image Although I always enjoy STF greatly, once in a while there are evenings that are tinged with some additional inspiration and magic.  That’s how I would describe last Tuesday’s screening of RUNNING FENCE (1978).  Co-presented with the Maysles Cinema, the evening began with a moving intro by STF curator Thom Powers who mentioned that RUNNING FENCE was extra poignant to him now that two of its central people had passed away: David Maysles (Albert’s brother and collaborator) and Jeanne-Claude (Cristo’s partner and collaborator).  He also pointed out that the Eagles’ song “Take It To The Limit” which features prominently in RUNNING FENCE was played at David’s memorial service in 1987 – with not a dry eye in the entire room. 

The film itself is a pure joy to behold: a classic cinema-verite capturing of Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s building a 24-mile white fabric fence over the hills of California into the Pacific. This film is one in a larger series of Maysles’ documentaries on these artists’ various public exhibitions – the most recent of which was THE GATES in NY’s Central Park.

image The sold-out theater stayed put to hear Maysles interviewed after the film.  Although I’ve heard him speak various time, I am always struck anew by his childlike enthusiasm and purity of purpose.  I find both of these traits infectious and inspiring.  Maysles began by noting that he is now 82 years old, yet he still has 10 or 12 projects that he is working on.  He also stressed how important it is to make films about the “good” of life and that well-executed cinema can sometimes bring you closer to the event than even being there.  For a more detailed summary of the Q&A, visit the Film Panel Notetaker’s blog here.

Below are pictures from the post-show reception at Alibil Lounge.  I confess that I had to leave the bar around midnight, but from what STF insiders report, Albert shut down the bar! Why am I not surprised?
(Photos courtesy of STF house photographer Joshua Z Weinstein)

image Albert Maysles holding a captive audience at Alibi Lounge.
imageDirector Nicole Opper (OFF AND RUNNING, opens at the IFC Center on Jan. 29) challenging STF passholder and filmmaker Yoni Brook (BRONX PRINCESS, A SON’S SACRIFICE) at arm-wrestling.
imageL to R: Director Kimberly Reed (PRODIGAL SONS) with STF passholders editor Anne Chechler (SISTERS IN RESISTANCE, BOUND BY PROMISES), filmmaker Emily Branham (BEBE DOCUMENTARY) and filmmaker Jonathan Goodman Levitt (SUNNY INTERVALS AND SHOWERS, FOLLOW THE LEADER).
imageMore STF passholders: filmmakers Hemal Trivedi and Cathryne Czubeck, with director Ngawang Choephel (TIBET IN SONG, closing night film of STF Spring 09).
imageL to R: Film publicist Sylvia Savadjian, filmmaker Hugo Perez (NEITHER MEMORY NOR MAGIC, SUMMER SUN WINTER MOON) and blogger Brian Geldin (Film Panel Notetaker).
imageFilmmaker and Garrett Scott Grant Recipient Rebecca Richman Cohen (WAR DON DON) with Deidre Mask.
imageArchitect Armand Graham, artist William Lamson (you may remember his work from STF’s WHOLPHIN night or his larger-than-life paper airplane that served as an STF trailer) and their friend Dan Barry.
imageCinematographer Sam Henriques (NURSERY UNIVERSITY, THE GOOD SOLDIER) with director Larry Locke (ACCIDENTAL MAYOR, PIN GODS).
imageMy dear friend all the way back from our college days, STF passholder Courtney Erwin (Chief of Staff and Director of Programs for the Cordoba Initiative) with moi.
imageSTF passholder and filmmaker Hemal Trivedi outside the IFC Center (great street shot, Josh!).
imageA very camera-shy STF passholder Maya Corneille with a friend.
imageL to R: A lady whose name I didn’t catch, STF passholder and editor Jean Tsien (PLEASE VOTE FOR ME and next week’s STF film THE BIGGEST CHINESE RESTAURANT IN THE WORLD) with director Nicole Opper (OFF AND RUNNING).
image Mr. and Mrs. Stranger comparing bumps.

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RUNNING FENCE

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