Schnitzer Cinema Launches Its Winter/Spring Season with Visit by Animator Laura Heit

EUGENE, Ore. -- (January 21, 2015) – Schnitzer Cinema continues its look at American experimental media and the history of American avant-garde film with the winter/spring season. Curated by Cinema Pacific director Richard Herskowitz, all films begin at 7 p.m. at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art on the University of Oregon campus and include free popcorn and soda.


The series begins February 11 with “Animations” by Laura Heit and continues on March 11 with the documentary “Big Joy: The Adventures of James Broughton.” In April, Schnitzer Cinema looks at the work of avant-garde film legend Jonas Mekas in two programs on April 15 and April 29. The series closes with the return of the Black Maria Film and Video Festival on May 13.


“We’re pleased to be introducing the JSMA audience to pioneering filmmakers, like Jonas Mekas and James Broughton, and contemporary artists like Laura Heit, who have boldly experimented with cinematic language and drawn inspiration from visual art and poetry,” says Herskowitz.


“Animations” with guest artist Laura Heit, begins the series on Wednesday, February 11. An Oregon artist, she will present three of her short animated films (“Collapse,” 2002, 4 min.; “Mary Anning,” 2003, 8 min.; and “The Deep Dark” (2011, 7 min.) and an influential precursor to her work, Winsor McCay’s “The Sinking of the Lusitania” (1918, 12 min.). Heit will talk about the ideas and process behind the making of her animated installation, “Two Ways Down,” on view at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art from January 24 to March 29, 2015.


Heit is an experimental filmmaker and performance artist living in Portland Oregon. She employs a strong handmade aesthetic, an irreverent sense of humor, drawing, puppetry and animation to bring together ideas and stories about phantoms, ghosts, love, loss, and invisibility.  Her experimental animation and puppet films have been screened extensively in the U.S. and abroad, including Rotterdam, Annecy, Hong Kong International Film Festival, London International Film Festival, Ann Arbor Film Festival, Walker Art Center, and MOMA.


A Skype conversation with guest artist Stephen Silha will accompany the screening of “Big Joy: The Adventures of James Broughton,” on Wednesday, March 11.  This spirited documentary exploring the life of James Broughton, a pioneer of experimental cinema, visionary poet, and bard of Gay Liberation.


April brings two programs on legendary filmmaker and writer Jonas Mekas. On Wednesday, April 15, gallerist Deborah Colton explores the diaries and film portraits by the artist.  On Wednesday, guest speaker Scott MacDonald, screens “Walden (Part One), Mekas’ first diary film, as the opening night of Cinema Pacific. Both Mekas events are in conjunction with the installation “Frozen Film Frames: Portraits of Filmmakers,” on view in the JSMA’s Artist Project Space from April 1 to June 7, 2015.


On Wednesday, May 13, The Black Maria Film and Video Festival, an international juried competition with a mission to exhibit and reward cutting-edge works from independent film and video makers returns to the JSMA for the sixth year. This year’s festival will emphasize new experimental media, along with documentary, animated, and narrative shorts.


About the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art

The University of Oregon's Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art is a premier Pacific Northwest museum for exhibitions and collections of historic and contemporary art based in a major university setting. The mission of the museum is to enhance the University of Oregon’s academic mission and to further the appreciation and enjoyment of the visual arts for the general public.  The JSMA features significant collections galleries devoted to art from China, Japan, Korea, America and elsewhere as well as changing special exhibition galleries.  The JSMA is one of six museums in Oregon accredited by the American Association of Museums.


The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art is located on the University of Oregon campus at 1430 Johnson Lane. Museum hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesdays, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays through Sundays. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for senior citizens. Free admission is given to ages 18 and under, JSMA members, college students with ID, and University of Oregon faculty, staff and students. For information, contact the JSMA, 541-346-3027.


About Cinema Pacific

Cinema Pacific is an annual film festival based at the University of Oregon in Eugene that is devoted to discovering and fostering the creativity of international films and new media from Pacific-bordering countries, including the U.S. Through onsite and online presentations, the festival connects stimulating artists and ideas with a diverse public, furthering our understanding of world cultures and contemporary issues.


About the University of Oregon

The University of Oregon is among the 108 institutions chosen from 4,633 U.S. universities for top-tier designation of "Very High Research Activity" in the 2010 Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. The UO also is one of two Pacific Northwest members of the Association of American Universities.


Contact: Debbie Williamson Smith, 541-346-0942,


Links: Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art,

Cinema Pacific,