Introduction To Film

Introduction To Film
Maya Deren

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Final class on Friday

For the final class on Friday we will be viewing your final work. We will be looking at 16mm, Super-8 and digital projections with discussion time for each person's work. This is NOT a work day. You will be presenting your work to the class for discussion and critique. In addition I would like you to give me a CD with your work digitized on it in quicktime form. It may be necessary to use several CD's to submit your work.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Visiting Artist Paul Turano Tomorrow 11:30

Paul Turano will be the Visiting Artist next Wednesday at 11:30 in rm, 201 in  the Hardie Building. I will be taking attendance at this event.

visit his website;

Saturday, October 29, 2011


For your comparison and contrast paper you must refer to one film we have seen in class and one from the list in the earlier post (see below). In addition to the DVD's on reserve in the library there are films available from the collection of the Northeast Institute downstairs in the photo area. You may sign out the DVD's overnight with Ethan who is available most mornings in the photo area.

On Friday we will look at our Hand Processed films and found footage from a young man in Pennsylvania. Be ready to work on editing or processing film in the morning.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Your 3+ minutes of film is due on Friday the 28th. You should have it ready for projection after the morning session.
Tomorrow we will begin class as usual in 305 with a viewing of films by Lynn Sachs and Super-8 films by Ian Helliwell followed by a film viewing and work session on the copy stand in the photo area.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Assignment, Research Paper

Experimental Film

Fall 2011

Research Paper Assignment.

In order to create a context for criticizing and considering Avante Garde and experimental films it is necessary to look at what has been written about the genres.

These two readings represent two different yet related points of view regarding experimental films. P. Adams Sitney “wrote the book” on experimental film when he updated his 1994 book Visionary Film in 2002. In it, he addresses the history of Experimental film thematically with chapter references like “Ritual and Nature” or “From Trance to Myth”. Paul Arthur’s book Line of Sight American Avante Garde Film Since 1965 came out in 2005 and represents an update on Sitneys book with a slightly different take. It presumes an aquantance with the canon or most well known of experimental films and film makers and it focuses primarily on American film makers. It also picks up on a younger generation of film makers whos work has carried into the present and includes in some cases video-based work as well.

The first chapter of Visionary Film gives a clear idea of how Sitney proceeds to compare and contrast different films and themes. The Introduction to Paul Arthurs Line of Sight puts forth his overview and method for considering the genre.

After reading both of these excerpts You will write a 4-6 page comparison of two films from the ones of which we have seen in class. Your comparison should also refer to a film we have not seen as a group but it must be on the list below so that it is available for viewing by others in the class. You are expected to view the films and write a comparison and contrast style paper the makes reference to the images and content of the two films. You may reference other films but please make citations when you do. Other non- film references are also encouraged as you put the films in the context of your own work and ideas.

This comparison paper will be due November4th. It should include references and citations if you use quotes and follow the quidelines for research papers that are posted in the writing center.

In some cases films are available on YouTube. I suggest you see the DVD versions since there is a chance that the YouTube versions have been altered. I Also have 16mm prints of Frank Film by Frank Mouris, Blinkety Blank by Norman MacLaren, Allures by the Whitney brothers, and Permutations by Jordan Belson

Films we have seen in class;

Meshes in the Afternoon, Deren

Un Chien Andalou, Bunuel

Fog of Autumn by Dimitri Kirsanoff

A Movie by Bruce Conner

1966 film by Bruce Conner

Dog Star Man by Stan Brackage

Films which are available for viewing either in the library or in the film lab.

Available Films include:

"Here I Am" (Bruce Baillie), "Aleph" (Wallace Berman),

"The Riddle of Lumen" (Stan Brakhage),

"Eyewash" (Robert Breer),

"Bridges-Go-Round" (Shirley Clarke),

"By Night with Torch and Spear" (Joseph Cornell),

"Peyote Queen" (Storm De Hirsch),

"(nostalgia" (Hollis Frampton),

"Fog Line" (Larry Gottheim), "Litlte Stabs at Happiness" (Ken Jacobs), "Hamfat Asar" (Lawrence Jordan),

"I, an Actress (George Kuchar),

"New Improved Institutional Quality" (Owen Land),

"Necrology" (Standish Lawder),

"Note to Patti" (Saul Levine), Note;Saul Levine is teaching at Mass Art and programs the Mass Art Film Society on Wednesday nights.

"The End" (Christopher Maclaine),

"Notes on the Circus" (Jonas Mekas),

"Go! Go! Go!" (Marie Menken),

"The Off-Handed Jape... and How to Pull It Off" (Robert Nelson & William T. Wiley),

"7362" (Pat O'Neill),

"Chumlum" (Ron Rice),

"Bad Burns" (Paul Sharits),

"Odds & Ends" (Jane Conger Belson Shimane),

"Film No. 3: Interwoven" (Chick Strand),

"Mario Banana (No. 1)" (Andy Warhol)

Listed here are some earlier films all of which do not appear in either Sitney’s of Arthur” books but nonetheless may be interesting for their comparison and contrast to the Avante Garde films from the 40’s to the year 2005

DANSE MACABRE (US 1922 Color Tinted 6 Min.) Dir: Dudley Murphy

RIEN QUE LES HEURES (Nothing But Time) (US 1926 B&W 46 Min.) Dir: Alberto Cavalcanti - Music by Larry Marotta

THE TELL-TALE HEART (US 1928 B&W 20 Min.) Dir: Charles F. Klein - Music by Sue Harshe

TARANTELLA (US 1940 Color 4 Min.) Dir: Mary Ellen Bute and Ted Nemeth

TOMATOS ANOTHER DAY (US 1930 B&W 7 Min.) Dir: James Sibley Watson

THE UNCOMFORTABLE MAN (US 1948 B&W 23 Min. Intentionally silent) (Dir: Kent Munson and Theodore Huff)

THE PETRIFIED DOG (US 1948 B&W 18 Min.) Dir: Sidney Peterson

THE LEAD SHOES (US 1949 B&W 16 Min.) Dir: Sidney Peterson

FOUR IN THE AFTERNOON (US 1951 B&W 14 Min.) Dir: James Broughton


PLAGUE SUMMER (US 1951 B&W 15 Min.) Dir: Chester Kessler

LA MORT DU CERF (The Death of a Stag) (France 1951 B&W 12 Min.) Dir: Dimitri Kirsanoff

IMAGE IN THE SNOW (US 1952 B&W 26 Min.) Dir: Willard Maas

CELERY STALKS AT MIDNIGHT (France 1952 Color 3 Min.) Dir: John Whitney

THE VOICES (US 1953 B&W 14 Min.) Dir: John E. Schmitz

CLOSED VISION (US 1954 B&W 65 Min.) Dir: Marc O


EPISODES IN THE LIFE OF A GIN BOTTLE (US 1925 B&W 11 Min.) Dir: Bela von Block - Music by Paul Mercer, Bruce Bennett and Davis Petterson


FALLING PINK (US circa late 1950s Color 9 Min.) Dir: Robert H. Spring - Music by Paul Mercer and Bruce Bennett

DEMENTIA (excerpt) (US 1955 B&W 5 Min.) Dir: John Parker

TOMATOS ANOTHER DAY (outtakes) (US 1930 B&W 5 Min.) Dir: James Sibley Watson

Sunday, October 2, 2011


I will be sending a package to Pac Lab in NY on Tuesday. Get your film down to the photo cage by 12:30 on Tuesday to make that shipment. Otherwise check the PacLab link under "FILM LABS" on the lower right to see how to send the film yourself.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


I found this picture on the cover of a 1940 instruction booklet for Bolex cameras.

Agenda for Friday September 30th,
We will be looking at your films in the morning and doing a sync sound shoot in the afternoon. I would also like to show a film about Marie Menken. I will be assigning your 2 page paper as well. Time permitting I would like to introduce 16mm production methods.

go to this link;

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Friday 9/23 am. Agenda

• I will be at a meeting until noon. I want you to continue to work on your 3 minute sound pieces in the morning. You should also be saving these files to a separate drive or an mp3 player to back them up and make them playable in the studio downstairs.

• We will be doing 2 experimental exercises in the afternoon. One involves shooting sync-sound in Super-8 the other has to do with the found/handmade film you were working on. I also have the Exquisite Corpse film to look at. Also the poem you will be reading for the sync-sound experiment.

• So... Lots to do so let's be ready to work at 12 :45 downstairs.

Monday, September 19, 2011


We will be working with poems as sources for a short film. Bring poems to class that you are familiar with and have thought about. We will be combining this project with a sound recording exercise using Super-8 and 16 mm film. Be ready to read something for this assignment. Also do not forget the images for the sequences will will be making as well.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Weekend Workshop,DATE HAS CHANGED

Tara and Gordon Nelson are coming to Montserrat to produce a Super-8 workshop in Hand Processing film. The two day workshop will involve shooting, developing, and projecting your own Super-8 films. Check it out trough Continuing the Education site. This is a must for those who want to continue working in the Super-8 format.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Kuleshov Effect

Eisenstein was not the only theorist in the Soviet montage movement, Lev Kuleshov developed his theory of editing before Eisenstein, who was temporary a student of Kuleshov. Kuleshovs theories are closely related to that of Eisenstein in the sense that they both believed that the essence of cinema is a juxtaposition of editorial decisions, to support his theories Kuleshov developed an experiment known as the Kuleshov Experiment. The experiment consisted of shots of an actor intercut with shots of a bowl of soup, a seductively dressed woman and a deceased child, the shots were intercut to create the illusion that the actor was looking at these objects. The film was screened before an audience who believed the actors facial expression changes throughout the sequence, depending on what the actor was seeing. However the actors expression doesnt change and is in fact the same shot repeated. Kuleshov designed this experiment to indicate the importance of cinema editing and the effects it can have on an audience.

Images for FRIDAY

Bring images to work with. Bring magazines and pictures to cut and rearrange into sequences. A variety of views and groupings of figures is good. Even an already existing sequence from a well known movie will work. Preferrably though, it should be a group of at least 5 images that can be arranged to tell a story. I would like you to work with 3 sequences of 5 images for this exercise.Bring magazines catalogs, photographs, stock images.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Ernie Gehr Quote on film.

"In representational films sometimes the image affirms its own presence as image, graphic entity, but most often it serves as vehicle to a photo-recorded event. Traditional and established avant garde film teaches film to be an image, a representing. But film is a real thing and as a real thing it is not imitation. It does not reflect on life, it embodies the life of the mind. It is not a vehicle for ideas or portrayals of emotion outside of its own existence as emoted idea. Film is a variable intensity of light, an internal balance of time, a movement within a given space." ‹Ernie Gehr, January 1971

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Notes on Film

Montserrat College of Art
Photography/Video Department
Notes of Film.
Ethan Berry

On Reading Robert Bresson and the Dogma 95 Vow of Chastity

…Among other things it is important to make the distinction between film and video (the electronic vs. the photographic). It is even more important to make the distinction between Cinema and “Movies”. As Robert Bresson does in his book; “Notes on Cinematography”. The Dogma 95 filmmakers go further in their statement and make a distinction between the reality depicted in most films and the potential for reality to be represented in a film. Both statements reveal an attitude that elevates the process of film making to the realm of expression, which has the integrity, and honesty that we expect from artists. This is opposed the to slight of hand and trickery that ascribe to the trickster or manipulator. An attribute often assigned to “Movies”
This position acknowledges film as a language separate and distinct from theater, painting, music, photography, and acting. This is a language that is a little over 100 years old and that is still developing. It is a language that you can contribute to in the same way that you contribute to the language of painting, drawing, photography, sculpture, printmaking and design. Although it may seem extreme this position clarifies the art of filmmaking and creates a context for viewing films that encompasses many of the independent and experimental films that have been made since the advent of the technology at the end of the 19th century.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Experimental Film

PH299/ Topics in Photo and Video: Experimental Film

3 credits/ Instructor: Ethan Berry
This course is an introduction to Super- 8 and 16mm filmmaking through hands-on experience. The course covers the skills required to produce non-sync films (films that do not have sound recorded at the same time) from concept through completion. The course covers: basic screenwriting and basic photographic skills, working with Super- 8 and 16mm film cameras, choosing film stocks, gaining a knowledge of continuity, coverage and composition, lighting, working with a film laboratory, analyzing dailies, logging, digital conversion sound editing and non-linear editing. Students will develop, write, shoot and edit a short non-sync film outside of class time using Super- 8 and 16mm cameras, audio recorders, basic film editing equipment and digital editing software.
Prerequisite: Introduction to Photographic Media or permission of instructor
Fulfills: 200-level studio elective; time-based media elective; photography elective