Film Farm 2019 -  Epiphanies in Everydayness by Gerry Fialka  310-306-7330

What did one mirror say to the other mirror?
It's all done with people.

I just spent a week at a picturesque farm two hours north of Toronto with goats, cows, horses, rivers, fields, a huge barn, and some vivacious people. Phil Hoffman's Film Farm (aka Independent Imaging Retreatis a one week workshop in artisanal filmmaking in Mount Forest, Canada where I experienced memorable epiphanies in everydayness.

Here are some insights inspired by my encounters with the 14 participants and 7 staff members at the Film Farm:

1- Spread information without the source, unless asked. I often quote aphorisms. But people do not always want to hear who wrote them. This makes me ask: "Can you separate the art from the artist?"

2- Wise advice given: be subliminal when called for. How can one make the subtleties obvious?

3- When a tree falls, remember that it might keep growing. The regrowing of an iconic willow tree in front of Phil Hoffman's barn resonated with us all. It radiated Persistance, Phoenixology, and Treedemption.  

4- Are the laws of nature cruel? Sunburns and bug bites at the Film Farm. Earthquakes back home in California. How do we cope? With brand new re-thinking? So I rethought "Mother Nature," "new nature" and "second nature."

5- How can one not be too cynical? When I offered how sometimes students become clones of their professors, and their first film tends to be their best work, someone voiced, "You're too cynical!" Can satire be destructive? A writer told me that is the job of satire. 

6- Can getting your hands dirty be the nutmeat? Dipping 16mm celluloid into chemicals enhanced for me the tactility of art's mysticism. How does one balance art with science? 

7- Why am I attracted to the philosophical rather than the technical? Of the two instructive handouts we were given, I left the technical mostly unread, gravitating towards the philosophical one. It contained a poem which had no title or author credit, and set off sparks in me. I called it the "Pebble Swallowin'" poem

One line was: "I want to digest them," which got me thinking about moving image art and how we devour it. We are gleaners.

The ending of the poem went: 
"And I'm lost and I'm lonely and yes, you do know
 that feeling:
You gonna make fun of me?"

For me, these lines evoke the need to needle somnambulism into more brave epiphanies . . . such as "Behind jokes there are grievances," and "Forgiveness is the key." 

Film Farm founder Phil Hoffman wrote the PH Manifesto. P could stand for Potential. The H could stand for Hydrogen, the most abundant building block of the universe. Or maybe the most universal building block is Not Knowing: doubt, uncertainty, ignorance, and stupidity. This leaves room for curiosity . . . the need to know . . . questions, questions and more questions! My assigned nickname for the week was "Curious George." Duh!


"Do you mean my whole fallacy is wrong?"
(Notice no author credit)


Footnotes are available upon request.


The following is the script (or non-script) for the film I made at the Film Farm.

See Us Bloom (16mm hand processed film, 7 minutes, 2019) Cinematography, Edit & Performance by Gerry Fialka. World premiere at the Film Farm, Mount Forest, Canada 7-7-19

This live cinema involves audience participation, and the projectionist sometimes blocking the lens, and occasionally being out-of-focus.

GERRY (aka GF): Hugs and thanks to you all. Let us applaud Scott for projecting. I am writing a film book called Any Complaints, Talk to the Projectionist.

CHRIS: Roll'm Scott (film starts) . . . Remember July 2019 Film Farm Fun . . . 

GERRY:  . . .  or was that the Fialka Funny Farm? Let us pry. Chasing white dots, dotillism, pointillism (GF points at the white dot on screen), mosaic, or is that a peep hole, an eye piece? Personal process cinema is confessional. It is not only the desire to reveal secrets, it is the desire to hide them and reveal them at the same time. (GF holds script up in the air) Is there a script doctor in the house? (GF throws script pages in air in front of screen) Erase this. Hit delete.

When Alice fell down the rabbit hole (GF looks for the white dot hole on the screen) through the looking glass, bridging the inner and outer worlds of lucid daydreams, it was just at the same time biologists were bridging the inner and outer fields of medical science - exploring the internal . . .  through the vanishing point into "total field" . . .  navigating the resonating interval between visual and acoustic space, chaos and cosmos, percept and concept, cause and effect, film and video, circling the square, analog and digital schmigital.

. . . parallel interface between myth and realism, order and anarchy, life and death. Before we forget to die, let's share this media yoga session, CONSPIRE ! On the count of three, take in a deep breath 1-2-3 and release. Now again very consciously feel the air enter your lungs 1-2-3. Release. Ah, agreed reality, collective hunch. SHARE -that's a 1580's word meaning enjoy or suffer with others. Fever dream. Contagious. Push and pull. Judo. Like JUJITSU - the word's root meaning combines soft/gentle with art and science. We live in the present. Our films are detailed histories of the future.

What is going on now?

What are you experiencing at our group screening?

How does one understand Film Farm relationships?

I know! Let us honor our ancestors. Blast through bardo and sing out their names (GF says each name, then audience repeats it):
Barbara Hammer
Jonas Mekas
Paul Clipson
Carolee Schneemann
Suzan Pitt
Rob Todd
Dusan Makavejev

Mysteries of the living organisms. That's us! Flip the PH Manifesto into MamaFeasta. How about psychogeography . . .  macroscopic gesticulation? Flip breakdowns into breakthroughs, rejection into redirection, hand signals for the blind (GF holds hand up in the middle of the screen).

I dreamt this before the Blue Moses screening last night. The anagram for Blue Moses is See Us Bloom. People are flowers and it has been an honor to stroll in your garden.

CHRIS: (as "the end" title shows on the screen) I'm sorry Gerry. Your time is up.

(GF holds the sign THE REAL ENDS SOON in front of the screen)

GERRY: Two goats from Phil's neighbor farm broke into the barn, where a rare archival 35mm print of Orlando, or was it Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf ? was sitting with the filmstrips leaking out of the rusty cans. The goats starting to chomp on the celluloid. One goat says the other goat, "The book was better."

Thank you.

Any complaints talk to the projectionist.

Footnotes are available upon request.


Gerry Fialka thanks all for sharing life and film philosophies at Film Farm.
The next films from Gerry's Film Farm 16m footage is MMMgood (Memory Mirrors Mystery) and 
The Mother Side of the Wake 
Please send reactions to the one minute preview for BroSide https:/ / kBj0UdpFEWo
PHIL's Websites 
Hoffman Films Vimeo Channel:
Film Farm:


Film Farm Participants 2019
Cindy Stillwell Bozeman, Montana, USA  
Tara Khalili  Toronto, Ontario 
Emily Pelstring Kingston, Ontario 
Kim Knowles, Bristol, UK 
Elian Mikkola  Montreal, Quebec 
Alix Blevins  Oakland, Calif., USA  
Hagere Selam `shimby’ Zegeye-Gebrehiwot  - Winnipeg, MAN Treaty One Territory 
Gerry Fialka Venice Calif. USA  
Markus Maicher Vienna, Austria
Mike Rollo Regina, Sask. 
Kelly O’Brien Toronto, Ontario
Ángel Rueda, A Coruña, Galicia, Spain 
Ramey Newell, Vancouver, B.C. 
Annapurna Kumar, Los Angeles, CA  
Film Farm Production Staff 2019:
Deirdre Logue
Rob Butterworth
Chris Harrison
Terra Jean Long
Scott Miller Berry
Phil Hoffman
Janine Marchessault (who edited the recommended 2019 book Process Cinema)