Film & Video Programming
In addition to make my own films and videos, and write about avant-garde and artists' cinema, I have been curating shows of interdisciplinary artists whose work is not commonly accessible, or shown as often as desirable.
- MOVEMENTS AGAINST ABUSE: Avant-Garde & Artists’ Cinema. Yale University Film and Media Studies Program. Whitney Humanities Center, New Haven, Connecticut. November 6th, 2018—
- FREEDOM OVER FEAR: Susan Stein's Feminist Avant-Garde Cinema. The Mini Cinema. Cincinnati, Ohio. October 28th, 2018—
- ACCENTS: Avant-Garde and Artists’ Cinema from Latin America. University of Cincinnati, Center for Film & Media Studies; The Mini. Cincinnati, Ohio. October 25th & 26th, 2018—
- COURTISANE: Selection. Sphinx Cinema. Gent, Belgium. Co-curated with María Palacios Cruz. March 31st, 2018—
- IN SEARCH OF MEANING: International Avant-Garde & Artists' Cinema. Yale University Film and Media Studies Program. Whitney Humanities Center, New Haven, Connecticut. November 7th, 2017—
- FOUND SOUNDS: A Retrospective of Barbara Meter's Avant-Garde Films. Milwaukee Underground Film Festival, Wisconsin (April 22nd, 2017); Museum of the Moving Image, New York (April 30th, 2017); (S8) Mostra de Cinema Periférico, A Coruña, Spain (June 2, 2017); Light Cone, Studio des Ursulines, Paris (December 11th, 2018); Ann Arbor Film Festival, Michigan Theater (March 28, 2019); Alchemy Film & Arts, Scotland (May 4, 2019); Austrian Film Museum, Vienna (June 4, 2019)—BOOKINGS HERE.
- ON RESISTANCE: International Avant-Garde Films & Videos. Museum of the Moving Image, New York. January 13th, 2017—
- THEATER OF THE WORLD: Videos and Installation Works by Salomé Lamas. UnionDocs, New York. March 20th, 2016—
- A MATTER OF VISIBILITY: International Avant-Garde & Artists' Cinema. Museum of the Moving Image, New York. January 23rd, 2016—
- A PICTURE IS ALWAYS A BOOK: Analog Measures from the U.S. LENS, Madrid / Crater Lab, Barcelona. September 25-26, 2015—
- SONG OF MYSELF: WOJCIECH BĄKOWSKI'S FILMS AND VIDEOS. Museum of the Moving Image, New York. April 3-5, 2015—
- SHOW & TELL / WOJCIECH BĄKOWSKI: SOLILOQUIES. Anthology Film Archives, New York. April 2nd, 2015—
- EPISODES FROM THE SECRET LIFE: A Selection of Films by Barry Gerson. Microscope Gallery, New York. February 21st, 2015—
- TWO LIVES IN MOTION: A Celebration of the Kinetic Works of Crista Grauer & Beryl Sokoloff. Silver Bow Art, Foreground Gallery & Original Mine Yard, Montana. September 5th, 2014—
Yale University, Whitney Humanities Center, New Haven. November 6th, 2018, 7pm—
MOVEMENTS AGAINST ABUSE: Avant-Garde & Artists’ Cinema
"This program includes defying works by contemporary artists in conversation with Yale University's archival 16mm print of Maya Deren's first film, Meshes of the Afternoon. The moves, emotions, cuts, words, bodies, voices, and resolutions imbued in their works are not suggestions of change, but transformational, break-free, artistic demands."
The Mini Cinema. Cincinnati, Ohio. October 28th, 2018, 4pm—
FREEDOM OVER FEAR: Susan Stein's Feminist Avant-Garde Cinema
"At age 17, artist Susan Stein was the workshop coordinator at the London Filmmakers’ Co-operative. In 1979, with Lis Rhodes, Felicity Sparrow, Annabel Nicolson, Tina Keane, Mary-Pat Leece, and Joanna Davis, she cofounded Circles, the first feminist distribution network for film, video, and performance. In her work, Stein examines language in the context of the femme-led writings and political movements of the time, and in contrast with the grainy imagery of her sensitive cinematography. Still reflecting on concepts of female incarceration, invisibility, servitude, and silence, and after 30 years working for BBC News as a camerawoman, Stein is coming full-circle with a new film in preparation. FREEDOM OVER FEAR is the first-ever retrospective of her avant-garde films, and the first time that her works are shown in the United States."
University of Cincinnati, Center for Film & Media Studies; The Mini. Cincinnati, Ohio. October 25th & 26th, 2018—
ACCENTS: Avant-Garde and Artists’ Cinema from Latin America
"From influential feminist film pioneer Narcisa Hirsch to the contemporary celluloid-based portraits of Azucena Losana, ACCENTS provides a kaleidoscopic, intersectional, and multi-lingual approach to cinema. Just as in the work of poet and activist Victoria Santa Cruz, also included in the show, these films connect to ideas of racial and gender equality, memory, and people’s revolution."
Sphinx Cinema. Gent, Belgium. March 31st, 2018, 2:30pm—
Co-curated with María Palacios Cruz. "Mónica Savirón makes 16mm films that engage with the poetics and disappearing histories and practices of analogue film production. Her mesmerizing work stems both from a lyrical mode and a structural impulse. As a curator and writer, Savirón has championed the legacy of under-represented artists, particularly women. In this program, co-curated with Savirón, her two celebrated shorts are shown in the company of films by other female avant-garde filmmakers, proposing points of connection and dialogue, as well as a community of works, filmmakers and ideas.”
Frieze, April 23rd, 2018—
"A Celebration of Overlooked Women Filmmakers", by Ela Bittencourt.
"...Savirón quoted the feminist British filmmaker Lis Rhodes on the need to lay bare the links and fractures in the voices of women connected by similar constraints. Rhodes’s urgent call for a communal space of reflection ends on a lyrical note: ‘I find knitting to be a continuous occupation and I am full of gratitude because I realize how much I am indebted to the hands that wield the needles’".
Yale University, Whitney Humanities Center, New Haven. November 7th, 2017, 7pm—
IN SEARCH OF MEANING: International Avant-Garde & Artists' Cinema
"This selection of works explores the changing world through phenomenological, instead of representational, imagery. Aiming to reflect on consciousness, emotion, and experience, these images are mirrors held up to a culture that has released itself from visual constraints. The works, made in the last decade, are shown in conversation with Maya Deren’s debut film Meshes of the Afternoon. She writes: 'In film, the image can and should be only the beginning, the basic material of the creative action. We can believe in the existence of a monster if we are not asked to believe that it is present in the room with us. The film image—whose intangible reality consists of lights and shadows beamed through the air and caught on the surface of a silver screen— comes to us as the reflection of another world. At that distance we can accept the reality of the most monumental and extreme of images, and from that perspective we can perceive and comprehend them in their full dimension.'”
Milwaukee Underground Film Festival, Wisconsin (April 22nd, 2017); Museum of the Moving Image, New York (April 30th, 2017); (S8) Mostra de Cinema Periférico, A Coruña, Spain (June 2nd, 2017); LIGHT CONE, Studio des Ursulines, Paris (December 11th, 2018); Ann Arbor Film Festival, Michigan Theater (March 28, 2019); Alchemy Film & Arts, Scotland (May 4, 2019); Austrian Film Museum, Vienna (June 4, 2019)—
FOUND SOUNDS: A Retrospective of Barbara Meter's Avant-Garde Films
"In the early ‘70s, in need of a critical response to the utter commercialization of film production and programming, Barbara Meter (Netherlands, 1939) co-founded the Electric Cinema. Run by members of the Amsterdamse Film Coop, and STOFF (the Studio for the Development of Film and Film Manifestations), the theater became the epicenter of independent film and Dutch avant-garde filmmaking. At the Electric Cinema, Meter curated avant-garde and expanded cinema programs. After that period, she co-created POLKIN (Political Kinema) and made documentaries as part of activist and feminist movements. In her avant-garde films, she pushes the cinematic medium forward with her unique way of repurposing documents and audio recordings, and with an innovative, masterful application of optical printing techniques. Meter manipulates the images and reworks found sounds to find and create a personal expressive mode. Her thesis, Looked for and Found: On Archival and Found Footage Film, was written in 1995 for the London School of Printing, and continues to be of radical importance. After many years of work, the EYE Filmmuseum in Amsterdam has preserved Meter’s films, in all their complexity and in close conversation with the artist. FOUND SOUNDS is the first comprehensive retrospective of Barbara Meter’s avant-garde films in the United States, and in Spain".
SEE NL, January 21st, 2019—
"The Measure of Meter", by Nick Cunningham.
"Acclaimed Dutch experimental filmmaker Barbara Meter will be honored at the prestigious Ann Arbor Film Festival (Michigan) in March 2019 with a retrospective of her works. The exhibition reprises curator Mónica Savirón’s Found Sounds retrospective of Meter’s work, organized in partnership with EYE ".
Art in America, April 27th, 2017—
"Flickering Portraits: A Barbara Meter Retrospective", by Ela Bittencourt.
"...Meter founded POLKIN (Political Kinema), a production center that promoted activist and feminist documentary works. Savirón sees Meter’s film and curatorial initiatives as crucial responses of the avant-garde to the commercialization of film production and programming, and highlights the importance of her work now, when these patterns have become entrenched...".
Screen Slate, April 30th, 2017—
"Found Sounds: A Retrospective of Barbara Meter's Avant-Garde Films", by Tyler Maxin.
"Barbara Meter was a key participant in the Dutch 'co-op avant-garde' of the late '60s and early '70s, co-founding the Electric Cinema which during its run introduced the likes of Malcolm Le Grice and Carolee Schneeman to the Netherlands. As a filmmaker, Meter produced a burst of early lyrical films before pivoting into political filmmaking in the Dutch women's movement...".
Museum of the Moving Image, New York. January 13th, 2017, 7:30pm—
ON RESISTANCE: International Avant-Garde Films & Videos
"'Sometimes the most beautiful flowers are hidden behind stones, you once told me'—writes filmmaker and scholar John Gianvito remembering Don Levy.
This program presents obscured archival prints together with current, international works never before shown in New York. Avant-garde artists Don Levy, Philippe Cote, and Ute Aurand share screen with a new, but equally free, generation of makers. They all test cinema as a medium capable of surviving conflicts, perceptions, and assaults, by exposing the most extreme, and vulnerable, of behaviors. These poetically bold films and videos stand as time sensed transgressions. Many projected on celluloid, these works are both expressions and enactments of resistance".
MUBI, January 12th, 2017—
"On Resistance" at First Look 2017, by Michael Sicinski.
"...If there is one constant that can be observed throughout Savirón’s selections, it pertains to the power of memory. Some of the films in 'On Resistance' are themselves historical, their revival here serving as an act of memory. Others reflect cultural or geographical memory, mapping certain specificities of meaning. And still others engage with artistic and political traditions that run counter to the dominant discourse....".
Reverse Shot, January 12th, 2017—
Oppositional Art, by Ela Bittencourt.
"...Mónica Savirón’s new program of international avant-garde film and video, which she curated for the Museum of the Moving Image, On Resistance, [...] celebrates older works—most of them forgotten—while placing a strong emphasis on the new...".
UnionDocs, New York. March 20th, 2016, 7:30pm—
THEATER OF THE WORLD: Videos and Installation Works by Salomé Lamas
"The work of Salomé Lamas aims to redefine non-fiction filmmaking. Her cubistic editing, subjective camera, and unassuming attitude are not interested in changing facts, not even in documenting them. Instead, her works push the spectator to create their own new thoughts and discourses. She stages a society where rules are replaced, and roles shift unexpectedly. By testing time, the surreal becomes real. The world is an overlooked scenario inhabited by the characters of Raúl Ruiz’s books and films, modern pirates and dreamers dealing with the philosophical curiosity and contradictions that layer Johan van der Keuken’s filmmaking. Lamas reclaims individual critical traits, many of which have been historically, politically, and artistically threatened—and she does so fearlessly".
Museum of the Moving Image, New York. January 23rd, 2016, 6:30pm—
A MATTER OF VISIBILITY: International Avant-Garde & Artists' Cinema
"This program presents new experimental films and videos not yet shown in New York, in conversation with rarely seen works by avant-garde masters such as Lis Rhodes and Chantal Akerman. These artistic views have the ability to enhance our perception through symbolism, transformation, and a keen sense of creative freedom. By shifting cinematic, private, gendered, financial, and geographical priorities, what is usually absent becomes present. These works are meditations on the act of looking, visual poems in which imposed narratives get rejected or argued against. Words, forms, and depictions of any kind are broken apart to explore and expose the language of cinema. For these artists, making films is like “writing on burning paper” (Pier Paolo Pasolini, Heretical Empiricism, 1967). Their creations formulate alternative questions about ends and beginnings, and passionately vindicate visibility with a do-it-yourself approach to film and life—because making is moving, and moving is breathing, and breathing is light".
MUBI, January 20th, 2016—
"A Matter of Visibility" at First Look 2016, by Michael Sicinski.
"...This program allows us to see the films as works within a lineage, and in this regard we have a choice. Is Savirón showing us a possible 'alternate canon,' or implicitly proposing necessary revisions to the one we continue to inherit?...".
Brooklyn Magazine, January 22nd, 2016—
Chantal Akerman and Lis Rhodes at First Look, by Benjamin Mercer.
"The late Chantal Akerman makes an appearance in the all-female-filmmaker A Matter of Visibility program (Saturday, 6:30pm), the 11-minute-long Trois strophes sur le nom de Sacher (1989) observing a cellist playing in her dramatically lit stage-set home, her grappling with the instrument a contrast to the autopilot domesticity visible through the windows behind her. An even more striking film made decades ago appears among the program’s newer material: Londoner Lis Rhodes’s collage work Light Reading (1978)—in which a stream of letters flies by the camera, like runaway microfilm, between a searchingly poetic voiceover and murky still-photo close-ups—explores the making (and unmaking) of meaning".
The Village Voice, January 5th, 2016—
The Best Films at the First Look Festival Reveal Futures that Didn't Work Out, by Sam Weisberg.
"The A Matter of Visibility program is a must-see: playfully unsettling experiments with negative exposure, superimposed images, and booming sound effects, from female artists new and old (including the late, extraordinary Cara Morton and Chantal Akerman, and the rarely featured Lis Rhodes)".
Artforum, January 7th, 2016—
First-Come, First-Served, by Nick Pinkerton.
"It is worth noting that the festival has also been consistently supportive of female filmmakers, with Mónica Savirón’s A Matter of Visibility: International Avant-Garde and Artists’ Cinema program...).
LENS, Madrid / Crater Lab, Barcelona. September 25-26, 2015, 7:15pm & 7:30pm—
A PICTURE IS ALWAYS A BOOK: Analog Measures from the USA
"These 16mm and 8mm films made in the US reveal the lyricism hidden behind an image. Their use of light, composition, and words goes beyond the physicality of the document; their metaphorical and political connotations emanate from a poetic approach to the frame. These works share a joy in discovery, and show spaces where what is not written counts more than what was said... The title A Picture Is Always a Book is inspired by artist Robert Seydel’s book of poems (Siglio, 2014). His photo-collages and diaries are being exhibited at the Queens Museum in New York. None of the films in this program has been shown in Spain before".
Museum of the Moving Image, New York. April 3-5, 2015, 5pm & 2pm—
SONG OF MYSELF: WOJCIECH BĄKOWSKI'S FILMS AND VIDEOS
"In the work of Polish poet, musician, and installation artist Wojciech Bąkowski, the self—as for Walt Whitman—is also the catalyst for transcendental expression. Sound and poetry are an essential part of his films. They build an ambiguous, but nevertheless harsh commentary on his daily life. His word-view manifests itself as a nausea monologue that takes inspiration in the grotesque, the absurd, and the surreal. Directly drawing, and using his own saliva on 35mm film stock, or making computerized, abstract animations, Bąkowski dives into his inner reality to express an existential tirade. In conjunction with Anthology Film Archives, Museum of the Moving Image presents the most comprehensive film retrospective of Bąkowski’s films and videos in North America, and the first one in New York City...".
Microscope Gallery, New York. February 21st, 2015, 7:30pm—
EPISODES FROM THE SECRET LIFE: A Selection of Films by Barry Gerson
"Microscope Gallery is extremely pleased to present a comprehensive selection of landmark films by avant-garde artist Barry Gerson followed by a conversation with the artist, coinciding with his solo show The Parting Of The Clouds at Thomas Erben Gallery. From curator Mónica Savirón:
'This silent program is an open window to the unique approach to filmmaking that Barry Gerson has explored and continues to master. It includes two digital films that have never been shown before, and five 16mm prints that were last projected more than ten years ago...'".
Silver Bow Art, Foreground Gallery & Original Mine Yard, Montana. September 5th, 2014, 8:30pm—
TWO LIVES IN MOTION: A Celebration of the Kinetic Works of Crista Grauer & Beryl Sokoloff
"Beryl Sokoloff was a cellist, a painter, a photographer, and photojournalist but primarily he was a filmmaker. He grew up in New York and spent his high-school years in Philadelphia. For two years he worked for the Works Projects Administration on a mural on San Francisco...'".
The Montana Standard, September 4th, 2014—
Abstract Expressionism at Artwalk, by Kelley Christensen.
"The installation, curated by Mónica Savirón, includes photographs Sokoloff took while working as a press photographer, avant-garde films he made, and prints, a film, and sculptures by Grauer".