Toney W. Merritt has been an independent filmmaker for close to 50 years, completing over 30 personal films and videos; experimental, narrative and documentary. His films have screened at various venues such as the La Cinémathèque Française, Paris, London Film-Makers’ Co-operative, Anthology Film Archives, New York, Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley, the Oakland Museum of California, the de Young Museum, San Francisco Cinematheque, New Nothing Cinema, San Francisco, and the Ann Arbor and Mill Valley Film Festivals. Canyon Cinema currently distributes over twenty of his film titles spanning 1970 to 1998 and included Merritt in the Canyon Cinema Pop-Up (2013) exhibition at Kadist, San Francisco. He taught film production and digital editing at City College San Francisco for 18 years, and screenwriting for the San Francisco State University’s Digital Video Intensive Program. He was invited to present as a writer/director at the 2007 Squaw Valley Community of Writer’s Conference, and invited in 2008 to serve as a screenwriting instructor. Merritt was the Program Director for the Mendocino Film Festival from 2014–2015 and curated the inaugural Healdsburg Flix Mix Short Film Festival in 2016. Merritt has served on several Boards of Directors including San Francisco Film Arts Foundation. He has also served as a panelist for various festivals such as the SF International Film Festival and as a grant panelist for Independent Television Service, (ITVS) and the Rockefeller and Jerome Foundations. Merritt received his MFA in 1979 from the San Francisco Art Institute. He is based in Healdsburg, California.
The films of Ernie Gehr investigate deceptively simple materials and landscapes of everyday encounter as radically potent portals into the continually unfolding mysteries hidden beneath the surface of our perception. Gehr’s intuitive capacity for elegantly executed, yet perpetually probing works bring new light to a shifting definition of the “experimental” in film. A self taught filmmaker who became a central figure in the fields of Structural Film and the avant-garde communities of New York and San Francisco as well as a long time teacher in of the SFAI Film Department, Gehr continues to make works that expand and investigate our ways of seeing.
Milada Kovacova is a visual artist turned filmmaker, who spent her childhood both in North America and behind what was then the Iron Curtain. Her films include Skin Flick, The Dance of Life, Continuum, Dislocation, and Dislocation II.
Dana Plays is an award winning experimental filmmaker, digital artist and professor of Film and Media Arts at The University of Tampa. Her work has exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art in the exhibition The Color of Ritual, The Color of Thought: Women Avant-Garde Filmmakers in America 1930-2000, programmed by Whitney curator by Chrissie Isles, as well as other notable venues including the Pacific Film Archive, SF Cinematheque and more than 50 international film festivals where her films have garnered 25 film festival awards. Plays' work consists of a variety of approaches to experimental documentary and the visual film, utilizing optically printed found footage and/or footage that she has shot.
Plays lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for twenty years, where she was involved in the experimental film, music, theater and art scene, while attending California College of the Arts, where she received two degrees, BFA (1978) in General Fine Arts exploring photography printmaking and film, and MFA in Film and Video (1986), and while also working at the San Francisco Art Institute (1984-1990). In the 1990s she taught in Syracuse University, and later at Occidental College, in Los Angeles (1996-2004), prior to her appointment at The University of Tampa (2005 to the present).
After graduating from Musahino Art University with B.A Degree in Imaging Arts & Sciences (Tokyo, Japan) , I studied at the institute of Image Forum between 1997 and 1999. I have been working on films, videos, video installations and photo works since 1996 and then organized some screening events and exhibitions. My art works have been screened at film/video festivals and museums in over 15 countries. From 2005 to 2006, I stayed at Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris after receiving “Paris prize” from Musashino Art University and support from Nomura Cultural Foundation and Japanese Government’s Study Program instituted by Agency for Cultural Affairs for Promising Artists and Art Fellowships. Returning to Japan In 2006, I am hard at work now in Tokyo.
Amy Halpern is a New York filmmaker, living & working in Los Angeles. Since childhood, composing with movement and light, and making 16mm abstract films since 1972. Taught film for many years, most recently 7 years at U.S.C, also at California State University L.A., Cal. State Northridge, Otis-Parsons Art Institute and a second grade class in L.A. Unified School District. She has collaborations (lights, camera, person) with Charles Burnett's My Brother's Wedding, Pat O'Neill's The Decay of Fiction, Julie Dash's Illusions and David Lebrun's Breaking the Maya Code and Dance of the Maize God. She also appears in several of Chick Strand's films, Soft Fiction, Krystalnacht, Cartoon Le Moose & Fever Dream. Born and raised in New York City, Halpern studied & performed in modern dance with Anna Sokolow & Lynda Gudde, worked in the early 1970s in 3-D shadow-play with Ken Jacobs' New York Apparition Theatre and co-founded New York's Collective For Living Cinema with 3 other guys.
Henry Hills has been making dense, intensely rhythmic experimental films since 1975. A longtime resident of New York's East Village, he has ongoing working relationships with the L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E Poets, composer John Zorn, and choreographer Sally Silvers. Since 2005 he has been Visiting Professor at FAMU, the Czech national film academy in Prague, and currently lives in Vienna. He received a 2009 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship & his films, which are included in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art, are available on DVD from Tzadik. His most recent work, arcana, was awarded Best Experimental Film at both Curtas Vila do Conde festival in Portugal and the Melbourne International Film Festival in Australia. His films, with an eccentric humor, seek abstraction within sharply-focused naturalistic imagery & the ethereal within the mundane, promoting an active attentiveness through a relentlessly concentrated montage.
Since 1968 Peter Rose has made over thirty films, tapes, performances and installations. Many of the early works raise intriguing questions about the nature of time, space, light, and perception and draw upon Rose’s background in mathematics and on the influence of structuralist filmmakers. He subsequently became interested in language as a subject and in video as a medium and generated a substantial body of work that played with the feel and form of sense, concrete texts, political satire, oddball performance, and a kind of intellectual comedy. Recent video installations have involved a return to an examination of landscape, time, and vision. Rose has been widely exhibited, both nationally and internationally, having been included in shows at the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Biennial, the Centre Pompidou, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Film Society at Lincoln Center, and the Rotterdam International Film Festival. He has been awarded fellowships by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Pew Foundation, the Independence Foundation, and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and is fond of writing descriptions in the third person.
I trained as a painter and sculptor in Lima, Peru, then in London. I worked for a decade as an artist while earning a living as a film editor. I became interested in research in film from 1977 onwards, establishing with Alain-Alcide Sudre a non-profit organization, the Experimental Film Archives of Avignon. The Archives have become a collection of 16mm films as well as a paper document collection. The first is made available to the public with films rented from other sources by means of annual screenings and the second can be consulted freely as a reference library. At one point I wrote a doctoral dissertation entitled "The Experimental Film as an Instrument for Visual Research." I also teach a filmmaking course at the Sorbonne, Paris, with the grand title of Associate Professor.
Although I began filmmaking by pursuing concerns common to other contemporary art practices, my attention was rapidly attracted by a twofold feature of the photographic procedure which allows one to handle the content and the form of the material while the process inscribes automatically some of the traces and characteristics of the reality being recorded. This paradox led me to study perception, the possibilities and problematics of research in art as well as how theoretical approaches to experimental film and traditional cinema have evolved. Underlying these studies is a search for meaningful ways to work with film regarding our contemporary society controlled by multinational economics. As the totalitarian environments of urban landscapes become more and more uninhabitable, I seek, against the grain in our "virtual" space age it seems, a more human physical home.
Like Kandinsky, Malevich and Mondrian for Hans Breder the task of art, as a kind of thought, is spiritual. His work seeks to articulate and evoke an ineffable power beyond reason and unreason. Against the monumental materialism of Western culture, over the last six decades, Breder’s intermedial sensibility has been expressed in and between painting, sculpture, photography, music, installation, video and film--each expression an invitation to subversive liminality and momentary transcendence. Breder’s work dissolves boundaries and manipulates perception, sometimes enticing, sometimes shocking the observer to an experience of liminality from which a realm of pure possibility may emerge. One of the first video artists whose work has been included in three Whitney Biennials, Hans Breder founded the Intermedia Program in the School of Art & Art History at the University of Iowa and directed it until his retirement as a Distinguished Professor in 2000. The internationally regarded program built on Breder’s interdisciplinary inclination for intellectual and aesthetic collision.
Chuck Hudina is a filmmaker, photographer and mixed-media artist. He freelances as a cameraman and has lived in the Bay Area for 35 years. Born in Cleveland , Ohio in 1952...his first documentary Grease 1974 was about growing up in Collinwood,...an urban neighborhood with race riots. He attended the University of Iowa from 1971-1975 earning a B.A in Film and from 1975-1977 earning an M.A in Multimedia from Hans Breder. While in this program he shot films with artists Charles Ray and Ana Mendieta. It was in Iowa City that he completed his second documentary feature, Howie 1978. He joined Canyon Cinema in 1980 and moved to the Fillmore neighborhood in San Francisco. There he began a street film that is nearing completion... In The City... and finished his third documentary feature, Tenderloin Blues 1987. He came out west to San Francisco to work in the clear light and shot Kodachrome 25 stills from 1980-1990. Moving to Napa for thee years, 2002-2005 He worked with the Rene DeRosa Art and Nature Preserve and made mixed-media art objects. He has also worked with Craig Baldwin on the multi-projector Glass Haus raves 1985-1987 in SOMA. From that experience, he developed his own thee projector piece called World in a Camera. Chuck Hudina has three feature documentaries that are in currently in post-production and continues to do his Signs and Symbols of the City. He Surfs, Mountain Bikes, soaks in Hot Springs and lives in Bolinas, California.
Stephanie Beroes was born in 1954 in Pittsburgh. She received B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh where she studied Film History with William Judson. She holds a Master of Fine Arts in Filmmaking from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1978, where she studied with Gunvor Nelson, James Broughton, and Malcolm LeGrice. Stephanie is a founding member of Pittsburgh Filmmakers, Inc, and the first Programmer of the Pittsburgh Filmmakers Screening Room from 1972-1976.