Sunday, December 24, 2017

Episode #98 - Mark Toscano (Soft Fiction)

"I never make assumptions about what I'm looking at—I really try and understand something on its terms."

While every single restoration brings unique challenges, Mark Toscano sometimes has to ask a very strange question: did the filmmaker intend that scratch or speck or slice or anything that might appear like a problem or mistake as actually critical to the film? It's questions like these that bring energy to Mark as he works as a film preservationist at the Academy Film Archive, helping preserve and restore hundreds of experimental cinema works. Peter sits down with Mark to discuss his road from the George Eastman house to Canyon Cinema to the Academy, and some of the unique questions and relationships he builds as the canon of experimental cinema continue to expand under his purview. Finally, the two dive into the complex and wondrous world of Chick Strand in Soft Fiction, whose detailing of the sexual experiences and desires of women under her lyrical eye has gained complexity in today's discussions of sex and power.

0:00-3:39  Opening
4:54-12:11  Establishing Shot — UCLA's Recuerdos de un cine en español
12:57-1:25:05  Deep Focus — Mark Toscano
1:26:08-1:29:13  Sponsorship Section
1:30:41-1:51:30  Double Exposure — Soft Fiction (Chick Strand)
1:51:35-1:53:20 Close / Outtake

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Notes and Links from the Conversation
—Follow Mark's blog and Instagram to see many frames and materials we discussed!
—Watch Chick Strand's Soft Fiction (and if you're a disc distribution, contact Mark so we can get his new restoration out into the world).
Recuerdos de un cine en español: Latin American Cinema in Los Angeles, 1930-1960
Mexico on Main Street
—Miriam Hansen's Vernacular Modernism
Song of the South was re-released in 1980.
The Tower Theater in Sacramento
—The trailer for Delicatessen
—Craig Baldwin's Sonic Outlaws
—Chick Strand's Fake Fruit Factory
—The L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation at the George Eastman Museum
—UCB's Elizabeth Honig
—History of The UC Theater
—Learn the institution's entire history in Scott MacDonald's Canyon Cinema: The Life and Times of an Independent Film Distributor
—Ernie Gehr's Serene Velocity
—A reaction to the Vertigo restoration that discusses the sound issues 
—An LATimes piece on experimental filmmaker Chirs Langdon
—Programmer Steve Anker
—Standish Lawder's Contact Printer
—Stan Brakhage films: Nodes, The Garden of Earthly Delights, Flights
Alfonso Alvarez
—A clip from one of Mark's own films
—A clip from Jim Trainor's The Presentation Theme
Experimental Animation at CalArts
—Paula Rabinowitz: Chick Strand's Soft Fiction recirculates many of the cliches about women's erotic and sexual fantasies within its visual and sound tracks.
 —Information on the short films by Penelope Spheeris, including Bath (1969)—Barbara Hammer's Dyketactics

Theme Music: “Forward” by Northbound

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