An Evening with Sami van Ingen
April 1, 2013 (Mon) - 7:30pm, Brattle Theatre
Tickets are $10 for regular admission and $8 for students and seniors. Poster by Nathaniel Wyrick.

We are thrilled to present, in person, the Finland-based experimental filmmaker, installation artist, curator, and educator Sami van Ingen! In his work, Sami distills meaning from fleeting moments of footage -- be it home movies, travelogue scenes, mainstream blockbusters, or archival discoveries -- by physically deconstructing, manipulating and rephotographing the film strip. A passionate proponent of analog film, he is also interested in the ways digital technology can add new qualities to experimental filmmaking. He has recently published a book on the subject, Moving Shadows: Experimental Film Practices in a Landscape of Change (2012). Together with filmmaker Mika Taanila, Sami co-curates the new Helsinki-based screening series, Pakopiste (Vanishing Point).


Texas Scramble

1996, 21 min, 16mm "... Texas Scramble ... is a closed system that only reveals itself through watching. The film starts with the first line of the Dhammapada [Buddhist verse]: 'What we are today comes from our thoughts of yesterday/our present thoughts build our life of tomorrow/our life is the creation of our mind.' To build a structure out of this statement, van Ingen uses the rules of an unlikely source. As he explains, 'Texas Scramble is a golf game played in the Southern US. After the players hit their golf balls, the balls are moved forward to the best position so that each round the players start at par. It's also a great name.' ... Van Ingen still labels Texas Scramble his favourite film, partly because it is a very simple starting point that allows for beautifully complex outcomes. Surprisingly, the film was made for television, and although it flummoxed the station managers and had to be cut down to 21 minutes (more for contractual reasons than content), it has shown three or four times on Finnish television." (Chris Kennedy, LIFT, 2004)

Deep Six

2007, 7 min, 35mm "Deep Six had three starting points: the extraction and re-editing of a short sequence from a Hollywood B-film (The Rage, 1998 directed by Sidney J. Furie); an attempt to use the color photocopy as a cinematic aesthetic; and to explore the frame line as a dynamic visual element. ... In Deep Six, the touch of my hand visible on the screen and the discrepancies in the images are made by contact printing, by hand, strips of photocopied overhead transparencies onto 35mm film. The strong, shifting frame line and sidewise movement, as well as the strong texture of the photocopied surface, are all attempts to work with the screen surface and the framing of the cinematic image." (SvI)


2004, 40 min, 35mm "Fokus is based on a 16mm home movie shot in India during the early 1960s by the director’s grandmother, Barbara van Ingen. The original 11-minute stretch of film portrays the spectacular Dussera procession arranged annually in the town of Mysore. Barbara van Ingen had at the time moved to India, but was still largely an outsider in her new home country. She had initially come to India in order to help her father, the famous documentary filmmaker Robert J. Flaherty with his latest production (Elephant Boy, Robert J. Flaherty & Zoltan Korda, 1937), and had subsequently settled in the country." (Avanto Festival) "Fokus is a stirring viewing experience. It is based on an extremely minimal visual form: contrasts, textures and glowing colors. Its visual language consists of highly magnified and slowed images. Surface of the film material, the film grain and other anomalies function as integral parts of the whole. Van Ingen's rigorous structuralist methods have produced beautiful, emotionally touching and many-layered results. Fokus is as close to the art of painting as cinema can possibly strive to be. " (Mika Taanila)