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Amy Halpern: Plausible Light Sources

Amy Halpern: Plausible Light Sources

Amy Halpern, by Adam Hyman

Los Angeles Filmforum presents

Amy Halpern: Plausible Light Source

Sunday April 2, 2023, 7:30 pm

At 2220 Arts + Archives, 2220 W. Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90057

Tickets: $12 general, $8 students/seniors, free for Filmforum members


Masks are still required at Filmforum shows - N95 or KN95.

Amy Halpern (1953 -2022) made over 40 films, most of them on 16mm.  Amy was born and raised in New York City and made her first films there; she came to Los Angeles in 1976 to attend UCLA Film School and lived here the rest of her life.

Amy trained as a dancer, and her films often explore bodily movement, often using her own body, as in the opening film of tonight’s program, Invocation.  The program also includes several of Amy’s earliest films including her first, Roll #1 for Nancy, as well as Three Preparations, Cigarette Burn, and Self-portrait as a City, and explores several of her other recurring themes: light and color (Ginko Yellow, Verge, Plausible Light Source) animals and plants (Palm Down, Fire Belly, Birds in the Window) and the nature of the film medium Itself (By Halves, Newt Leaders).

Tonight’s program is the first of three exploring Amy’s work.  Additional programs will take place at the Billy Wilder Theater at the Hammer Museum (April 16) and the Ted Mann Theatre at the Academy Museum (April 20).


Invocation, by Amy Halpern


1982, 16mm, color, silent, 2 mins.

"A temporary sculpture; an invitation and benediction." (AH)

Roll #1 for Nancy 

1972, 16mm, color, silent,18fps, 5 mins.

“My first roll of film, shot in 8mm. Kodachrome and blown up to 16mm.  Edited in camera.  Adored images on New York and the family home." (AH)

Three Preparations

 1972, 16mm, color, silent,18fps, 6 mins.

- Drops

- Statice / Frameline

- Cannonball Section

"Considerations of the frame.  The grain as it holds colored light.   Glass as it holds colored light.  Loud silent music (especially The Cannonball Section, the last movement)." (AH

Cigaratte Burn Still 1 from SD TOPAZ 2X copy v2

Cigarette Burn 

Cigarette Burn 

1978, 16mm, b&w, sound, 8 mins.

with Nancy Halpern & Yves Marton

“Sitting home smoking cigarettes during the occupation. Very nasty and sophomoric. And beautiful.” (AH)


Self-Portrait as a City

Self-Portrait as a City

 1977, 16mm, color, silent, 5 mins.

camera operator in N.Y. Larry Gottheim

Plausible Light Source HD Still copy

Plausible Light Source

Plausible Light Source

1976, 16mm, color, silent, 1 min.

Ginko Yellow Still 1 800x608 1

Ginko Yellow

Ginko Yellow

2022, 16mm, color, silent, 5 mins. Los Angeles premiere

with Indigo Cohan

"Yellow, the color." (AH)

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Fire Belly

Fire Belly

2021, 16mm, color, silent, 3 mins. Los Angeles premiere

"Alchemists thought that salamanders could be reborn from fire - like the Phoenix, or the Christ. But salamanders do not survive fire, nor extreme dryness.   And they do not resurrect after burning.  Consequently they are at present in great danger on the planet." (AH)

Cuticle Torture.Still copy

Cuticle Torture 

Cuticle Torture 

1981, 16mm, b&w, silent, 2 mins.

palm down

Palm Down

Palm Down

2012, 16mm, color, silent, 6 mins.

"Two palindromes, no happy ending." (AH)

Newt Leaders Still 2. 800x608jpg

Newt Leaders 

Newt Leaders 

2020, 16mm, color, silent, 5 mins. Los Angeles premiere

"Presents the physically necessary film 'leaders' at the front and back end of movies as aesthetic in themselves. The beautiful detritus of the medium." (AH)

By Halves HD Still 1 smaller

By Halves

By Halves

2012, 16mm, color, silent, 7 mins.

By Halves was “discovered” in “pic fill”, discarded 35mm. release print material split in half and perforated as 16mm for use as sound track spacer in the double-system editing process. “An appropriate appropriation, a gift, a magic act.  The movement of the performer is slowed because one sees first the top and then the bottom of each frame in quick succession.  Surprises result.”  (AH) 

FLICKER WARNING: If you are susceptible to seizures, or are just uncomfortable with flashing lights, please close and cover your eyes and turn away during this film.

3 Italians INJURY ON A THEME smaller

Injury on a Theme

Injury on a Theme

2012, 16mm, color, sound, 7 mins.

for Lynda Gudde

“A short sweet film concerning torture.” (AH)

Verge (for my sisters)

2022, 16mm, color, silent, 6 mins. Los Angeles premiere

"A horizon like a blade.  Consistent across landscapes in California - ocean to desert and back to ocean." (AH)

Birds in the Window HD Still 1 copy

Birds in the Window

Birds in the Window

2020-2021, dir. Amy Halpern & David Lebrun, digital, color, sound, 9 mins. Los Angeles premiere

"Trying to get in, trying to get out. Encounters from the plague year."