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Gwendolyn Audrey Foster - Experimental Filmmaker

Originally from New York City, Gwendolyn Audrey Foster is an award-winning film/video artist and a prolific author on experimental film, women filmmakers, LGBTQ+ and film history. Co-author of "Experimental Cinema: The Film Reader," "The Films of Chantal Akerman," and many other books on cinema, Foster's documentary on early women filmmakers, "The Women Who Made the Movies," is distributed by Women Make Movies. Foster is Willa Cather Professor Emerita in Film Studies at University of Nebraska and now a full time artist and filmmaker based in Nebraska in the United States.

Foster's films and video installations have premiered at MoMA - The Museum of Modern Art (NYC); Outfest (LA); Bi+ Arts Festival (Toronto); Anthology Film Archives (NYC); The Filmmakers' Coop (NYC); Collective for Living Cinema (NYC); Films de Femmes (Créteil); Black Maria Touring Film Festival (USA); Rencontres Internationales Sciences & Cinémas, RISC (France); Engauge Film Festival (Seattle); Forum Yokohama (Japan), Analogica (Italy), Festival Internacional de Cine Experimental Y Vídeo CODEC (Mexico); Studio 44 (Stockholm); BWA Contemporary Art Museum (Poland); Filmhuis Cavia (Amsterdam); nGKB gallery (Berlin); and many other art galleries, museums and festivals around the world. Foster's films and videos are archived at the UCLA Film & Television Archives and Museum of Modern Art in NY.

Artist Statement:

As a queer feminist marxist artist, my work explores the aesthetic space between film & video through collage and abstraction techniques. I work in 8mm, 16mm and 35mm film/video. I create some films from found materials, combining elements of Surrealism, eco-feminism, punk, romantic structuralism, détournement and chance editing (automatism). Chance is my favorite collaborator. My films are personal; alchemic, mysterious and handmade: hand-painted, hand-processed. I often compose the music and soundscapes for many of my films, which have been described as surreal, contemplative, and hypnotic. ―Gwendolyn Audrey Foster

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Contents of this portfolio copyright © 2016 - 2021 Gwendolyn Audrey Foster. All rights reserved.

  1. Dreaming in Aspect Ratio (Trailer)

    "Dreaming in Aspect Ratio" is a hand-made diary film and experiment in disrupted stereoscopy; an adopted "found" home movie. A playful self-portrait in found queer memories.

    Festivals & Screenings:

    Antimatter [Media Art] Victoria BC Canada 2021
    Rencontres Internationales Sciences & Cinema Festival, Marseille 2021
    Altt Alternative Film Festival (Best NA Short Experimental)Toronto 2021
    KinoDrome International Film Festival 2021
    Nahui Ollin Film Festival Mexico 2021
    Kosice International Film Festival Slovakia 2021
    Anthology Film Archives (NewFilmmakers NY) 2021
    LA Underground Film Forum LAUFF (Honorable Mention, Best Experimental Short Film) 2021
    Encuentro Para Cinéfagos: Festival de CineArte en la Frontera Venezuela 2021
    Revelation Perth International Film Festival
    (curated by Jack Sargeant) Australia 2021
    Prague International Monthly Festival 2021
    MC Experimental Video & Film Festival (Best Relational Special Effects) New York City 2021

    An experimental documentary and surrealist détournement, "Dreaming in Aspect Ratio" is created, in part, from public domain materials. Copyright © 2021 Gwendolyn Audrey Foster. All rights reserved.

  2. Film for Storm de Hirsch

    Engauge Experimental Film Festival, Seattle 2021

    Rephotographed psychedelic painted and scratched images, collaged and abstracted. An homage to underground experimental poet and filmmaker, Storm de Hirsch; one of the great unsung women in avant-garde film.

    “I don't want to put any labels on my films… I never impose on you; you need to find what you have to find.” ― Storm de Hirsch

    "Film for Storm de Hirsch" [aka "Women's Time"] is a handmade film and a tribute to legendary filmmaker Storm de Hirsch, one of the pioneers of underground experimental cinema in the 1960s, along with other female directors such as Marie Menken, Barbara Hammer, Gunvor Nelson, Joyce Wieland, Shirley Clarke, Barbara Rubin and many others.

    'Film for Storm de Hirsch' includes images of clothespins and film leader, slowed down to suggest the idea of women's waiting, women's time, women's spaces; women artists and filmmakers 'waiting' to be rediscovered. Their work lives on and inspires so many young experimental filmmakers and female video artists who search for the path of the many avant-garde women who paved the way in experimental film, video and art.

    De Hirsch was a poet who moved easily from written poetry to experimental film poetry. Storm had no camera, so she began painting, scratching and etching directly onto disgarded film stock and sound tape. Like many women of the era, she was largely written out of film history only to be later rediscovered and celebrated with retrospectives of her films which are now being screened and restored.

    Storm de Hirsch’s jubilant films are shot through with a fierce love of life, love, and sexuality. Her best known work is ‘Goodbye in the Mirror’ (1964) a feature shot on location in Rome, which Shirley Clarke called “the first real women’s film.” Her short films are dazzling abstractions, often mixing live action with animation and myriad experimental effects. De Hirsch noted that she often received responses to her work addressed to "Mr. Storm," and suspected that her work was better received when critics presumed she was male. “Peyote Queen” is positively hypnotic. As I wrote, Storm de Hirsch excelled in her “brilliant use of color, pure light, and sensory imaginations of memory and beauty.”

    For more on Storm de Hirsch and hundreds of women filmmakers, see my encyclopedia, “Women Film Directors: An International Bio-critical Dictionary."― Gwendolyn Audrey Foster

    See also "Mythology for the Soul: The Collected Poems of Storm De Hirsch," collected and edited by Stephen Broomer, and published by Sightline Editions and the Filmmakers Cooperative in New York City.

    "Film for Storm de Hirsch" Copyright © 2021 Gwendolyn Audrey Foster. All rights reserved.

  3. Lullaby for a Pandemic

    Festivals, Screenings, Awards:

    Thomas Edison Black Maria Festival and Tour;
    Jury’s Citation Award for the 40th Anniversary Season 2021
    Sydney Underground Film Festival 2021
    The Animattikon Project: Animation in Times of Plague, Cyprus 2021
    Experimental Forum LA (Honorable Mention, Best Short Experimental Film) Los Angeles 2021
    Luminous Frames Film Festival Denmark 2021
    Moving-Image-Arts International Short Film Festival 2021
    Les Femmes Underground Film Festival, Los Angeles 2021
    Osaka International Film Festival (OIFF) Japan 2021
    Women's HERstory Month Marathon Princeton NJ 2021
    Fine Arts Film Festival (FAFF) Venice Institute of Contemporary Art 2021
    Oxford Film Festival, Oxford Mississippi 2021
    Shorts@Fringe Experimental Showcase, Azores Portugal 2021
    Minute Madness Film Festival Toronto 2021
    Das Filmfest / Oregon State International Film Festival 2021
    Berlin Flash Film Festival 2021
    NewFilmmakers at Anthology Film Archives, NYC 2020
    AltFF Alternative Film Festival Toronto (Best 1 Minute Experimental Film) 2020
    LA Underground Film Forum (Honorable Mention, Best Short Experimental) 2020
    PSIAF Palm Springs International Animation Festival, Nominee, Best Experimental Animated Short 2020
    L’Age d’Or International Arthouse Film Festival India (Critic's Choice Award, Best Experimental Short Film) 2020
    KinoDrome: International Motion Picture & Screenplay Festival Cleveland 2020
    Couch Film Festival, Toronto (Nominee, Best North American Experimental Film) 2020
    Strangelove Time-based Media Festival UK 2020
    MicroActs LGBT+ Artists Screening, London 2020
    Agora-Off Cultural Space, France 2020
    Life Screenings Film Festival, Orlando 2020
    Exploding Cinema Festival, London 2020
    International Moving Film Festival, Iran: Semi-Finalist, Best Experimental Film Editing and Effects, 2020.

    A cineaste's pandemanic lullaby for nodding off to dreamland. Dada dream and cine-poem, made under quarantine. Spring 2020.

    "Lullaby for a Pandemic" Copyright © 2020 Gwendolyn Audrey Foster. All rights reserved.

  4. No Personal Checks

    Festivals and Awards:

    Festival “Suspaustas Laikas” MO Museum Lithuania 2021
    Esto es Para Esto /Encuentro Internacional de Cineastas EEPE Mexico 2021
    Fisura International Festival of Experimental Film & Video 2020
    International Moving Film Festival (Semi-Finalist, Best Experimental Film Editing & Effects) Iran 2020
    Vortex Festival de Cine Experimental, Mexico 2020
    AltFF Alternative Film Festival (Semi-Finalist, Best Documentary) Toronto 2020
    Experimental Film Festival, Barcelona 2020
    We Make Movies International Festival, LA 2020
    Experimental Film Fest,Tulsa 2020
    Analogica Touring Film Festival, Italy 2019/2020
    Moving-Image-Arts International Short Film Festival, "Portraits," Juried Showcase, Ryerson University of Image Arts, Toronto 2020
    FLIGHT/ Mostra Internazionale del Cinema Film Festival (Innovative Languages Collection), Genoa Italy 2020
    London Experimental Film Festival (2020)
    United States Super 8 Film & Digital Video Festival 2020
    Kansas City Underground Film Festival (Special Selection, Finalist) 2020
    NJ International Film Festival, Rutgers University 2020
    Intima Lente/Intimate Lens. Festival of Visual Ethnography, Italy 2019
    CODEC Festival Internacional de Cine Experimental y Vídeo, Mexico City 2019
    Oberhausen International Short Film Festival (Video Library) 2019
    Expressions Art Movie Film Festival, LA 2019
    Kino Climates: Belgrade, Serbia 2019
    Atrabilious Experimental Film Festival, Amsterdam 2019
    Engauge Experimental Film Festival, Seattle

    Solo screenings:
    Cinetoon de Nijverheid, Utrecht, Netherlands 2019
    Studio 44, Stockholm Sweden, 2018
    OT301 Cinema of the Dam’d, Amsterdam, 2018
    BWA Contemporary Art Gallery, Poland 2018

    From a Super 8mm diary film that I shot long ago and recently found in the basement. I hand-baked, re-photographed, hand-processed, re-edited, and otherwise distorted my footage and added layers of audio. An experimental in memory.

    I shot this footage many years ago when we moved from the West Village in New York city to the Midwest, which was very much like moving to the 1950s.

    I live here, but this is not my home.

    "Where you come from is gone, where you thought you were going to never was there, and where you are is no good unless you can get away from it."―Flannery O'Conner

    Some thoughts on film, Super 8mm and 16mm:

    Film is alive. It is projected in our imagination. Like a phoenix, film comes to life by magic, by resurrection. Film has a living warmth. It breathes. It is a living thing in a way, something alive and yet not; film is liminal, magical and ethereal.

    Film grain, scratches, and light streaks are like scars, freckles and wrinkles; tracings of life.

    "No Personal Checks" - a film by Gwendolyn Audrey Foster. Copyright @ 2018 Gwendolyn Audrey Foster. All Rights Reserved.

  5. Mass for Shut-ins [Trailer/Teaser]

    Trailer / Teaser for "Mass for Shut-ins."

    Festivals, Gallery Screenings & Awards:

    NewFilmmakers at Anthology Film Archives NYC (Semi-Finalist) 2021
    Exploratory Visions Film Festival Australia 2021
    Luminous Frames Film Festival Denmark 2021
    US Super 8 & Digital Video Art Festival 2021
    NJ Film Festival, Rutgers University NJ 2021
    Das Filmfest /Oregon State International Film Festival 2021
    Denver Underground Film Festival DUFF (Best Abstract Experimental Short) 2021
    RETROSPECTIVA Cine Underground, October TV Argentina/Latin America 2021
    Big Muddy Film Festival 2021
    Couch Festival (Best Experimental Short Film) Toronto 2020
    FilmArte Festival (Semi-Finalist, Best Experimental Film) Madrid 2020
    AltFF Alternative Film Festival (Winner, Best North American Experimental Film) Toronto 2020
    LA Underground Film Forum (Honorable Mention, Best Short Experimental Film) 2020
    L’Age d’Or International Arthouse Film Festival (Outstanding Achievement Award, Best Experimental Short Film) India 2020
    Revelation Perth International Film Festival Australia 2020
    Festival Transterritorial de Cine Underground Argentina 2020
    VastLab Experimental Film Festival 2020
    Austin Arthouse Film Festival, Nominee, Svankmajer Award (Best Animation) TX 2020
    Video Art Forum, Saudi Arabia 2020
    Couched Film Festival, Experimental Short Film Special Collection, Australia 2020
    Exploding Cinema, London 2020
    Agora - Off Cultural Space, France 2020
    Undercurrent Art Gallery, Brooklyn NY 2020

    Mass for Shut-ins. A hand-painted 16mm film. Direct animation. 8 minutes. "A fever dream. An infinitely morphing kaleidscopic stained glass window; bells that remind me of the sounds of Amsterdam, my second home after New York. Frantic REM sleep kicks in around 5 minutes..."

    A pandemic film made under quarantine, Spring 2020. How do we survive this pandemic? We survive through art & music.

    Portfolio: vimeopro.com/gwendolynaudreyfoster/experimental-films

    Awards, Festivals, Gallery Screenings, Website:
    gwendolynaudreyfoster.com/articles.html

    Copyright © 2020 Gwendolyn Audrey Foster. All rights reserved.

  6. Making America Straight & White Again

    Festivals and Juried Screenings:

    In Solidarity: Protest Films in Crisis,
    The Film-Makers' Coop, New York 2020
    AltFF Alternative Film Festival (Semi-Finalist, Best Experimental) Toronto 2020
    Fisura, International Festival of Experimental Film & Video Mexico 2020
    Splice Film Fest, Brooklyn NY 2020
    Here Comes Everybody TV Portland 2020
    The Magikal Charm Experimental Video & Film Festival New York City 2020
    MicroActs LGBTQ+ Filmfest, London 2019
    Bi+ Arts Festival, Toronto 2018 and 2020
    The Coven / nGbK gallery, NonBinary LGBT+ Group Show, Berlin 2018

    Solo screenings:

    "Fast and Furious: Experimental Queer Dada Feminist Films" of Gwendolyn Audrey Foster, Studio 44, Stockholm, Sweden 2018.
    “Punk Queer Dada Films: Gwendolyn Audrey Foster,” OT301 Cinema of the Dam'd, Amsterdam, 2018.
    “Gwendolyn Audrey Foster: Queer Feminist Punk Experimental Films,” Filmhuis Cavia, Amsterdam, July 2018.
    “Gwendolyn Audrey Foster: Queer Experimental Films,” The Screening Room, Salto TV for Amsterdam Queer Pride Festival, 2018.

    This queer punk video mimics what is feels like to watch the news as we see the rise of homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, racism and white supremacism in America under the Trump Regime. We must Resist!

    Media fosters a sense of anger, helplessness, and apathy, but when we rise above the noise and divisiveness, progressives will inevitably stem the tide of the retrograde. We will not slip backwards.

    The only way to get through the very worst is to go forward - directly through it. Tune out the discouraging noise and act. Be firm and resolute in the knowledge that we can move forward and we WILL move forward. ACT NOW! RESIST!—GAF

    aclu.org glaad.org

    “Making America Straight & White Again” is a collage of images and sounds found in the Public Domain, or materials released under a Creative Commons CC0 Public Domain license."Making America Straight & White Again," a détournement by Gwendolyn Audrey Foster. Copyright © 2018 Gwendolyn Audrey Foster. All rights reserved.

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