Screen Live combines cinema and live music in a series of special events. We speak to the curator behind one of the shows rolling out in October.
Following two incredibly successful, sold-out events featuring screenings of early film classics Nosferatu (1922) and Metropolis (1927), the Sydney Opera House has extended its Screen Live series. A combination of cinema and live music, Screen Live has proven popular with audiences of all ages, and offers a Sunday Afternoon at the Movies unlike any other.
On October 15, Screen Live takes a different turn with Brilliant Journeys, a celebration of Australian indie cinema and sound art, as conceptualised and curated by the team at the Brisbane experimental film house OtherFilm.
"The ‘60s, ‘70s and early ‘80s were a period of really amazing activity in Australian filmmaking," OtherFilm director Joel Stern tells FILMINK. "The basic idea of Brilliant Journeys is to take some classic Australian films from that period, and to ask contemporary bands and sound artists to respond to these films with live soundtracks."
This merging of sound and image is not a traditional cinematic soundtrack, but rather a "synchronicity or correspondence between sound and image," says Stern. "It's mostly in the form of texture and aesthetics rather than storytelling. We wanted to have a different approach to soundtracks for narrative films, by making connections around colour, form, geometry and light," Stern explains. "All of these films are non-narrative, they're abstract, and all of the musicians are not songwriters, they're more musicians working with colour, texture, form and improvisation."
For Stern, narrowing his concept down to a few films was difficult. "We wanted to show some really exciting and different work from contemporary sound artists and significant filmmakers who've made an ongoing contribution over the years in Australian film art," explains Stern.
Films featured in Brilliant Journeys include Melbourne director Dirk De Bruen's Char Hit Frames (with music composed by Stern himself), environmentally-minded Sydney filmmaker Paul Winkler's Green Canopy (with music by experimental rock band the Garbage and the Flowers), documentary maker George Gittoes' Rainbow Way (with music by underground trance group Holy Balm) and Floterian - Hand Printings from a Film History, from veterans Corrine and Arthur Cantrill, who are celebrating their fiftieth year as filmmakers.
Stern says Screen Live presented OtherFilm with a unique opportunity to expose the work of these filmmakers to the wider public. "The Opera House is such a respected and prestigious venue," enthuses Stern. "We just thought, ‘Wow, we can really blow some minds here!'"
Stern, who runs OtherFilm with Sally Golding and Danny Zavella, says there are connections between Brilliant Journeys and OtherFilm's previous projects. "We've done all sorts of events, festivals and different programs of films," says Stern of OtherFilm's six-year history. "We operate in the area between film and contemporary art practice, so often we stage a combination of film and live performance."
Stern hopes Brilliant Journeys will reach a wide audience of all ages. "It's certainly not just the twenty-something hipsters," Stern says with a laugh. "It's really for everyone interested in adventurous and innovative approaches to sound and image."
Screen Live's Brilliant Journeys will run at the Studio, Sydney Opera House October 17. For more information, click here.