Seattle, traditional audiences and artists’ film…

Miracle Methods by Frances Scott on screen at SIFF
Miracle Methods by Frances Scott on screen at SIFF

Sophie Beresford stretches half-naked on screen to seemingly consider the next act in her film ‘Making Adidas Mermaid’, one of over 50 similar films she made in one day. Adding to the soundtrack is a deep sigh from the back of the theatre, along with a few chuckles. I’m in the company of a traditional film audience, it feels tense and awkward, especially having convinced several of the people waiting outside the cinema to join in watching the films.

At the end of the screening I talk to a couple of the people who came and they ask me why I decided to show the films in a cinema rather than a gallery. Not the first time I’ve been asked this; I don’t believe artists’ film should sit only in a gallery, I think the showing of a film, especially something as rich and heart-suspending as Naheed Raza’s ‘Silk’, should take place in a cinema, where it can exist gloriously. And artists’ film is not just a gallery experience, artists’ films are to be experienced, from beginning to end, rather than walked past and glimpsed at, which often happens in a(n) (unsympathetic) gallery setting. The Seattle audience (for this screening) is small and conservative, and I had suspected that might be the case, but it’s still a bash at my / videoclub‘s confidence. Especially when I know this programme is so excellent.

San Francisco is next. I have great faith in Artists’ Television Access and the San Francisco audience; Ruth Jarman from Semiconductor sang their praises so well when I mentioned I was going there. I’m also excited to hear what artists they’ll propose for the UK tour of StateLand, a programme of new work from the States videoclub will be curating and touring in the UK in October 14.

Clinton McClung from SIFF, who has been so super in helping making this tour happen, recommended a few filmmakers I should take a look at, including Karl Lind, Janice Findley and Kelly Sears, who Clinton described as an ‘Experimental Filmmaker and curator with great connections and taste.’

I would also recommend Northwest Film Forum for showing experimental work, and great for Capitol Hill and Seattle University audiences.

And now, San Francisco.