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Wellington Underground Film Festival

Listing details: Wellington Underground Film Festival screenings
When: Different programmes of recent underground films will screen 7pm Thurs, 7.30 pm Fri, and 7pm Sat, March 21 - 23. “A Historical Showcase of New Zealand Experimental Film: 1933 - 2008” screens 6pm Thur 21 March.
Where: The New Zealand Film Archive, 84 Taranaki St, Wellington
Ticket price: $8 public / $6 concession


Wellington Underground Film Festival

This month the New Zealand Film Archive is thrilled to host the first Wellington Underground Film Festival. 35 recent films by New Zealand underground film makers will be screened over three nights. The Festival also includes a historical showcase of New Zealand experimental film from 1933 through 2008.

7pm Thursday 21 March, 7.30pm Friday 22 March & 7pm Saturday 23 March
Wellington Underground Film Festival Programmes

What is underground film? Definitions are risky. We set out to find films that dissent radically from mainstream - in form, technique, or content… and hopefully, all three.

These films are usually made on the cheap with whatever equipment is available, often by a single person and with very little thought given to the expectations of a cinema audience. Technical flaws are inherent and expected in underground film; however, the faults can also be their greatest assets. The lack of money, equipment, resources, and technical skills is a beautiful mark of honor. The underground filmmaker is alone but obliged only to the creation of an artistic vision. That is perhaps the single defining characteristic of underground film.

The organisers of the Wellington Underground Film Festival have chosen to screen 35 single-author films by 22 film makers, an amazing selection for the inaugural programme. Some are deeply personal, some shallow; some protest, some are meditative; some are beautiful, some ugly; some are entertaining, some challenging; some are poetic, some discordant and noisy.... but all are, primarily, the creation of one person.

Thank you for recognising that new ideas are found only where people are free to have them. Thank you for stepping outside of the typical, for having a desire not merely to be entertained but to see something raw, to see something sincere, to see something real.

- Rosie Rowe, Artistic Director

7pm Thursday 21 March
A Clowder of Cats, by Ruth Korver
There’s a Dead Crow Outside, by Morgan Miller
Foxbug & Snail, by Arlo Edwards
Time Regained, by Rosina Hickman
The Great Bunny Hunt, by Niamh Peren

7.30pm Friday 22 March
Araroa, by Topaz Brownlie
Die Uhrgrossmmutter, by Esther Bosshard and Noemi Gamma
44 Sounds, by Mark Graver
Shackles and Swivels, by Sean Carley
Triste (Sad), by Miguel Efondo
Tiddlywink In The Lens, by James R Ford
Collapses, by Melissa Irving
LxBxTx, by Marina Bonofiglio
Microgravedad, by Veronica Lorenzo
Do You Want To See A Dead Body? by Rosie Rowe
Desert Road Triptych, by Rosi

7pm Saturday 23 March
Nova (Mictlan Escape), by Jack Delgado
Monitor, by Veronica Lorenzo
Deep Lost, by Rollo Wenlock
Bitchin’ by Kenny Smith
Bastard Culture, by Tom Goulter
Reverie, by Miguel Efondo
Doom, by Banjo Steve
The Egg, by Frank Fu
Meditations On Violence, by Rhys Collier
Pas De Deux, by Melissa Irving
Cartoon, by Dan Harris
Impression, by Mark Graver
Saturday, by Dan Harris
The Ring (special edition curse video), by James R Ford
Cat Collar 2: One Night In Brixton, by James R Ford
Why Are You Making Me Hurt You, I love you. by Rosie Rowe
In The Year Of The Wild Pig, by Frank Fu

6pm Friday 22 March
A Historical Showcase of New Zealand Experimental Film: 1933 - 2008

A programme of 14 short experimental films from the Film Archive’s collection, featuring experimental works made by New Zealand film makers between 1933 and 2008.

The programme for the evening reflects the diversity of New Zealand’s experimental film output - a range of regions and time periods are represented, and the film makers emerge from diverse personal, political and aesthetic backgrounds.

Work by Len Lye, New Zealand’s most famous experimental film maker, is set alongside films made by members of amateur cine societies.

For example, Optical Jazz (c. 1967) was made by Otago Cine Club member Arthur Richardson. Richardson combines an exuberant jazz soundtrack with kaleidoscopic patterns of colour created using mirrors, prisms and rotating discs. Optical Jazz won prizes in amateur cine competitions in America and Europe, including Cannes in the 1960s.

Another film was made by Charles Hale, of the Nelson Amateur Cine Society. His work, Rendezvous at Noon (c. 1966), marks time until an anticipated rendezvous at noon via the repetition of images from everyday domestic life - such as the dripping of water, and the closing and opening of drawers and doors.

Amateur cine societies were a training ground for aspiring film makers in the days before University-based courses were established. The “Experimental Film” genre was one of the categories to which members submitted their films in competitions in New Zealand and overseas.

In the early 1970s Michael Nicholson created an experimental work using an early analogue computer animation system called the Scanimate. More recently Nicholson reworked the video footage with Diane McAllen from Film Archive. The resulting Visual Music Project Stage 3 Ops 1-4 was exhibited at the Archive in 2008. A section of this work is included in the programme.

Both Nicholson and Richardson’s films pay homage to Len Lye. Lye’s Rainbow Dance (1936) is included in the programme. Also featured are more contemporary film makers and artists who have used animation and scratch techniques in their work (including Lissa Mitchell and Richard Lomas).

Other films were motivated by political issues. One memorialises the death of anarchist Neil Roberts, who blew himself up outside the Wanganui Computer Centre in 1982. Before he died, Neil spray-painted a slogan on a public toilet block near the computer building: “WE HAVE MAINTAINED A SILENCE CLOSELY RESEMBLING STUPIDITY” Lisa Reihana’s film Wog Features (1990) addresses the connections between racism and gender through a combination of live action and animation.

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