Independent film events agogo
By Charlie Phillips 08 August, 2012
There's a couple of very-independent curated film series coming up in the next few weeks, including some rare docs. And by independent, we're talking underground personally-curated rarely-seen cleverly-out-together seasons.
One series is Bowiefest, coming to the ICA at the end of this month. It's just a weekend, but it's taking the two-colour-eyed gentleman and reviewing his film life in detail. I think Bowie's the person I idolise most, and his mystery is partly down to his screen appearances where he looks like no other modern human ever has. Whether it's a documentary or fiction, he seethes strangeness - critics have accused him of being unable to act, but isn't always being himself, the big pretender? I don't like to think about it too much, his alien mystique is enough for me to adore him.
I once posed for my student newspaper, citing him as my fashion icon, and mentioning how looking at his face made it feel OK to think you were different. He's a great on-screen icon, and I especially appreciate him now as a doc-watcher, a genre where filmmakers are always seeking out the new and strange stories and seeking brief images that form concise summations of the modern world from complex thoughts. Bowie was a great constructor of concise images.
So the season is a mix of drama and docs, opening with a screening of Pennebaker's ZIggy Stardust concert film. The big highlight, though, is the final event, a conversation between Jeremy Deller and Alan Yentob about making Cracked Actor - the doc that made Yentob's name and still defines that image of the strung-out intellectual rockstar. Deller spoke about Cracked Actor during his interview at Doc/Fest, and the story behind it is very interesting - Yentob expecting to find the reclusive pop star, and but instead getting a more paranoid and charismatic soul boy for his money.
The other big event, starting next week, is Scala beyond, a second iteration of the season that takes the spirit of the old fleapit cinema and recontextualises it for an age of flash cinemas. This season is bit different because anyone can contribute an event - so if you think that your favourite 60s sexploitation doc is missing from the programme, you can organise your own show (anywhere in the country) and add it to the mix.
For the shows that ARE happening for sure already, we specially recommend A Small Cinema in Manchester, reclaiming an unused space for local docs; a screening in Deptford of Mark Lewis' doc about show cats - alongside a recreation of Holy Mountain with dogs; site-specific screenings in Whitley Bay, a new festival in Edinburgh including a 70s doc about festish dress, 'Dresing for Pleasure, a night dedicated to Amos Vogel, and Club Des Femmes showing about artists collaborating. And about 100 other events which all look brilliant, some in trad cinemas, some in strange and lovely places.
Good on you, proper-independent cinema!