The Long and the Short of It

The expansive Cinematexas short film festival

All the Girls With Cameras in Their Heads

This eight-part program brings together seven female filmmakers from three decades of the avant-garde film and video tradition. The gamut is wide, from the post-colonial identity politics of Vietnam-born documentarian Trinh T. Minh-ha -- whose "Re-Assemblage," from 1982, kicks off the program -- to the multimedia performance art of Miranda July, whose unnerving "Nest of Tens" snagged an International Award at last year's fest. The jewel in the crown is probably the complete (to date) screening of Leslie Thornton's "Peggy and Fred in Hell," a "science-fiction serial" described as "the great avant-garde work of the last 20 years" by Cinematexas Artistic Director David Barker.

Begun in 1985, the "Peggy and Fred" shorts follow a brother and sister through a post-apocalyptic wasteland riddled with cultural and psychological detritus. "Peggy and Fred" screens twice in its entirety, with other selections from Thornton's career (such as the ethnographic "anti-musical" "Another Worldly" and "Strange Space," a video collaboration with actor Ron Vawter) featured throughout the lineup.

Also notable is Elisabeth Subrin's "Shulie" (1997), a festival favorite that re-creates an obscure 1967 documentary about a certain student at the Art Institute of Chicago -- who would become famous three years later as radical feminist Shulamith Firestone, author of the tome The Dialectic of Sex. Also of note: Greta Snider's "The Magic of Radio," a documentary about DIY radio that features the Free Radio Austin gang, and the various selections from prolific video artist Ximena Cuevas.

"All the Girls With Cameras in Their Heads" screens in eight parts throughout the festival. See schedule below.

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