Dec 3, 2013
The Film, Video
and Moving Image
Magazine of Northern
PXL Triple Fake
by Gerry Fialka
As a put-on artist, impresario, or whatever you want to call it, I have produced the PXL THIS Film Festival since 1991, meaning this is our 20th year—whoa!
Last year’s festival
will show at Other Cinema, Saturday, Oct 23, 2010, at ATA Gallery, 992 Valencia, SF, and
will be in Santa Monica on December 13.
PXL THIS delivers the genuine fake film festival as a way of seeing the paradoxical exuberance of being through moving image folk art. Did J. Hoberman, the notorious “Village Voice” critic, know years ago when he wrote “PXL is the ultimate people’s video,” that “The Hollywood Reporter” would eventually call Pixelvision a “precursor of today’s DV filmmaking”? Whatta joke! Reminds me of IFP Magazine’s interview with Ethan Hawke, where he said his director in “Hamlet,” Michael Almereyda, loved using a camera from the 50’s.
Pixel Vision's Low Tech is liberating at the start of the shoot—so few buttons—and at the end, with its built effects system. photo: G. Fialka
At any rate, Fisher Price released 400,000 of these lovable plastic toy wonders from 1987 to 1989. The irresistible irony of the PXL 2000 is that the camera’s ease-of-use and affordability, which entirely democratizes movie-making, has inspired the creation of some of the most visionary, avant and luminous film of our time.
“If movies offer an escape from everyday life, Pixelvision is the Houdini of the film world,” noted a reviewer in “SF Weekly.” My personal hero, George Manupelli, founder of the Ann Arbor Film Festival, as well as a filmmaker, poet, and environmental activist, nailed it best when he said: “When the aliens are here and deciding whether to vaporize all mankind for our inhumanity, cruelty and greed, showing the aliens PXL THIS will save the world. PXL THIS shows our best nature as humanist creators and subversives against those who deserve it. Save the world. Support PXL THIS.”
One of the most unique film festivals around, PXL THIS has been attended by Oliver Stone, Daryl Hannah and Kim Fowley. Indeed, Pixelvision has made it onto the big screen via Richard Linklater, “Slacker,” Michael Almereyda, “Nadja,” and Craig Baldwin, “Sonic Outlaws.” Past PXL THIS participants have included a wide range of innovators: Lee Ranaldo (Sonic Youth), Chris Metzler (“Fishbone” and “Salton Sea” documentaries), James & Sadie Benning, Joe Gibbons, Cecilia Dougherty, Peggy Ahwesh, Jesse Drew, and Margie Strosser as well as the ever fanatic Pixelvision afficionado Michael Almereyda.
Gerry Fialka, the founder of PXL THIS, likes to say anyone can become a festival impresario. photo: G. Fialka
We really love that the “New York Times” called PXL THIS “small” and that lots of our best entries come from Venice California’s Boardwalk performers (as in “houseless” — not homeless because the earth is everyone’s home).
PXL THIS is one of the longest running film festivals in the entertainment capital of the world. Celebrating “cinema povera” and electronic Pointillism, it evokes Marcel Duchamp’s axiom, “Poor tools require better skills.” Pixelators from across the globe Rube Goldberg this inventive approach to film making, and in the end create a lovely unassuming addition to our throw-away of consumer culture. These low-tech hi-jinx films come through loud and clear by reframing a new cinema language.
San Fran’s Other Cinema screens PXL THIS 19 on Oct 23, 2010 and PXL THIS celebrates 20 years of toy camera film festing on December 13, 2010 at The Unurban in Santa Monica CA (
this year's festival info
). As you bathe in the glossy techofreaked swirl of today’s culture, swimming in the warm glow of Pixelvision and swimmingly attain an anti-environmental epiphany, remember that technology is a tool and in art organic and funky is one of the best effects.
Gerry Fialka is a Venice CA based para-media ecologist,
Posted on Oct 05, 2010 - 08:06 PM