In its fourth edition, Syros International Film Festival gave a carte blanche to an emblematic figure of experimental filmmaking to curate one of its programs. Pip Chodorov was born in 1965 to a writer and a painter and raised on a farm. He started making films and music in 1971, after studying cognitive science at the University of Rochester. He then moved to Paris to study film semiotics, and in 1990 joined the legendary experimental filmmakers cooperative Light Cone. During his visit on the Greek island, this devoted supporter of the cinematic as a thought process explained how films can function as points of entry to a different state of consiousness and gave us a rare opportunity to discuss the challenges of programming in the era of vast accessibility.
Geli Mademli: The central theme of this year’s SIFF is “revision” – which is at the same time a prerequisite for change and a filtering method. Do you follow a specific method when “filtering” and curating a festival program?
Pip Chodorov: It is always different. For me every program has a different approach and it has a different audience as well. It depends if it is for a festival or for a university room, if the audience is already experienced in experimental film or if they have no idea what they will encounter. I am always interested in how the program will be received. In this case I was asked by SIFF’s head programmer Nathaniel Draper to make a selection, but I didn’t expect that on this Greek island there would be an interest in experimental films. When I started putting things together, the first film that came to mind was Jean Eustache’s film Une Sale histoire: It’s the same story told twice and it promotes the idea of repetition in a new way, where the second time is different and plus it informs the first time. ... More