Brakhage : A Film (dvd)
DVD, 75 minutes, 1999
Jim Shedden's film, BRAKHAGE, explores the depth and breadth of the Stan Brakhage's genius, the exquisite splendor of his films, his magic personal charm, his aesthetic fellow travelers, and the influence his work has had on generations of other creators.
While touching on significant moments in Brakhage's biography, the film celebrates Brakhage's visionary qualities, and explores the extraordinary artistic possibilities of cinema, a medium mostly known only for its commercial applications in the form of narratives, cartoons, documentaries, and advertising.
BRAKHAGE combines excerpts from Brakhage's films and films of other avant-garde filmmakers (eg, George Kuchar, Jonas Mekas, Willie Varela, Bruce Elder, and others); interviews with Brakhage, his friends, family, colleagues, and critics; archival footage of Brakhage spanning the past thirty-five years; and location shooting in Boulder, Colorado, and New York.
BRAKHAGE is directed by Jim Shedden and produced by Alexa-Frances Shaw (who worked together on Michael Snow Up Close), and executive produced by Ron Mann (Twist, Comic Book Confidential, Imagine the Sound). An original score was composed for the film by long-time Brakhage associate and noted avant-garde composer James Tenney.
"Shedden samples Brakhage's greatest hits and to see the equivalent of his reel is to recognize the awesome breadth of his accomplishments." — J. Hoberman, Village Voice
Jim Shedden works in the Contemporary Art Department at the Art Gallery of Ontario. He wrote, co-produced and co-directed Michael Snow Up Close, a 45 minute video documentary on the work of the Canadian avant-garde filmmaker, and researched, wrote and hosted Independent Visions, five 1-hour segments exploring the work of independent filmmakers in Canada, including Joyce Wieland, Ron Mann, Robert Kennedy, Michael Snow, Bruce Elder, Richard Kerr, Veronika Soul, Iris Paabo, Amy Bodman, John Straiton and others. From 1985 to 1994 he was the programmer for the Innis Film Society, and has organized numerous film screenings and series for organizations such as New Music Concerts and WOMAD, as well as the Art Gallery of Ontario. Publications include Recent Work from the Canadian Avant-Garde (editor); Vera Frenkel:Videotapes (Art Gallery of York University); Presence and Absence:The Films of Michael Snow 1956-1991 (editor and contributor); David Rimmer (editor and contributor); and numerous articles on visual art, film, video, cultural studies, and popular music. He coordinated the International Experimental Film Congress (Toronto, 1989), the last major international gathering of avant-garde filmmakers and enthusiasts, as well as several other conferences on subjects ranging from Hungarian cinema to Pier Paolo Pasolini, Canadian political economy, and Canadian communications strategies.