FotoFest Home

February 19, 2004

For Immediate Release
For Information and Visuals Contact:

Vinod Hopson
Press Coordinator
Tel (713) 223-5522 ext.26; Fax (713) 223-4411

Eileen Maxson
Film and Video Coordinator
Tel (713) 223-5522 ext. 31

In Association with Truckstop Media/NYC & Aurora Picture Show

FotoFest 2004 – Water
March 13, 2004
Houston, Texas

HOUSTON, TEXAS (February 19, 2004) – Improvising to a stellar program of poetic short films assembled by filmmaker Braden King and curator Astria Suparak, the Boxhead Ensemble will perform the North American premiere of Stories, Maps and Notes from the Half-Light as part of Fotofest 2004 – Water, The Tenth International Biennial of Photography and Photo-Related Art. The screening and performance will take place Saturday, March 13, 2004, 8pm & 11pm at Aurora Picture Show, 800 Aurora Street, Houston, Texas. Admission is $12, for advance tickets call (713) 868-2101.

Called "compelling, magnetic, perfectly imperfect… performance art at the cutting edge… relevant… wonderful.” (Shakenstir Magazine, UK). Boxhead Ensemble created the critically acclaimed soundtrack to Braden King and Laura Moya's film, Dutch Harbor: Where the Sea Breaks its Back. Members of the Ensemble's rotating lineup have participated in such notable musical groups as Wilco, Cat Power, Souled American, Freakwater, Gastr del Sol and Dirty Three, among others.

In this incarnation of the Ensemble for FotoFest 2004, musicians Michael Krassner (piano, organ guitar), Jim White (percussion), Fred Lonberg-Holm (cello, nykelharpa), and Scott Tuma (guitar, harmonica) will accompany visual projections by some of the most interesting filmmakers in modern experimental cinema, including Jem Cohen, Paula Froehle, Barbara Meter, Julie Murray, Guy Sherwin and Phil Solomon.

The Ensemble first came together in 1991 in Los Angeles, where Michael Krassner assembled a group of local musicians to improvise a score to Braden King and Larry Stuckey's short 16mm documentary, The Original Pantry Cafe. In 1996, Krassner assembled a new incarnation of the Ensemble to score Braden King and Laura Moya's lyric documentary, Dutch Harbor: Where the Sea Breaks its Back. The resulting soundtrack, featuring collaborative performances by Joseph Ferguson, David Grubbs, Charles Kim, M. Krassner, Douglas McCombs, Will Oldham, Jim O'Rourke, David Pavkovic, Rick Rizzo and Ken Vandermark was released to international acclaim by Atavistic in 1997.

Shortly thereafter, the Ensemble embarked on its first European and U.S. tours, with a rotating lineup providing live soundtrack accompaniment to screenings of Dutch Harbor. The tours resulted in two additional CDs, The Last Place to Go, (a document of the European tour featuring Edith Frost, Ryan Hembrey, C. Kim, M. Krassner, Fred Lonberg-Holm, W. Oldham, Julie Pommerleau, Scott Tuma, Mick Turner, K. Vandermark and Jim White), and Niagara Falls, recordings from the U.S. tour featuring Jim Becker, D. Grubbs, R. Hembrey, C. Kim, M. Krassner, F. Lonberg-Holm and Darren Richard. In 2001, the Ensemble completed and released Two Brothers with another new lineup rotation including Jessica Billey, R. Hembrey, Glenn Kotche, M. Krassner, F. Lonberg-Holm and S. Tuma, plus David Michael Curry, Steve Dorake, Gerald Dowd, J. Ferguson, Guillermo Gregorio, Jeff Parker, M. Turner, Jeff Tweedy and J. White.

In 2003, Krassner and the Ensemble created the score to director John Hyams' HBO Documentary on the ultimate fighter, The Smashing Machine: The Life and Times of Mark Kerr and director David Gordon Green will be featuring a track from Two Brothers in his upcoming film Undertow. Quartets, the Ensemble's most recent CD was released in 2003 and features J. Billey, Michael Colligan, R. Hembrey, G. Kotche, M. Krassner, F. Lonberg-Holm and S. Tuma.

For further information on Boxhead Ensemble, see:
Atavistic Records

Astria Suparak

Truckstop Media

FotoFest is a non-profit, international arts and education organization based in Houston, Texas. Its purpose is to create an international forum for the exchange of photography and ideas and to promote public appreciation of photographic art.

Aurora Picture Show is an internationally recognized non-profit cinema. The only venue of its kind in the Southwest, Aurora presents work by non-commercial film, video, and new media artists. Housed in a renovated 1924 church building, Aurora promotes a meaningful and community-oriented exchange between media artists and audiences.

Truckstop Media/NYC is a multi-media production company based in New York City with a web of projects, resources and collaborators that stretch across the globe. The New York office specializes in film, video and audio production and post, and has also recently handled live event production, artist and tour management, music publishing, print and motion graphics design services.



MICHAEL KRASSNER - piano, organ, guitar
[Ensemble Director, Lofty Pillars, Simon Joyner]
Founder of the Boxhead Ensemble. His producing and recording credits are extensive, including Boxhead Ensemble, Simon Joyner, Manishevitz, Parker Paul, Songs:Ohia, and his own band, the Lofty Pillars. He has performed in side bands with artists including Edith Frost, Simon Joyner, Tren Brothers and Songs:Ohia.

FRED LONBERG-HOLM - cello, nykelharpa
[Pillow, Terminal 4, Lightbox, Peter Brotzmann Tentet, Freakwater]
Lonberg-Holm is a top creative music cellist, active in a variety of projects in avant-garde jazz, sound experimentation and modern composition. He studied cello with Ardyth Alton and Orlando Cole and composition with Morton Feldman, Anthony Braxton and Bunita Marcus. His early career was based in New York City, working with such artists as Peep, Anthony Braxton's Creative Orchestra, John Zorn, God is My Co-Pilot and Anthony Coleman's Selfhaters. Since moving to Chicago in the early 90's, Lonberg-Holm has been involved in such projects as the Light Box Orchestra and Pillow. His recent work with Simon Joyner, Freakwater and the Lofty Pillars introduced Lonberg-Holm as one of the premiere arrangers in music today.

SCOTT TUMA - guitar, harmonica
[Solo, Souled American]
As the long time guitarist for Souled American, Tuma developed his achingly beautiful sense of suspended time and melodic deconstruction. With his solo instrumental records Hard Again (2001) and The River (2003), both released on Truckstop records, Tuma expands on his palate to create a truly unique and mesmerizing aesthetic.

JIM WHITE - drums and percussion
[Dirty Three, Cat Power, Smog, Nick Cave]
Boxhead Ensemble regular and drummer for the Australian trio Dirty Three, Jim has also collaborated with Nick Cave, Cat Power, Smog, Tren Brothers and Will Oldham, among many others.



Cohen (New York) has made several films with and about musicians including 16mm documentary feature, BENJAMIN SMOKE (co-directed with Pete Sillen), INSTRUMENT with Fugazi, and LUCKY THREE with Elliott Smith. He is presently working with Godspeed You Black Emperor! and Sparklehorse. A Guggenheim and Rockefeller fellow, he has received support from the Creative Capital Foundation and recently had retrospectives at the Berlin Arsenal and the National Film Theatre, London. Jem Cohen often works without a crew, shooting with small gear in hundreds of locations. He believes that there is such a thing as independent film.

Froehle (Chicago) recently completed her eighth film, UNDERGROUND WOMEN, which was funded by the Illinois Arts Council, Beck Institute for the Arts, Columbia College and The Experimental Sound Studio Chicago. In addition to her own films, she is an Assistant Professor at Columbia College and has directed music videos & music-related films for Atavistic, a Chicago-based production company and record label. Her films are distributed through Canyon Cinema and Picture Start Chicago.

(England and Holland) "I was confronted with experimental film in the '70s for the first time and immediately engaged with it. FROM THE EXTERIOR was the first experimental film I made. I was one of the founders of the Dutch Filmmakers Cooperative and curated a vast number of experimental film programs in Holland, which at that time were met with a lot of interest. The conflict which rose in especially British experimental film "circles" about the so-called "political relevance" of experimental film caused me to abandon experimental film in the mid-'70s. I followed films concerning social issues for several years. For a number of reasons (cultural climate in Holland being one of them), it took until the middle of the '80 to re-discover it, which felt like meeting an old love. Since then I have made a number of experimental films again." - B.M.

(New York) Murray was born in Dublin, Ireland, where she attended The National College of Art and Design. In 1985 she moved to San Francisco to continue post graduate studies. Continuing to work in and draw relationships from painting and photography she completed a number of short films and collaborated on numerous film installation/performance events with artists, musicians and other filmmakers. In 1993 Murray moved to New York and since that time her work has been included in many festivals including the New York Film Festival, the Rotterdam International Film Festival and the Ann Arbor Film Festival and has been invited to present her films at venues including the Art Gallery of Ontario Cinematheque in Toronto and Anthology Film Archives. She has completed around 20 short films to date, a number of which have been included in programs at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the San Francisco Cinematheque and the Pacific Film Archive. She has taught at Binghamton University in the Department of Cinema. This year her work will be included in the upcoming Whitney Biennial 2004. She has also been nominated for the Alpert Award in the Arts.

(England and Holland) Sherwin studied painting at the Chelsea School of Art in London before turning to film, attracted by its inherent elusive qualities of movement and photographic evidence of the passage of time. Much of his work is in the gap between movement and stasis, and can have the feeling of being suspended in time. The silent Short Film Series, made from three-minute camera rolls, was begun in 1975 and is still ongoing. Man with Mirror is a performance in which the artist interacts with a film made of himself in 1975. Recent work includes live presentations using multiple 16mm sound projectors. Sherwin has been connected with the London Film-Makers' Co-op (now LUX Centre) since the mid-'70s, and ran a film workshop there. He teaches at Wolverhampton and Middlesex Universities in England, and on occasions at the San Francisco Art Institute.

(Boulder, CO) Solomon has been making films since 1975, and he is currently Professor of Film Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Since arriving in Boulder in 1991, he has produced, among other films, several collaborations with his colleague, the late Stan Brakhage. Solomon received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1994 and has exhibited his films in every major venue for experimental film. His films have won five Juror’s Awards (first prize) at the Black Maria Film Festival. He is currently working on a series of short films entitled The Twilight Psalms, a series of cine tone-poems about "his 20th century" that will be presented as a feature-length program, as well as a 6-channel digital projection installation, American Falls, which will open at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C.

(New York) In addition to co-producing and directing the critically-acclaimed feature documentary, Dutch Harbor: Where the Sea Breaks its Back and several short films, television segments and music videos, King was a founding partner in Chicago's TRUCKSTOP Media, a recording studio, video post-production facility and independent record label, where he co-produced Dutch Harbor's original film soundtrack with composer M. Krassner and the Boxhead Ensemble. In 1999, King moved to New York where he founded TRUCKSTOP MEDIA / NYC and was signed to the directing roster at documentary and commercial production company Corra Films. King has created several "Films for Live Performance" - a series of minimalist visual accompaniments for shows by bands and artists such as Low, Tren Brothers, Brokeback, Papa M, Ken Vandermark and Paul Lytton and Alan Licht, and he has directed music videos for Tortoise, Brokeback, Sparklehorse and Giant Sand, among others. King is currently finishing a feature documentary concert film on the Australian instrumental band Dirty Three as well as a two-disc interactive DVD project, Looking for a Thrill in association with Thrill Jockey Records. He is currently in development on his first feature film with American Splendor producer Julia King (no relation).

(Montreal and Brooklyn) Suparak curates site-specific film, video, and audio shows for international art museums and galleries, film festivals, music venues and bands. After the shows play to their particular audiences Suparak then brings the work to different settings and a wider public, with locations including schools, sports bars, artist collectives, living rooms and churches. Suparak founded the Pratt Institute Film Series in 1997 while earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Drawing. Her videotape compilation Some Kind of Loving is produced by Joanie 4 Jackie, Carnegie Mellon University published Boredom Notebook made in collaboration with students, and the current issue of LTTR Feminist Art Journal features her booklet/love letter Diagrams from Waiting. Current projects include Let’s get tested at the International Short Film Festival, Oberhausen and Telepathetic at Eyebeam gallery in New York.

SPONSORS - FOTOFEST 2004 (as of February 11, 2004)
Major institutional sponsors for FotoFest 2004 are Houston Endowment, Inc; Nan T. McEvoy Foundation; National Endowment for the Arts; GoBase2-Manzanita Creative; Axiom Design, Houston; The Brown Foundation Inc., Houston; William Stamps Farish Fund; Trust for Mutual Understanding; The Houston Chronicle; City of Houston and Texas Commission for the Arts through the Cultural Arts Council of Houston/Harris County; Continental Airlines; The Warwick Hotel; Texas Commission on the Arts; The Bruni Smothers Foundation; The Wortham Foundation; H-E-B Grocery; Margaret Regan and Fletcher Thorne-Thomsen, Jr., Vine Street Studios; The George and Cynthia Mitchell Foundation; Rice University.

Continental Airlines is the official airline of FotoFest and FotoFest 2004

Additional institutional support has come from KUHF88.7FM; the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the U.S.; The Station – James and Ann Harithas; Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC); PaperCity magazine; The George and Mary Josephine Hamman Foundation; The Clayton Fund; Eleanor and Frank Freed Foundation; Buffalo Bayou ArtPark; Buffalo Bayou Partnership; Cultural Services of the French Consulate in Houston; Arts Houston; The British Art Council; George Mitchell Interests; The Oshman Foundation; Joan and Stanford Alexander Foundation; The Samuels Foundation of The Endowment Fund of the Jewish Community of Houston; The Greentree Fund; Rice University Department of Visual Arts and Abrams Scott & Bickley.

Special in-kind support has come from Hines - Williams Tower Gallery; Weingarten Realty; McCord Development – One City Centre; Century Development - Reliant Energy Plaza at 1000 Main; Crescent Real Estate Equities; Trizec - One and Three Allen Center and Continental One; J.P. Morgan Chase – Heritage Gallery; The Wealth Group - Erie City Ironworks; Project Row Houses; Houston Community College, Central Art Department; Downtown Management District; New World Museum - Armando Palacios and Cinda Ward; The Menil Collection; The Rothko Chapel; Sotheby’s, Inc., New York; Mind OH!; Sicardi Gallery; Gremillion & Co. Fine Art Inc.; No. Ten by Tanqueray; aue design studio; Aurora Picture Show; Microcinema International; Rice University Media Center; Southwest Alternate Media Project; Voices Breaking Boundaries; Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Film Department; Lawndale Art Center; DiverseWorks Art Space; Angelika Film Center; KUHT-PBS Channel 8; The Artery; Alamo Draft House Cinema; Dean’s Credit Clothing.

A list of FotoFest institutional funders is available and listed on the FotoFest Web site,

For more information on FotoFest 2004 Biennial programming or visuals, please contact Mr. Vinod Hopson, Press Coordinator at 713/ 223-5522 ext 26 or

FotoFest, 1113 Vine Street, Houston, Texas 77002