Black hole free film school

Black Hole Free Film School

By eggplant

A new group is forming called the Black Hole Free Film School, and though it saw its first meeting in a warehouse in Oakland, similar groups are taking the cue and are having meetings in L.A. and NY. The first meeting went quickly from mass dreaming to making an inventory list of resources to be shared and organized. Frankly this level of serious engagement is in no small part influenced by the Occupy Movement that swept through the land this past fall. Many of the same faces could be found there.

The group seeks to have the resources available for people to make and exhibit their works on video and film. The school will facilitate workshops and classes to give people more confidence in making their first film. Also planned is a monthly screening of new works where film makers can get feedback from their peers. Other ideas such as an online and printed newsletter look to set into motion a flurry of activity. This kind of enthusiasm over the barriers of mass communication was last seen after the WTO in Seattle, with the advent of Indymedia.

Just two days into the New Year a low-key announcement to discuss the Free School brought out over 25 people. Twenty-Five! On a Monday night… Now try to get that many people to work on a community newspaper or to fix up a long neglected community space, and it will be no argument on how people are moved by moving images. And why shouldn’t they be? There is one level of sophisticated political analysis that encourages people to follow their pleasure, and to use that momentum to dis-empower oppression. We have eyes and ears and they need to be fed too–and it’s a part of human nature to want to sit down and be enveloped in the dark and engaged in a story.

The name Black Hole has been used this past year for an underground film series that exhibits rare treats in warehouses around the Bay Area. It was agreed at the first meeting to adapt the same name for the emerging Free School. The inspiration for the name partially comes from reclaiming the technologies that have been discarded from modern consumer culture, as new technologies flood the market. Devices like 8mm, Super 8, VHS, Betamax are all to a degree still functional as tools, and they hold value to the Black Hole Theatre ethic. In fact, they are often more accessible to scavengers and the like. The Black Hole Free School intends to be able to screen movies off these devices–as well as the latest digital capabilities.

The first meeting generated some ideas as to what classes the school should offer. The goal is to get people with knowledge of film as well as those that don’t. The classes were not heavily scrutinized and this list is still at the brainstorm stage:

* Basic celluloid film production

* Sound in film: how to make recordings

* Light + sound = the relation of frequencies and patterns

* Basic maintenance and repair of gear/mechanics, proper film storage, modifications/circuit bends

* Objective vs. subjective: tendencies toward dissocation and the nature of dissociation in film (potential collaboration w/Icarus Project)

* Reading group: film theory, scripts, etc.

* Phenomenology workshop

* Improv group w/interactive film

* Filmic response to current events

Feel free to think up some cool classes and then get to organizing how would you pull it all off. Like all grassroots projects it gains from your input and support. For far too long various maneuvers have been employed to limit audiences’ access to independent media. The continuous efforts of a DIY network and the Internet have opened up a lot of space. This has done much to hasten the collapse of major newspapers, the music industry, and large movie companies. But to overly rely on the Internet is sloppy. Legislation like Stop Internet Piracy Act (SOPA) would return us to a limited vision of the world. The flow of power will continue downward only as long as a committed people act. Since the Black Hole is in the forming stages the best way to plug in is to check the web site until a solid venue is established. Don’t resist the pull of the Black Hole.