In addition to Fialka's BIO at these two links: http://www.venicewake.org/About/About_Gerry.html and http://www.81x.com/7dudley/cinema/, the following also has BIO essentials.
Gerry Fialka's Helen Hill Award statementhttp://orphanfilmsymposium.blogspot.com/
From: Gerry Fialka, firstname.lastname@example.org, 310-306-7330 Date: September 24, 2009
As I sat at the Ann Arbor Film Festival's memorial for Helen Hill, I realized I had missed meeting a kindred spirit. We shared a thoroughly democratic view of filmmaking: that it should not be dominated by money and equipment but by talent, initiative, joyfulness and freedom of expression.
Helen believed that planting the seed is as important as the harvest. Like her, I try to spread the meme that film should be as natural a part of creativity as writing, drawing and making music. The many public events I organize (film festivals, screenings, interview series, a reading club) center around discussion, with free admission and an open invitation to everyone. Like my films, these gatherings aspire to raise questions and encourage questioning. Communicating the new is a miracle but not impossible.
To my delight (and amazement), the LA Times has called me "the multi-media Renaissance man”, and the LA Weekly, a "cultural revolutionary." How are my filmmaking and curating radically independent and innovative? All my blank stock is from dumpster diving. The PXL THIS Film Festival, now in its 19th year, features videos made on audio cassette with a failed kids’ toy camera, the Fisher-Price PXL-2000. It draws entries from across the world, tours internationally, all on no budget. Venues from The Flint (Michigan) Institute of Arts to New Zealand's Massey University have featured my video installations, which repurpose found footage and mosaic writing to uncover the hidden effects of what we invent.
How does my work celebrate and embody the specifics you've mentioned as key to Helen's vision?
● Creativity – I celebrate my own creativity through films and events which capture the spontaneity and foster the resourcefulness of my community. "PXL THIS has it all, underscoring Fialka's obsession with showcasing a vast array of sensibilities, without concern for the rigid boundaries (and unconscious censorship) of conventional programming." - LA Weekly
● Self-Expression – Everything I do is interactive, allowing the participants to join in the joy of self-expression and self-discovery.
● Animation – I made the first (and so far only) Pixelvision animation: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1plNwgY7T4). I curate many experimental and underground animation screenings. I have helped and advised seminal clay animator Bruce Bickford for over 30 years.
● Small-gauge Film – My love of and experience with Super 8mm films lead to the Directorship of the Ann Arbor 8mm Film Festival from 1977 to 1980. With the advent of the PXL-2000, I work extensively in Pixelvision, the ultimate small gauge medium. "Fialka deserves credit for his unflagging belief in the potential of the PXL camera to render something amazing."- LA Weekly "No one has kept the PXL flame burning longer and brighter than Gerry"- director Michael Almereyda
● Homemade Movies/Handmade Art – My raw materials are usually found objects. From the infamous Dumpster Diving Fashion Show to fostering the music, art, poetry and films of the homeless, my mission is to empower the artisan spirit in us all, to reinvent recycling and emphasize the everyday epiphany. "Venice-based artist Gerry Fialka...seems to yearn for the low-res in art--and in life--and its ability to spark clarity despite, or because of, reduced visibility." - LA Weekly
● Collaboration – Whether they're friends or strangers, working with children, adults and elders breeds limitless possibilities, including the understanding that breakdowns can be breakthroughs. "Fialka's 'Alfred Shoots Adolph' (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMh1uojw_4M), a single take portrait of a Jew who faced Hitler as a teenager and with only a Leica, is strangely powerful." - Holly Willis, editor, RES Magazine
● Generosity – I live by Albert Schweitzer's words: "Do something for others--something for which you get no pay but the privilege of doing it." The great majority of my efforts are given freely as gifts to the community.
● Liberal Spirituality – I believe the divine is in other people and in helping them nourish their creativity. “To a scavenger artist/media ecologist such as this longhaired pixie,…creations represent an opportunity to create again.” – Hank Rosenfeld, LA Times article “McLuhan’s Minion”
● Activism – My baseline beliefs include pacifism (continuously anti-war since the '60s), political activism (support events for the bicycle movement Critical Mass, Food Not Bombs, Save the Rainforest), volunteering for the LA progressive newspaper Change-Links, raising money for Katrina victims, a major advisory role on Clay Claiborne's feature documentary "Vietnam: American Holocaust," and bringing leaders like Alexander Cockburn, Blase Bonpane, Grace Lee Boggs and Paul Krassner to new listeners.
● Love – As Frank Zappa's archivist for nearly ten years, I learned his lesson that you must love even the cops as they beat the crap out of you. (For as Ken Kesey said, “Because that’s the way the revolution is won. Through affection.”) Frank’s question "What is beyond love?" has inspired a lifelong quest.
● Play – People tell me that my workshops should be called "play-shops." The PXL THIS Film Festival uses a Fisher-Price toy to turn filmmaking into play. I have played at playing music for twenty years with my ensemble Black Shoe Polish, which has featured children's instruments and even a seven-year-old guitarist.
● Community – In Venice and elsewhere, "come unity" is my call, and inclusiveness my credo. I embrace contradictions (especially in myself) and comprehensively study all points of view. Street performers play live music and recite poetry before my events. I have most recently helped Sunny War, an 18-year-old homeless singer, to make her CD and Youtube videos (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AzNyIdJG9cQ) and gather a wide following: (http://www.laweekly.com/2009-07-16/music/meet-sunny-war/).
● Connection – I am honored by the following accolades: "Gerry Fialka is the Studs Turkel of Venice, California - nurturing active participation for common ground." - Michelle Raven, writer/producer, Discovery Channel "Thanks to Fialka, an exemplary devotee of cinema...LA gets to see material we wouldn't otherwise." - Independent Film & Video Monthly "(Fialka is a) Los Angeles-based independent media hero."- Holly Willis
Thank you so very much for your time and consideration.
Films Directed by Gerry Fialka:
"Double Duty Interrobang"http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nn1o829Sy2w
"TV Ain't No Tactile"http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7FArhDzfns
"A Practical Mystic"http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VJyAgwiGlK4
(More film links available upon request)
Bio of Gerry Fialka: http://www.venicewake.org/About/About_Gerry.html and http://www.81x.com/7dudley/cinema/
PXL THIS International Toy Camera Film Festival: http://www.laughtears.com/PXL-THIS-19.html
Fialka-curated film series: http://www.laughtears.com/7dudleycinema.html and http://www.laughtears.com/documental.html
Fialka interviewseries: http://www.laughtears.com/mess.html
Marshall McLuhan/"Finnegans Wake" Reading Club - http://www.venicewake.org/