Experimental Short Films presented by Balagan Short Film Series


This program of films and animations was collected from friends and collaborators of Balagan - a monthly series of film screenings that has been in operation since 2000. Balagan was begun by two avant-garde filmmakers -- Jeff Silva and Alla Kovgan -- in a small video projection room of a movie theater in Brookline, MA. It has since grown to include two more curators -- Stefan Grabowski and Mariya Nikiforova -- and to be hosted by the historic Brattle Theatre in Cambridge, MA, which accommodates a couple hundred audience members and a variety of analog and digital formats.

As the name of the series may imply, the curators take a somewhat carnivalesque approach to the programming -- mixing live performance, formal experimentation, personal documentary, and traditional narrative -- in order to approach the cinematic experience as it may have been at the historical beginnings of film projection, before the movie industry began to dictate the now-familiar exhibition format. We try to nurture a continuation of that original strain of image-making, which never ceased to question and test the emotional and dialectic powers of the medium.

For this particular program, we have chosen representatives of a big variety of techniques and formats in order to showcase the incredible versatility of experimental media practitioners working today. There are animations made by a sculptor using thousands of xerox copies; a workplace drama assembled from a sea of 1970s' German industrial films; an unusual documentary portrait by a Stockholm-based artist and experimental musician; a strange puppet story; a stop-motion exploration of an abandoned insane asylum; a structuralist flicker poem; a series of wild fantasies drawn on paper; and an abstract film-bridge between identities.

Curators: Mariya NikiforovaStefan GrabowskiJeff Daniel SilvaAlla Kovgan.


Website of Balagan Film Series: www.balaganfilms.com


Brave Old World
by Dagmar Kamlah

EDP at work anno 1970 – the tip of the iceberg of the late industrial revolution. Electronic dinosaurs sort mountains of punch cards and define scores for white, grey and blue collar workers. Punchcard operators pushing to be programmers… Only the apprentices seem to be not yet entirely in the ban of monster computers. Historic 16mm footage is taken from an educational TV program for school children. The soundtrack points into the future. (...)

by Mats Lundell

A personal documentary with a friend. Shot on scrapped cameras and edited on DV. (...)

by Jesse Kaminsky

LaserJet print was photocopied then the copy was copied and so on then animated. This work was supported by the Berwick Research Institute. (...)

Impossible Chase
by John Warren

A motorcyclist is subjected to an optical reworking—layers collide, blend, and fade away. (...)

by Xander Marro & Mat Brinkman

Isemond the Tailor makes a bonnet for her friend the goose. A monster takes over the old castle and people start to disappear. (...)

Island Jamboree
by Dylan Hayes

All I wanna do all I wanna be
Two boys look for some reports. (...)

Met State
by Bryan Papciak

Met State was an official selection of the Sundance Film Festival and has received numerous festival awards for Best Experimental Film. Met State is a visual portrait of an abandoned insane asylum, filmed over two years in different conditions and employing different film and animation techniques. (...)

Place for Landing
by Shambhavi Kaul

A landscape all of mirrors where great big shadows pass over the patchwork below. The camera shifts its focus. A child appears, disappears, a duck moves in. The surveying mirror either implodes or explodes into space. Its mottled hallway glass both indicates and becomes a Place for Landing. After a series of clever misdirections by the mirror, all is redeemed by a fragment of song in this unsettling bedtime story.—S.K. (...)

Playing for Keeeps
by Dylan Hayes

Roll the die, see the moon,
Ill dig a hole, catch you soon (...)