In the lively 43-minute anthology film Cinema-19, a group of experimental filmmakers responded to the coronavirus pandemic with diverse and imaginative results. The films are all 190 seconds long and, say the curators / organizers, filmmakers Usama Alshaibi and Adam Sekuler, “are not trying to summarize the pandemic, but rather focus on the personal, the political, the sensual, the distant, the abstract, and the absurd. "Among the highlights is Courtney Stephen's poetic essay film about Iris, hundreds of which she witnessed while walking within five miles of which she and her mother were confined during quarantine. (" This is a trick, "she says in one Voice Over. "If you decide that what you are looking for is exactly what surrounds you, life will improve.") The short film features a particularly brilliant cut from Iris to a new breed of Flora that is in the erupted across the country in recent months.
Another filmmaker to be seen in the filmmaker's 25 New Faces is Scott Cummings, and his post Tarantula is a terrifying reminder of breakout-induced dreams. Both Cummings and his son have rhyming nightmares full of maggots and spiders as they sweat out the disease. And Sarah Ema Friedland's Her Own Time, which combines cut-out animation with live action, uses a news report on the rise in domestic violence during the coronavirus lockdown to send a masked woman on a journey through political history and the current moment Protest.
The two organizers spoke about the project for Westword:
"This time, especially the first three months of the quarantine, were such introspective times," says Sekuler. “This is so clearly reflected in this work. Each of the films really explores the inner realm of the pandemic. I think that's kind of more universal than regional, and while the films reflect each filmmaker's internal dialogue, that universality lingers throughout the work. "
Creating and programming urgent films about a social moment carries risks. The story moves quickly, and what seems crucial one week may seem musty the next.
"Sometime in the middle of summer, when we were protesting against the brutality of the police and the conflict on the streets in the US, we wondered if we even needed a film program like this," admits Alshaibi. “But I think we need artistic forms of expression and documentation in a historical time like ours. There's no single narrative about what we're going through, but we're definitely going through a transformation together – and all of these films try to understand our weird and dark days. In the end, I think there is hope … there must be. "
The series is presented in collaboration with the Anthology Film Archives (New York), the Zeitgeist Theater and Lounge (New Orleans) and the Northwest Film Forum (Seattle). The participating filmmakers are: Sarah Ema Friedland, Matt McCormick, Kalpana Subramanian, Christin Turner, Mila Zuo, William Brown, Kelly Gallagher, Lori Felker, Courtney Stephens, Scott Cummings, Amir George, Eman Akram Nader, Alex Megaro, Mehrnaz Saeedvafa as well as the both commissioned artists; Usama Alshaibi and Adam Sekuler.