Fans of the PixelVision/PXL 2000, a failed toy video camera that was discontinued by Fisher-Price in 1989, prepare for the annual PXL This gathering, where short films made by PXL enthusiasts across the country will be screened.
The PXL This 14 event will include two separate screenings of short films at 7 and 9 p.m. Saturday, November 20th, at Seven Dudley Cinema a.k.a. Sponto Gallery, 7 Dudley Ave., Venice. Admission is free.
For the most part, it won’t be films made by seven-year-olds that will be screened at PXL This.
Though the toy was unpopular among kids while on the market and became obsolete after being discontinued, the cameras later became a favorite novelty and collectors’ item among small groups of adults, namely artists and filmmakers.
PXL footage is shot on standard audio cassette tapes and has a dark, grainy strobe effect to it that was attractive to some artists.
Many PXL 2000 filmmakers find their cameras at garage sales or on eBay.
Making films with a PXL camera is a low-budget no-frills process that enables ¸ber-enthusiast Gerry Fialka, who curates the annual PXL This screenings, to tout his cult hobby as “people’s filmmaking.”
Making PXL films is a sheer labor-of-love process, void of all prospects of marketability due to the low quality of the results. To PXL filmmakers, budgets and production values are terms as blurred and muddied as their PixelVision footage. To them, its pure expression of ideas through the lens. Void of networking, prestige, schmoozing and backslapping, film-world etiquette has no place in the realm of PXL.
While much of mainstream film footage has a polished hyper-realism that attracts consumers, PXL 2000 footage is pixelated like a hazy surveillance video, which is quite possibly the reason the toy was a bust among kids, but is also the reason the footage is liked by artists, says Fialka.
Each year, PXL shorts are submitted to Fialka by enthusiasts around the country, and he then assembles a program from the submissions.
Films with topics and genres including documentary, poetry, drama, art, music video, political activism, comedy and the avant-garde are regularly submitted to the Fialka each year for use in the festival.
PXL This’s youngest filmmaker, nine-year-old Juniper Woodbury, returns to participate in her second PXL This festival. This time, she has submitted a film she made about her “magic eightball” toy. Woodbury’s film is the purest example of what Fisher-Price intended the camera to be used for — to give kids a chance to play filmmaker.
The other film submission’s at this year’s PXL This are far from child’s play.
Cecilia Dougherty’s “Coal Miner’s Daughter” is an experimental narrative conceptually based on the idea of documenting family life.
Not a surprise topic for people’s filmmaking, “Stuffed With Leaves” looks at sketchy deeds of politicians.
Five-year PXL This veteran Michael Possert, Jr. generally submits quirky parodies and spoofs of his topical muse of the moment. This time, Possert also incorporates a kid in his PXL flick. In “PXL Pi”ata,” six-year-old Autumn Schneider takes a baseball bat to a PXL Pi”ata.
“Born in Love” uses PXL vision as a quick way for songwriter Alfred Johnson to make a homemade music video.
“Stringwork” strips the color from Graciera Carrillo’s handmade embroidery.
Giovanni Natale remembers his boyhood heroes in “Giospot.”
Eli Elliott’s “MJ Dong” mockingly celebrates fellow motorists’ “vanity and sense of character.”
Kelly Jones gives a tour of her Terminal Island garbage plant workplace in “Serrf,” in which she portrays a hip talk show host ala Ricki Lake in “Fly Girl.”
PXL short films are an accessible medium in which users are able to take what’s on their mind and put it on the screen.
Information, (310) 306-7330.