22 April 2008

FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology) and Picturehouse at FACT launch a celebration of special effects in cinema and artists' film over the last century in a weekender of screenings, talks, discussions and performance. The programme for the weekend will delve through a mix of influential mainstream films, including The Matrix and arthouse features, like Andrei Tarkovsky's The Stalker, alongside short films and artists moving image. Moving between a variety of styles, techniques, perspectives, trace the changing shape of Special Effects through history, what it has been, where it is now and what we might expect in the future.

Urban and media historian, and acclaimed author of The Vatican to Vegas, A History of Special Effects, Norman M Klein will kickstart the weekend with a talk exploring the filmgoers love of suspending reality and the politics of escapism making special reference to 1939 Judy Garland classic The Wizard of Oz, followed by the film itself.

From that starting point, the screenings will move right back to the beginning of special effects with Voyages dans la Lune (A Trip to the Moon) by French filmmaker and magician Georges Melies from 1902, what is believed to be the world's first science fiction film. In the Box, explore an early and rare collaborative of work by pioneering Korean video artist Nam June Paik 9/23/69. Named after the date it was made and produced in collaboration with David Atwood, Fred Barzyk and Olivia Tappan, 9/23/69 was Paik's first experimentation with the electronic imagery that he was to introduce into the art world, launching his career and changing the face of video and electronic experimentation from this point on.

Staying in the sixties, Saturday's programme ends with a screening of Jean-Luc Godard's 1965 sci-fi thriller Alphaville. Picturehouse at FACT will be showcasing their 3D screen, the first to be installed in a cinema in Liverpool, with a special screening of Beowulf filmed in motion capture and completed using computer generated imagery. There will also be a Kid's Club screening of The Nightmare before Christmas in 3D.