Albuquerque Filmmaker’s on-line competition showcasing movie writers

May 1st – An Albuquerque filmmaker promises his festival won’t show “poorly produced popcorn-poo-poo” starting Saturday.

Bryan Konefsky, Professor Emeritus of Film and Fine Arts at the University of New Mexico, believes that cinema should challenge viewers as much as poetry should challenge readers. Its 16th annual Experiment in Cinema Festival, which runs through May 22nd on, is designed to get viewers to ask questions and think about what they’re seeing.

This year the festival will have a special section focusing on films by and about indigenous people.

Konefsky said he believed in the value of meeting in a theater, watching a movie in the dark, and then discussing it. However, one benefit of participating online last year was that 2,500 people from around the world saw it, compared to 400 to 500 who normally attend the festival in person.

As a face-to-face event, the festival lasted five days and was not put online. When personal tours are offered again, Konefsky will also put the festival online.

Konefsky, the founder and director of Experiments in Cinema, said conventional filmmaking has fallen into the abyss of predictable remakes and romantic comedies.

Art should confront people and expose them to new perspectives rather than offering simple entertainment that doesn’t capture anyone’s imagination, he said. He believes that restricting filmmaking to comfort foods will sell the audience short.

Konefsky’s Festival will be exclusively online for the second year in a row due to the coronavirus pandemic. It will contain 100 films from around 35 countries as well as 20 films by indigenous filmmakers. The online festival is free, although donations are requested.

All films are available at any time during the festival. Konefsky will remove them at the end of May 22nd.

Jenice Gharib, funding program and political director of New Mexico Arts, said her organization has long helped sponsor experiments in cinema. “They are not traditional films – beginning, middle, end,” said Gharib. “They are definitely reaching the medium and using the medium in a different way.”

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New Mexico Arts, one of many sponsors, made a grant of $ 4,527 this year.

Bizarre is to be expected. The films are usually short, but they don’t have to be. They don’t necessarily involve conflicts and solutions. They can be animated, or just shapes, colors, and sounds, or they can contain scenes and people.

Previous festivals had special sections on women’s film, African American film, and filmmaking from Cuba and Serbia. This year it’s about and about indigenous people.

“The reason for this is to celebrate marginalized voices,” Konefsky said of the special group of films.

Sally Kewayosh, who is from Ojibwe and Cree, was one of three curators who selected the films for the special block. Kewayosh, a filmmaker and producer, said the films will generally reflect the experiences of Native Americans in the United States and Canada. They will be much less experimental in quality.

“I think it’s pretty awesome,” said Kewayosh, professor of film at the University of New Mexico. “And I think [the films] is really well received. “

The festival will include a roughly 30-minute tribute to film and communication theorist Gene Youngblood, who passed away on April 6th in Santa Fe.

Leslie Raymond, the director of the Ann Arbor Film Festival in Michigan, said she sat on a panel at Experiments in Cinema a few years ago. At 59, Raymond’s is the longest running experimental film festival in North America.

“I’ve wanted to go for many years,” she said of the Albuquerque event. Konefsky “knows his way around,” she said. “He’s a creator. He teaches.”

Defining experimental film is not easy. “It’s not the opposite of commercial or mainstream film,” she said. But it is definitely outside of conventional filmmaking and ends up more “in the fine arts”.

It seeks to create new visual experiences, she said, and aims to take movies and “turn them upside down”.

The films should come with questions like: “How did it look? How did you feel about it?” She said. “It’s more like going to an art museum. … A lot of it is really: How was your experience with it?”

Konefsky said the festival will show the work of “poets of the film world”. And it won’t come with the stars and the hype of Hollywood.

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