• Saturday, July 15, 2:00 pm / Special Events
  • Sunday, July 16, 2:00 pm / Special Events
  • Monday, July 17, 2:00 pm / Special Events
  • Tuesday, July 18, 2:00 pm / Special Events
  • Wednesday, July 19, 2:00 pm / Special Events
  • Thursday, July 20, 2:00 pm / Special Events
  • Friday, July 21, 2:00 pm / Special Events
  • Saturday, July 22, 2:00 pm / Special Events

Common Street Arts, 93 Main Street
Open daily 2:00-9:00 p.m.
Free admission

MIFFONEDGE Vol. 5 features a series of audiovisual works that challenge how we look at, listen to, and think about film.  By exploring the intersections between art and cinema, the works featured in MIFFONEDGE challenge us to rethink our experience of the moving image.

Harry Smith

This year, we pay tribute to Harry Smith:  filmmaker, painter, ethnomusicologist, collector and alchemist.  Although not as well-known as he deserves, Smith’s life intersected with much that was notable about US culture after World War II.  A jazz enthusiast and companion to musicians like Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonius Monk, and Charlie Parker, Smith created paintings that he thought of as note-by-note transcriptions of recorded jazz.  Smith recorded and produced the first LP by the Fugs in 1965 and collaborated with Beat writers Allen Ginsburg, Greg Corso and Peter Orlovsky on recordings of their work.

Smith’s extensive collection of paper airplanes, found on the streets of New York City, is now housed at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum.  His collection of Ukrainian Easter eggs is held at the Stockholm Goteborg Museum.  In 1952, Folkways Records released his Anthology of American Folk Music (re-released in 1997 and awarded two Grammys) consisting of 84 tracks Smith culled from his extensive collection of American vernacular recordings issued between 1927 and 1932.

Early Abstractions 1-5, 7 and 10 (Harry Smith, ca. 1946-57)
In the films Early Abstractions, we can track Smith’s growing facility with the techniques of direct, camera-less animation and his eventual shift to also using cut-out animation, collage and other techniques.  By dyeing, drawing, bleaching, masking, and stamping directly on the surface of his earliest films, Smith painstakingly produced visually beautiful and rhythmically compelling cinema.


Community Direct Animation Project

MIFF audiences can try their hands at this type of direct animation by participating in the community cameraless film project at Common Street Arts.  Drop by any time during the gallery’s hours and try drawing or painting directly on our collaborative strip of film.


Jodie Mack

Jodie Mack’s films resonate with the careful attention to color and movement in Harry Smith’s Early Abstractions and they often enliven everyday objects, encouraging us to see the world around us in new ways.  Attentive to the varying colors and textures of such objects as lace, tie dye fabrics, patterned wallpaper, commercially printed fabrics and even junk mail, Mack collects and then animates these items, bringing out their visual beauty and providing them with pulsating rhythms.

Jodie writes:  “Musical documentary or stroboscopic archive: my films study domestic and recycled materials to illuminate the elements shared between fine-art abstraction and mass-produced graphic design.  The works unleash the kinetic energy of overlooked and wasted objects and question the role of decoration in daily life.”

Unsubscribe #1: Special Offer Inside (Jodie Mack, 2010)
The patterns of security envelopes – designed to obstruct vision – become the raw material for a playful, pulsating visual field.

Unsubscribe #2:  All Eyes on the Silver Screen (Jodie Mack, 2010)
A collage of cut-out still images emphasizing eyes dance across two screens, calling attention to both the importance of close-ups to conventional representation and also the varying shapes of eyes.

Persian Pickles (Jodie Mack, 2012)
A film made of fabric – the category of ‘paisley’ threatens to elide the variety celebrated here.

A Joy (Jodie Mack, 2005)
A collaboration with Four Tet for Everything Ecstatic (Domino, 2005).  Direct animation with stained-glass contact paper, ink and acetate.

Twilight Spirit (Jodie Mack and Judson Claiborne, 2009)
A collaboration that captures the desert hallucinations of David Morehouse, former CIA spy and author of Psychic Warriors.

Curses (Jodie Mack, 2016)
Made entirely by hand from cut marbled paper, this odyssey of remnants re-imagines a dream-sequence romance.


Aaron Valdez

Aaron Valdez is a film and video artist now living in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  Since the 1990s, he has worked in multiple formats including:  Super 8, 16mm (including found footage and hand-painted films), 16mm multiple projection performances and installations, video installations, video blogging and internet video remix.  He began making remix videos around 1995 and this pre-internet work shaped the development of what would later be labeled ‘supercut’ video.  In 2001 Valdez created “Hard Stars” a YouTube channel featuring his collection of celebrity workout videos on VHS.  He served as the editor of the full-length theatrical version of the crowdsourced project Star Wars Uncut – a pioneering shot-by-shot remake to which thousands of filmmaking fans contributed.  He continues to produce new remix work under the name Dead VCR.  We screen two of his films that rely on pre-existing footage (so-called found footage filmmaking) and lead us on fanciful journeys unanticipated by the footage’s original creators.  The filmed material simultaneously invokes its original context while creating a new experience.

Dissolve (Aaron Valdez, 2003)
Dissolve is constructed of hundreds of dissolves taken from old educational films and reassembled to create, from one perspective, a meditation on our own impermanence.

The Life and Times of Robert F. Kennedy Starring Gary Cooper (Aaron Valdez, 2006)
Valdez superimposes newsreel footage of Robert F. Kennedy and images from the classic Hollywood western High Noon seeking to blur the line between truth and fiction.  The music was composed by Travis Weller.


Kerry Laitala

San Francisco-based film and video artist Kerry Laitala uses a variety of techniques, including hand-processing, photograms, optical printing and animation of pre-existing material like Victorian-era stereoscopic slides.  Her films thus simultaneously explore both the past and the future of moving image culture.  She often reshapes ‘found’ materials to invoke and to celebrate the awe-inspiring experience of cinema when it was first invented. Filmmaker Scott Stark writes, “Kerry Laitala takes eye-popping visual phenomena and turns it into refined artistry, in a body of work that is playful, visually articulate and a loving homage to the fundamental magic of cinema.”

Conjuror’s Box (Kerry Laitala, 2011)
Conjuror’s Box uses a variety of techniques to evoke both the origins of cinema and celluloid’s demise.  Objects via photogram are imprinted directly onto a strip of film and then given color, texture, and rhythm.  Magic-lantern slides appear, provoking a synthesis of stasis and movement – just like the mechanics of analogue cinema itself.

Astro Trilogy and Other Works by Kerry Laitala” Thursday, July 20, 9:00 pm at Common Street Arts
Kerry Laitala returns to MIFF with a multi-projector, live performance of some of her work.  Kerry will be joined by her musical collaborator Wobbly performing live some of the sound for her films.  With these works, cinema becomes a unique, live performance event.