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Short Film Series

Guy Sherwin
30+ x 3mins b/w Silent 16mm
ongoing re-groupable set of films, titles include Eye, Bicycle, Metronome, Portrait with Parents, Window, Tracking, Candle & Clock, Barn, Cat, Chimney, Breathing, Maya, Clouds & Wires, Tree Reflection

Short Film Series

An interconnected set of 3 minute films, in which the structure of each one becomes apparent through the process of watching.

100' reels of epiphanies, time-lapse studies, ordinary objects and scenes rendered strange and ambiguous.
Michael O'Pray.

Sherwin's hallmark is the direct concentrated image which fully exploits the tonal range of black and white stock. This control is not at all rigid, since its purpose is to capture in the shot a certain kind of freedom and chance in the visible world.

An ongoing project. Currently there are about 40 films which are usually shown in groups of from 6 to 16. Many of the films were made in the late 70s, and several others in the late 90s. The Short Film Series is also a source of the later film series' Animal Studies and The Train Films with which it shares certain films.

note: for more on the Short Film Series see introductory essay by Nicky Hamlyn

Twenty of the more frequently screened films from the series, in approximate order of making:

  • Portrait with Parents (there is also a 2 screen version, Two Portraits, 1975/2001)
  • Vermeer Frames
  • Handcrank Clock
  • Film with Window (this film is also used in the live projection event Film With Window - first performed in 1976)
  • Vermeer Still Life
  • Windbreak Print
  • Chimney (also part of The Train Films 1977-2004)
  • Cat on T.V.
  • Candle and Clock
  • Barn
  • Clock and Train
  • Metronome
  • Breathing
  • Tap
  • Maya
  • Eye
  • Cycle
  • Clouds and Wires
  • Tree Reflection (has been shown as a looped gallery installation 2003; also included in the Animal Studies)
  • Cat Sleeping (also included in the Animal Studies 1998-2004)

Short Film Series was begun in 1975, and is in principle ongoing. Each film lasts approximately three minutes, or the length of a one hundred-foot roll of film.
"The films act as studies of light, as well as demonstrations of a wide variety of creative filming techniques. Some are shot in real time, resulting in a single three-minute take. At the other extreme, the three minutes of Barn took two hours to shoot, two frames at a time. The uniform duration of the films, the overriding concern with light, time and corporeality, the relentless three-minute focus on a single subject or event, are common to all the films and provide a powerful cumulative effect for the viewer. But on a deeper level, what binds these films together and gives them their enduring fascination is the deeply human connection which Sherwin makes between his formal filmmaking concerns and the subjects of his films. These films are all about relationships - between light and darkness, light and camera, camera and subject, subject and filmmaker and viewer, all at once and played out not only on the screen but also in the mysterious conjunction between the projected film and the viewer". - Andy Ditzler, programme notes for a screening at Eyedrum Atlanta Georgia 2005.

Guy Sherwin's DVD Short Film Series 1975-2014 is published by LUX and available at the LUX Shop.
Sherwin's notes to accompany the DVD are available to read on Scribd.

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