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Lights, Camera, Action: UK Law Professor Organizes Film Series at 21c Museum Hotel

November 30, 2016

A Q&A with Brian L. Frye

What is the Lexington Film League?
The Lexington Film League (LFL) is a Kentucky 501(c)(3) charitable corporation organized and operated by Lexington-based filmmakers and film enthusiasts. It sponsors many different film and video programs in the Lexington area, including the Harry Dean Stanton Festival, Filmslang, and the Showcase at 21c Museum Hotel Lexington. It also helps with the logistics of the Cult Movies at Al’s Bar.

What exactly is the Lexington Film League Showcase?
The Lexington Film League Showcase at 21c Museum Hotel Lexington is a series of film and video programs that reflect the richness and diversity of contemporary film and video practice in the region and the world. It focuses on presenting works that would not otherwise be available in the Lexington area, especially non-narrative and documentary films and videos. It is also the only film and video series in the Lexington area that presents motion picture films on 16mm, 8mm, and Super-8mm film.

What works are included in the Showcase?
The programs include new works made by young artists, important works made by living artists, and historical works made by marginalized artists. They include works made in different media, including single-channel films and videos, as well as performances. The programs also include works that reference different genres, including abstract, non-narrative, documentary, and fictional works.

What is the primary focus or the ultimate goal of the Showcase?
The primary focus of the Showcase is to introduce Lexington area audiences to important film and video works that are not currently available in the area. The ultimate goal of the Showcase is to promote Lexington and 21c as a venue for artistic film and video work.

Where did the idea for the Showcase come from?
Alex Brooks, the museum manager of 21c Lexington approached the Lexington Film League about presenting film and video programs at 21c Lexington, and LFL enthusiastically agreed. I am the programmer and organizer of the series, as well as a board member of LFL, but the programs could not happen without the assistance of all the LFL board members, and the staff of 21c, especially Alex Brooks and Caitlin Heinz, the publicity director.

When did the Showcase start?
In June 2016, LFL presented the first Showcase, a program of short films from the late 1960s and early 1970s by Louisville-based filmmaker Rhoden Streeter, all of which were presented on 16mm with the artist present. Other programs to date include:

  • Brett Kashmere’s From Deep
  • Showcase of short films and videos by local & non-local artists
  • Short films by Talena Sanders (artist in person)
  • Short film by Oscar-nominated directors Nomi Talisman & Dee Hibbert-Jones (DHJ in person)
  • Films by Jim Finn (artist in person)
  • Home Movie Day program
  • Films from Appalshop (Elizabeth Barret & Caroline Rubens in person)

What role do you play?
I program, present & project all of the films.

Tell us about your background in film studies.
I have a long history of programming motion picture films. Before attending law school, I earned a film studies degree at the University of California at Berkeley and a Master of Fine Arts in filmmaking at the San Francisco Art Institute. In the San Francisco Bay Area, I worked at Pacific Film Archives and the San Francisco Cinematheque, and began presenting programs of films and videos.

In 1997, I moved to New York City, where I worked at the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Film-Makers’ Cooperative, and Anthology Film Archives in many different roles, including as a researcher, assistant, programmer, and projectionist. I also co-founded the Robert Beck Memorial Cinema, which presented weekly programs of films and videos on the Lower East Side of Manhattan for more than 5 years, initially at Collective Unconscious and later at Participant Gallery. During law school, I continued to make and present, and write about films and videos. The opportunity to present films and videos in Lexington at 21c is a natural fit, because the purpose of the Showcase is to present works that complement the mission and aesthetic of 21c.

What has been your favorite film shown thus far?
I love them all! But one special favorite is Alison S.M. Kobayashi’s From Alex to Alex: http://www.asmk.ca/HOME/index.php?/video/from-alex-to-alex/

Who can attend the monthly programs?
The screenings are always free and open to the public. There is a cash bar where patrons can buy alcoholic or non-alcoholic drinks.

What programs are up next?
December 13, 2016
James Robert Southard (UK Fine Arts), Cuban Video Series: Cinco Etapas del Duelo 2015 (artist in person)

December 20, 2016
Talena Sanders, Liahona (feature film)

Anything else you want to tell us about the Showcase?
The Showcase is supported by LexArts, which made a generous grant to LFL to sponsor the programming.