`ending 2′ by Isiah Medina and Philip Hoffman (3.51 min. 2020)
The 16mm film was shot and partly hand-processed with plants and flowers by Hoffman, and digitally edited by Isiah Medina.
Crossroads, San Francisco Cinematheque Images Festival, Toronto
“for its beauty, the perfection of the relationship between sound and image, its radical concept of cinematographic time, the sophistication of the montage, but above all, for its non-negotiable commitment to the essence of cinema – the image in time – and the didactic and community context that it generates around its work” Fugas International Jury: Haden Guest, director of the Harvard Film Archive, Dora García, artist and filmmaker, and Raúl Camargo, director of the Valdivia International Film Festival (Chile)
`vulture’ website Here
Hoffman’s film `vulture’ was awarded the Best Film Award (over 45 min) by the Fugas International Competition Jury at Documenta Madrid 2020. Thanks to Isiah Medina (Editing & Sound Mix), Luca Santilli (Sound) and his band Kennedy (Music), Dagie Brundert, Ricardo Leite,, Franci Duran, Clint Enns, Dennis Day, Zac Goldkind, Janine Marchessault and The Ontario Arts Council.
`vulture’ (2019) at Documenta Madrid Here
Kim Knowles on vulture, Edinburgh International Film Festival, Blackbox: “Hoffman’s vulture” a beautiful and contemplative study of interspecies co-existence, where farm animals roam freely and the camera patiently observes their various interactions. Shot on 16mm film and processed with plants and flowers, it’s also an exercise in eco-sensitivity on so many levels.
Experimental Film and Photochemical Practices by Kim Knowles: “Sections of the film were processed and tinted with a variety of flowers, fruits and plants from around the farm –magnolia, hyacinth, hydrangea, daffodil, rhododendron, pond algae, hosta buds, wild garlic seeds, tansy, aster, echinacea, sunflower and walnut. From this perspective, vulture, is more than just a visual appreciation of the land; it is a complex material engagement with an ecosystem that draws out the expressive possibilities of living things beyond conventional forms of representation. Over a shot of a flying bird, we hear a child relating fragments of information about vultures and their hunting habits. `Vultures live together, and they don’t fight, they help each other’, says the child. `I didn’t know that’ replies Hoffman. Behind this simple exchange lie multiple layers of signification that testify to the intellectual and spiritual depth of the film, and, at the same time, point towards a philosophy of collective nurturing that quietly runs under the surface of the Independent Imaging Retreat. “(aka Film Farm)
Jordan Cronk, Off the Grid (on Hoffman’s vulture) Cinemascope 2020, MDFF Selects, TIFF Bell Light Box: …Nature plays a different but equally ominous role in vulture, an unassuming yet sublime featurette by veteran Canadian filmmaker Philip Hoffman. Assembled by the director over a period of two years, the film comprises 16mm footage shot on Hoffman’s farm in Mount Forest, Ontario that the filmmaker then photochemically processed with natural plant and flower pigments, resulting in a roughhewn, multivalent display of richly tinted and textured celluloid. To hear Hoffman tell it, his analog approach to cinema is part and parcel of a universal cycle of survival and sustainability; like a vulture, his film feasts on the very elements of its production, finding aesthetic nutrients in its every ingredient.
Following a brief shot of Homer Watson’s turn-of-the-20th-century landscape painting The Flood Gate, the film commences with a procession of slow, Wavelength-esque zooms towards a variety of animal life (pigs, horses, cows, goats, chickens) before shifting focus to take in the larger ecosystem surrounding the farm fauna: overhead, birds of prey patiently circle, while in the distance, tractors plow the land and farmers work the fields. The film’s landscape imagery occasionally recalls Nicolas Rey’s autrement, la Molussie (2012) or the work of the late Peter Hutton, though the quietly swelling audio frequencies—the sound is credited to Luca Santilli and Clint Enns, with a mix by experimental filmmaker Isiah Medina (88:88)—portend something far less comforting. Like Wilcox, vulture forgoes direct sound; instead, the distant din of fluttering distortion echoes across the stereo field like helicopter blades on the horizon, with the occasional sample of a young boy’s voice emerging from the void as if summoned from another dimension. Before long, those unassuming establishing shots (which appear mostly untouched by any post-production techniques) give way to a series of colour montages that cut together heavily treated images of plant, animal, and human life from around the farm—an idyllic vision disrupted by the subliminal threat of violence and industrialization. Rather than let the threat loom, Hoffman reworks a selection of this same material for a bracing coda in which the previously placid imagery is subjected to a caustic combination of rapid edits and atonal musical flourishes. (Unsurprisingly, both the sound and edit for this section is credited to Medina.) “Vultures live together, and they don’t fight, they help each other,” the boy says at one point—a perfectly succinct bit of childlike wisdom for a world in which pleasure and peril often go hand in hand.
More on vulture here
Read Review by Andrew Robertson, Edinburgh International Film Festival Here
Read review by Mónica Delgado Desisit Film Here
Vulture Aesthetics by Hoffman here
*Featured Picture: Mike Hoolboom in All Fall Down (2009)
“In a film that consists as a series of displacements, its hard to know where to begin. It would be facile to suggest that time is spatialized (the characteristic of Jamesonian postmodernism) or, conversely, that space registers the vertical imprint of its diachonic totality (Derridean hauntology). But something very like that happens in Philip Hoffman’s All Fall Down (2009). So one has to be careful here – the lives of actual people, and their deaths, are at stake here.”
by Tom Kohut (cineflyer – Motion pictures and related arts in Winnipeg, Canada)
Circuitous Quests: Passing Through Philip Hoffman’s Family Cycle
by Peter Harcourt
Circuitous Quests by Peter Harcourt (edited) here
Originally published in:
Landscape with Shipwreck: First Person Cinema and the Films of Philip Hoffman
ed. Hoolboom and Sandlos Toronto: Insomniac Press, 2001.
Photos: Saugeen Takes on Film Workshops 2018 & 2019 here
Excerpts from Saugeen Takes On Film Workshop here
Filmmakers: Kelsey Diamond, Sharon Isaac, Natalka Pucan, Jennifer Kewageshig, Emily Kewageshig, Taylor Cameron
‘GREEN’ Processing. (Coffee, Flowers,Plants) 2018 here
Phytogram making workshops with Phil Hoffman here