Joseph Bernard

Posting #14

Posted on June 18, 2016

WFIU Public Radio Interview on "Profiles" with Yael Ksander at Indiana University, 3/11/16

 

Filmmakers Tony Buba and Joseph Bernard

 

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Photo: Adam Schwartz/WFIU

Tony Buba (left) and Joseph Bernard

Josh Brewer hosts an interview with documentary filmmaker Tony Buba, and Yaël Ksander speaks with mixed-media artist Joseph Bernard. To hear both 30 minute interviews click hereYaël's interview with Joseph Bernard airs first.

Tony Buba has been producing documentary films since 1972. Many of his films concern issues in his hometown of Braddock, Pennsylvania. These include Voices from a Steeltown, a series of vignettes of signs of life in the dying mill town, and his first feature-length documentary, Lightning Over Braddock: A Rustbowl Fantasy, an “exploded documentary.” His 1994 fictional feature film, No Pets, explored the psychological realities of postindustrial working-class life.

Joseph Bernard is a painter, filmmaker, and mixed-media artist. A former student of experimental filmmaker Stan Brakhage, Bernard’s films are kaleidoscopic abstractions of light and texture. His collage paintings utilize acrylic paint and inks on wood panels, layered with found objects such as hair, seaweed, feathers, onion skin, and crushed cans. Bernard has taught fine arts at Detroit’s College for Creative Studies.

  

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Posting #9

Posted on February 27, 2016

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                                  Text from poster:

Visual artist Joseph Bernard was born in Port Chester, N.Y., later educated at Hartford Art School and School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he studied with experimental filmmaker Stan Brakhage. For 35 years, Professor Emeritus Bernard taught fine arts at Detroit’s College for Creative Studies. Abstract “collage” sensibilities are evident in his paintings, films, and photographs. Contemporary poetry and music remain as influences. His work is informed by travels to Provincetown, Southern California, Austin, and other locales. His films have been exhibited at Toronto’s Funnel Theatre, Detroit Institute of Arts, Chicago Filmmakers, San Francisco Cinematheque, Ann Arbor Film Festival, and the Museum of Modern Art, among others. This series is sponsored by The Media School, Underground Film Series, and IU Cinema.

Posting #6

Posted on May 14, 2015

PRISMATIC MUSIC: THE SUPER 8 FILMS OF JOSEPH BERNARD, the 40-film Blu-ray set, is now available in the United States through Amazon and outside of the United States through eBay.

 

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All technical and historic information about the disc & booklet is already on the previous posting (#5) - - so here I’d like to thank everyone at CCS for the euphoric celebration and premiere of my films’ digital reincarnation. 

That gathering of friends, former students and colleagues was enormously gratifying. The events over those two evenings, beginning with Jeff Plansker’s live jazz & cocktails party at the Scarab Club benefiting the CCS Galleries, then the next night’s beautifully projected program of films, followed by a perfect dinner at Selden Standard graciously hosted by Michelle Perron and Rick Rogers, attended by a full complement of friends. Not a moment could have been improved upon!

Another pleasurable occurrence, an old friend, Bill Gubbins drove up from Nashville to see the films and be part of the festivities. We hadn’t seen each other for 33 years. Bill is an exceptional, idiosyncratic photographer and noted publishing editor on the contemporary music scene, among his other exploratory activities. He appears in two of my better films (one of them is dedicated to him), and I appear in several of his photographs. All this happened back in the early 1980‘s. Two of the above portraits (JB & camera, 1982) are his. To be fair to him, both images have been cropped and manipulated far from the originals for publication purposes. 

While recently in Nashville, we were introduced by Bill to some of his acquaintances at Jack White’s Third Man Records, The Frist Center for the Visual Arts, area galleries and a few fine restaurants. Our road trip continued on to Columbus where, through the help of Caroline Koebel, we met with faculty and curatorial staff of the Wexner Center for the Arts, Ohio State University. We talked broadly about independent film, its history and practitioners, the release of PRISMATIC MUSIC and academic venues that might provide programming possibilities.

Now that the digital version of the films has a public ‘storefront’ through Amazon and eBay, the mission will be to find audiences interested in something so singular as non-narrative, silent Super 8 films made almost 40 years ago with an obsessive commitment to light, color and movement.

 

 

Posting #5

Posted on March 15, 2015

After close to three years of collective efforts, I’m proud to announce the impending completion and release of the remarkable, Blu-ray collection; PRISMATIC MUSIC: The Super 8 Films of Joseph Bernard

 

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This 40-film package, with a total running time of 5 hrs. 47 mins., includes a 24-page booklet with essays, film notes, historic documentation and images in color. The set itself is part of a series called, Beneath Detroit, a project by Jeffery Plansker, celebrating under-recognized area artists.

These films date back from the mid 1970’s to mid 80’s and all of them are purely visual and intentionally silent. There’ve been occasional screenings of selected titles, most recently at the 2014 52nd Ann Arbor Film Festival. Over 100 works were originally produced and although prints were made in both S-8 & 16mm, none were either in distribution or had been sold. Owning this collection will soon be possible. After the April 15th Premiere Screening & Release Event at the College for Creative Studies, in Detroit, the specifics for purchase will be available on this site.

About the set - - this particular digital 2K version will make the viewing of these films much more accessible in that the Blu-ray Disc (1920x1080p), dual-layer format is “Region/Code-Free”; playable throughout the world. It breathes new life into these small gauge, highly hand-crafted entities. The enclosed booklet’s essays are written by L.A. and NYC filmmakers, a director, a cinematographer and an architect. They provide valuable insight and access to the work. The menu treatment and overall packaging design has been fastidiously fine-tuned. 

Paramount to all of this, of course, is preservation. When film sits on a shelf in unstable conditions, the fragile combination of plastic, chemical emulsion and adhesive splices, (along with added elements of inks, bleach & tape) - - all rolled somewhat tightly against itself on spools - - risks deterioration. Extremes in temperature and humidity rapidly affect film’s properties. Two offers came to the rescue.

A few years ago Jeff Plansker proposed putting a group of my films onto a DVD set, along with a booklet of informational notes about them. Working with limitations in mind, the choosing of which titles would be saved was difficult. Each one was looked at numerous times on a hand-cranked viewer (my projector had been stolen), selections were made, every splice was tested, leaders & trailers replaced, relabeled, then all were cleaned and rejoined onto nineteen 400’ reels & cases. That original footage flew with me to Los Angeles where, at the Cinelicious (Hollywood) lab, all was digitally scanned, color graded shot-by-shot, then electronically filed. 

During the week overseeing this process, the lab’s owner called in Mark Toscano, the Film Preservationist/ archivist/ curator for the Academy Film Archive (Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences). Mark looked at the films and made an offer to allow the totality of my work be perpetually preserved in the climate controlled vaults at the Academy. My original film & prints, while now in ideal safekeeping, are also available for scholarly study. 

With the release of PRISMATIC MUSIC, my old & fragile footage can now be viewed easily, repeatedly and in high definition, well into the future. The next plan is to explore venues to exhibit and distribute the films widely.