Thursday, March 27, 2014

Back at the Bank!

After a five year hiatus, I went back to the World Bank on Monday for lunch. What a feeling! Things were a bit different this time, with little people on the loose. Thank goodness for Kathi and Johannes on detainment duty. Still fighting poverty, one delicious bite of spinach and tofu at a time.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

I am an epitom of beauty

I love messages like this in response to my baby photo that's still lingering on friendster...

If i say you are a beauty,i swear thats an understatement..What else can i say other than to say that you are an epitom of beauty.I really has just gone through your profile and i can't stop until i get to know you better.Hello dear,this is Brian from Laferia Texas in United States Of America,love to know you better

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Cinematic Beauty Journies of Giovanna Chesler and Timoleon Wilkins

I just watched this slideshow that my dad sent, which was the perfect reminder of the roots of my relationship to aesthetic beauty and why I find filmmakers Giovanna Chesler and Timoleon Wilkins so important.

I'm sure my dad is a huge influence on how I see the world and why beauty is so important to me. I'm grateful that now, as an adult nearing middle-age, I can finally see the interconnectedness of my dad's slideshows and his ever-present camera and my own career path and my love of avant-garde film. But there are others who've also had a huge influence on me.

photo by Timoleon Wilkins
When I first met filmmaker Timoleon Wilkins in San Francisco in the mid-1990's, he was my boss at an art-house movie theater in the Tenderloin. He invited me to a lot of experimental film screenings and showed me even more work at his home. I fell in love with his imagery and with everything he was teaching me about avant-garde film. He also encouraged me to pick up my parents' super-8 camera and start shooting Kodachrome. I've noticed since that many of the things I shoot are things I think Tim would shoot and I often wonder if he taught me how to see things or if it is our common vision in the world that is one of the things that brought us together in the first place. Tim taught me that beauty was absolutely worth capturing on film simply because it was beautiful and pleasing to look at. Now, like Tim, I store beautiful images for later use, not knowing how I might use them or what work they might comprise in the future.

still from Timoleon Wilkins' Drifter

Giovanna Chesler's photographic beauty then is more deliberate. I first met Giovanna when we screened her 16mm work at a film festival I was working on in Chicago and she came in from San Diego for the screenings. I have programmed several of her works in various settings over the past ten years and each time I am struck by the beauty of her composition and by how genuine her work is, how heartfelt. But the most obvious thing I think of when I think of Chesler's work is her ability to fluidly move between genres and to do each genre excellently and authentically. Giovanna is a perfectionist filmmaker who creates compelling fiction (BEAUTEOUS, BYE BI LOVE), documentary (PERIOD: THE END OF MENSTRUATION?) and experimental forms (HAND.SOME and BEAUTEOUS: GIOVANNA), as well as smart internet work that involve collaborative group projects that engage communities (HPV PROJECT). It's no coincidence that BEAUTEOUS is a key word even in her titles. Chesler deconstructs beauty even as she creates some of the prettiest images in modern cinematography.

still from Giovanna Chesler's BeauteouS

In fact, maybe that's the difference between Wilkins' and Chesler's work- Tim captures images purposely  without purpose and G's images and stories are expertly planned and calculated. But both of these filmmakers use the full frame, filling it with beauty.

Tim was remarking the other day that he can't take photos of flowers, implying that photos of beautiful flowers are cliché and unoriginal because people are not interested in the subject matter. But he said that he practices his technique by shooting flowers and the like and that he can give them to his family as christmas gifts.

Tim's take on beauty can be summed up with this clip that he shared with me.:

I don't really agree with Mr. Scruton's rather simplistic view of art and beauty, particularly his notion that beauty is not subjective (or constructed, for that matter...). But I do think this is important to ponder. I, for one, enjoy images that please my eyes and I want more. That's why I love the work of these two filmmakers.

You have a chance to catch their work!

Tonight at Anthology Film Archive in New York, Giovanna will be presenting a program of her work, including her gorgeous and compelling BEAUTEOUS: THE TRILOGY and her latest, the poignant narrative BYE BI LOVE. The show starts at 7:15pm.

Tim exhibits only on celluloid, so catch him when you can. His latest masterpiece, DRIFTER, screened recently at the New York Film Festival and will be screening at the London Film Festival on October 22 and 23 and as part of the TIE festival at the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee on October 26.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Women on the Guardian’s Film Power 100 List

18) Angelina Jolie, Actor: Salt, Changeling, A Mighty Heart
22) Amy Pascal and Jeff Blake, Studio executives: Co-chair of Sony Pictures Entertainment, and vice-chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment
29) Kate Winslet, Actor: The Reader, Revolutionary Road, Titanic
30) Barbara Broccoli and Michael G Wilson, Producers: Goldeneye, Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace
33) Tessa Ross, Commissioning executive: Controller of film and drama, Channel 4
36) Christine Langan Commissioning executive: Creative director, BBC Films
38) Keira Knightley, Actor: Never Let Me Go, Atonement, Pride & Prejudice
58) Tracey Jacobs, Agent: Co-head of Talent, United Talent Agency
62) Claudia Winkelman, TV personality: Presenter of Film 2010
64) Sofia Coppola, Director: Somewhere, Lost in Translation
66) Tilda Swinton, Actor: We Need to Talk About Kevin, I Am Love, Michael Clayton
70) Clare Binns, Film Programmer: Programming-Director of City Screen
74) Kristin Scott Thomas, Actor: I’ve Loved You So Long, Leaving, Nowhere Boy, The English Patient
83) Kathryn Bigelow, Director: The Hurt Locker, Point Break
90) Nikki Finke, Web Entrepreneur: Editor in chief of
93) Janet Pierson, Programmer: Head of Film programming, SXSW
96) Jane Goldman, Writer: Stardust, Kick-Ass
99) Catharine des Forges, Distributor: Director of the Independent Cinema Office

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Move over!

Programming Committee, my film discussion blog with Jenn Hsu, is up and running. So, for blurbs on every film I ever see from now on, look for us there!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Sunset Community Film Festival

I've been a fan of Wayland He's Life of Wayland since Rebecca Devlin first shared it with me a few years ago. At the 6th Annual Sunset Community Film Festival, held at Ulloa Elementary School in San Francisco on March 5, He made dozens more fans. His latest short, a funny animation called Worm War I, won the audience award for best film, and I heard many a serious discussion between 6th graders and uproarious laughter from the 3rd graders sitting behind me about the video.

The entire program, chosen and compiled by youth media group SCREAM members, was very good and it was professionally well presented. The best part was sitting in a theater full of an audience of young people, watching a program entirely made and presented by young people, and experiencing the extreme pleasure of everyone involved. Half of the time I had no idea why they were laughing, but they sure were having a good time.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Barbara Hammer and Silas Howard at the Hammer

What a great night. I wish this conversation could have lasted a lot longer- they were just getting started. But what an excellent combination, whoever thought this one up!


I can't believe I finally finished it. After three viewings over the course of two weeks I have finally finished watching David Lynch's enigmatic Inland Empire (2006). Clearly (well, I use that word loosely...), this film is about Laura Dern's character Nikki Grace's psyche. It's about psychology, movies and reality vs. make-believe in a hodge-podge of visual styles and genres, but mostly horror. I bet if I watched it again I'd get it, but I can't imagine I will ever, ever be driven to do that. If you know me, you know that I'm all about film and media that make you go, "WTF?!" But WTF?! And Whatever.