At the onset of his landmark essay Towards A Minor Cinema, Tom Gunning quotes Deleuze and Quattari: There is nothing that is major or revolutionary except the minor.
For RPM 2020, we ask, what is “minor cinema” today and what can it do for us, our consumption of media, our relationship with the environment, our world?
For the second year, The Art Department and Cinema Studies Program at UMass Boston continue to host the festival. RPM 2020 received nearly double the amount of submissions compared to our inaugural
edition. Drawing on a wide range of techniques and modes of filmmaking, ranging from avant-garde poetics, non-fiction, experimental animations and narratives to dance films, performances, and
contemporary art practices, RPM 2020 brings together innovative efforts by over 160 artists, 122 pieces from 32 countries and territories. (Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, China,
Colombia, Cezch Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Iran, Italy, Japan, Kosovo, Malaysia, Mexico, Montenegro, Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, Serbia, Singapore, South Africa,
South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, United Kingdom, and United States.)
Featuring 107 short films, 5 audio-visual live performances, a documentary feature film, and 9 installations in the exhibition area, the selection of RPM 2020 remains loyal to the experimental spirit
and intimacy of personal filmmaking. Among the highlights of the 11 programs of experimental shorts, Let’s Look at Florida (Hogan Seidel) and Porto Landscape (Michael Lyons) speak to our
contemporary anxieties over environmental disasters while testing the boundary of the film medium; Toni and Bleri (Katja Verheul) portrays the physical and psychological turbulence caused by the migratory
policy of Europe; MUÑE (Catalina Jordan Alvarez) playfully disrupts ethnographic and gender stereotypes; Vesuvius At Home (Christin Turner) ruminates on our encounters with destruction; the essay film of Sky Hopinka (Lore),
Mike Hoolboom & Alena Koroleva (Wax Museum), and Ei Toshinari (…And So We Start Again) are lyrical wonders to behold; Abiding (Ugo Petronin), Amusement Ride (Tomonari Nishikawa), and Valpi (Richard Tuohy) brilliantly address
the formal essence of cinema in light, time, and movement; Simon Liu’s E-Ticket, which is included in the New Frontier Shorts Program at Sundance Film Festival 2020, is an astonishing collage made out of 16,000 splices of
his personal archive.
In addition to many short films that border the realm of documentary, we are showing the documentary feature Self-Portrait : Sphinx in 47 KM by Chinese documentarian Zhang Mengqi. The film was shown at
Vision du Réel Film Festival in 2018, and Zhang’s filmmaking represents an essential grass-root effort of oral history and folk memory preservation in China.
This year, RPM Fest is putting together a special program dedicated to one important artist in the field. We are presenting a selection of films by Saul Levine who is a key figure in the history of
American avant-garde cinema as well as a local filmmaker in Boston.
Artists from New England area also make a strong presence at RPM 2020: Ethan Barry, Allison Cekala, Susan DeLeo, Brittany Gravely, Josh Guilford, Margaret Hart, Amanda Justice,
Natalie Minik, Youjin Moon, Kathryn Ramey, Hogan Seidel, Douglas Urbank, Jeffu Warmouth, Josh Weissbach, to name a few.
Yangqiao Lu, January, 2020