

Lynne Sachs visits Nashville’s Light & Sound Machine at Third Man Records

nashville scene

 

 

 

 

 

 

Starfish Colossus

http://www.nashvillescene.com/nashville/filmmaker-lynne-sachs-visits-third-mans-light-and-sound-machine-for-a-talk-and-screening/Content?oid=5920317

The Light and Sound Machine is at it again, bringing Nashvillians some of the most interesting experimental cinema, current and historical, screening anywhere in the Southeast. On Thursday, Sept. 17, L&SM welcomes veteran filmmaker Lynne Sachs for a program of works spanning her 30-year career, beginning with her first released film and ending with her latest.

Sachs is probably best known as an experimental documentarian, and the centerpiece of this program is one of her most widely screened films, the 45-minute featurette Investigation of a Flame. This 2003 work examines the legacy of the Catonville Nine, the anti-war protesters who in 1968 walked into the local offices of the Catonville, Md., Selective Service, stole their Vietnam draft files, and lit them on fire using homemade napalm. The group, led by radical priests Philip and Daniel Berrigan, became symbols of a different kind of war resistance, and Sachs’ film interviews those members of the Nine still living, intercutting the new material with file footage for a multi-perspectival approach.

Sachs’ earliest works are more “traditional,” if by this we mean operating in the recognizable vernacular of American avant-garde film. So for most viewers, they will seem quite unusual indeed. For example, “Still Life With Woman and Four Objects” (1986), Sachs’ first film, adopts a feminist approach common during the 1980s: Instead of offering a portrait of a woman per se, we are given mere fragments, and the promised objects of the title are either withheld or depicted in such an oblique manner as to make it likely that we will miss them. The upshot being: Any filmic subject, such as “woman,” is inherently too complex to adequately depict with straightforward means.

Similarly, Sachs’ four-image “Drawn and Quartered” (also 1986), is partly a self-portrait, partly a portrait of a man (presumably Sachs’ partner Mark Street), and partly a study of a shifting environment. The split image results from Sachs having shot in 8mm, but not having split the film in half (as was customary with regular 8, before Super 8 cartridges). So one gets a doubled, inverted image. The two double images play off one another in terms of form, direction and color. Their relationship is partly planned, but not entirely within Sachs’ control.

Two of Sachs’ films from the past decade focus on the filmmaker’s children, capturing moments of innocence and discovery. 2001’s “Photograph of Wind” is a brief portrait of Sachs’ daughter Maya as she runs and whirls in a circle. The silent black-and-white film shows the little girl surrounded by the centripetal streaks of spinning grass and trees, the runner and the camera going in and out of phase with one another. “Noa, Noa,” from 2006, depicts the young girl of the title playing dress-up in the woods, acting like a queen of the forest and exhibiting an enviable sense of self. Black-and-white and silent, like “Photograph of Wind,” “Noa, Noa” ends with a surprising coda in color with sound. It’s as if Noa’s world suddenly bursts into a new dimension of life.

Sachs’ latest, “Starfish Aorta Colossus” (made with Sean Hanley), is based on a poem by Paolo Javier. An eerie, fractured meditation on loss, the poem is visualized with another foray into multiplied imagery. Although formally “Starfish” echoes “Drawn and Quartered,” the new film features striking footage of the AIDS quilt, as well as partial, disrupted portions of bodies and landscapes. The structural play that enlivened Sachs’ film from 30 years ago is now mournful, staggered. This speaks not only to Sachs’ inevitable maturity as an artist, but no doubt to her assessment of the three decades we have collectively traversed to arrive where we are now.

Third Man Records Poster image Lynne Sachs show Sept 2015

Yes/No: The Cinema of Lynne Sachs

Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015 at Third Man Records, 623 Seventh Ave. S.
Nashville

Third Man Records to feature experimental filmmaker Lynne Sachs

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Third Man Records to feature experimental filmmaker Lynne Sachs
by Joe Nolan
2015 

Knoxville-born Quentin Tarantino is argu- ably Tennessee’s most important contribution to popular film, but there’s another filmmaker whose personal, sometimes mesmerizing, body of work has made her the Volunteer State’s most visible ambassador to the world of ex- perimental film. Lynne Sachs is currently a New Yorker, but the Memphis-born director will be in Nashville for The Light and Sound Machine’s presentation of Yes/No: The Cinema of Lynne Sachs on Thursday, Sept. 17, aTt 8 p.m. in the Blue Room at Third Man Records. Sachs will be presenting a selection of films from her 30-year career followed by a Q&A event.

Sachs divides many of her movies into two categories: “Yes” films and “No” films. In film- maker and critic Kevin B. Lee’s short video essay, Yes and No Films, he interviews Sachs about the distinctions between the two:

“I have a group of films I’ve made called my Yes films and I have a group of films called my No films. The Yes films are films where absolutely anything goes… Then I have the No films—but, No is not bad. The No films have a really clear idea, and I’m like quite focused.”

Still Life with Woman and Four Objects (1986) is one of the Yes films Sachs will show on Thursday. It pictures a woman putting on a black-and-white-checkered houndstooth coat. She then takes an avocado from a pantry and peels it before balancing the pit on the top of a glass of water. She sits at a table eating a meal—a man stops briefly at the table. The last scene pictures the woman putting on the coat again, inter-cut with shots of her sitting on the bed, seeming to comment about the author of a letter.

That might sound like a rather random ar- rangement of events, and it is, and that’s part of the beauty of Sach’s “anything goes” Yes films.

But it’s not the content that makes Still Life notable, it’s the context Sachs creates around it that lashes these rituals and actions into a more dynamic whole: During the first coat shots, a voice-over sounds like it’s reading from a script, describing “scene one” and then “scene two,” while the coat shots repeat themselves— the lack of repetition in the ongoing voice-over tells the viewer that the shot has been cut that way on purpose. This makes the viewer aware of the script and the editing as well as the woman and her coat. The film was made in the late 1980s but it speaks directly to the French New Wave films of the 1960s with their mischievous love of techniques that pointed cinema back at itself, not allowing audiences to get lost in the illusion of a seamless narrative. The use of mismatched scenes and voice-overs seems specifically out of Jean-Luc Godard’s cinema and it’s no surprise that Sachs credits his Vivre Sa Vie as an influence here.

The poetic intimacies of nude images and naked interactions are the subject of the silent study of male and female forms, Drawn and Quartered (1986). I love the punning title here—the camera crawls around the “out- line” of necks and shoulders, along fingers and feet from the point of view of an artist’s hand drawing the figures. Sachs also divides her screen up into four quarters, nodding to male/female duality while also disorienting the viewer and turning the experience into a sensual confusion of androgynous play. Drawn is a No film that Sachs directed with strict limits she illuminates at the Fandor.com streaming film site:

“I shot a film on a roof with my boyfriend. Every frame was choreographed. Both of us took off our clothing and let the Bolex whirl and that was it. Pure and simple.”

Thursday’s screenings will also include Following the Object to Its Logical Beginning (1987), which is a companion piece to Still Life; Investigation of a Flame (2001), an experimental portrait of Vietnam War peace activists; Photograph of Wind (2001), Sachs’s meditation on passing time and her growing daughter, Maya; Noa, Noa (2006), Sach’s exploration of childhood play with her daughter, Noa. Sachs will also show selected scenes from Every Fold Matters (2015) and screen her newest work, Starfish Aorta Collosus (2015).