Lake Ivan Film Journal is a collection of reviews and essays about experimental film, both recent and historical. Some posts are shorter, descriptive pieces. Many are longer essays, in which I dig into individual works, and examine what’s going on inside of them. You may occasionally see artist interviews, and opinion pieces about contemporary film practice as well.
Many of the posts will be public; a few will be for paid subscribers only. I will occasionally re-print some of my old reviews, when I feel they still have something important to say.
Some of you may already be familiar with my writing. I’ve been publishing my film reviews since 2002, on several platforms. If you’ve been following me for a while, you’re familiar with my aesthetic prejudices and artistic biases: the kinds of films which turn me on, and some of the films which don’t. Like any critic, I have my own tastes and I tend to gravitate towards certain kinds of films more than others, but I try to watch new work with an open mind. When I watch a film, I silently invite it to talk to me, to excite and interest me, to connect with me. Nothing excites me more than when a film is so powerfully made that it makes me rise above my own tastes. A film that makes me see or feel the world in a new way: it’s what I live for.
To those considering getting a paid subscription: thank you so much for your support of my writing and my work. Under my current circumstances, it is very helpful, and deeply appreciated.
If you’re a filmmaker yourself, please feel free to submit your work to me for review, but keep a few things in mind:
•Choose a few works which you’d like me to see, and send me the links and passwords. Please don’t send me links to a page on your website or Vimeo page where a large number of films are available.
•I write about single channel works made on video or film, intended for theatrical screening or home viewing. I don’t generally write about installation or gallery pieces, or performances of “expanded cinema.”
•It’s helpful if you can send a synopsis, biography, any relevant press material, and stills from the film.
•It may take a very long time before I have a chance to view your film, and decide whether or not I will write about it, so I apologize in advance for that.
•Please email queries to firstname.lastname@example.org
What is “Lake Ivan?”
“Lake Ivan” is a name I have given to all my artistic work: performances, films, writing, music, improvisation technique. It comes from the title of one of my first works: an hour long performance which I created as a senior project in my last year of college in 1981. It’s a mythical place, which is referred to very indirectly in the original performance. I think of it as a lake where you can jump in, and come up with every cell in your body tingling, and filled with inspiration. In my mind, it is vaguely associated with Portrait of Ivan, a beautiful book by Paula Fox about a friendship between a boy and an painter, a book which meant a lot to me as a child.
If you want to understand everything about this origin story, there are some grainy VHS excerpts from this performance up on my Vimeo page.
Would you ever consider covering the films of Bill Morrison?
What about some of the classics of experimental film, such as Stan Brakhage's Dante Quartet?