Oklahoma Contemporary

Media Release

Explore cinema in new ways at SEEN/UNSEEN festival

April 25, 2019

Contact: Lori Brooks, Director of Communications
405 951 0000 | lbrooks@okcontemp.org
Media kit: bit.ly/OC_Seenkit

Explore cinema in new ways at SEEN/UNSEEN festival

Presenting a diverse sampler of experimental and avant-garde filmmaking styles, SEEN/UNSEEN: A Festival of Experimental Film invites viewers to sit back, let go of their expectations and open themselves to enjoying cinema in new ways.

Held May 9-11 at Oklahoma Contemporary’s Fairgrounds location, SEEN/UNSEEN will immerse audiences in a curated selection of nearly 40 experimental films, ranging from the early works of groundbreaking filmmakers Sara Kathryn Arledge, Maya Deren and Stan Brakhage to current works by established and emerging artists.

Each night culminates in a live-on-stage conversation or performance by special guests: SEEN/UNSEEN curator Kim Voynar; filmmakers Vanessa Renwick, Sabine Gruffat and Brent Green; and musician Brendan Canty. The festival is one of the final programs planned at the Fairgrounds, before Oklahoma Contemporary opens its new arts center at NW 11th and Broadway in March.

“Part of Oklahoma Contemporary’s mission is to expand the understanding of what art is and what art can do,” says Artistic Director Jeremiah Matthew Davis. “Through multiple influential and new works, conversations with filmmakers and a special live performance to close out the weekend, SEEN/UNSEN will encourage us to imagine new possibilities for the moving image.”

So what can viewers expect?

“They should expect the unexpected,” says curator Voynar, who recently won deadCenter Film’s Oklahoma Film ICON award. “Experimental cinema is not what you see at the multiplex. Some of it has what you might recognize as ‘narrative.’ Some does not have narrative in any sense of the word and is meant to tap into and evoke visceral, emotional response.”

CEO and chief imaginator of WonderTek Lab (a Seattle-based creative producing partner in the VR/360 storytelling and digital contemporary art space), Oklahoma native Voynar has been a film critic, film festivals editor and frequent juror, panelist and moderator on the international film festival circuit for a decade.

“Audiences in OKC have way more opportunity to explore good, diverse and interesting cinema than I ever did growing up here, yet experimental film remains, largely, an underseen and underappreciated genre,” she said. “I hope that (SEEN/UNSEEN) is well-received, and that it opens the door for bringing more experimental arts programming to OKC audiences. I really do believe Oklahomans are just as smart and sophisticated as cinema fans anywhere else, and that if there's avant garde cinema programming available, they'll come out for it and grow to really appreciate it.” (More from the curator in a Q&A here.)

Each night of SEEN/UNSEEN is themed: Cinematic Disruption on Thursday, Breathing Room on Friday and Animation as Art on Saturday. Artists Renwick and Gruffat will wrap up Thursday’s and Friday’s screenings, respectively, with a conversation with Voynar. Saturday night's program will end with a performance of Green’s A Brief Spark Bookended by Darkness with live music accompaniment by Canty (Fugazi, The Messthetics).

Tickets are $15 each Thursday or Friday and $25 Saturday; a three-day pass is $40. Evening screenings begin at 7:30 and are most likely appropriate for audiences 13+. Patrons who are 21+ can enjoy a drink before (and during) the show -- a wine and beer bar will open at 6:30 each evening. Drink bracelets can be purchased on site.

In addition to the evening screenings, Animation is Art offers a free, family-friendly program 1-4 p.m. Saturday, May 11. Oklahoma Contemporary’s Second Saturday is a community- and family-focused day of art talks, hands-on art making and gallery adventures for visitors of all ages.

SEEN/UNSEEN is the latest installment in Oklahoma Contemporary’s Art+Tech series, which explores creative works at the intersection of art, science and technology through camps and workshops, exhibitions, installations, films and performances.

“Through exhibitions like CODED_COUTURE, camps like Creative Robotics and installations like Whiteout, we’ve seen the potential of artistic practice fused with technological innovation to ignite imaginations,” Davis says. “With our new location in the Innovation District, we think Art+Tech will inspire new forms of creative expression and spark unique collaborations.”


High-resolution photos from the films, a Q&A with the curator and captions can be found at bit.ly/OC_Seenkit. Interviews with the SEEN/UNSEEN curator or Oklahoma Contemporary staff can be organized through Director of Communications Lori Brooks (lbrooks@okcontemp.org). Past press releases and information are archived at oklahomacontemporary.org/media.

About Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center

Oklahoma Contemporary is an inclusive center for the arts where people of all ages and backgrounds can experience art, encounter new ideas and ignite their creative potential. Through visual art exhibitions, performances, public programs, community-building initiatives, outdoor installations and special events, we create opportunities for everyone to come together in celebration of contemporary culture and artistic expression. With year-round classes and camps across multiple disciplines, the arts center's education programs encourage youth and adults to express their ideas across a variety of media and learn new skills.

In March 2020, Oklahoma Contemporary will open a spectacular new center on a 4.6-acre campus at NW 11th and Broadway in Oklahoma City. Our 6,000 square foot main gallery, classroom studios, performance spaces, community lounge, café and outdoor spaces ensure that there will always be something new to see and experience. Oklahoma Contemporary is your arts center. Exhibitions are always free. You are always welcome here.

Oklahoma Contemporary is a regional 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization founded in 1989 by businessman and philanthropist Christian Keesee and Kirkpatrick Foundation Director Marilyn Myers.


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Oklahoma City, OK 73103
Phone: 405 951 0000
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Oklahoma Contemporary
P.O. Box 3062
Oklahoma City, OK 73101

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