Opening Series 1992-2000

Opening SeriesOpening SeriesOpening Series consists of twelve segments, each segment in its own hand-painted film canister. Using the visual references on the canisters, the audience, prior to each screening, makes an arrangement of pictured canisters, which orders the flow of the film.

I wanted to find a way of working with images that would allow them the possibility to move more freely, to change position with each and every screening so that over time, through their range of juxtapositions, and ensuing meanings, I might come to know them as a sibling, a friend, or a lover. (Philip Hoffman)

Opening Series 1
(10 minutes, silent, 1992)
Images taken at home and in travel. I decided to start at the beginning, and slowly·a static frame, long takes, 3-shot rhythms, silent, about looking and listening to light. (Philip Hoffman)

Opening Series 2
(7 minutes, silent, 1994)
The films show a garden erupting in colour, a bevy of deer staring back at the lens; lying side by side I see her solemn face break into a smile·for the camera? for me? A still life comes alive, as he arranges flowers in late afternoon, a nervous smile comes to meet a slow tracking shot of his painting·filmed flowers meeting painted flowers; a group of ducks swoop down in the autumn night sky; in the Kentucky Fried Chicken parking lot a trio of pigeons picking on the discarded bones of their relatives; the river in moonlight. (Philip Hoffman)

A continuing series of films that are projected in a different order each time they·re shown, Opening Series gives evidence of Hoffman·s interest in chance and open form. Opening Series is presented to the audience in several separate film canisters, each labeled with a unique graphic, as they enter the theatre. Each participant changes the position of one of the boxes, and the final result is edited together on the spot, in an order determined by the collective choices of the audience. (Chris Gehman, Images Festival Catalogue, 2001)

Opening Series 3
(6 minutes, sound, 1995)
Live sound performance/accompaniment by Gerry Shikatani Spoken text in English, Japanese and French

Opening Series 3 features poet Gerry Shikatani and explores the relationships surrounding language, image and sound, set to the backdrop of a gravel pit. When I got the footage back from the lab I was disappointed because of the periodic flipping of the image. After screening the footage several times I realized that the malfunctioning camera rendered the filmed-nature, unnatural …and this poses questions: what is nature? What is natural? Made at the gravel pit, down the road, Gerry gestures in visual and sound, sometimes coming to meet the lens, sometimes out of the picture… a stone… a feather, his script/poems floating like big ships in a puddle. The irregular, yet rhythmic sound of the camera’s inner workings echoes Gerry’s phrasing, and re-phrasing… This film turned into Kokoro is for Heart (7 minutes, sound, 1999) (Philip Hoffman)

Opening Series 4
(10 minutes, silent, 2000)
Plain and simple… a reflection of grieving. (Philip Hoffman)


Opening Series: an interview with Philip Hoffman in Cantrills Filmnotes
by Barbara Sternberg, Cinecycle, Toronto, Winter 1993