Simon Tarr, Associate Professor and Coordinator of Media Arts at the University of South Carolina, as well as an accomplished experimental filmmaker who has screened at the Festival many times, sat down with us during the last Festival to discuss his latest creative venture.
Tarr acknowledged a shift in his filmmaking over the years, stating that “In the last ten years or so my focus has not been on traditional filmmaking but on live cinema.” Tarr’s latest piece, which was showcased at the 55th Festival, was a remix of Robert J. Flaherty’s 1922 documentary Nanook of the North ominously entitled Blood Lust of the Wolf. Tarr explained how he creates live cinema with his laptop: “I take apart the film and I remake it live in front of the audience...through software...I am choosing the shots, I am choosing the effects, I am choosing everything about what the audience sees.”
Now, this remix of the film sounds extremely interesting (color me intrigued); however, it is not something that you can find online or through the Festival Tour. Tarr’s live cinema performances are instead much more transient: “There are no recordings of my performances. Part of the special thing...is that [my performance] only exists in the space with me and the audience, and after I’m done and I go away, it’s gone. So, it’s ephemeral, it’s unique to that time and place...I change it every time...it’s sort of like a conversation with the audience…”
Tarr also had some kind words for the Festival, specifically aimed at the intelligence of the dedicated audience: “[T]he audience that comes to the [AAFF]...are expecting avant-garde work or they’re expecting really difficult work that they have to...meet halfway”.
Watch the full interview here or on our Vimeo page!