TOTAL MOBILE HOME microCINEMA

"As art sinks into paralysis, artists multiply. This anomaly ceases to be one of we realize that art, on its way to exhaustion has become both impossible and easy."

-E.M. Cioran The Trouble with Being Born 3

"Is it possible to create a secret theater in which both artist & audience have completely disappeared only to re-appear on another plane, where life and art have become the same thing, the pure giving of gifts?"

-Hakim Bey TAZ 4

"The trouble with films all the world over is that there is too much money in them; too much greatness and not enough obscurity, too many stars and not enough shedding of light. The entire film world is a gross exaggeration. And who are we to do with all these men of genius falling off the trees of production like rotten apples?"

-Ernest Betts

 

TOTAL
-A BANNER TERM INVITING AN INVESTIGATION OF ITS IMPOSSIBILITY

MOBILE
-CONSTANT SHIFTING PERPECTIVES -MOVING

HOME
-A DOMICILE
-WHERE THE HEART IS
-A BURROW
-THE BODY (WE WOULD WISH)
-A TEMPORARY AUTONOMOUS ZONE

microCINEMA
-A WORD OF OUR OWN INVENTION
-A SMALL SPACE FOR THE PROJECTION OF FILM
-A CATEGORY OF ACTION

 

Soon after meeting 9 years ago David and I founded a small 30 seat cinema in the basement of our rented apartment in San Francisco called TOTAL MOBILE HOME microCINEMA. As filmmakers reliant upon our own funds, functioning totally out of the mainstream, we wanted to create an intimate non-institutional space right in our basement, where the distance between film and audience and artist and audience might be activated and transformed. It was a success. In the 4 years that we operated, we had over 120 shows, many with the filmmaker in person. Our audiences responded wonderfully, often remaining well after the show to participate in all sorts of conversations that went late into the night. As small as we were, we got correspondences from all over world from people passing through San Francisco, curious about or interested in bringing their own films to our space. Our operating budget was extremely low- we used discarded, donated, and rebuilt equipment, made our own seats, designed our own posters and calendars, and did publicity "wordof- mouth" and through the local free papers. Our standards for any particular show were extremely high- even at our tiny scale, we believe that we competed favorably with the corporate megaplexes in the quality of our film prints, sound system, and amenities. With a suggested $5 donation at the door, we managed to "float" our cinema, meeting our modest operating costs and offering visiting artists $100 honorariums (which filmmakers incidentally often refused as excited as they were by such a special exhibition context. We used the word TOTAL as the first word in many of our programs because of the built-in rebellion factor: TOTAL war, TOTAL failure, TOTAL rube goldberg, tantric tantrums, and TOTL TOTAL ARTIST MONSTER were some examples.

THE INVENTION OF A WORD
Soon after meeting 9 years ago David and I founded a small 30 seat cinema in the basement of our rented apartment in San Francisco called TOTAL MOBILE HOME microCINEMA. As filmmakers reliant upon our own funds, functioning totally out of the mainstream, we wanted to create an intimate non-institutional space right in our basement, where the distance between film and audience and artist and audience might be activated and transformed. It was a success. In the 4 years that we operated, we had over 120 shows, many with the filmmaker in person. Our audiences responded wonderfully, often remaining well after the show to participate in all sorts of conversations that went late into the night. As small as we were, we got correspondences from all over world from people passing through San Francisco, curious about or interested in bringing their own films to our space. Our operating budget was extremely low- we used discarded, donated, and rebuilt equipment, made our own seats, designed our own posters and calendars, and did publicity "wordof- mouth" and through the local free papers. Our standards for any particular show were extremely high- even at our tiny scale, we believe that we competed favorably with the corporate megaplexes in the quality of our film prints, sound system, and amenities. With a suggested $5 donation at the door, we managed to "float" our cinema, meeting our modest operating costs and offering visiting artists $100 honorariums (which filmmakers incidentally often refused as excited as they were by such a special exhibition context. We used the word TOTAL as the first word in many of our programs because of the built-in rebellion factor: TOTAL war, TOTAL failure, TOTAL rube goldberg, tantric tantrums, and TOTL

Since then, we have found ourselves in the rather bizarre position of watching a homemade/corporate explosion. Micro-Cinema has come to be a catchall phrase for both "independent" and quasi- independent practices. There is a MICROCINEMA.COM, Festivals of MicroCinema, and global web site maps of MicroCinemas. Although we're proud and intrigued to be operative and linguistic catalysts for "the movement", I also think that I understand how the inventor of "grunge" must have felt when The Gap adopted the term. But it is also quite fascinating and gratifying for us to witness such a proliferation of home-spun spaces in the wake of new-technology based filmmaking. What follows on the next page, is an excerpt from a book which I self-published in an edition of 200 in response to The Micro-Cinema Movement.

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