Even after hundreds of films, emerging technologies, and increased competition, Mary Lampe remains enthusiastic. As a co-executive producer of The Territory, the showcase of short films that explores the edges of the media frontier, she's seen the changing landscape of independent filmmaking and finds it just as exciting now as it was when The Territory began 27 years ago.
"The artists themselves keep the series as fresh as their ideas," Lampe said. "The most difficult thing now is more competition from cable networks like HBO, Showtime, and IFC, who can pay more to acquire short films."
While cable networks can provide a bigger payout to chronically cash-poor filmmakers, the beauty of The Territory is that it is available to viewers on broadcast TV through various PBS affiliates. In Austin, The Territory airs on KLRU in cooperation with the Austin Museum of Art and Houston's Southwest Alternate Media Project (S.W.A.M.P.), The Territory's parent organization.
Unless viewers are active film festivalgoers, many of The Territory films would be difficult to find.
Though The Territory films are not selected thematically, "This year, there are some sobering reflections on the effects of technology ('Flicka,' 'No Contest,' 'Post-Modern Man'); on aging and death ('Tomorrow,' 'Waiting for Trains,' 'Deux,' 'Grief,' 'Still Life'); and a big interest in experimenting with multiplication or reversal of imagery ('Copy Shop,' 'Counterfeit Film,' 'Apples of Love,' 'Warp')," Lampe said.
The 2003 season of The Territory premieres on Jan. 8 at 10:30pm, on KLRU. The series continues on Wednesdays though April. For more information, visit www.swamp.org.
"The Sandwich (O Sanduiche)" D: Jorge Furtado. (Brazil, 2000, 13 min.) Reality and art overlap in this tale of two would-be lovers in search of an author.
"Import/Export" D: Matthew Akers. (Georgia, 2002, 4 min.) Digital sounds and images chart the comings and goings of ships in an abstract harbor of ideas in this experimental piece.
"Analogue Assemblage" D: Nam June Paik. (New York, 2000, 3 min.) This recent experimental work displays the relentless creative evolution of the father of video art.
"Super Glue and Angel's Wings" D: Jane Cole. (Australia, 2001, 10 min.) Pre-adolescent courtship carries two mismatched kids to unexpected heights.
"Within/Without" D: Benita Raphan. (New York, 2002, 9 min.) Time and memory, words and images trace the enigmatic play of our human selves and those places, both real and imaginary, that we call home.
"Love's Crazy" D: Roopinder Sood. (United Kingdom, 2001, 4 min.) An ill-fated lover is crossed and double-crossed in this neo-noir experiment.
"Chaperone" D: Victor Buhler. (California, 17 min.) An inexperienced girl finds herself competing with her aunt for the affections of a punk with a heart of gold.
"Tunnel Vision" D: Alex Soskin. (United Kingdom, 2001, 3 min.) A little imagination -- and crafty sound design -- turn a subway ride into a sporting event.
"No Contest" D: Jonathan Wakeham. (United Kingdom, 2001, 3 min.) A couple plays hide-and-seek in a futuristic world where games are outlawed.
"Indefinable Moods" D: Kathy Smith. (Australia/California, 2001, 7 min.) Two- and three-dimensional imaging techniques converge in this surreal and artful meditation on life's journey.
"The Post-Modern Man" D: Jason LaMotte. (Texas, 2001, 3 min.) Our hero is but an empty cipher in this fable of identity about our media-saturated, ad-shaped world.
"Tomorrow (Morgen)" D: Jacqueline van Vugt. (Netherlands, 10 min.) A vital, aging woman and her fading, diminished husband dance toward an uncertain future.
"Visible Traces" D: Serena Lin Bush. (Texas, 2000, 5 min.) This densely textured, digitally enhanced meditation explores the uncertainty and complexity of human intimacy.
"Counterfeit Film" D: Brett Simon. (California, 2001, 2 min.) A most familiar object -- a dollar bill -- provokes this animated exploration of the repetition and reproduction of images.
"Palindrome" D: Philippe Barcinski. (Brazil, 2001, 9 min.) Shades of Memento, this experimental narrative examines both storytelling and fate when time is reversed.
"Apples of Love (Pommes D'Amour)" D: Nicolas Provost. (Belgium/Norway, 2001, 5 min.) Playing off the experimental classic, Hiroshima Mon Amour, Provost takes abstraction to another level altogether.
"Warp" D: Steina Vasulka. (New Mexico, 2000, 5 min.) A master of the video medium takes us through her playful, experimental fun house.
"Moving Images: The Filmmaker's Cooperative Relocates" D: Joel Schlemowitz. (New York, 2001, 14 min.) This legendary filmmaker-run center, co-founded by Jonas Mekas, is the largest archive and distributor of independent and avant-garde films in the world.
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