Film Love and Atlanta Celebrates Photography present
WARREN SONBERT Friendly Witness and other films
A three-night mini-retrospective on a master of avant-garde cinema
Program One: Early trilogy + Friendly Witness
still image from the film Friendly Witness (courtesy the Estate of Warren Sonbert)
A "friendly witness," Warren Sonbert (1947-1995) holds a unique place in American independent film. On one hand he shows the distinct influence of Hitchcock and the Hollywood melodramas of Douglas Sirk, and on the other he was a rigorous avant-gardist. Combining breathtaking photography with some of cinema’s most complex montage editing, he created an exhilarating body of work – compassionate meditations on global humanity that are visually sumptuous and structurally brilliant. Sonbert's films have been the subject of retrospectives at the Guggenheim Museum and other institutions, but remain available only in 16mm prints and are too rarely screened. Atlanta Celebrates Photography and Film Love present three nights of films by this crucial figure of the American avant-garde.
Juxtaposing early and late works, program one explores the maturation of Sonbert’s style as well as his masterful use of music. His early trilogy of short films, set to exuberant rock and roll and documenting the seedy glamour of the 60s New York art world, established Sonbert’s notoriety while he was still a teenage film student at NYU. Twenty years later, Sonbert returned to the music soundtrack in his masterpiece Friendly Witness – an intricate and deeply moving mosaic of people and places around the globe.
All the selections will be shown in their original format of 16mm film. At the screening, curator Andy Ditzler will provide an introduction to the films and to Sonbert’s work.
PROGRAM Amphetamine (Warren Sonbert, 1966), 10 minutes co-directed with Wendy Appel
Hall of Mirrors (Warren Sonbert, 1966), 7 minutes
Where Did Our Love Go? (Warren Sonbert, 1966), 15 minutes
Friendly Witness (Warren Sonbert, 1989), 22 minutes
Postcards from Warren (Jeff Scher, 1998), 3 minutes
Warren (Jeff Scher, 1995), 3 minutes
WARREN SONBERT: FRIENDLY WITNESS AND OTHER FILMS is a Film Love event. The Film Love series provides access to rare but important films, and seeks to increase awareness of the rich history of experimental and avant-garde film. The series is curated and hosted by Andy Ditzler for Frequent Small Meals. Film Love was voted Best Film Series in Atlanta by the critics of Creative Loafing in 2006, and appears in Atlanta Magazine's Best of Atlanta 2009.