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Artist as Film-Maker
John Smith appears on the National Film Theatre's Artist as Film-Maker programme in 1984

The Arts Council has been supporting film-making artists since 1970 in parallel with its funding of documenatries on the arts. Intially, most awards were to artists who only occasionally worked in a time-based medium, but increasingly artists have opted to specialise in film/video and our comittee's decision-making has reflected this change. It now not only funds the making of time-based work, but involves itself in the support of workshops, tour schemes for artists, festivals and other 'exhibition' programmes, video access libraries, etc.

These four programmes, selected by Anne Rees-Mogg (a committee member) and David curtis (Assistant Film Officer at the Arts Council) should at least demonstrate the wide variety of work funded by our committee, even though they include only a fraction of the work supported. Conspicuously excluded (for practical reasons) are video - a rapidly expanding area which we hope to show on another occasion - expanded media (work for more than one screen, which includes a 'live' performance element), and large scale films (feature length or more), which would have consumed whole programmes. These omissions, and the constraints of time, mean that many well-known names are absent from these programmes.

We hope you enjoy the works we are able to show, and that you will accept our invitation to meet and question members of our committee, department staff and of course the film-makers, at the open forum on Tuesday 31st. - Rodney Wilson, Film Officer

Tue 31 Jan 8.30 NFT3
Forum - Production and Exhibition of Artists' Film/Video
Members of the Artists' Film and Video Committee, Arts Council Film Officers and film-makers will be present to talk about the work of the committee, and to answer questions. A rare opportunity to take us to task! Admission free. No pre-booking.

Sun 29 Jan 8.30
Programme 1

Derek Jarman first received support from the Artists' Film and Video Committee for a project that became his first feature film, but it could be argued that his strikingly visual Super 8 'home-movies' have had a greater impact on other film-makers than his feature films. In The Dream Machine Jarman and a group of Super 8 colleagues - Michael Kostiff, John Maybury and Cerith Wyn-Evans - have constructed a fantasy homage to William Burroughs, who appears as a linking figure between a series of dreams of classically draped beautiful youths. Similarly influenced by Cocteau, and equally perhaps by Vigo, Nightshift, Robina Rose's 'dream' of a night's activities in a strange hotel, stars amongst many others the poet and playwright Heathcote Williams; its stunning photography was by the American film-maker Jon Jost.

Mon 30 Jan 6.15
Programme 2

Close Up, a new work examining the themes of politics, art and the politics of perception, by one of the avant-garde's major theorists - Peter Gidal - forms the second half of this programme. In the first half Jeff Keen, recently the subject of a channel 4 profile (co-produced with the Arts Council), creates a series of subversive, humorous, 'homages' to Hollywood in Twenty Four Films; Jock McFadyen, recently artist-in-residence at the National Gallery, offers a witty re-enactment of the Joyce McKinney case (as recorded by the top people's paper) in The Case Continues; and Jenny Okun, better known perhaps as a photographer than as a film-maker, shows a small classic of the English 'landscape' school, Focus II.

Mon 30 Jan 8.30
Programme 3

Will Milne's latest film, Meat of Other Times is a sometimes abstract, sometimes sensual meditation upon the human body, in which he uses lighting, focus changes and altered viewpoint as his means of exploration. In View from Reardon, a work that hints at autobiography, Tim Bruce shows how perception of a cityscape can be differently coloured by associations and superimposed cultural readings. In Vertical Features Remake, Peter Greenaway, who was given his first public support by this committee, comments with characteristic erudition and irony on the mildly obsessive nature of the English Landscape School - a genre seen at its best in the films by Joanna Millett and Chris Welsby. In Millett's film, Views from Ilford Hill, a series of overlapping pans reduces the landscape to veils of shallow space; in Welsby's Streamline, the camera elegantly tracks overhead along a stream bed.

Tue 31 Jan 6.15
Programme 4
John Smith is the avant-garde's most trusted humorist. Shepherd's Delight, his latest film receiving its first public showing in this programme, is a series of episodes in which image and sound play games with the spectator, challenging him/her wit and powers of perception. David Finch - whose film 1983 received its premiere at the 1983 London Film Festival - is one of a number of young artists currently taking a fresh look at narrative film. I Dish, Jayne Parker's psychological study of two figures, uses extended visual metaphors and ritual-like actions in the tradition of Maya Deren. In his outstandingly beautiful new film, Messages, Guy Sherwin explores a child's developing perception of the world through visual analogy and analysis.

David Curtis
National film Theatre programme
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