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Back to School, Days 4, 5, 6, & 7

Back to School, Days 4, 5, 6, & 7

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Time flies when you’re back in school. The class at The New School is half over…On day 4, we watched “She’s Gotta Have It” (and a clip from “Clerks”) and talked about D.I.Y. and low budget filmmaking. An important resource for many early 90s indies was Peter Broderick’s essential “The ABC’s Of No-Budget Filmmaking” in Filmmaker Magazine. The next day, for our first Friday field trip, we were off to the new IFC Center for a pre-opening tour by John Vanco (see photo, right), followed by a special Q & A session with John Pierson, we’re studying the revised version of his book, “Spike Mike Reloaded”, quite heavily.

John offered the class a number of insights including the history of local rep programming in the neighborhood, and a screening of the Split Screen segment that introduced viewers to “The Blair Witch Project”. (“Reel Paradise,” Steve James’ doc featuring Pierson and his family during their move to Fiji, will open at IFC Center this summer.)

Yesterday, for a day of talking about docs, after we watched a bit of The Maysles’ “Grey Gardens” we then screened the terrific “Paris Is Burning” and director Jennie Livingston joined us to talk about making the movie over a seven-year period back in the late 1980s (it has been restored for DVD and will be released later this year and Jennie will screen the film, along with her new movie “Who’s The Top,” at Lincoln Center later this summer).

While today in class we explored the New Queer Cinema movement of the early 1990s, watching clips from Todd Haynes’ “Poison”, Gregg Araki’s “Totally Fucked Up”, and Rose Troche’s , followed by a screening of Tom Kalin’s “Swoon”, which seemed to be quite a hit with the students. It remains a striking film with a terrific lead performance by Craig Chester. Worth reading is a dialogue a decade after the movement between Kalin and Chris Munch, published in The Village Voice.

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