Feed an Artist, Nourish the World

Austin School of Film spotlights underground and avant-garde shorts

Solomons Waters' The Transmutation of Leo and Scorpio
Solomons Waters' "The Transmutation of Leo and Scorpio"

"A writer or painter cannot change the world, but they can keep an essential margin of nonconformity alive." – Luis Buñuel

True, the man behind the eye-opening avant-garde masterpieces Un chien andalou and L'age d'or failed to mention his own preferred surrealistic medium – film – but we can forgive this sin of omission by dint of the director's prodigious influence on the cinema of the obscure, the bizarre, the disconcerting. After all, minus the profoundly porous template established by the dreamy and transgressive nocturnal transmissions of Buñuel (alongside former friend and co-conspirator Salvador Dalí) and his cinematic progeny, among them Guy Debord, Stan Brakhage, and Chris Marker, it's unlikely we'd have contemporary maestros of the experimental and absurd such as David Lynch, Guy Maddin, and Craig Baldwin.

The underground, like the subconscious, is where the real work of cinema goes on. It is where the ideas and paradigms that will one day – sadly but accurately – be absorbed and repurposed by the corporate and conformist mainstream first flicker their way into being. It is, in short, the art of filmmaking in its purest and most virginal form, a clawing, gnawing squawk and squall of utter originality born in light but only truly alive in the dark. It is a necessity, an inspiration, and it must be seen to be appreciated.

To that end, the Austin School of Film will be presenting a new installment of its ongoing artist salon and screening series, Friendly but Starving II: An Evening of Avant-Garde & Experimental Filmmaking, this Saturday, Dec. 19, 7:30pm. Recent works by nine Austin filmmakers – Noah Bissett, Danielle Goldfarb, Samantha Gore, Rusty Kelley, Faiza Kracheni, Nicole Licea, Sam Phillips, Bryan Taylor, and Solomons Waters – will be screened with a Q&A following. And this being a 24-frames-per-second, notes-from-the-underground-type evening, free wine, beer, vegetarian food, and DJ Drug Money will be on hand, as well.

Support your local cinematic freak show before Nike/Coke/Levi's snatches it away from you and uses it to prompt pseudo-ironic consumer culture and plump up its bottom line. It's what your Dada would want you to do.

Friendly but Starving II: An Evening of Avant-Garde & Experimental Filmmaking takes places Dec. 19 at 7:30pm at the Austin School of Film (906 E. Fifth #106). For more info, visit www.austinfilmschool.org/classes/friendlystarving2.html.

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