The Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Avant Garde Poll

This was recently posted on The Film Society of Lincoln Center‘s website and was published in Film Comment in their May/June 2010 Issue. It includes the results of their polls regarding the top experimental films of the past decade, the top 50 filmmakers of the decade and 25 emerging filmmakers.

Although voting on the Avant Garde seems foolish to me, I thought that this list would be useful for experimental filmmakers living in Winnipeg who are interested in watching contemporary experimental cinema but have no idea where to start. This list is a fairly decent starting point, but it should be kept in mind that this list is by no means complete. On anther note, Guy Maddin made the list of top 50 filmmakers of the decade, however, I am quite surprised that Steve Reinke, Phil Hoffman and Shana Moulton did not.

– Clint Enns


From Film Comment May/June 2010

In the past decade, the making and showing of experimental film worldwide has gone from strength to strength, so much so that it can be categorically said that avant-garde cinema is as vital now as it has ever been. This addendum to our Jan/Feb end-of-decade wrap-up serves to acknowledge just some of the experimental film achievements of the 21st century’s first 10 years. The rankings on the three lists below were obtained through the tabulation of the number of mentions a given film or filmmaker received in poll responses from a 46-strong group of critics, programmers, and teachers.

Best Avant-Garde Films & Video 2000-2009

1. At Sea by Peter Hutton, U.S., 2007
2. Pitcher of Colored Light by Robert Beavers, U.S./Switz., 2007
3. ( ) by Morgan Fisher, U.S., 2003
Ah Liberty! by Ben Rivers, U.K., 2008
Observando el Cielo by Jeanne Liotta, U.S., 2007
Star Spangled to Death by Ken Jacobs, U.S., 2004
7. Ten Skies by James Benning, U.S., 2004
8. The Fourth Watch by Janie Geiser, U.S., 2000
The Heart of the World by Guy Maddin, Canada, 2000
RR by James Benning, U.S., 2007
11. Black and White Trypps Number Three by Ben Russell, U.S., 2007
The Decay of Fiction by Pat O’Neill, U.S., 2002
The God of Day Had Gone Down Upon Him by Stan Brakhage, U.S., 2000
An Injury to One by Travis Wilkerson< U.S., 2002
Kolkata by Mark LaPore, US/India, 2005
13 Lakes by James Benning, U.S., 2004
17. The General Returns from One Place to Another by Michael Robinson, U.S., 2006
Song and Solitude by Nathaniel Dorsky, U.S., 2006
19. False Aging by Lewis Klahr, U.S., 2008
The Glass System Mark LaPore, U.S., 2000
Instructions for a Light and Sound Machine by Peter Tscherkassky, Austria, 2005
A Letter to Uncle Boonmee by Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Thailand, 2009
She Puppet by Peggy Ahwesh, U.S., 2001
Skagafjördur by Peter Hutton, U.S./Iceland, 2004
25. As I Was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty by Jonas Mekas, U.S., 2000
The Great Art of Knowing by David Gatten, U.S., 2004
The Ground by Robert Beavers, U.S., 1993-2001
The Hedge Theater by Robert Beavers, U.S./Switzerland, 2002
Poetry and Truth by Peter Kubelka, Austria, 2003
Sarabande by Nathaniel Dorsky, U.S., 2008
The Visitation by Nathaniel Dorsky, U.S., 2002
When It Was Blue by Jennifer Reeves, U.S./Iceland, 2008
33. Arbor Vitae bu Nathaniel Dorsky, U.S., 2000
In Comparison by Harun Farocki, Germany/Austria, 2009
It’s Not My Memory of It – Three Recollected Documents by The Speculative Archive, U.S., 2003
Meditations on Revolution, Part V: Foreign City by Robert Fenz, U.S., 2003
Nest of Tens by Miranda July, U.S., 2000
O’er the Land by Deborah Stratman, U.S., 2009
Psalm III: Night of the Meek by Phil Solomon, U.S., 2002
Winter by Nathaniel Dorsky, U.S., 2008
41. California Trilogy: Los, Sogobi, El Valley Centro by James Benning, U.S., 2000-01
*Corpus Callosum by Michael Snow, Canada, 2002
Dream Work (for Man Ray) by Peter Tscherkassky, Austria, 2001
Horizontal Boundaries by Pat O’Neill, U.S., 2008
Let Each One Go Where He May by Ben Russell, U.S./Suriname, 2009
Still Raining, Still Dreaming by Phil Solomon, U.S., 2009
The Two Minutes to Zero Trilogy by Lewis Klahr, U.S., 2003-04
What the Water Said, nos. 4-6 by David Gatten, U.S., 2007

Top 50 Filmmakers of the Decade

1. Nathaniel Dorsky
2. James Benning
3. Ken Jacobs
4. Lewis Klahr
5. Stan Brakhage
Phil Solomon
7. Robert Beavers
8. David Gatten
Peter Hutton
10. Michael Robinson
11. Ernie Gehr
Ben Russell
13. Mark LaPore
14. Ben Rivers
15. Janie Geiser
tie Jeanne Liotta
17. Luther Price
18. Jennifer Reeves
19. Pat O’Neill
20. Apichatpong Weerasethakul
21. Peggy Ahwesh
Stephanie Barber
Vincent Grenier
Jim Jennings
Peter Tscherkassky
Fred Worden
27. Guy Maddin
Bruce McClure
Julie Murray
30. Morgan Fisher
31. Scott Stark
Deborah Stratman
Travis Wilkerson
34. Harun Farocki
Jonas Mekas
36. Bruce Conner
Robert Fenz
Michael Snow
Leslie Thornton
40. Heinz Emigholz
Miranda July
42. Eve Heller
Michele Smith
The Speculative Archive
45. Jacqueline Goss
Nicky Hamlyn
Peter Kubelka
Sharon Lockhart
Jean-Marie Straub & Danièle Huillet
Jim Trainor

25 Filmmakers for the 21st Century

1. Tomonari Nishikawa
2. Jim Finn
3. Daichi Saito
4. Luis Recoder & Sandra Gibson
Alexandra Cuesta
Kevin J. Everson
Laida Lertxundi
8. Shiho Kano
Vanessa O’Neil
10. Paul Chan
Paul Clipson
Emily Richardson
Sylvia Schedelbauer
14. Minyong Jang
Hannes Schüpbach
Fern Silva
Gretchen Skogerson
Ryan Trecartin
Soon Mi Yoo
20. Bobby Abate
Chris Kennedy
Andrew Lampert
Matt McCormick
Rebecca Meyers
Jonathan Schwartz

Poll Participants

Acquarello, Steve Anker, Thomas Beard, Ariella Ben-Dov, Amy Beste, Robin Blaetz, Nicole Brenez, Autumn Campbell, Fred Camper, Abigail Child, David Dinnell, Patrick Friel, David Gatten, Jacqueline Goss, Ed Halter, Alexander Horwath, Kristin M. Jones, Chris Kennedy, Nellie Killian, Lewis Klahr, Irina Leimbacher, Scott MacDonald, Matt McCormick, Mark McElhatten, Kevin McGarry, Don McMahon, Olaf Möller, Oona Mosna, Pablo de Ocampo, Susan Oxtoby, Andréa Picard, Tony Pipolo, Steve Polta, J.R. Rigsby, Jeremy Rossen, Lynne Sachs, Keith Sanborn, Michael Sicinski, Josh Siegel, P. Adams Sitney, Gavin Smith, Phil Solomon, Scott Stark, Chris Stults, Jim Supanick, Genevieve Yue


~ by cineflyer on May 29, 2010.

5 Responses to “The Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Avant Garde Poll”

  1. Even if pools about art are absurd, I participated because of my deep esteem for Gavin and Mark, and to leave some informations about rare and precious films. I’m feeling happy for the great and essential Peter Hutton. But I found the result almost totally americano-american, a usual problem in the world of images and even in the avant-garde/experimental field, who should be more vigilant about that.
    So here was my own list, even if I could have mentioned hundred of other important films.

    Nicole Brenez for Gavin Smith – Film Comment
    50 great avant-garde films/events 2000-2009

    0778 man.road.river – Marcellvs l, Brazil, 2004
    11 000 km Far from New York – Orzu Sharipov, Tajikistan, 2004
    13 Lakes – James Benning, U.S., 2005
    365 Day Project – Jonas Mekas, U.S., 2007
    The Action – David Matarasso, France, 2004
    Addio Lugano bella – Francesca Solari, Switzerland/Germany, 2000
    Aéroport Hammam-Lif – Slim Ben Chiekh, Tunisia, 2007
    Aldebaran – Hugo Verlinde, France, 2001
    Algérie Tours/Détours – Oriane Brun-Moschetti & Leïla Morouche, France, 2007
    L’Arrière-saison – Philippe Grandrieux, France, 2006
    As I Was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty – Jonas Mekas, U.S., 2000
    Atomic Park – Dominique Gonzalez Foerster, France, 2004
    At Sea – Peter Hutton, USA, 2007
    Barbie también puede estar tristee – Albertina Carri, 2001, Argentina
    Behind this Soft Eclipse – Eva Heller, U.S., 2004
    Bouquets 25-30 – Rose Lowder, France, 2002-2005
    Le bombardement la porte des perles – Richard Kerr, Canada, 2004
    Border – Laura Waddington, Belgium, 2004
    Boyzone – Clarisse Hahn, France, 1998-2009
    Bingo Show – Christelle Lheureux, France, 2003
    Camera War – Lech Kowalski, International, 2009
    Capitalism: Slavery, Ken Jacobs, EU, 2006
    Cargo – Laura Waddington, Belgium, 2001
    Carps Swimming in Color – Helga Fanderl, France, 2007
    Charlemagne 2 – Piltzer – Pip Chodorov, France, 2002
    Chic Point. Fashion for Israeli Checkpoints – Sharif Waked, Israël, 2003
    A Circle Around the Sun – Ali Cherri, Lebanon, 2005
    Les Ciseaux – Mounir Fatmi, Morocco, 2003
    Dans le noir du temps – Jean-Luc Godard, Suisse, 2002
    Deep Play – Harun Farocki, Allemagne, 2007
    Degradation #1, X-Ray : Shroud of Security – James Schneider, International, 2006
    De Imago – Patrice Kirchhofer, France, 2009
    Dithyrambe à Dionysos. Avec la nuit reviendra le temps de l’oubli – Béatrice Kordon, France, 2007
    Double Take – Johan Grimonprez, Belgique/Allemagne/Pays-Bas, 2009
    Dream Work (For Man Ray) – Peter Tscherkassky, Austria, 2001
    Easter Morning – Bruce Conner, U.S., 2008
    Elding – Marylène Negro, France, 2006
    Empire – Edouard Salier, France , 2005, 4′
    Escape – Alain Declerq, France, 2001
    Etat de choc – Augustin Gimel, France/U.S., 2001
    Europa 2005 – 27 Octobre – Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet, 2005, France, 11’
    Filmer ce désert – Régis Hébraud, France, 2009
    Flesh – Edouard Salier, France, 2005
    Flòr da baixa – Mauro Santini, Italia, 2004
    Geneva – Augustin Gimel, France, 2004
    An Injury to One – Travis Wilkerson, USA, 2002
    In Public – Jia Zangke, Chine, 2001
    Instructions for a light & sound machine – Peter Tscherkassky, Austria, 2005
    In This House – Akram Zaatari, Lebanon, 2005
    Je comprends moi aussi le langage des oiseaux – Sabine Massenet, France, 2000
    A Letter to Uncle Boonmee – Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Thaïland, 2009
    Manifeste – Hélène Deschamps et Hugo Verlinde, France, 2002
    Meditations on Revolution, Part IV: Greenville, MS – Robert Fenz, USA, 2001
    Meditations on Revolution, Part V: Foreign City – Robert Fenz, USA, 2003
    Mirages – Olivier Dury, France, 2007
    Mobile Men – Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Thaïland, 2008
    New York Zero Zero – Jérôme Schlomoff, France, 2006
    Night for Day – HC Gilje, Norway, 2004
    Nightshots (1, 2, 3) – Stephen Dwoskin, UK, 2006-7
    Night Still – Elke Groen, Austria, 2007
    Night Sweat – Sigfried Fruhauf, 2008
    No Border – Sylvain George, France,
    Nouba – Katia Kameli, Algeria, 2003
    Nuits polaires. Première mesure : des non-lieux – Sylvain George, France, 2008
    Nu lacté de Lionel Soukaz et Othello Vilgard, France, 2002
    Oh ! Uomo – Angela Ricci Lucchi et Yervant Gianikian, Italia, 2004
    Ogres – Jean-Paul Noguès, France, 2001
    On Hitler’s Highway – Lech Kowalski, France/Germany, 2002
    Operation Double Trouble – Keith Sanborn, U.S., 2003
    La peau trouée – Julien Samani, France, 2004
    Perfect Day – Ange Leccia, France, 2008
    Performing S.C.U.M. – Angela Marzullo, Switzerland, 2005
    Phantogram – Kerry Laitala, U.S., 2008
    Philippe Garrel à Digne (Premier voyage) – Gérard Courant, France, 1975-2009
    Profite Motive and the Whispering Wind – John Gianvito, EU, 2007
    Primitive (exhibition), Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Thaïlande/GB/Allemagne, 2009
    Pulsar – Maria Klonaris, France, 2001
    Requiem pour le XXe siècle – Maria Klonaris & Katerina Thomadaki, France, 2004
    Return to the Scene of the Crime – Ken Jacobs, E.U., 2008
    River of Anger – Antoine Barraud, France, 2007
    Rosa Rot – Luc & Gisèle Meichler, France, 2001
    Samouraï – Johanna Vaude, France, 2002
    San Francisco Redux – Anthony Stern, UK, 2008
    Sans correspondance – Chaab Mahmoud, Syria/France, 2009
    The Screening – Ariane Michel, France, 2007
    Sommovimenti/I Volti dell’Anonimo/Vita circolare – Paolo Gioli, Italie, 2009
    Soviets + Electricity – Nicolas Rey, France, 2001
    Star Spangled To Death – Ken Jacobs, U.S., 2003
    Sur la piste – Julien Samani, 2007
    Tarrafal – Pedro Costa, Portugal, 2007, Portugal
    Themes and Variations for the Naked Eye – Caitlin Horsmon, U.S., 2007
    Terrae – Othello Vilgard, France, 2004
    Time to Stir (Work in Progress) – Paul Cronin, UK, 2008
    Untitled part 3b: (as if) beauty never ends… – Jayce Salloum, Canada, 2002
    We are winning don’t forget – Jean-Gabriel Périot, 2004
    West of the Tracks – Wang Bing, China, 2003
    A Whiter Shade – Marylène Negro, France, 2009
    The White She-Camel – Xavier Christiaens, Belgium, 2006
    Wild Song. Preamble to any possible history of cinema – Chaab Mahmoud, Syria/France, 2008
    http://Www.web cam – Lionel Soukaz, France, 2005

    • It was by no means intended as an attack…I personally feel that anything that brings attention to experimental cinema is important….doubly so if it is in print!

      Thank you for your list! If I did one, I am afraid it would be total CanCon. In Winnipeg, it is difficult to see non-Canadian experimental film unless you seek it out.

      – Clint

  2. I too participated in the FC poll, an interesting exercise that points to the difficulty in defining just what the term “avant-garde film and video” even means. Are Peter Watkins or Patrick Keiller (to name two favorites) avant-garde? I’d say yes, even if many co-pollsters might disagree. The results are interesting, with lots to love, but it’s strongly skewed to what I call The Church of the Holy Bolex (short on humor, averse to language, devoted to hairshirt notions of visuality and time.) Steve Reinke, Nancy Andrews, Bill Brown, Joe Gibbons, Steven Matheson, Adele Horne, Torsten Burns, Chick Strand- just a few of who I feel are missing from the list. And non-Americans? Absolutely- on that point, Nicole Brenez’s list is truly humbling, and one I plan to save for future reference. So many things I’ve never seen, as strong as the AV culture is here in NYC… But we can only include what we’ve actually seen- going forward, I’ll seek more beyond my own borders and language. -Cheers!- JS

    • I am totally looking forward to going through Nicole’s list as well. Thanks for your comment, interest and suggestions!

      – Clint

  3. […] Cineflyer has put up their own note along with the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Avant-Garde poll. […]

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