Tuesday, October 26, 2010

PXL THIS 20 (2010)

PXL THIS 20, the 20th annual toy camera film festival featuring Pixelvision films made with the Fisher-Price PXL-2000 camcorder, premieres December 13. PXL THIS, the second oldest film festival in Los Angeles, celebrates visionary moving image artists from 4-years-olds to professionals.
PXL THIS 20, the 20th annual toy camera film festival
screens Monday, Dec 13, 2010, two different shows 7 & 9pm at the Unurban Coffeehouse, 3301 Pico Blvd, Santa Monica, CA, 90404, 310-315-0056, free admission. More info: 310-306-7330 http://www.laughtears.com/
6pm preshow features a sneak preview of Wickstead's Wonder - an interview with James Wickstead, the inventor of the Fisher Price PXL 2000 camcorder. Wickstead jwda@wicksteaddesign.com is available for interviews. Scroll down to read a recent article on him.
PXL THIS celebrates its 20th year of creativity by everyone from kids to professionals. One of the most unique film festivals ever, PXL THIS has been attended by Oliver Stone, Daryl Hannah, Kim Fowley among many more. Pixelvision has even made it onto the big screen via Richard Linklater (Slacker), Michael Almereyda (Nadja, produced by David Lynch) and Craig Baldwin (Sonic Outlaws). The irresistible irony of the PXL 2000 is that the camera's ease-of-use and affordability, which entirely democratizes movie-making, has inspired the creation of some of the most visionary, avant and luminous film of our time. "If movies offer an escape from everyday life, Pixelvision is the Houdini of the film world." - SF Weekly
PXL THIS, featuring films made with the Fisher-Price PXL 2000 toy camcorder, is one of the longest running film festivals in the entertainment capital of the world. Celebrating "cinema povera" moving image art, it evokes Marcel Duchamp's axiom "Poor tools require better skills." Pixelators from across the globe hoick up inventive approaches to the unassuming throw-away of consumer culture. These low-tech hi-jinx films come through loud and clear by reframing a new cinema language.  Past PXL THIS participants have included Lee Ranaldo (Sonic Youth), Chris Metzler (Fishbone & Salton Sea documentaries), James & Sadie Benning, Joe Gibbons, Cecilia Dougherty, Peggy Ahwesh, Jesse Drew, Margie Strosser and Michael Almereyda.
"Gerry Fialka’s annual PXL THIS is a reliably surprising and seductive round-up of recent work achieved with the PXL 2000 camera. This humble outdated “toy” continues to bring out the visionary child in filmmakers and viewers alike, and no one has kept the PXL flame burning longer or brighter than Gerry." - Michael Almereyda, director 
"Gerry Fialka's PXL THIS festival snaps, crackles and pops off the screen with the funky, user-friendly energy of real first-person cinema. Goofy, gorgeous, and altogether groovy, his provocative program of pieces produced with the Fisher-Price PXL 2000 toy video camera is not only downright entertaining, but more, its blipping and buzzing black 'n' white picture-bits coalesce into a veritable inspiration to all those who cherish the playful, spontaneous gestures and low-cost of electronic folk art." - Craig Baldwin, director & curator.
"All the PXL THIS videos reflect festival organizer Gerry Fialka's commitment to the freedom produced by making art without financial constraints. PXL THIS is a welcome highlight in the Los Angeles media scene celebrating the rich lexicon available in a tool which might initially seem rather limiting." - Holly Willis, LA Weekly.

"PXL is the ultimate people's video." - J. Hoberman, Premiere Magazine 
Hollywood Reporter called Pixelvision a "precursor of today's DV filmmaking."
"When the aliens are here and deciding whether to vaporize all mankind for our inhumanity, cruelty and greed, showing the aliens PXL THIS will save the world. PXL THIS shows our best nature as humanist creators and subversives against those who deserve it. Save the world. Support PXL THIS." - George Manupelli, founder of the Ann Arbor Film Festival, filmmaker, poet, collagist and political/environmental activist
PXL THIS Director Fialka - hires 300 dpi still with PXL Cam - http://www.laughtears.com/images/Gerry-360dpi.jpg
PXL THIS 20 highlights include:
Always a favorite at PXL THIS, L M Sabo's OIL KILLS takes you on a journey of America's love affair with Big Oil and the devastating consequences. Press ready stills: http://members.cox.net/l.m.sabo/Oil-Kills-1.jpg & http://members.cox.net/l.m.sabo/Oil-Kills-2.jpg & http://members.cox.net/l.m.sabo/Oil-Kills-3.jpg &
Nicole & Michael Possert's ARROYO SECO RIVER SONG, starring George Willis, is a moving tribute to the most important tributary to the Los Angels River. This historical corridor has been home to Native Americans, missionaries, rancheros, explorers, artists and dreamers who have sculpted this valley into LA's seminal region. The founding of the City of Los Angels is at the confluence of these two rivers.  Press images: http://www.flickr.com/photos/2007pxl/sets/72157625268199688/

Philip Marion's SPOON & PACKET conjures a miniature parable for a larger world. Press ready stills: www.eveningalbum.com/SpoonAndPacketPXLstills.jpg
PXL THIS superstar Eli Elliott's ROXY RUBICON EPISODE 5 alternatively energizes Menippean satire and time warps all systems from collapsing, just in time to save the future. His SUZY & BRAD'S PINCHBACK bellows Bessie Smith blues big time.
With jubilant innocence four-year old Anwyn Lees remakes THE WIZARD OF OZ on the front porch with Mom & Dad.
Jesse Drew's DOLBY - Technocultural professor's industrial shots of factory job recalls Russian Constructivism.
Seminal cinema experimenter Bryan Konefsky's FERTILE GROUND CORPORATE SLUG suggests the nitty gritty influences of media visionary, Gene Youngblood  (author of the ground-breaking book Expanded Cinema) as described by investigative journalist Greg Palast. http://vimeo.com/17020232
Award winning filmmaker Terri Sarris contributes three: DEAD MAN'S CLOTHES (Sarris & Frank Pahl - Oh, the stories second-hand things might tell...) and SPARKLE (Fourth of July, 2010) and GLITCH. http://vimeo.com/user3842874 Every decade sees one PXL that really captures the inherent uniqueness of Pixelvision. For example, James Benning's TABLETOP in the very first PXL THIS, and Lisa's Marr's RUGRAT in 2004. Sarris astutely utilizes PXL's innate characteristics in GLITCH.
Moving image artist extraordinaire David Sherman's PROJECTION/EJECTION shutters the ephemeral light in blinding the baseness of bodies in motion.
Squeezebox tickler Nick Newlin's TWICE AS NICE feels the love. Newlin interprets Thelonius on the accordion in MONK.
Michael Vile's THE MADGICIAN astounds with a floating cigarette.
PXL Pioneer tENTATIVELY a cONVENIENCE's PHILOSOPHER'S UNION MEMBER'S MOUTHPIECE yelps with fresh ideas from modern thinkers: Alan Rabbit Suit, Richard Tryzno Ellsberry and John Berndt.
Six-year-old Chester Burnett's CALIFORNIA STUDIO playfully quakes the Hollywood template.
Paul Yates' DRAWBRIDGE demonstrates how surreal PXL in-camera effects can be. http://www.vimeo.com/4319553
Robin Carter's intriguing PYTHAGORAS AS POET explores the birth of science, mathematics, and philosophy. When the Phoenician's brought their writing system to the Greeks, it started a revolution of mind. In the midst of this, Pythagoras emerged in 500BC as the first philosopher. Myth and magic were as much apart of his world as number and theory. Since time immemorial the archivist of cultural knowledge was the poet, and Pythagoras followed this tradition and divined the properties numbers and space from the gods. The alphabet changed the world forever, as it changed the minds of the ancient Greeks. As the alphabet anchored in culture after culture, the mind of humankind has been shaped in kind, but as digital technology usurped the power of reading, what does that mean for us?
TROG ALLEY is another installment of Will Erokan's epic pxloitation compendium, Las Trampas, Joe recalls a highly transformative visionary experience, involving black magic, brotherhood symbolism & crystal meth.
Venice Boardwalk performer Joe Nucci's SEE NOTE is the fourth episode in the captivating trilogy of hilarious limo driver recollections.
PSALM 4 "3" + ME by Giuseppe Nuccini evokes the Venetian Rock Opera.
Mary Jane Shoultz's SPILTERACY probes the death of the visual, linear straight-jackets of books as a plus. Schoultz, education professor, founder of the "open" school movement and a close advisor to Marshall McLuhan, Norman Mailer & Ivan Illich, updates our consciousness with the electric environment as the major learning tool. "Our young people are not illiterate, they are post-literate. Today's students want immediate roles, not far-off goals." - McLuhan. The "S" is SPILTERACY should be a dollar sign $. "The trouble with a cheap specialized education is that you never stop paying for it." - McLuhan
Stormin' Norman & Suzy Williams' VENICE LULLABY swings rag'n'roll with joyous passion.
Jason Danti's TRANE merges bop with music as ideas.
Robert Dobbs' SEX, DEATH & PIXELVISION reignites the Menippean marshalling of McLuhan's science and the certainty of obscure artifacts.
In WASTING TIME LOOKIN' IN THE MIRROR, Pixelator Dahvi Bolog realizes his life.
Mariko Drew's IT'S A LEMONHEAD - Grade school gals profess quizzical inquiries about life.
Rex Butters & Geoff Seelinger's 7 DUDLEY conjures a montage of Sponto Gallery home movies filmed in words.
Maureen Cotter's COWBOY PUSSY recounts her experiences as a chaplain in a mental hospital.
Gerry Fialka's PARALLEL WORLDER doubles the single unified theory as Martha Graham and WC Fields dig duality dancing in mysterious metaphors of Beffheartian time & Vorticist space.
PXL innovator Doug Ing provides two engaging shorts: DEATH (Ruminations on death by the Loor Children and 65 year old Phil Kaplan) and BEST LAVA VIEW RIGHT HERE (Ing, his father and friends explore the aftermath of a recent volcano eruption on the island of Hawaii from the balcony of a house amidst the lava field).
Pixelvision avatars Lisa Marr and Paolo Davanzo's MY TERRIFIC PAST is a walk down memory lane PXL-style.
Arthur Coleman's FOG ON GLASS breathes gray azure over the mirror. His MARIGOLD SERENADE mutes ambient birdsongs.
Suki Ewers & Clifford Novey's ROUNDS comprehensively surveys illusive visual domains.
Elric Kane's SLOW DRAW appropriates bad action films evoking something more intimate than mere on-screen carnage via Pixelvision.
It's a family affair with visionary PXL-Dad Geoff Seelinger contributing 5 titles:
WASHED UP - Fragments of text and images that have washed up from the sea, tell a story.
MOMENTS & MESS UPS - Bits and bobs of momentary delights, significant moments and abstractions that are unexpected results of the PXL2000 camera.
KICK'N AROUND - Following the feet of those kicking a ball around on the beach renders a high contrast motion graphic extravaganza.
LIGHT QUEST - Patterns of reflected light upon wet surfaces  of the beach and the breath of shoreline waves.
CHASE - The PXL2000 abstractly renders a fast moving chase game at the beach
Geoff's children: 7 year-old Donovan's SHRINGLY: SCI-ENCE delves into the reaches of his imagination about the mysteries of extreme science. Donovan uses toys, balls, reflections and abstract images to illuminate possibilities and ideas of his fancy.
4 year-old Gwyneth's AND THEY PLAYED & THEY PLAYED & THEY PLAYED shares a stream of consciousness, that includes stories from the heart, songs about poop, ugly words and other joyous indiscretions.
PXL Pioneer Paul Bacca's TETRAHEDRALLY trips the light fantastic in grass roots guerrilla radio waves fashion,
Former Second City Music Director and comedian Jonathan Menchin's HEY YOU IN THE FUTURE alerts wanna-bes not yet born.
Called the female Robert Johnson, Sunny War's SHEEP grazes musicality supreme.
Denny Moynahan's KING KUKULELE KOGNITION joins Denny's live self and PXL-self as they ruminate on his 46th birthdays' inner thoughts.
PXL THIS 20 Unurban 12-13-10
THE WIZARD OF OZ  - Anwyn Lees, 8 minutes
SHRINGLY: SCI-ENCE - Donovan Seelinger, 5m
WASHED UP - Geoff Seelinger, 3m
MOMENTS & MESS UPS - Geoff Seelinger, 2m
KICK'N AROUND - Geoff Seelinger, 3m
LIGHT QUEST - Geoff Seelinger, 3m
CHASE - Geoff Seelinger, 2m
SPOON & PACKET - Philip Marion, 11m
CALIFORNIA STUDIO - Chester Burnett, 3m
PROJECTION/EJECTION - David Sherman - 3m
SUZY & BRAD'S PINCHBACK - Eli Elliott, 4m
IT'S A LEMONHEAD - Mariko Drew, 3m
TWICE AS NICE - Nick Newlin, 4m
PYTHAGORAS AS POET - Robin Carter, 5m
DEAD MAN'S CLOTHES - Terri Sarris & Frank Pahl, 3m
SPARKLE - Terri Sarris, 3m
GLITCH - Terri Sarris, 3m
FOG ON GLASS - Arthur Coleman, 2m
SEE NOTE - Joe Nucci, 6m 
PSALM 4 "3" + ME - Giuseppe Nuccini, 1m
OIL KILLS - L. M. Sabo, 2m
SPILTERACY - Mary Jane Shoultz, 4m
7 DUDLEY - Rex Butters & Geoff Seelinger, 4m
ARROYO SECO RIVER SONG - Nicole & Michael Possert, 4m
DRAWBRIDGE - Paul Yates, 3m
ROUNDS - Suki Ewers & Clifford Novey, 5m
SLOW DRAW Elric Kane, 7m
ROXY RUBICON EPISODE 5 - Eli Elliott, 6m
PARALLEL WORLDER - Gerry Fialka, 10m
HEY YOU IN THE FUTURE - Jonathan Menchin, 4m
MY TERRIFIC PAST -  Lisa Marr & Paolo Davanzo, 4m
TROG ALLEY - Will Erokan, 6m
COWBOY PUSSY - Maureen Cotter, 4m
VENICE LULLABY - Stormin' Norman Zamcheck & Suzy Williams, 3m
TRANE - Jason Danti, 4m
SEX, DEATH & PIXELVISION - Robert Dobbs, 4m
DOLBY - Jesse Drew, 3m
THE MADGICIAN - Michael Vile, 3m
MARIGOLD SERENADE - Arthur Coleman, 3m
SHEEP - Sunny War, 4m
MONK - Nick Newlin, 4m
DEATH - Doug Ing, 5m
TETRAHEDRALLY - Paul Bacca, 5m
(the scheduling order of films in this program subject to change)
Program Notes for San Francisco Cinematheque's AN INVENTION WITHOUT A FUTURE -
PIXELVISION: ELECTRONIC FOLK ART. (comprehensive history of PXL THIS and Pixelvision)
Andrea Nina McCarthy's 2005 MIT thesis "Toying With Obsolescence: Pixelvision Filmmakers & The Fisher Price PXL 2000 Camera" is essential reading.
Pixelvision enables filmmakers to tap into that child-like innocence all artists seek in the creative process. What could be easier than starting with a kids toy. John Lane's 2001 book Timeless Simplicity articulates wabi-sabi, "the perfect antidote to the pervasively slick style of homogenized efficency." Pixelvisionaries evoke the spirit of Wabi-sabi: "This elusive philosphy is about sufficiency and restraint. It is about simplicity, the minor and hidden, the modest and humble, the imperfect and the evanescent. It is about treading lightly on the planet. An added dimension is its implicit message urging us to forget the seductions of success - wealth, status, power and luxury."
"As for the PXL 2000 camera, because it’s a child’s toy there’s a certain naiveté which is inherent in the productions. Yet due to its technology, the PXL 2000 camera produces these edgy, gritty, “rough as a night in jail” images. I find the juxtaposition of these two attributes very interesting and useful in many of the politically oriented pieces I’ve produced.   From a technical perspective, I would say my primary contribution to the field is that I created a filmmaking style using the PXL 2000 which I call Machinima Vérité. Machinima Vérité combines Machinima (creating movies from 3D PC game engines) with Cinéma Vérité techniques to create a sense of realism. So basically I produce and render the movie from a game engine on a PC, display the video on a high resolution LCD, and recapture the video on the LCD using a PXL 2000 camera. My videos “CATACLYSM” and “bursting in air” are a couple of examples of this technique.   I really appreciate all of the effort Gerry Fialka puts in with the PXL THIS festival. If it weren’t for Gerry, interest in the PXL 2000 would have died out many years ago." - L. M. Sabo
PXL THIS 21 - Entry deadline Oct 22, 2011 - simply send a dvd to Gerry Fialka 2427 1/2 Glyndon Ave, Venice, CA 90291, 310-306-7330, pfsuzy@aol.com NO entry fee.

PXL THIS Director Gerry Fialka is available for Pixelvision & Media Ecology workshops. http://www.laughtears.com/workshops.html  "Fialka's workshops are in depth communication of something extremely elusive - the history of the unimaginable - and his lively interpretation renders it useful." - William Farley, Award-winning filmmaker

michaelkoshkin@gmail.com is making a documentary about Pixelvision.
Best Of PXL THIS (13-19) screened at Dallas Video Festival Sept 25, 2010 at 6pm http://www.videofest.org/
PXL THIS 19 screened http://www.laughtears.com/PXL-THIS-19.htmlthe Sat, Oct 23 at 8:30pm at Other Cinema, 992 Valencia St (& 21st), San Fran CA 94110, 415-648-0654, admission $6 http://www.othercinema.com/
Gerry Fialka & Jon Rappoport on Progressive Radio Network 11-15-10 http://garynull.squarespace.com/the-jon-rappoport-show/
PXL 2000 Inventor- James Wickstead (of JWDA) jwda@wicksteaddesign.com,
Article on Wickstead-
Cedar Knolls N.J. inventor applying experience to new technology by Sally Silverman 11-2-10 The Daily Record HANOVER — James Wickstead is founder of James Wickstead Design Associates in Cedar Knolls, a company that specializes in product development for the medical, telecom, commercial and consumer markets. Founded in 1968, JWDA has generated more than 40 patents and product licenses on behalf of clients including AT&T, C.R. Bard, Becton Dickenson, Fisher Price, Parker Brothers, Siemans and many more. Most sought after products: "Anything new in technology like applications for software, global positioning systems and wireless applied to all products," Wickstead said. His best inventions: The Black & Decker vegetable steamer; a patient-controlled analgesia device; a device to measure the chemistry of animals by analyzing their blood called the Vettest; and the PXL-2000 camcorder for Fisher-Price. Worst invention: A device that uses high-energy plasma to cure arthritis. "We are asked to implement somebody else's idea. Whether it sells, is something else," Wickstead said. Inventor's traits: "Everybody is an inventor, but you need a massive amount of curiosity and look at things as to how they can be made better," Wickstead said. Beginnings: Wickstead was born in Pompton Plains in 1941 and grew up there. After high school, he attended Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, where he received a degree in industrial design. "While in high school, I didn't know this type of work existed," Wickstead said. "I was interested in building cars, but an uncle of mine who was a landscape architect suggested industrial design. Before that, I was considering mechanical engineering," he said. Career path: After working for several small companies in New York and Philadelphia, Wickstead was drafted to serve in the U.S. military in Vietnam. He was stationed at the Aberdeen (Md.) Proving Ground as a scientist for two years, where he worked on armor and battle tanks. "It was the think tank for the Army — they would give us a problem and want a solution in 30 days," he said. Following military service, Wickstead founded his company, fist in Maryland then in Glen Rock. "There were lots of design firms, but they couldn't make products or get them into the marketplace," Wickstead said. Back to Jersey: "I camped all over the United States to determine the best place to locate my company and came here in 1979," he said. At home: Wickstead lives in Mendham with his wife, Jean. He enjoys fly fishing, hiking and, as a car enthusiast, he still does all the mechanical work on his two "old" Ferraris.