Kate Lain, “She Collage” (courtesy of Kate Lain and Los Angeles Filmforum)

Los Angeles is a city in a constant state of reinvention, its hybrid identities formed by the melding and layering of different cultures and histories atop one another. It is appropriate, then, that it is the birthplace of the Festival of (In)Appropriation, a showcase of experimental films that employ appropriation, collage, archival and found footage, mashups, and remixes. Founded in 2009 by Jaimie Baron, Associate Professor of Film Studies at the University of Alberta, the festival seeks to explore the question: “Where does experimental appropriation cinema fit in a larger art historical context?” festival co-curator Greg Cohen told Hyperallergic. “Appropriation art is a laboratory for questioning the status of truth, the whole concept of originality, the very idea of the author,” he explains. Although its roots go back more than half a century, in an era of “fake news” and “deep fakes,” appropriation cinema can be seen as a critical voice of resistance.

Adrian Garcia Gomez, “La Mesa” (courtesy of Adrian Garcia Gomez and Los Angeles Filmforum)

This Sunday, the festival’s 11th and final edition will premiere at Hollywood’s Egyptian Theater. Curated by Cohen, Baron, and Lauren S. Berliner, the line-up features 10 films that run the gamut from YouTube supercuts to analog interventions to code-enabled digital trickery. Highlights include Kate Lain’s She Collage (2015), an animated reflection on the work of Long Beach-based collage artist Terry Braunstein. Stacey Steers’ The Edge of Alchemy (2017) was made using 6,500 collages, placing silent film actresses Mary Pickford and Janet Gaynor into 19th-century engravings, which Cohen likens to a “Cabinet of Curiosities.” La Mesa (2018) by Adrian Garcia Gomez features scenes from films of the Golden Age of Mexican Cinema, into which the filmmaker inserts himself, transforming them into a personal exploration of queer identity. Finally, Kristy Guevara-Flanagan’s What Happened to Her (2016) juxtaposes images of the disturbingly popular TV and film trope of the dead, often naked female body with a first-person account by an actress who has played such a role. Sunday’s screening will be followed by a conversation with filmmakers Kristy Guevara-Flanagan and Kate Lain and co-curator Greg Cohen.

Stacey Steers, “The Edge of Alchemy” (courtesy of Stacey Steers and Los Angeles Filmforum)

When: Sunday, December 8, 7:30pm (tickets: $12 general; $8 students with ID/seniors; $8 for American Cinematheque members; free for Filmforum Members.)
Where: Spielberg Theatre at the Egyptian (6712 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood, Los Angeles)

More info at Los Angeles Filmforum

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Matt Stromberg

Matt Stromberg is a freelance visual arts writer based in Los Angeles. In addition to Hyperallergic, he has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, CARLA, Apollo, ARTNews, and other publications.