Last night I had my first visit to OTR’s Mini Microcinema and was immediately taken with the energy of being where people loved doing what they were doing: filmmakers showing and sharing films.
Microcinema exists to show experimental film/video/media, highlighting work made by artists and filmmakers outside of the mainstream. This is a very different experience than seeing a Hollywood movie. The space is a store front on Main Street where they optimistically set up about 30 folding chairs which more than accommodated 5 patrons, 3 workers and the director of the film. I imagine experimental film is a tough sell. I imagine this makes the folks running the cinema a little sad.
There was serve-yourself popcorn and a policy of BYOB which benefits the convenient mart next door. The workers clearly loved sharing the film with even a small crowd, and provided very interesting, informed questions for the director in the post-film discussion. I don’t know if Microcinema does discussions for every show, but it worked well with this program.
The film was actually scenes from an not-yet-completed film call Tuba Thieves, directed by Alison O’Daniel. The film was beautiful using long lingering shots and duel screens. She got the idea from a rash of tuba thefts from high schools in L.A. beginning in 2012. While following events surrounding the thefts, she came upon two other unrelated things that caught her attention. First, she found out about a deaf drummer who lives in a home with hearing parents. Second, she discovered L.A.’s Deaf Club, a club where deaf and hearing impaired people socialized, that, in the 1970’s, opened it’s doors to Punk Rock acts. O’Daniel used these three concepts to commission three pieces of music and from there she wrote her film.
She’s been working on the project for a couple of years, showing segments at art installations. O’Daniel, who is hearing impaired, uses captioning, ambient sound, music, and silence to call attention to sound and to explore how and what we hear.