Media Arts Preview, December 2, 2010

This week in Southern California Media Arts, just go to Cinefamily to see examples of incredibly creative filmmaking.

Thursday, December 2
LA-based filmmaker Terry Guetta is responsible for one of the most intriguing documentaries this year, Exit Through the Gift Shop, which will screen Thursday night at Cinefamily at 8:00 p.m. The film traces the work of Banksy, a British stencil artist known for his provocative street art. However, rather than merely document the artist, the film captures the contradictions inherent in Banksy's work, which is illegal yet socially significant, beautiful but damning, and anonymous but fixated on the artist himself. Producer Jamie D'Cruz, editor Chris King and executive producer Holly Cushing will be onhand for a Q&A after the screening.

Friday, December 3
The Second Los Angeles Animation Festival International kicks off today at Cinefamily with an incredible line-up of films. The best treat, however, must be the screening of a new film by the inimitable Jan Svankmajer titled Surviving Life (Theory and Practice). The Czech artist is one of the greatest filmmakers ever, with a wry sense of humor, biting political sensibility and an understanding of the human psyche that he renders visible through his wildly inventive iconic animations. The film, which screens Friday at 7:30 p.m., is described in a way that every Svankmajer film might be described, namely as "a unique and twisted vision that must be seen to be believed." See the trailer.

Saturday, December 4

"I hate polished stuff," filmmaker Brent Green said a few years ago, and his work bears this out. His animations are all about the improbable splendor of the unpolished, of the ragged, the broken down, the rickety and the barely-held-together. "I don't see any beauty in it," he continued, explaining that instead, he's drawn to things that he can't quite figure out. This Saturday night at 10:00 p.m., Green will present his first feature film, Gravity Was Everywhere Back Then at Cinefamily as part of the Los Angeles Animation Festival International, and he'll perform the soundtrack live in collaboration with Donna K, John Swartz, Drew Henkels, Howe Gelb (Giant Sand) and Brendan Canty (Fugazi). The film "follows the surreal true story of Leonard Wood, a Kentucky hardware clerk who in the '70s built a strangely-shaped, nearly German Expressionist house on his property in the belief that it could cure his wife's terminal cancer."

Gravity Was Everywhere Back Then from Brent Green on Vimeo.

Sunday, December 5
The Los Angeles Animation Festival International continues with the premiere of Midori-Ko, a film made by hand entirely with colored pencils by Japanese animator Keita Kurosaka. The film tells the story of a woman in a Tokyo of the future who tries to create a type of food that will end famine. "Synthesizing Frédéric Back's subtle, haptic textures with Bill Plympton's frenetic mutations and David Lynch's haunting wormholes, Kurosaka's work still retains its own singular, luminous potency." The film screens at 4:30 at Cinefamily.

Monday, December 6
If you missed Jan Svankmajer's Surviving Life (Theory and Practice), catch it tonight during its second screening, 10:30 p.m. at Cinefamily.

Tuesday, December 7
On Tuesday at 8:00 p.m., Cinefamily will screen the animated feature film The Illusionist, a film based on a script by French filmmaker Jacques Tati and created by Sylvain Chomet, who directed The Triplets of Belleville. The film is described as "a sumptuous tour-de-force of classic 2-D hand-drawn animation" and will be introduced by animation historian Jerry Beck.

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