05 Apr 2015
“EFS Publications” gives form to an impulse long present in the Society towards reflection on cinema. In its pages, it will combine texts byExperimental Film Society members with the work of other writers, critics and filmmakers who wish to contribute to the free-flowing discussion of film history and practice that we hope to see flourish here. Material will be published regularly, as it is received rather than in issue format.
Birgit Hein said “If an artist needs to write explanations about his work, there is something wrong with the work. This opinion is widely spread and it is possibly true to a certain extent in the area of the fine arts, where a long tradition of professional criticism exists. In the area of the experimental – or avant-garde – film the situation is different, as there exists no comparable tradition. Here the artists themselves have to work out categories to judge their work. Therefore it is necessary to write about the films to help in their understanding.”
For me, EFS Publications was born of three main factors. A couple of them are very personal.
1_ Obviously all of us at EFS are engaged with the craft of filmmaking and are first and foremost filmmakers. But we are animated by a passion for the history of film. Our films are constantly interacting with, incorporating or ingesting the history of film directly or indirectly in a creative and mysterious love affair. Therefore, a platform to discuss them has become necessary.
2_ After more than fifteen years of making and screening films, I came to the realization, like Birgit Hein, that I need to explain myself in critical terms simply in order to survive as an artist. And by ‘survive’, I mean to continue making and screening films. EFS has organically created an underground niche for itself but the type of work it produces is still fragile and emerging as far as its visibility is concerned. For a long time I felt the work should speak for itself, but I have seen that frank and, if necessary, controversial discussions around it have only positive outcomes. Therefore I have decided to systematically write about what I do in my films, what I think about the cinema in general and how I feel about the works of others.
3_ I always believed in the cinema as a craft and look at it as laboratory of experimentation: tests, trials and errors. This process should, therefore, be systematically documented and shared with others.
Also, it is important to mention co-editor Maximilian Le Cain who founded the online experimental film journal Experimental Conversations and edited it from its inception in 2008 to its demise in 2014. During these seven years Le Cain treated this magazine as an extension of his ideas about cinema and allowed his contributors to do the same.
From Experimental Conversations I learned the important lesson that if you don’t know the history of films and film criticism, you can’t hope to find your way through its future. Engaging with film history is not only important but essential for filmmakers.