A showcase of heady new shorts from the artist-run NYC film distributor. Info
The Mills Folly Microcinema series returns for its second showcase of short films since its inaugural screening this summer at ALL. "Film-Makers' Cooperative: New Work 2018" focuses exclusively on the New York-based, artist-run distributor of the exemplary avant-garde. Curated by FMC members Mary Billyou, Carolina Mandia, and Courtney Muller, this 77-minute program boasts 11 shorts of varying lengths that have all premiered in recent years.
Maybe the most intellectually stimulating here, Johnny Welch's Sonic Intangible (2016), is a vital commentary on artistic perception and creation, which also doubles as a musical travelogue through the musical underground of London, Berlin, and Paris. Collectively, its three sections form a cohesive essay with accompanying voiceover, beginning with Max Leonard Hitchings, who characterizes the transportive power of the medium through his noisy industrial rock stage moniker Amnertia. The middle section heads to Berlin for Zoé Zanias (of Keluar)'s postulating on rhythm. The rapid-fire drum machine beats of her darkwave synthpop act's profiled song, "Rivers," conjure Portishead's "Machine Gun." Parisian musique concrète noisemaker Andy Bolus of Evil Moisture concludes this 16-minute short with further abstract ruminations on identity and intention.
Other works are driven more by clever, intoxicating visual juxtapositions and loops like Maria Niro and Angela Christlieb's 8-minute In An Alien Land (2017), which feels at once perennial and critically contemporary. Its given title, skyward imagery, and ambient sound mix initially evoke the cover art and haunting songs of Grouper's A I A: Alien Observer record, but Niro and Christlieb's lens is increasingly upon the parallels and divergences of the natural world and cityscapes. Through the manipulation of dual-screen format, the co-directors glimpse into intersecting timelines and daunting social disintegration that's compounded by an avian, even Hitchcockian foreboding.
The complete list of films, which includes narrative and documentary selections from directors native to Spain, Uruguay, and Hong Kong, also highlights the latest found-footage experiment, Zoom (2018), from Beloit's own Mark Street. —Grant Phipps