The Complete Films

Program Two: SN Presented by WHITE LIGHT CINEMA


April 16th, 2011

White Light Cinema and The Nightingale are extremely pleased to present these very rare public screenings of the complete films of Fred Camper. Camper has been a thoughtful and articulate writer on film for over forty years (much of his writing is available on his website) and, more recently, has been producing an astonishing body of digital artworks. His earlier filmmaking practice, however, is little known. Long out of distribution (some never in distribution), his short 16mm and Super-8mm films have not been publicly screened for decades. And this presentation of his stunning feature-length Super-8mm film SN is only its third-ever public showing. These films may not be screened again for many years, due to their irreplaceability.

SN (1984, c.110 mins., S8, silent)
“SN was born out of an intense personal despair, and a desire to depict a failure of the self, coincident with my discovery of super-8 as a medium completely different from 16mm, well suited to a kind of analog for the written diary. Its images’ natural lack of illusionistic presence and authority contributes to the failure theme. The original plan for the film would have required perhaps twenty years of full time work and a great deal of money, leading to a very long film only a small part of which would have been screened each time, selections made with a controlled use of random numbers. What I show now is in ten sections, and in the eighth, on three short reels, a tiny piece of the original plan survives: sixteen shorts serve as the source for this section, and which three are screened and the order in which they are screened at each showing is determined randomly. I have no final prints of any of SN; most sections are edited workprint or edited original, and are thus not exactly as they were intended to look. Still, I believe in it as a film. In part a portrait of Manhattan’s constricted spaces, and more generally of the way humans occupy space, it also presents the failed journey of a self to organize, or become present in, the world. The film has only been screened publicly twice before, and will likely only be screened rarely in its original format in the future.” (Fred Camper)

Fred Camper has been writing and publishing on cinema since the late 1960s, and on art since the late 1980s. He has taught at a number of colleges and universities, and presented film programs throughout the world. For the last six years, he has mainly concentrated on making his own art, mostly photo based digital prints; cinema is one key inspiration.

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