Focus Group: Screening Room episode featuring Robert Breer

Tuesday, April 16, 2013 - 7:00pm9:00pm

Art Building, Room 1.102

Free and Open to the Public

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Still from Screening Room with Robert Breer, 1976

Screening Room, a 1970s television series that aired in Boston, invited independent filmmakers to screen and discuss their work on a commercial affiliate station (ABC-TV). The unique program, developed and hosted by filmmaker Robert Gardner, gave equal exposure to animation, documentary, and experimental film by artists such as Jean Rouch, Jonas Mekas, Hollis Frampton, Yvonne Rainer, and Michael Snow. Each episode featured conversations with filmmakers about their work, as well as excerpts, and often full-length films. The filmmakers that were presented on the show are now considered among the most influential contributors to their respective genres. Produced and released by Studio7Arts, an organization founded by Robert Gardner to support nonfiction media, the rarely seen Screening Room episodes are still invaluable today to creative thinkers, regardless of what medium they work in.

This spring, as part of the newly branded series, Focus Group, the VAC presents a different episode of Screening Room each month, providing a wide range of anecdotes, explanations, and methodologies from pioneers in film. Videos and films hand-picked by members of Experimental Response Cinema precede each screening.

About the Program

Focus Group is a screening series centered on experimental film in its various formats, including but not limited to 16mm, 8mm, and digital video. Focusing on seminal filmmakers from the past and their contemporary counterparts, the screenings are introduced by artists, filmmakers, critics, and curators who additionally present discussion topics ranging from innovative approaches to the medium to issues in contemporary film culture. Through this exposure to unique and often rare films, as well as the critical dialogue surrounding them, Focus Group enables a broader understanding of the possibilities of cinema.

For April’s edition, the VAC presents the November 1976 episode of Screening Room with Robert Breer, an animator well known for his films exploring shape, color, perspective, and motion. His work exhibits innovative graphic and dramatic method of interpretation, as well as great wit and humor. An inspiration to generations of other filmmakers, Breer's prolific career as a painter, sculptor, and filmmaker began in Paris in 1950. After studying engineering at Stanford University, his interests shifted to the mechanics of film and motion, and he experimented with flipbooks and made famous a process in which he drew on 4x6 index cards and animated those drawings with the use of a camera. Breer's playful and humorous films capture aspects of Beat poetry and music in its fragmented collage aesthetic. In this episode of Screening Room, Breer screens and discusses the films Recreation, A Man and His Dog Out for Air, 69, Gulls and Buoys, Fuji, and Rubber Cement. Preceding the episode, Experimental Response Cinema representative Ekrem Serdar will further explore Breer's oeuvre including films: ATOZ, Bang, LMNO and others. All films will be on 16mm. For further program information, visit ERC's website.

About the Artist

Ekrem Serdar is a filmmaker / programmer from Ankara, Turkey. He completed his M.F.A at the University at Buffalo, SUNY. He frequently shows his work with the Küçük Sinemalar group, based in Istanbul, and is a co-programmer of Experimental Response Cinema in Austin, TX.

Special thanks to The University of Texas at Austin Fine Arts Library and its staff for supporting the educational mission of the Visual Arts Center through acquisitions of works like Screening Room

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Experimental Response Cinema is an Austin-based collective of avant-garde film and video artists, devoted to bringing local, national, and international experimental films to Austin screens. They strive to show all media (16mm and 8mm film, digital video, and others) in its original format, under the best possible screening conditions.