XL THIS 19, the annual toy camera film festival, premieres Monday, Dec 7, 2009 with two different shows at 7 & 9pm, at Unurban, 3301 Pico Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90404, 310-315-0056, free admission, preshow at 6pm, laughtears.com
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. "If movies offer an escape from everyday life, Pixelvision is the Houdini of the film world." - SF Weekly
"Gerry Fialka’s annual PXL THIS is a reliably surprising & 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 This humble outdated “toy” continues to bring out the visionary child in filmmakers and viewers alike, and no one has kept the PXL flame burning longer or brighter than Gerry."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
PXL THIS 19 highlights include:
PXL-2000 Inventor James Wickstead's COLOR PXL is the world premiere of the only footage ever shot with this one-of-a-kind PXL-2000 color camcorder. (see Wickstead's essay below)
L.M. Sabo's I PUSH ON captures an individual's personal protest against big oil through simply cutting their lawn every week with a push reel mower. Press ready stills:
Clint Enns' THE AESTHETICS OF FAILURE, from Canada, is simultaneously about his inability to interact with party people as well as the PXLcam's inability to properly interpret the going-ons. Press ready stills
Michael Possert Jr's SOUTHWEST MUSEUM 2009 RECAP - The Autry National Center is burning a lot of donor money to crush the Los Angeles community that wants to keep the Southwest Museum alive and well. Friends of the Southwest Museum Coalition spokesperson - Nicole Possert - gives a clear overview of the contentious merger issues. Press ready stills:
Chris Bentley's THE WANDERING ERA concerns a small group of human survivors traveling through the desert in search for others of their kind after a series of apocalypses. Press ready stills:
Suki Ewers & Clifford Novey's T ZERO is a metaphysical adventure in light and shadow inspired by the fog.
Jon Clark's SURGEON's REPTILE MESS simultaneously represents visually the repetitive synthesized rhythms of Minimal Techno music while still retaining human touch.
The Count of Manifesto & Hillary Kaye's ENCASED and MOURNING gerrymander the warfare state.
Jesse Drew's CULTURAL DEMOCRACY - Technocultural professor gets students to flip their wigs over Pixelvision. With rare Craig Baldwin appearance.
Donovan Seelinger's SOMETHING YOU HAVE TO KNOW - Whiz kid enlightens his audience.
Geoff Seelinger's THE CUTTING - A bloom is set up, controlled and taken on a journey that is pointless, scary, exciting and in moments beautiful. Press ready still- lalawest.org/thecutting/TheCuttingStill.png and vimeo.com/6579693
Seelinger's BREEZE OUT BACK - The effects of breeze on things observed from my back porch, seen in low resolution stuttering black and white pixels, produces an ominous dream-scape. The sounds of wind noise are constructed into music concrete. Press ready stills:
Mariko Drew's WILD BEAST - Young gal and her kitten frolic about the light continuum.
Six-year-old Chester Burnett's DONUT MEMORIAL reanimates a dead pastry.
Bill Burnett's SONGS ARE is a statement of a true song believer.
David Healey presents his photos in DISCOVERING VENICE.
Joe Nucci's ME, THE P.A. & DAVID LEE is the third chapter in a captivating trilogy of hilarious limo driver recollections. His BENHAM'S DISK spins.
Stormin' Norman & Suzy Williams' BLACK EYE AT THE REDEYE energizes rag'n'roll with joyous passion.
Doug Ing's WORK asks if we work to live or live to work.
Will Erokan's KITING probes Sigurd Frey's experience with the Internet, credit card fraud, and 9/11.
Lisa Marr and Paolo Davanzo's THE CHASER surveys the sweet history of female actresses from Hollywood's silent era.
Karin Spritzler & George Russell's transportional dreamscape AS IF ONE BREATH breathes.
Gerry Fialka's EFFECTS PRECEDE CAUSES probes WC Fields as a wool in sheep Symbolism mousing around Poe's reasoning backwards.
William Sabiston's CONVOLVULI feels like living x-rays, electrical storms, and flying saucer hallucinations. A trilogy of abstract music videos for his band Bulbs. aphidtrip.com
Mier N'Gewlieu's UCH! ACH! ECH! FEH! sounds off Yiddish wordage.
Denny Moynahan reinvents interactions with his filmic self, King Kukulele, in the near death experience SHARK HICKEY.
Jason Danti's DEX merges bop and the light fantastic.
Lala McClave's beat poetry evokes GODDESS VENICE.
Jerron Paxton's JUMP BOOGIE smoothes the blues.
Sunny War's POLICE STATE makes a political folk-punk statement.
Church of the Subgenius pioneer Janor Hypercleats' INTERVIEW WITH ROCK STAR MARILYN OSBOURNE returns with laugh-out-loud revitalizing of the street performer to stellar status.
Paul Bacca's DOESEND is another gem from Chicken Leather's Kill Radio vaults.
Program for PXL THIS 19 for Dec 7, 2009 at Unurban, Santa Monica CA laughtears.com
(PLEASE Note: the following schedule is subject to change)
1- SHARK HICKEY - Denny Moynahan, 6 minutes
2- SOMETHING YOU HAVE TO KNOW- Donovan Seelinger, 3 m
3- THE CUTTING - Geoff Seelinger, 6m
4- BREEZE OUT BACK - Geoff Seelinger, 3m
5- DONUT MEMORIAL- Chester Burnett, 3m
6- SONGS ARE - Bill Burnett, 2m
7- COLOR PXL - James Wickstead, 3m
8- AS IF ONE BREATH - Karin Spritzler & George Russell, 6m
9- ENCASED - The Count of Manifesto & Hillary Kaye, 2m
10- MOURNING - The Count of Manifesto & Hillary Kaye, 2m
11- BLACK EYE AT THE REDEYE - Stormin' Norman Zamcheck & Suzy Williams, 2m
12- GODDESS VENICE- Lala McClave, 2m
13- DEX - Jason Danti, 6m
14- ME, THE P.A. & DAVID LEE - Joe Nucci, 9m
15- BENHAM'S DISK - Joe Nucci, 1m
16- JUMP BOOGIE - Jerron Paxton, 3m
17- POLICE STATE - Sunny War, 4m
18- THE CHASER - Here & Now (Lisa Marr & Paolo Davanzo), 2m
19- SOUTHWEST MUSEUM 2009 RECAP - Michael Possert Jr, 3m
20- T ZERO - Suki Ewers & Clifford Novey, 4m
21- I PUSH ON - LM Sabo, 2m
22- SURGEON's REPTILE MESS - John Clark, 4m
23- CULTURAL DEMOCRACY - Jesse Drew, 6m
24- WILD BEAST - Mariko Drew, 6m
25- THE AESTHETICS OF FAILURE- Clint Enns, 3m
26- WORK- Doug Ing, 3m
27- KITING- Will Erokan, 4m
28- INTERVIEW WITH ROCK STAR MARILYN OSBOURNE - Janor Hypercleats, 4m
29- EFFECTS PRECEDE CAUSES - Gerry Fialka, 13m
30- CONVOLVULI - William Sabiston, 8m
31- THE WANDERING ERA - Chris Bentley, 12m
32- UCH! ACH! ECH! FEH! - Mier N'Gewlieu, 6m
33- DOESEND - Paul Bacca, 4m
PXL THIS 18 laughtears.com/PXL-THIS-18.html is available for screenings/workshops. "PXL THIS 18is the best festival yet." - Paolo Davanzo, Director of Echo Park FIlm Center echoparkfilmcenter.org rent past PXL THIS festivals and also rents PXL 2000 cameras. EPFC screens PXL THIS 19 in May 20, 2010.
See PXL THIS 18shorts: youtube.com/watch?v=xF0VKPH0ypg& & vimeo.com/3795336 &
youtube.com/watch?v=8pYGEvm7FV4 & Stills: fooie.com/birdlyStills.zip
PXL THIS Director Gerry Fialka is available for Pixelvision & Media Ecology workshops. 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
"Fialka's animated Media Ecology Workshop acted like a Karate chop on the minds of my film/television students. It's rare for high school students to be exposed to these basic media fundamentals with the historical tracks that lead into present day truths. What a reality check for teens. The kids enjoyed the high-energy presentation and got a mental reorientation of how media plays on their day-to-day lives." -Romeo Carey, Media Director, Beverly Hills High School
email@example.com is making a documentary about Pixelvision.
PXL 2000 Color Camcorder - A Brief History by James Wickstead (of JWDA) firstname.lastname@example.org,
In 1995, some years after the demise of the original PXL 2000 Camcorder, JWDA was approached by Hasbro Great Britain to see if a new camera could be developed, this time incorporating higher resolution and full color. The British division of Hasbro was a small and very well structured group with a keen insight into the toy and consumer product markets.
Technically, putting all the “information” required from 3 color channels and voice onto an off-the-shelf audio tape was a considerable challenge. We were to use the original PXL Camera concept but the technical difficulty and needs for custom made, precision parts and electronics was daunting. All of this would end with a product as easy to use and very comparable to a child’s tape recorder and also be inexpensive.
Hasbro USA became aware of the program and immediately took the project from the British subsidiary. This turned out to be a major problem, since the parent company had established a poor reputation with a key vendor. Further, the parent company had no technical ability and was strictly acting as management and contract control.
The project was initially composed of intense R&D to design and prototype the camera to make certain that theory and results matched. Thereafter, we would need to provide the detail design associated with production.
The program evolved slower than expected. There were considerable negotiations required with the key vendor to provide assurances that difficulties experienced with Hasbro, previously, would not be repeated. Once placated, they began to better support the program. Within 8 months, a development system had been created and the rudimentary video was operational, storing and playing color video back from audio tape. At this point, it was obvious that the system would work and we could see physical results, although needing technical refinement.
Hasbro canceled the program after approximately 10 months. They were known for a short project attention span and this was no exception. It was quite a difference from the focus and dedication of our original partner, Fisher Price.
JWDA developed the camera further, using our own resources, but it was becoming obvious that imaging technology was evolving quickly and that solid state and not tape memory was the future. It was just a matter of time before that technology came down in cost to match the PXL concept. Other companies wanted to pick up where Hasbro left off, but it was decided that the time for PXL had past. The project officially ended in mid 1997.
In hindsight, the PXL camera was revolutionary in it’s time. The technology allowed manufacture of a very low cost easy to use camera. However, the real appeal wasn’t just the cost, but the performance, which only a child and creative adult could truly appreciate. Low resolution, black and white images and strange artifacts when used, were hallmarks of the camera and provided most astonishing results in the hands of the artist. the color PXL was a technical tour de force, but it was also an afterthought.
From this person’s perspective, meeting and interacting with the artists was as much a highpoint as seeing the original product born into the marketplace.