Melwood Screening Room Presents Luna Park Experimental Film & Media Series


memory keep(h)er/Paul William Kruse and Jasmine Hearn

From February through May, the Melwood Screening Room will highlight original works by local and visiting artists and filmmakers during the Luna Park Experimental Film & Media Series. Drawing inspiration from Luna Park, a Pittsburgh-based amusement park that operated from 1905 to 1909, the series will present new and rarely-seen works, with screenings accompanied by workshops and performances by established and emerging artists.

The series kicks off on February 17 at 12 p.m. with FEM_BODIED. Curated by Staycee Pearl, the evening features short films by four black women artists –  Corinne Spencer, Allana Clarke, Alisha Wormsley, and Jasmine Hearn – who create work featuring the” black female body in motion.”

See below for the complete Luna Park Experimental Film & Media Series schedule and details: 

March 23-24


Jeanne Dielman, 23, Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles

Curated by Audra Wist, REVOLT/RESTRAINT: How We Refrain is a two-day program meant to explore ideas about repetition, revisitation, revolt, and restraint. On March 23 at 7 p.m., includes a screening of Chicago-based artist and filmmaker Deborah Stratman’s The Illinois Parables, an experimental documentary comprised of regional vignettes about faith, force, technology, and exodus. Eleven parables relay histories of settlement, removal, technological breakthrough, violence, messianism and resistance, all occurring somewhere in the state of Illinois. The state is a convenient structural ruse, allowing its histories to become allegories that explore how we’re shaped by conviction and ideology. [Synopsis courtesy of Pythagoras Film]. A talkback with Wist and Stratman will follow. 

On March 24 at 7 p.m., ARTISTS READING SOMETHING __________ IN THE BACKYARD will feature artist and writer Lex Brown (who will present her video Lip Gloss Alurt), Brook Hsu, multimedia artist Tamara Santibañez, and Wist. The event will also include JEANNE DIELMAN’S RESTITUTION, a screening and panel discussion on the works in relation to the themes of power, sex, memory, repetition, and reclamation with homage to French filmmaker Chantal Akerman’s Jeanne Dielman, 23, Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles.

April 27-28


Where Are My Children?

Curated by D.W. AnselmoTOUCHING LOSS: Finding Girls in Early Hollywood will throw light on the vital contributions female players, directors, and spectators made to the successful implementation of early Hollywood. It focuses on rare fragmented films, forgotten young actresses, and personal fan artifacts from the 1910s. All films will be screened on 35mm prints lent by the Library of Congress, and most of these titles are not available commercially and have never been screened publicly.

On April 27 at 6 p.m., the program Women Directors in Early Hollywood: Lois Weber & Grace Cunard will include a screening and discussion of Where Are My Children? (1916) and an episode of the multi-chaptered action serial The Purple Mask (1916). Directed by writer Lois Weber and Philip Smalley, Where Are My Children? was inspired by the obscenity case of Margaret Sanger and stands as one of the first films to deal with birth control and abortion. Director/writer/star Grace Cunard‘s episode of The Purple Mask – titled “A Prisoner of Love”- depicts the adventures of Patsy Montez (Cunard), who experiences a series of perils after stealing her aunt’s jewels to get back at a detective who snubbed her.

On April 28 at 4 p.m., From the Archives: Forgotten 1910s Girl Stars & the Movie Fans Who Loved Them will feature selections from various multipart works, including The Master Key (1914) and Zudora (1914), and The Mysteries of Myra (1915), as well as the film The Eyes of Julia Deep (1918). Also included is a lecture titled Moviegoing Girls and Her Fan Scrapbooks

May 11-12

Curated by Suzie Silver and Hilary Harp, OUT IN THE WOODS / OVER THE RAINBOW celebrates play, inquiry, and the transgression of accepted boundaries of medium and genre in the moving image. On May 11 at 8 p.m., OUT IN THE WOODS: Queer Folk and Fairy Tales presents an international sampling of sixteen original short experimental queer folk and fairy tale films, from “Samoan and Mexican mythology and folk rites used to explore queer diasporic identities, to a queer retelling of a Swedish folk-tale about two sisters, three wishes and a calamitous obsession with a sausage.”

On May 12 at 12 p.m., OVER THE RAINBOWQueer and Experimental Shorts for Kids of All Ages includes a Drag Queen Story Hour hosted by Akasha L. Van-Cartier and an all-ages screening of genderfluid live-action and animated short films.

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