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Now in its 10th year, Projections is a unique film festival jointly organized by writer/filmmaker/curator Aaron Rose and Roberts Projects. In our fourth installment, Rose once again mines the depths of the cinematic landscape looking for hidden and forgotten gems. For your viewing pleasure we offer an enlightening adventure in 90 minute long increments.

In a landscape where the plastic passions of Hollywood filter out all but the blandest of material, Projections steps in to offer alternative possibilities. Some of these selections were theatrical releases that never got their due, while others have been plucked from the celluloid undergrounds of either the internet or obscure cable TV. They are brilliant, weird, dramatic and self-serving, mundane and interrogating, and absolutely life-affirming. Please note that these films are presented in a nonheirarchical fashion to emphasize the universality of the movie-watching experience.  Commentaries by Aaron Rose.

Cholet: The Work of Freddy Mamani

CHOLET: THE WORK OF FREDDY MAMANI, 2008
Directed by Isaac Niemand 
Music by Moby

 

One of the most inspiring films I’ve seen in a long time, Isaac Niemand's documentary Cholet: The Work of Freddy Mamani is an architectural story of Aymaran identity and the urban transformation of El Alto, Bolivia. Mamani’s psychedelic architectural work is inspired by his own culture and iconography, along with the culture of his perceived ancestors, the Tiwanaco peoples. Mamani’s buildings are nicknamed “cholets,” a portmanteau made of the high-class “chalets” (as in, Swiss cottages with eaves) and the derogatory “cholo” (as in, racist slang for an indigenous person). Inspired by the brightly colored aguayo cloth used by indigenous women in the Andes, the buildings stand out against the cold, gray environs and the dusty, drab brick buildings of El Alto. They’re soaring lime and emerald, salmon and raspberry, with geometric panels and windows like mirrors. -A.R.

Flakes

FLAKES, 1993
Directed by Laz Rojas 
Starring Laz Rojas

 

A note from the director: A 1993 production written, performed, directed, produced, and edited by me and in which I portray over 100 characters in 52 scenes.

 

FLAKES01: A couple recently relocated to Los Angeles has dinner with the husband's college buddy and his flaky wife. Starring me as Kevin Johnson, Rebecca Johnson, Barry Petersen, and Stephanie Petersen. FLAKES02: A mother and daughter argue over the daughter's impending arranged marriage to the son of a business partner. Starring me as Nina Goldstein and Valerie Goldstein.FLAKES03: A father tries to prepare his son for his arranged wedding to the daughter of a business partner. Starring me as David Persky, Irene Persky, and Irving Persky. FLAKES04: A couple recently relocated to L.A. argue about the husband's eagerness to fit in with his flaky new friends. Starring me as Barry Petersen and Stephanie Petersen. FLAKES05: After running out on her husband, a mousy newlywed wakes up in the loft of a pair of kooky bohemians who found her passed out in the street. Starring me as Monica Davis, Miguel Perez, and Stephanie Petersen.

New Wave Theatre

NEW WAVE THEATRE, 1982

Created by Ed Oches and David Sniderman

 

New Wave Theatre was an LA-based cable TV show in the 1980s that featured some of the most important punk and new wave bands of the time. The show featured a high-energy, low budget format that jived with the punk movement’s D.I.Y. attitude. Host Peter Ivers, the ringmaster of this musical circus, generally clad in sunglasses, skinny ties, and other hallmarks of early ‘80s new wave style fashions, provided the glue in-between performances, interviews, and comedy sketches that held the show together. New Wave Theatre came to an end in 1983 when Ivers was found bludgeoned to death in his Los Angeles apartment. The case remains unsolved to this day. There’s also a fantastic biography of Ivers called In Heaven Everything is Fine. Highly recommended. -A.R.

ARISE! THE SUBGENIUS

ARISE! THE SUBGENIUS, 1992
Directed by Ivan Stagg
Starring Bob Dobbs

 

A possible harbinger of the Trump era, back in the 1990s The Church Of The SubGenius was a hypothetical “church” based on nothing. It’s possible you’ve seen its prophet. The intensively groomed, Ward Cleaveresque J. R. "Bob" Dobbs which began as a humble piece of 1950s clip art and went on to become "a way of life to millions... yet half of them don't even know it." Or so claims the sweeping, absurdity-laced, sonically (and perhaps intellectually) twisted narration of Arise! The SubGenius, an "instructional barrage video" put out by the Church in 1992 as the most potent distillation of its religion-satirizing sensibility. -A.R.

More, 1969

MORE, 1969
Directed by Barbet Schroeder 
Music by Pink Floyd 

 

Recently re-introduced to this masterpiece courtesy of my colleagues at Purple Fashion. Made in the late sixties, Barbet Schroeder’s directorial debut is a treatment of pleasure, pain and tragedy that stands apart from numerous counterculture exploitation films. With Academy Award-winning cinematographer Nestor Almendros (Days of Heaven), More never resorts to predictable LSD-induced stylistics, but rather atypically adopts a style of objectivity to illuminate the ideas and emotions that contribute to a lifestyle of destructive excess. After years of languish this relevant cult classic, featuring a soundtrack by Pink Floyd, is finally available again. Enjoy! -A.R.

BARBARA RUBIN AND THE EXPLODING NEW YORK UNDERGROUND, 2019

BARBARA RUBIN AND THE EXPLODING NEW YORK UNDERGROUND, 2019
Directed by Chuck Smith


Barbara Rubin's twenty-nine-minute experimental film Christmas on Earth caused a sensation when it first screened in New York City in 1963. Its orgy scenes, double projections and overlapping images shattered artistic conventions and announced a powerful new voice in the city's underground film scene. All the more remarkable that the vision belonged to an 18-year-old girl. A virtual Zelig of the '60s, Barbara Rubin introduced Andy Warhol to the Velvet Underground, Bob Dylan to Kabbalah and bewitched Allen Ginsberg. The same unbridled creativity that inspired her to make films when women simply didn't, saw her breach yet another male domain, Orthodox Judaism, before her mysterious death at thirty-five years old. Life-long friend Jonas Mekas saved all her letters, creating a rich archive that film-maker Chuck Smith carefully sculpts into this fascinating portrait of a nearly forgotten artist. -A.R.

 

Available to stream or rent on Amazon Prime Video

Puppet, 2019

PUPPET, 2019
Directed by Adam and Chris Levett


Puppet is a recent feature film born of a new generation of young New York artist/filmmakers. The film was directed by Adam and Chris Levett who also, along with artist Chloe Wise, founded the Feelings Film Festival in NYC and LA. A melancholic, post internet, post generational, meta consumerist achievement,  The film was written by and stars Carly Mark, known for co-founding the brand Puppets & Puppets. Also cast are Uncut Gems-star Julia Fox, and artist/activist Richie Shazam. -A.R.
 

BIG-ASS COLOR-TV SHOW

BIG-ASS COLOR-TV SHOW, 1974

Enviornmental Communications


A two-channel video piece created in 1974 by Environmental Communications, a group of young architects, photographers, and psychologists located in Venice Beach, CA. Through their media experiments, events, and slide catalogs, they positioned themselves as interpreters and purveyors of new trends, assembling a mass design imagery to resist the buildings and monuments that dominated architecture and its institutions. Big-Ass Color-TV Show is a visual and sound poem that illustrates their radical philosophy perfectly, and offers a unique glimpse into the countercultural architectural activities of last ’60’s - early 70’s California. -A.R.
 

NOW INSTANT

NOW INSTANT

 

My absolute favorite underground movie theatre in Los Angeles, Now Instant located in Highland Park has one of the most aspirational programs around. Founded by artist/filmmakers Ted Gerike and Sam Raphael, the 50 seat venue has screened obscure films from the likes of Shirley Clarke, Jeremy Deller, Barbara Hammer, Guy Debord, Matt Wolf and others (including myself!). Since the theatre isn’t open to the public, they’re making their newest programs available online. Please check them out. An invaluable addition to the cinematic dialogue in Los Angeles and beyond. -A.R.

View more at Now Instant's website.