Empty Quarter, by Alain LeTourneau and Pam Minty
Sunday December 2, 2012, 7:30 pm
Los Angeles Filmforum presents
Empty Quarter, by Alain LeTourneau and Pam Minty
Alain LeTourneau and Pam Minty in person from Portland OR!
At the Spielberg Theatre at the Egyptian, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90028
Tickets: $10 general; $6 students/seniors; free for Filmforum members.
Filmforum is delighted to host Portland filmmakers, educators, programmers and film advocates Alain LeTourneau and Pam Minty with the local premiere of their film Empty Quarter!
Empty Quarter (2011, 16mm black & white/sound, 71 minutes) is a film about the region of Southeast Oregon, an area populated by ranching and farming communities, in Lake, Harney, and Malheur counties. The region is roughly one-third of Oregon's landmass yet holds less than 2% of the state's population.
Southeast Oregon, though familiar by name is a foreign place, particularly to those who reside in urban environments. It is a landscape in the making, constantly undergoing change, being re-worked. It is a highly politicized landscape, evoking differing opinions concerning resource management and land use. It is also a landscape that is, despite some beliefs, rich with diversity, as seen by the presence of East Indian and Japanese families, ancestors of Basque sheepherders, home to the Paiute tribes people, and to Latinos who have come to help work the land.
Empty Quarter departs from a documentary form that utilizes "talking head" interviews and "B-roll" or "cut-away" images tied together with occasional narration. The film instead presents stark portraits, waiting to be explored and digested by the viewer. Meaning is extracted in the slow process of accumulation and measured response. Through a series of stationary shots, recording open landscapes and the activities of local residents, Empty Quarter reflects on the character of the region. Natural areas are viewed among images of industry, various labor processes, resource management and recreation. Voices of local residents describe the history of pioneer settlement, social life of rural communities and the struggles of small town economies.
"A brooding meditation on open space, forward motion, and the human impulse to make something out of nothing (and, inevitably, vice versa), this 16mm black-and-white documentary from Portland artists Alain LeTourneau and Pam Minty is anything but the haphazard slideshow it first appears to be. Shot in scantily populated southeastern Oregon, Empty Quarter presents a series of near-static shots of farms, factories, townscapes, andin dispassionate middle distancepeople going about their mundane daily tasks. These scenes are punctuated by blank-screen commentaries from various residents, each reflecting in some way on what has been lost to the ravages of time and industry. This mix isn't as dry or dour as it sounds: With patience, the film's visual rhythm clicks and combines with the palate-cleansing talking-headless voiceovers (which subtly shift our perception of the images that have passed and color the ones that follow) to cohere into a canny, uniquely tactile portrait of American progress in all its ironies. Cultural collapse and eco-destruction lurk in the margins of LeTourneau and Minty's film to be sure, and its suggestion that mechanization is simultaneously a path to oblivion and a distraction from it is quietly damning. Yet somehow this gives the human endeavors here, both big and small, a kind of resigned beauty. True, the closest Empty Quarter comes to high drama is when a mother tries to wrangle her small children in a laundromat, but even a scene of hay drying in a barn imparts a thrilling, mysteriously reassuring sense of cosmic pragmatism." Mark Holcomb, Village Voice
Pam Minty and Alain LeTourneau are Portland, Oregon based media artists. They co-founded 40 Frames, a 16mm conservation and advocacy organization that maintains the web resource 16mmdirectory.org <http://16mmdirectory.org/> , houses a collection of 16mm prints, and provides technical services to artists and organizations. Pam and Alain's film/video work has been exhibited at Anthology Film Archives, Images Festival, Margaret Mead Film Festival, Portland Art Museum, University of Chicago Film Studies Center, Vancouver International Film Centre as well as other venues throughout North America. Empty Quarter is their first co-production.
Filmforum's screening series is supported, in part, by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission; the Department of Cultural Affairs, City of Los Angeles; the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; the Metabolic Studio; and the Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts. Additional support generously provided by American Cinematheque. We also depend on our members, ticket buyers, and individual donors.
Coming Soon to Los Angeles Filmforum:
Dec 5 Gunvor Nelson in person from Sweden, last Los Angeles appearance!
Dec 9 Ann Arbor Film Festival 50th Anniversary Tour
Los Angeles Filmforum is the city's longest-running organization screening experimental and avant-garde film and video art, documentaries, and experimental animation. 2012 is our 37th year
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Spielberg Theater at the Egyptian (View)
6712 Hollywood Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90028
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