The Independent Film Show is devoted to the exhibition of experimental film. In a way, it is not surprising that this film festival is organized by an art gallery, as experimental film has certainly as much to do, or far more to do, with the plastic arts than it does with cinema, as conceived in its most classic and commonly accepted sense. It is film considered as an art form, and films considered as works of art. All throughout its history, experimental cinema has had many different abodes. It has been shown at such various places as movie theatres, universities, coffee shops, concert places, art galleries... And even today, its influence and its new forms are present in many different contexts. What is then the place of experimental cinema? Where does it belong to? Where is it actually screened today? During four days, coordinated by Raffaella Morra, the PAN - Palazzo delle Arti di Napoli will host the fifth edition of the Independent Film Show, for which three international curators have been asked to propose three programmes and present them in Naples. Probably even more than during former editions, this year's festival will bring along exciting questions regarding the place that is to be held by experimental film.
Masha Godovannaya is a Russian experimental filmmaker and film curator who has lived in New York and worked at the Anthology Film Archives. After having curated a programme last year for the Independent Film Show, for this current edition she has dedicated her efforts to compile Tired Snow (vol. III), a selection of recent films and videos by experimental and independent Russian filmmakers and artists. Painters, sculptors, visual artists, all of them share a poetic and visual language as a mean of expression. And even though some of the films deal with political and social issues, most of them are mainly visual experiments. It must be also pointed out that these films were all produced in particularly difficult conditions, due both to the political and economic situation in Russia. Has this peculiar situation influenced or not the artists, and how, is certainly an interesting question this programme raises. But above all Tired Snow (vol. III) intends to be a showcase for contemporary Russian artists working in the field of experimental film, video and animation: a good opportunity to discover the work of Ivan Maximov, Boris Kazakov, Dmitriy Trofimov and Anzhela Ashihmina, among many others.
The Politics of Perception is a programme conceived by an archivist and a researcher, Paolo Simoni, one of the founders of Home Movies. A Bologna-based association, Home Movies is devoted to the collection of amateur films, promoting creative approaches to this unique film genre through film programmes, installations and intermedia screenings. Collective memories or unintentional documents on everyday life, amateur films, as well as industrial, educational and other sorts of ephemeral films, can be considered as an exceptional source both for social and film history. Besides, their re-framing and re-editing in the context of found footage films for instance, appears as a cultural and artistic practice with a wide political and critical dimension. Nowadays, with new modes for the electronic diffusion of images being ruled by the principles of open source and creative commons, these practices are beginning to take a whole new dimension, and the resulting films are often genuine vehicles for alternative sources of information and counter-information.
The Politics of Perception offers a selection of American found footage films from the 1960s till today, from Stan Vanderbeek and Bruce Conner to Jay Rosenblatt and Leslie Thornton. The main inspiration for this programme comes from a 2004 film by Rick Prelinger, Panorama Ephemera. This film, which could be described as a history of the American imaginary landscape, was made from countless reedited sequences taken from ephemeral films belonging to the Prelinger Archives, which were founded in 1983 in New York City to collect, preserve, and facilitate the access to films of historic significance that had not been collected anywhere else (in 2002 the Prelinger collection would be acquired by the Library of Congress). This programme, which can be regarded as the result of a recycling process itself, is dedicated to all the film archivists in the world who just like Rick Prelinger regard their work as an act of creation.
Katia Rossini, a Brussels-based film activist and co-founder of the Cinema Nova, is responsible for the third programme, which this year is a double one. The last two days of the festival will be entirely devoted to Expanded cinema, its history and its influence on today's experimental film and visual arts. What are we precisely talking about? Works which examine the traditional ways of making and editing films and - above all - contribute to demolish the generally accepted idea that films should be "projected for an audience from one projector onto one screen." Expanded cinema pieces invent new ways of screening films, employing various and/or modified projectors, using new surfaces as screens, in short, modifying in multiple ways the conventional cinematic process.
The Expanded cinema movement was born in the mid-1950s and reached its peak during the 1960s but its influence on today's practices is particularly obvious: not only moving images have now definitely entered the gallery space, with many installations using film or video projections, but also the use of cinema for intermedia performances in musical and theatrical contexts has become more and more frequent. From the Historic Expanded Cinema to the Expanded Cinema Today gives us the opportunity to go back to the roots of this process. Expanded film screenings (including multiple projections), film/video installations and film performances being today's main heritage of the historical Expanded cinema works, each of the nights will feature a film programme, an installation and a live performance.
Once again, the confrontation of old and new works will undoubtedly raise relevant questions regarding the connections between cinema and the other arts, but also concerning film itself, both as a technical process and as an art form. "The forms of cinema are proliferating, as Sheldon Renan wrote in 1967, every new way of creating or controlling light is potentially a new form of cinema. Metal, film, magnetic tape, cathode tubes, living bodies, plastic, glass, computer: these are materials of cinema, the secondary materials. They provide means to work with the basic materials of cinema-light and time. It is only light and time that link all the forms of cinema, past, present and future."
Xavier Garcia Bardon
 Sheldon RENAN, The Underground Film. An introduction to its development in America, Studio Vista, London 1967, p. 227
 IBIDEM, p. 252