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The Reeler Blog

MIX and Match

A scene from Kate Millett's Second Life, screening this weekend at the MIX NYC festival (Photo: MIX NYC)

By Ben Gold

While most film festivals chase premieres and other marquee-grabbing titles, MIX NYC, now in its 20th year, has survived by doing the opposite. Through Nov. 19, MIX provides a platform for queer experimental film -- and for festival director, Stephen Kent Jusick, "film" is an essential distinction. “Ten years ago MoMA was doing a retrospective on 8-mm film, and it felt like it was an elegy -- like something was dead," he told The Reeler. "I am responding with that in my own way by programming Super8 work; it has proved that it is alive and a viable format.”

Ironically, some of MIX’s most interesting films are not new productions, but newly discovered ones. On Nov. 17 the festival presents the program Factory Friends & Lovers, which consists of three silent, never-before-seen short films made by Andy Warhol’s resident lighting expert, filmmaker and one-time lover Danny Williams. Another notable program, especially in terms of New York City history, is Second Life (Nov. 16). Here, MIX presents previously lost and unedited footage from feminist filmmaker Kate Millet’s 1971 documentary Three Lives, which recounts the city's landmark gay pride march of the same year. Both will be screened with live audio accompaniment. “I don’t think there are a lot of festivals that would show that kind of thing,” Jusick said. “And that’s important to me.”

Jusick’s desire to create something unique among the crowded festival scene is apparent in all of MIX’s programs. They also include multimedia events like Optic Nerve -- involving live manual animation using overhead projectors -- and the various experimental installation pieces like The Nightingale by Inbred Hybrid Collective, which uses found footage and the technique of "elliptical obfuscation" to tell a story by Hans Christian Anderson. “The installation work is extremely important,” Jusick said. “More than half of our physical space is given over to that.” Through all this, MIX aims to blur the boundaries of film and art; to manufacture an experience that cannot be recreated on DVD, or, for that matter, in another theater.

The MIX NYC Queer Experimental Film Festival runs through Nov. 19 at Mix Factory, 72 Greene St. Visit the festival Web site for ticket and program information.

Posted at November 15, 2007 8:23 AM

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