Copyright 2013
Winnipeg Underground Film Festival
June 1 to 4th, 2017

At the Rachel Browne Theatre (2nd Floor, 211 Bannatyne Ave)

WUFF is excited to host prolific Milwaukee-based filmmaker Ben Balcom for an incomplete retrospective presentation of his film and video work. Although Ben has had several pieces shown at WUFF in the past (Notes from the Interior in 2016, Array and Celestial Objects in 2015, Animal Bone Ash in 2014), this will be the first time the majority of the work in this program will be shown in Canada. In some ways, Ben’s work demands this sort of retrospective viewing, as themes and motifs are drawn and elaborated upon across works. Explorations of space (physical, virtual, and emotional) run up against the imprecision and fallibility of language. Ben's films show attempts to grapple with what it means to orient oneself - in space, on a grid, in a relationship, inside one’s own body. The landscape and the mechanism shatter; all these measurements become scribbles. With filmmaker Ben Balcom in attendance.

Ben Balcom was born in Massachusetts and raised in Illinois. He received his MFA in Film, Video, Animation, and New Genres from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and his bachelor's degree in Film-Video Production from Hampshire College. Ben currently teaches film production at UWM and is the technical director for the Milwaukee Film Festival. He is also a co-founder and programmer of Microlights Cinema. Since 2013, Microlights has hosted nearly 30 film and video artists from around the world.

digital actualities dir. Ben Balcom
2012 | US | 6 | 16mm and video | World premiere
Actual or virtual? Here are some actualities culled from the network: two acts of falling, two registrations of time. These images mark the oneiric margins of the archive. The re-inscription of the digital to analog (and back again) conflates the actual and the virtual in an uncanny drift. -BB

Our Own Private Universe dir. Ben Balcom
2016 | US | 12 | 16mm and video | Canadian premiere
Our language is unreliable. Is meaning adding up or emptying out? Through these possible scenes we simply need these actors to play their parts in order to mask the wilting of a fiction. They talk all at once. What do they say? Which lives do they speak of? To have been is not enough for them. Our dialogue is uncertain. In the meantime, let them converse calmly, since they are incapable of keeping silent. -BB

Turning a Sphere Inside Out dir. Ben Balcom
2014 | US | 2 | video | Canadian premiere
This is how you turn a sphere inside out. -BB

A Symptom dir. Ben Balcom
2014 | US | 6.5 | 16mm | Canadian premiere
A mirrored discourse. The object we see is that which wants enumeration, but it is never said quite right. We are looking at speech from both sides of the mirror, listening to the wretch who elaborates upon the grid of desire. -BB

Reginald dir. Ben Balcom
2012 | US | 8 | video
Numerous sprouting trajectories give rise to the fabric of Reginald’s body. What we are left with are abstract shells that function as reminders of domestic spaces - virtual spaces, out of which threads of narrative arise. These figures form a supple machinery. Look at them dance. Look at the objects with adorn them. -BB

Ceol (Ruinsong) dir. Ben Balcom
2014 | US | 5 | 16mm | Manitoban premiere
See the ruins of a castle at the far edges of land. The birdsong you hear mimics the sound of the river, and the human voice mimics the song of the bird. This is a failed historical gesture sung in a playful, wild mimetic gesture. -BB

Speculations dir. Ben Balcom
2016 | US | 18 | 16mm and video | Canadian premiere
An affective portrait of place. An exploration of the city as abstraction. Memories of a forgotten place, where the forgetting begins to feel like home. -BB

* images from Ben Balcom's Speculations (top) and Ceol (Ruinsong) (bottom)