Experimental Dadaist artist, Hans Richter, escaped Nazi Germany and established the first Documentary School in the US at the City College in Harlem.  If you missed the screening at the Festival in 2022, this special event features several of Richter’s works re-scored by contemporary artists followed by a discussion with filmmaker Dave Davidson.

Cinema and Sanctuary + Rescoring Richter

Co-Presented with Maysles Documentary Center

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Cinema and Sanctuary and Rescoring Richter are screening for a suggested donation of $15 / $7 reduced price on Thursday, April 6 at 7pm

Cinema and Sanctuary: Hans Richter and America’s first Documentary Film School
Dave Davidson, 2019, 60 min.
The astonishing story of the first documentary film school in the USA—The Institute of Film Techniques at The City College of New York. Founded in 1941, this groundbreaking program exposed thousands of working class kids raised on Hollywood movies to the power of documentary film – all under the watchful eye of  DADAist, pioneering experimental filmmaker and radical thinker, Hans Richter. The story is told by those whose lives were transformed by Richter and his Film Institute, including Oscar-winners Alan Heim, Martin Starger and Lawrence Silk, as well as legendary experimental filmmaker, Jonas Mekas. Rich visual recreations, rare historical footage, and Richter’s own newly-discovered audio commentary are woven in to bring this lost piece of film history to the screen.

Rescoring Richter (three selections)
Dave Davidson, 2016 (and ongoing), 18 min.
Rescoring Richter pairs contemporary composers and sound artists with Hans Richter’s avant-garde films of the 1920s. Inspired by Richter’s Dada imagery and montage, they rescore nine of his films on instruments ranging from hubcaps found on the street to the Baschet Brothers’ sound sculptures at Yale University. These re-imagined Richter films are accompanied by short documentaries showing the process the artists followed to create their new scores.  To date participants include: Alloy Orchestra, Bruce Odland,  Annea Lockwood, Rob Morsberger, Lin Esser, John Musto, Vince Giordano, and The International Contemporary Ensemble.

Rhythmus 21
Hans Richter, 1921, 3 min.
Richter’s ground-breaking abstract animation, rescored by Bruce Odland, Lin Esser and Annea Lockwood, playing sound sculptures made by the Baschet Brothers from The Yale Theatre Department collection.

Various Noisy Playthings
Dave Davidson, 2016, 9.5 min.

A Process Doc exploring the creative journey of Phyllis Chen and members of the International Contemporary Ensemble as they rescore Everything Turns – Everything Revolves (1929), Richter’s DADA interpretation of a day at the fair. To build their accompaniment, Chen and her cohorts employ toy piano, Fisher Price phonograph, child’s top, squeaky apple and, oh yes, clarinet and violin. The film culminates in a live premiere of their accompaniment to the film at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Ghosts Before Breakfast
Hans Richter, 1928, 5.5 min.

Richter’s masterpiece of the flying bowler hats is given an anthemic rock treatment by composer / poet / pianist Rob Morsberger and his band, which includes guitarist Jon Herrington (Steely Dan, Alanis Morissette) and Zev Katz on bass (Roxy Music, Aretha Franklin, Dr. John).

Post-screening conversation with Dave Davidson and Nasri Zacharia

Dave Davidson is an Emmy-award-winning filmmaker, who has been making socially meaningful documentary films for PBS, International Television, and the large screen for more than 38 years. Dave is President of Hudson West Productions and Professor Emeritus at The City College of New York (CUNY), where he was the Founding Director of The MFA in Film Production – the first of its kind at an affordable public university on The East Coast.

Nasri Zacharia is an uptown-based filmmaker, educator, and Program Director of the Harlem International Film Festival.

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