DER Documentary

Screening Room with Bruce Baillie

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From the Screening Room series
by Robert Gardner
color, 72 min, 1975/2005

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This DVD is also available as part of the Screening Room series Experimental Collection.

Bruce Baillie was one of the founders of the San Francisco avant-garde film movement. Born in South Dakota and educated at the University of Minnesota, the University of California at Berkeley, and the London School of Film Technique, he began making film in 1961 with On Sundays and The Gymnasts. With Chick Strand he founded Canyon Cinema, the important West Coast film distribution and exhibition collective.

Baillie's innovative films, including Mass for the Dakota Sioux and Castro Street, are renowned for their beauty and visual richness, their acute lyrical sensibility, and their invocation of myth in dealing with the commonplace world. His works are in the Library of Congress collection and are considered national treasures.

Bruce Baillie appeared on Screening Room in April 1973 to screen and discuss the films:

  • On Sundays (excerpt, 11:40)
  • The Gymnasts (excerpt, 6:45)
  • To Parsifal (full film, 15:12)
  • Tung (full film, 4:32)
  • Castro Street (full film, 9:54)

About the Screening Room series
In the early 1970s a group of idealistic artists, lawyers, doctors and teachers saw an opportunity to change commercial television in Boston and the surrounding area. It would require years of litigation up to and including the Supreme Court, but the case was won and the Channel 5 license was given to WCVB-TV. Screening Room was one of several programs offered in an effort to provide alternative television viewing. The idea behind Screening Room was to give independent filmmakers an opportunity to discuss their work and show it to a large urban audience. Nearly 100 ninety-minute programs were produced and aired between 1973 and 1980.

Screening Room was developed and hosted by filmmaker Robert Gardner, who at the time, was Director of Harvard's Visual Arts Center and Chairman of its Visual and Environmental Studies Department. His own films include Dead Birds (1964), and Forest of Bliss (1986).

Other films from the Screening Room series
Les Blank
Robert Breer
James Broughton
Emile de Antonio
Ed Emshwiller
Hollis Frampton
Robert Fulton
George Griffin
Hillary Harris
John & Faith Hubley
Peter Hutton
Derek Lamb
Standish Lawder & Stanley Cavell
Ricky Leacock
Caroline Leaf & Mary Beams
Jan Lenica
Alan Lomax
Jonas Mekas
Suzan Pitt
Yvonne Rainer
Richard P. Rogers
Jean Rouch
Michael Snow
John Whitney Sr.

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Supported By Massachusetts Cultural Council National Endowment for the Humanities National Endowment for the Arts