By Allen Ross
Preservation Prints Presented by Carolyn Faber



February 20th, 2011

PAPA, THANKSGIVING 1979, & BURIELS (U.S., 1979-81, 65m, 16mm)

Allen Ross was at the center of Chicago’s independent film community during the 1980s and early 90s. A graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, he co-founded Chicago Filmmakers in 1973. His most accomplished film, Grandfather Trilogy is one of the most significant, under-recognized films to come out of the Chicago experimental filmmaking community. It is a deeply personal and resonant example of cinematic portraiture that is unlike any of his other work. In his own words, “One of the ways I see the trilogy is as a radical approach to portraiture. Most of Papa was shot without looking through the viewfinder. There were, however, many accidents that happened while the camera was turned on. The film plays for me as a long sustained accident. I am grateful for this photographic record of a divinely shadowed presence. It is a reflection of a kind of space my grandfather generated.”

“The Grandfather Trilogy is a portrait of Allen Ross’s grandfather in Bowling Green, South Carolina. It is described as a ‘profoundly moving work, an attempt to come to terms with death as an event in the living world…The films abound with images which suggest stasis, absence, silence, horizontality, oneness with the earth: a catalog of the conditions of death from the point of view of the living.'” – Nosowitz, Millenium Film Journal

The film was preserved by Chicago Filmmakers, with funding from the National Film Preservation Foundation and support from the Film Studies Center at the University of Chicago. Preservation work done by Bill Brand (BB Optics). Project coordination by archivist Carolyn Faber and Chicago Filmmakers’ Executive Director Brenda Webb.

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