2 Greens, 7 Films + 1 Rock Band kick off ArtPower’s Filmatic Series

Sam Green and Brent Green are not related, but they’re both filmmakers, each known for creating multimedia performances that combine inventive cinema with storytelling and music. And both were onstage for “Live Cinema” Nov. 9 at UCSD’s Qualcomm Institute, narrating their films while a band provided the live soundtrack on drums, keyboard, marimba, two guitars and a cello.

This “immersive storytelling” experience opened ArtPower’s 2016-17 Filmatic Series, initiated by film curator Rebecca Webb and now in its fourth season.

The inaugural Filmatic Festival in April, 2014, featured four days of screenings and workshops exploring the future of film and the changing nature of the audience experience. “Things will definitely be more interactive,” Webb said at the time. “What’s onscreen will only be one part of the experience. With the Filmatic Festival, we’re providing an arena for people to share the joy of participating in a variety of immersive, multi-sensory, collective experiences.”

This time, the focus is on “expanded cinema” — film accompanied by live narration, music and performance. “We’re presenting artists who are transforming the traditional movie theater experience,” Webb said.

On Nov. 9, the eve after Election Day, the two Greens certainly did some transforming. ArtPower Executive Director Jordan Peimer set the tone of the evening by recalling a time when, on a trip along the Silk Road, he and a number of strangers gathered together around a fire and started sharing stories. That was a good part of the mood created in the theater at Atkinson Hall, with Sam Green’s gently humorous storytelling style contrasting nicely with Brett Green’s darker, more poetic, revved-up, nouveau-Beat raps.

New York-based Sam Green is an Oscar-nominated documentary-maker with an MA in journalism from UC Berkeley whose works have won him grants from the Rockefeller and Guggenheim Foundations and the NEA. Brent Green is a self-taught visual artist from rural Pennsylvania whose animated films have screened worldwide, often accompanied by his sculptures. His supporters include the Sundance Institute.

The seven short films the two showed were remarkably low-tech, and just a jumping-off point for their performance, enhanced by the talented musicians (including Brent Green on guitar ... and saw!). The evening itself was a treat, a chance to hang out with a small gang of friendly indie creatives.

From here, the Greens’ “Live Cinema” goes on to the Next Wave Festival at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and ArtPower’s Filmatic Series continues with two more immersive performances this season: “Manual Cinema: Lula del Ray” (Feb. 14) and “Miwa Matreyek Double Feature” (May 3).

The future is now, with Filmatic.

 For more about upcoming programs: Visit artpower.ucsd.edu

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