Kensington Video Kicks Off Film Series With Leiser Brothers
Filmmaker Eric Leiser to screen 'Glitch in the Grid' and footage from new feature
Kensington Video has re-opened and is launching a film screening program. KPBS arts reporter Beth Accomando says prepare for experimental stop motion animation and a chance to meet the filmmaker at tonight’s event. Filmmaker Eric Leiser has a personal history with Kensington Video. In fact, he credits owner Guy Hanford with supplementing his film education and introducing him to the foreign stop motion animators that have influenced his work. ERIC LEISER: I was introduced actually to Jan Svankmajer and the Quay Brothers here. I would just repeatedly come back until I started making my own films and Guy was nice enough to give me a special like free rentals so it just added on to my cinephile obsession. Leiser will share the fruits of this cinephile obsession for the opening night of Kensington Video’s new film series. Leiser will screen his feature Glitch in the Grid along with clips from his new film tonight at 7pm in the newly remodeled store.
Kensington Video has reopened and is launching a film program to highlight student and experimental work. Owner Guy Hanford is expanding the role his store plays in San Diego’s film community.
For decades Kensington Video was a sanctuary for cinephiles, a beloved labyrinth of hard to find films where you could get lost for hours.
"I love how there were pretty clear sections," filmmaker Eric Leiser recalled. "I'd always gravitate towards the foreign or experimental aisle and then behind that was animation. Sometimes I would sneeze to go in the back area because I’m kind of allergic to dust."
Leiser, who went to high school and college in San Diego, credits Hanford with supplementing his film education and introducing him to influential foreign animators.
"Kensington was always there. I got into Jiri Trnka, an early Czech stop motion animation, (and) Wladyslaw Starewicz, he was one of the first stop motion Russian animators. He was brilliant. Also, I was introduced to Jan Svankmajer and the Quay Brothers here.
"I would just repeatedly come back until I started making my own films, and Guy was nice enough to give me a special, like free rentals, so it just added on to my cinephile obsession."
Hanford takes great pleasure in feeding such passions. His parents initially opened the video rental store in 1984. The business closed last year and underwent a remodel that replaced the clutter with orderly shelves and a juice bar. Hanford also added a 133-inch diagonal screen with 9.1 sound to realize a dream he’s had.
"What we also want to do is have this place be a film destination for young filmmakers," Hanford said. "So we hope that young students both in the high school and in community colleges and colleges will be able to present their work here and have a free venue for them to premiere works and have them give immediate feedback."
On Friday, director and animator Leiser will show old as well as new work.
"I’m going to screen my previous feature film, 'Glitch in the Grid,' my third live action/animated feature," Leiser said. "And then I’m going to show a few segments of my upcoming fourth feature film ,'Theosis: Apocalypsis.' It’s another stop-motion animation/live-action hybrid.
"There’s a slew of apocalyptic films that have come out and are coming out, but I wanted to make a film that was kind of showing the futility of thinking like things are always going to end because every end there’s a beginning. A lot of time my narratives are very experimental and don’t follow any traditional structure. This time I force my brain to a traditional structure to see how I would like wriggle out of it."
Leiser collaborates on the films with his brother Jeffrey. Hanford liked their work so much that he even helped them find a distributor.
"I’ve admired their works, I’ve admired their energy. They are just two of the most humble, most talented young men I know in film, so I am very excited and honored to have them for our premiere showing," Hanford said. "They deserve an audience to come and see their work, because many times all we see is what comes into local theater. This gives the audience a chance to see something that they may have thought never existed, and they are going to enjoy it very much."
Although Hanford has retired from teaching third- and fourth-graders, he still loves educating people. At Friday's 7 p.m. showing, he hopes to introduce audiences to the innovative work of the Leiser Brothers in his newly renovated store on Adams Avenue.