Organized by Los Angeles Filmforum as part of the massive, multi-institution collaboration Pacific Standard Time, the ambitiously comprehensive screening series Alternative Projections — spanning seven months and multiple venues around the city — begins on Oct. 9 with a show titled “Dream States: The Avant-Garde of the 1940s and 1950s” at the Spielberg Theater at the Egyptian. Whether one is coming to the rich history of L.A.'s experimental film community for the first time, picking up a one-stop refresher survey or filling in specific blind spots of certain rarely seen works, one could likely do no better than this first program of films by Maya Deren, Kenneth Anger, Man Ray, Curtis Harrington and others, including Salvador Dali's sequence from Hitchcock's Spellbound.
Curated by Adam Hyman and Mark Toscano with help from other hands for specific shows, Alternative Projections is the most comprehensive look at L.A.-based artisanal film practice, taking place right in the shadow of the industrialized filmmaking machine itself, since Filmforum's 1994 series Scratching the Belly of the Beast.
Across the board, each Alternative Projections show is a healthy mix of greatest hits and lesser-known works. Among the upcoming programs will be “Industry Town: The Avant-Garde and Hollywood” (Oct. 16, Spielberg), “Wallace Berman's Underground” (Dec. 3, Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena), “Punk and Media Art, 1974-1981” (Jan. 12, MOCA Ahmanson Theatre), and “Rock & Roll” (Feb. 15, Cinefamily).
A complete listing of programs, dates and locations, as well as a genuine treasure trove of writing and resources on Los Angeles–based experimental filmmaking, can be found at alternativeprojections.com. —Mark Olsen