Academic journal article Millennium Film Journal

Flowers for Brakhage

Academic journal article Millennium Film Journal

Flowers for Brakhage

Article excerpt

I first met Stan Brakhage in 1984 when he screened a retrospective of his work at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. At that time, I was an assistant to Douglas Edwards, who curated programs at the Academy Foundation (the educational branch of AMPAS). With an often critical and baffled Hollywood audience, Brakhage was extremely articulate, patient (even with rude questions) and understanding in light of the fact that these people lacked exposure to avant-garde cinema. I was impressed with the beauty of his work and his amazing personality. I was especially astonished with his film Window Water Baby Moving: the shocking birth experience-bloody, painful and yet beautiful and joyful.

When I moved to New York City in 1988 I joined the Film-Makers' Cooperative (FMC) first as a filmmaker looking for distribution and then on the Board of Directors (brought on by Saul Levine in 1990). At that time, FMC had more problems than anyone could imagine: no money (-$100 in the bank), no director (Leslie Trumbull had a stroke in 1990 and was paralyzed) and the office was in disarray. Larry Gottheim, Board president, suggested an art auction to raise money and the Board worked together to help FMC to survive. I called Brakhage, fearful that he would be angry rather than helpful. He was extremely kind, immediately offering to send us framed filmstrips for auction. …

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