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Review: alt.pictureshows 2011

Physical Channel Surfing at MACSD

Cathy Alberich's fashion documentary

Credit: Escandalos Films

Above: Cathy Alberich's fashion documentary "Ready to Wear."


Thursday, August 25th the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego in La Jolla will be transformed into a venue for "physical channel surfing" for alt.pictureshows 2011. Attendees can dip in and out of rooms screening more than a dozen films. I speak with 2 Tijuana filmmakers showing works at the event. Listen to my radio feature or read teh extended interview.

Thursday, August 25th the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego in La Jolla will be transformed into a venue for "physical channel surfing" for alt.pictureshows 2011. Attendees can dip in and out of rooms screening more than a dozen films. I speak with 2 Tijuana filmmakers showing works at the event. Listen to my radio feature or read the extended interview.

For the past nine years, alt.pictureshows has been mounting an annual one-night invasion of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego in La Jolla. It's less a film festival than a film installation in which attendees can check out a variety of "micro cinemas." There's animation in the Toon Town Troublemakers' Detention Hall, short films at Delirium Alley, music videos at The Wailing Wall, and a fashion doc at the Ready to Wear crash pad.

CATHY ALBERICH: It's called a fashion crash pad and we're going to turn the reading room into a kind of like alternative fashion film event. We're gonna have a bit of a showroom with designers from Tijuana.

Cathy Alberich is a visually gifted Tijuana filmmaker who'll be premiering "Ready to Wear," a documentary about 3 women united by a love of fashion. There's a Tijuana designer, a seller of vintage clothing who also lives in TJ, and a San Diego girl obsessed with fashion.

CATHY ALBERICH: The point of view of the girl from San Diego is sometimes different from the women in Mexico, which have not so many possibilities of acquiring clothing as some of the girls in San Diego, and you get to see the contrast. So their opinions really reflect how the situation is right now regarding fashion and commerce.

Border issues come up but only tangentially because Alberich says the whole thing about fashion is having fun.

CATHY ALBERICH: It's just something I love visually, emotionally too. I don't know ever since I was a little girl I would just open up magazines and appreciate the pictures and the photography, the models, and the structure of the designers. I grew up loving European fashion and just admiring it as graphic art. I live off of graphic arts and currently I could spend hours online reading and just seeing magazines with visual graphics so that's something that's always caught my eye and the combination of colors and textures and Even now, every fashion show, every runway, for me it is just art, it's appreciating fashion as art. And to me art reminds me that I have a core, like something that goes beyond. You can't explain it. It just makes you feel new things and it makes you think. If you see fashion as art then it really fulfills you, and that's the way I see it, and I wanted to make an homage to it

Photo caption:

Photo credit: Escandalos Films

Cathy Alberich's fashion sense enhances the music videos of Aaron Soto with a stylish flair.

Alberich gets to show off her fashion artistry in the music videos by fellow Tijuana filmmaker Aaron Soto. Soto produced her documentary and she serves as the stylist for the bands in his music videos. Soto grew up in the 80s, a period he calls the golden age of music videos when filmmakers were experimenting with the format. And that's what Soto does -- he experiments. He mixes media and genres to deliver a dynamic work that showcases the band as well as his own filmmaking obsessions.

Photo caption:

Photo credit: Escandalos Films

The music video "Unamonos" by Aaron Soto and screening at the Wailing Wall of alt.pictureshows 2011.

AARON SOTO: The video is "Unamonos" by the band Shantelle and definitely the whole point of the video is to reflect what I grew up watching. I consider myself a horror filmmaker so the video is very influenced by the giallo movement, and the Hammer film movement, and the slasher films so in a way I wanted to express that and at the same time mix in the surreal, abstract and absurd from the 80s.

Soto delivers a music video mash-up that will make your head spin with a final montage that pays tribute to the genre films he loves. If Alberich's obsession is fashion then Soto's is horror. In fact, Soto says he couldn't get into any Mexican schools because of his obsessive need to make horror films. Then a friend suggested he try Southwestern College in Chula Vista.

AARON SOTO: I came as a foreign student and I was really surprised to meet people who think like me, and suddenly this foreign, faraway school from my city became like my home and family. So everything I do right now is thanks in part to Southwestern College and to the San Diego horror community.

Photo caption:

Photo credit: Escandalos Films

Aaron Soto's music videos reveal the influence of horror films from the U.S. and abroad as well as the influence of growing up in a Catholic country.

But Soto's films also reveal the distinct influence of growing up in a Catholic country. And that mix of cultures that defines both Soto's and Alberich's work, and makes it fitting for their films to screen at alt.pictureshows. I have had the pleasure over the past ten years of watching Soto grow as an artist from those early days as a student filmmaker at Southwestern College (I showcased his student film "Omega Shell" at my first Film School Confidential festival) to the confident and assured artist he is today. And I have been following Alberich career as well and I'm thrilled to see both of them continue to challenge themselves as artists and push the envelope. They are indeed a next gen of filmmaker from TJ revel;ing in cultural influences from San Diego and across the globe.

CATHY ALBERICH: We're like a new breed of border kids growing up with this influence so I definitely feel like an honor to show the work that has inspired me due to that culture clash.

Alberich's and Soto's films are among 17 that have been curated by Neil Kendricks for this year's alt.pictureshows. So stop by Thursday, August 25th for some audacious live channel surfing at the museum. I hope you will come out and support these talented filmmakers and Kendricks' bold efforts to bring truly independent filmmaking to San Diego.

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