Carlos Valladares’s Video Essay “Minnelli Red” at Pesaro Film Festival

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Congratulations to Carlos Valladares, who not only graduated with honors from the Stanford Film & Media Studies program this past weekend, but whose video essay “Minnelli Red” was accepted at the Pesaro Film Festival taking place right now in Pesaro, Italy!

Valladares’s video essay, a revised version of his final project for the seminar I taught on “The Video Essay: Writing with Video about Film and Media” last fall, is one of five entries selected by curators Chiara Grizzaffi and Andrea Minuz in the festival’s “(Re)Edit Competition” and is now in the running for a juried award. Good luck, Carlos!

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The complete catalog (PDF) for the 54th Pesaro Film Festival is available here:

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Fembots: From Representation to Reality

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On Monday, November 13, 2017 (5:30pm in Oshman Hall, McMurtry Building), media maker/scholar Allison de Fren (Occidental College) will be on hand for a screening of her 2010 documentary The Mechanical Bride and her 2015 video essay Fembot in a Red Dress. The screening, which is free and open to the public, will be followed by a Q&A.

Sponsored by the Stanford Department of Art & Art History, the Documentary Film Program, and Stanford’s Frankenstein@200 Initiative.

Film Series on “Imagining Media Change” — Screening #4: Hugo

After successfully celebrating the “conceptual centerpiece” of this term’s media initiative activities — our symposium on “Imagining Media Change” — we are going to wrap up this semester’s film series with a screening of Martin Scorsese’s Hugo (2011), curated by Ilka Brasch.

On the one hand, Hugo is a celebration not only of George Méliès (the French filmmaker who is considered to be one of cinema’s founding fathers and a pivotal creator of early trick film), but a collage of 19th and early 20th century media-technological history, featuring everything from trains and automata to late 19th century trick film and 1920s comedy. On the other hand, however, Hugo is also a celebration of the possibilities enabled by the digital age’s return to 3D. As Therese Grisham has pointed outHugo draws on “cultural stereotypes of the past” while simultaneously underlining “our definite entry into the episteme of the post-cinematic”.

Besides offering a form of bricolage or pastiche, Hugo can be read in terms of media archaeology, as both a revisiting and appropriation of visual culture’s history. The film assembles 19th and early 20th century anecdotes in order to provide a new 21stcentury or even post-cinematic anecdote.

As always, the screening — on Wednesday, June 19, 2013 (at 6:00 pm in room 615, Conti-Hochhaus) is free and open to all.

Also, if you haven’t already done so, you might want to consider watching Méliès’ Le Voyage Dans La Lune, one of the turn of the century trick films to which much in Hugo relates back. Here’s an excerpt:

Film Series on “Imagining Media Change” — Screening #3: Digital Short Films

c (299,792 kilometers per second) from Seaquark Films on Vimeo.

On June 12, 2013 (6:00 pm in room 615, Conti-Hochhaus), the Initiative for Interdisciplinary Media  Research is proud to present the third installment of our ongoing series of film screenings, “Imagining Media Change.”  (See here for a flyer with more details about our film series and related events, and here for a description of the symposium that forms the conceptual centerpiece.)

In a departure from our usual format of screening feature-length movies, this time we will watch a handful of recent science-fiction-themed ‘digital’ short films –  among them Derek Van Gorder’s and Otto Stockmeier’s Kickstarter-funded short C (299,792 kilometers per second) (2013), Neill Blomkamp’s Alive in Joburg (2006) – the proof-of-concept for what became 2009’s District 9 –  and the first episode of RCVR (2011), a Motorola-sponsored Web-TV series released via Machinima.com and Youtube. All of these films – as products of a throughly digitalized media environment – not only point us to the various transformations connected to contemporary media change (from crowd-funding to the use of digital video and the viral distribution of content via online video sites); as science-fiction films, they are also centrally about futuristic and/or alien technology and present us with their own takes on media change.

As always, the screening is free and open for all! Finally, the films themselves are embedded here in case you can’t make it.

Forbidden Planet (1956): Film Series on “Imagining Media Change” — Screening #2

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On May 15, 2013 (6:00 pm in room 615, Conti-Hochhaus), the Initiative for Interdisciplinary Media Research is proud to present Forbidden Planet (1956), the second installment in this semester’s series of film screenings, “Imagining Media Change.” (See here for a flyer with more details about our film series and related events, and here for a description of the symposium that forms the conceptual centerpiece.)

As a space-age re-imagining of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, complete with the first fully electronic soundtrack in a feature-legth film, Forbidden Planet challenges us to re-think the discursive and material trajectories according to which histories of film and media change are negotiated in popular culture.

Incidentally, Catherine Grant from the excellent blog Film Studies for Free has assembled a great set of links to open-access and freely available articles about Forbidden Planet, which you can find here.

As usual, our screening is free and open to all, so please spread the word to anyone who might be interested in joining us.

Flash Gordon (1936): “Imagining Media Change” — Screening #1

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On April 17, 2013, we will be screening the serial Flash Gordon (1936), the first installment in this semester’s film series “Imagining Media Change.” (See here for a flyer with more details about our film series and related events, and here for a description of the symposium that forms the conceptual centerpiece.) In this context, science fiction (and sci-fi film, in particular) presents itself as a central vehicle for “imagining media change” in the 20th and 21st centuries — as a medium for conceiving the future, and in this way negotiating the changes characterising the present. Looked at in retrospect, early sci-fi films like Flash Gordon therefore also form a natural site for a media-archaeological investigation of past changes and their parallel histories and relations to our own ongoing efforts to negotiate the transition to a digital mediascape.

The screening (6:00pm on Wednesday, April 17, in room 615, Conti-Hochhaus) is free and open to all, so spread the word to anyone who might be interested in joining us.