Los Angeles Observed

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City City (still)
Los Angeles Observed

611 N. Fairfax Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90036
January 21st, 2012 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM

(323) 655-2510
experimental film
Tickets: General $10, Students/seniors $6; free for Filmforum members Advance ticket purchase available through Brown Paper Tickets.


If Thom Anderson’s 2003 celluloid essay Los Angeles Plays Itself explored the way Hollywood trained thousands of lenses upon its fragmented topography over the course of a century, tonight’s program uncovers how alternate visions of L.A. were executed by several generations of experimental filmmakers. Apt that Anderson’s own contribution to the oeuvre, 1966’s Olivia’s Place, will be screened alongside a saturated roster of unconventional documentaries, avant-garde ethnographies and rare films that capture landscapes turned on their fractured heads. Beautifully restored prints showcase Duane Kubo, John Vicario, Joseph Strick, and other artists whose takes on their surroundings were carried out with a palpable awareness of truth’s often lovely precariousness in non-fiction.

In person: Thom Andersen, more to be announced!


Screening (Subject to change):

Muscle Beach (Joseph Strick & Irving Lerner, 1948, 35mm, b/w, 9min.) (restored print from the Academy Film Archive)

Grand Central Market (William Hale, 1963, 16mm, b/w, 10min.) National Archives

City City (Duane Kubo & Donna Deitch, 1974, 16mm, color, 11min.) restored print from the Academy Film Archive)

Shoppers Market (John Vicario, 1963, 16mm, color, 22min.) (restored print from the Academy Film Archive)
Rediscovered at the Alternative Projections symposium in November 2010, courtesy of Ken Eisenstein, a marvelous study of a market in Santa Monica.

Olivia’s Place (Thom Andersen, 1966/74, 16mm, color, 6min.) (restored print from the Academy Film Archive)

Bunker Hill (Kent MacKenzie, 1956, 16mm, b/w, 18min.)
Print courtesy of USC.
The classic study of old Bunker Hill, in downtown Los Angeles, before it was leveled to build the Music Center.

Film Exercise No. 2 (Baylis Glascock, 5 min)
You might know William Hale’s film on the Watts Towers, but chances are you’ve never seen this one.

Venice Pier (Gary Beydler, 1976, 16mm, color, 16min.) (restored print from the Academy Film Archive)

total: 98min.
Alternative Projections: Experimental Film in Los Angeles, 1945-1980 will feature over 24 shows between October 2011 and May 2012. Alternative Projections is Filmforum’s exploration of the community of filmmakers, artists, curators and programmers who contributed to the creation and presentation of experimental film and video in Southern California in the postwar era. Film series curated by Adam Hyman and Mark Toscano, with additional contributions by David James, Christine Panushka, Jerri Allyn, Abraham Ferrer, Terry Cannon, Ben Caldwell, Stephanie Sapienza, Amy Halpern, and more.

Alternative Projections: Experimental Film in Los Angeles, 1945-1980 is part of Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945-1980. This unprecedented collaboration, initiated by the Getty, brings together more than sixty cultural institutions from across Southern California for six months beginning October 2011 to tell the story of the birth of the L.A. art scene. Pacific Standard Time is an initiative of the Getty. The presenting sponsor is Bank of America.

Primary funding for Alternative Projections was provided by the Getty Foundation, with additional support from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. This screening series is supported, in part, by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission; and the Department of Cultural Affairs, City of Los Angeles. Special support provided by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Additional support generously provided by American Cinematheque.

Our website at contains oral histories, articles, and a searchable database with individuals, films, organizations, and exhibitions, and archival content. This is the first database of its kind and will give scholars and the public a much richer understanding of art production in Los Angeles for years to come.  The contents of the screening series can also be found there.

Coming Soon to Los Angeles Filmforum:
Jan 18 – Alternative Projections: Psychedelic Visions and Expanded Consciousness (at Cinefamily)
Jan 21 – Alternative Projections: Los Angeles Observed (at Cinefamily)
Jan 25 & 26 – Single Wing Turquoise Bird – light show performance with live music, at UCLA EDA, part of the Pacific Standard Time Performance and Public Art Festival!
Jan 28 - Alternative Projections: Visions, Memory, and a Machine (at Cinefamily)

Los Angeles Filmforum is the city's longest-running organization screening experimental and avant-garde film and video art, documentaries, and experimental animation.  2012 is our 37th year
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