You are cordially invited to a screening of my short films Thursday evening (June 7) at the Northwest Film Center/Portland Art Museum's Whitsell Auditorium.
The show, called "Brian Libby: Travelogues" and scheduled for 7PM, consists of 18 short films made over the last four years. It's part of the NW Film Center's ongoing 'Northwest Tracking' series. The films were shot while traveling in a host of different locations: Tokyo, London, Amsterdam, New York, Nassau, Los Angeles, but especially here in Portland. The idea was to capture spontaneous, real moments as I experienced them - a kind of visual reportage or diary, but done in a more abstract way.
For example, one of the films, Route 23 (pictured), is a time-lapse of a double-decker busride through London. It wasn't something I set out to film. I just happened to be in the front row of the bus while traveling there last year, then set my camera down on the inner ledge in front of my front-row-seat to record the ride. When I got home, I simply sped up the footage to compress a half-hour ride down to a quick 5 minutes. Another, Roppongi Crossing, is a montage of Tokyo cab drivers' faces as they wait at a red light. Portland Project #1 captures our city's Central Eastside, while Tianjin Highway observes the massive barges passing from the Columbia to the Pacific at Astoria.
The pieces are unified, I think, by a desire to document the landscape, be it manmade or natural. I love watching skinny row houses of Amsterdam go by in Golden Bends, but also seeing the Three Sisters in Western Travelogue #1 (my first film). Most of all, though, I seem to have viewed architecture, engineering and infrastructure with the kind of eye that a little kid looks at a Tonka truck or a model train set.
About two-thirds of the films are set to music by Portland composers Eric Schopmeyer, Ned Howard (both of whom have had compositions screened at the Sundance Film Festival), and Elias Foley. The rest rely on natural audio. These are what you'd call 'experimental' films, and not for everyone. If you only go see summer blockbusters, you might be slightly out of your element here. But they're pretty accessible little films, I think, because most of them are basically just music videos.
If you're interested in the films but can't make it to or don't want to come to tomorrow night's screening, DVDs are available for a $10 suggested donation - or for free if you really can't spare it.
I've been lucky enough to receive a couple of good reviews from two local papers, and I hope it's not too crass of me to pass them on:
Marc Mohan of The Oregonian writes, "Brian Libby...definitely has an eye for images. His short films manage to meld the quotidian and the sublime, or rather perhaps expose the one within the other...Libby's camera forces the viewer to reconsider familiar sights, [and] to capture unexpected glimpses of the sublime."
Mike Thelin of Willamette Week writes, "Libby does his best work charting the mundane, such as the quiet industrial landscape of Portland's Central Eastside or the flight patterns of a resident bird flock at the Darigold Creamery...The montage of images makes for an engaging exploration of physical space, infrastructure, and the transportation systems that dissect them." In the Portland Mercury, reviewer Chas Bowie calls the work "lyrically investigative footage" and makes the screening a starred pick.
If you're able to make it, don't hesitate to come say hi before or after the show.