“Warren Sonbert: Friendly Witness and Other Films” in Atlanta Celebrates Photography Film Series



Warren Sonbert: Friendly Witness and Other Films

Atlanta Celebrates Photography and Film Love         present three nights of films by this crucial figure             of the American avant-garde.  

A "friendly witness," Warren Sonbert (1947-1995) holds a unique place in American independent film. On one hand he shows the distinct influence of Hitchcock and the Hollywood melodramas of Douglas Sirk, and on the other he was a rigorous avant-gardist. Sonbert's films have been the subject of retrospectives at the Guggenheim Museum and other institutions, but remain available only in 16mm prints and are too rarely screened.

Film Screening: Tue, Oct 26, 7pm - 9pm                                                                     

PROGRAM ONE - Juxtaposing early and late works, tonight's program (one of three) explores the maturation of Sonbert's style as well as his masterful use of music. His early trilogy of short films, set to exuberant rock and roll and documenting the seedy glamour of the 60s New York art world, established Sonbert's notoriety while he was still a teenage film student at NYU. Twenty years later, Sonbert returned to the music soundtrack in his masterpiece Friendly Witness - an intricate and deeply moving mosaic of people and places around the globe.

Film Screening: Thu, Oct 28, 7pm - 9pm                                                               

PROGRAM TWO - Sonbert's later filmmaking combines his precise but unconventional eye for color, composition, and shot content with his intricate and highly personal editing technique. 

Tonight's program presents Sonbert's magnum opus in this style (and his longest film), Carriage Trade.

Film Screening:  Fri, Nov 19, 7pm - 9pm                                                               

PROGRAM THREE - Program three explores Sonbert's career-long fascination with coupling - the dynamics of communication, romance, and desire. Honor and Obey, made at the peak of Sonbert's late period, and The Bad and the Beautiful, a restored 1960s film set to an effective popular music soundtrack. Also screened are films by two of Sonbert's influences, Stan Brakhage and Marie Menken.

Presented by ACP, Film Love and Eyedrum. Curated and hosted by Andy Ditzler for Frequent Small Meals.  Film Love was voted Best Film Series in Atlanta by the critics of Creative Loafing in 2006.

Free Admission

EYEDRUM290 Martin Luther King Jr. Dr,  Suite 8                                                                         Atlanta, GA 30312  [map: Google Maps]                                                                                                             p: (404) 522-0655                                                                                                                                               web: http://www.eyedrum.org

International Tour of Films by Warren Sonbert Previewing in Paris on September 15

Light Cone

     On the evening of September 15, 2010, two programs of films by Warren Sonbert will be featured in public projections at Cinema Action Christine (4 rue Christine, 75006 Paris, Métro St-Michel, price: 6€).  The programs will be introduced by curator Jon Gartenberg, and are held as part Light Cone’s Preview Show, an annual event gathering experimental film programmers from around the world.  The two programs, which span Sonbert’s entire artistic career, announce the launch of an international tour of his films by Light Cone, the exclusive European distributor of his films.

     Warren Sonbert was one of the seminal figures of American experimental cinema.  He began making films in 1966 while a student at New York University.  Sonbert built upon his early experiments with camera movement, lighting, and framing to subsequently create brilliantly edited masterworks that encompass not only his New York milieu, but also the larger sphere of global activity.  Sonbert’s passionate interest in film, music, experimental poetry, and travel is reflected in his films; he lived a completely engaged life, and the images culled from that life formed the raw material of his artistic expression.  His late works culminated in symphonic montages (both silent and sound) that unite universal human gestures into singular works of moving image artistry.

     Following Warren’s untimely death in 1995, a project was undertaken under the auspices of the Estate Project for Artists with AIDS, in conjunction with curator Jon Gartenberg, to restore his final film, WHIPLASH, to public view as well as to preserve his entire extant body of work.  A complete set of preservation negatives of Sonbert’s films are now housed at the Academy Film Archives in Los Angeles. 
Sonbert retrospectives have subsequently taken place at the Guggenheim Museum (1999), the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2000), the Centre Pompidou (2002), the Austrian Filmmuseum (2005), Anthology Film Archives (2006), and the Harvard Film Archive (2008).

     Prints of Sonbert’s films are now available for European distribution exclusively from Light Cone.  Light Cone, in collaboration with Gartenberg Media Enterprises, will present a new tour of Warren Sonbert’s films throughout European cinematheques, festivals, and other cultural institutions beginning in the fall of 2010.

For more information visit: www.lightcone.org

Or contact us at:  info@gartenbergmedia.com

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September 26-28

Harvard Film Archive (Cambridge, Massachusetts)



Warren Sonbert

The Harvard Film Archive has recently acquired the entire experimential film collection of Warren Sonbert (1947-1995), through a preservation project organized by Jon Gartenberg. For more information, go to: http://hcl.harvard.edu/hfa/