The Unseen Festival, Program 3: of mermaids, mountains, and machines, Saturday, September 23, 2017, 7:30pm

T H E  U N S E E N  F E S T I V A L

Join us on Saturday, September 23, 7:30pm for Program 3 of the Unseen Festival: of mermaids, mountains, and machines. This program focuses on emerging filmmakers whose works look at ritual, meditation, touch and feeling, hypnotic murmurations, and finally euphoria. The program combines both 16mm film and HD video along with live performance to invoke hallucinatory feelings and kaleidoscopic visions; with films by Fern Silva, Dakota Nanton (artist in attendance), Christin Turner (artist in attendance), and an expanded cinema performance by Richard Tuohy and Dianna Barrie. The evening kicks off with a reading curated by Selah Saterstrom and including Steven Dunn, Serena Chopra, and Mathias Svalina.

Oh, Ophelia, by Dakota Nanton. 2016. 4 min.

In Oh, Ophelia, by Dakota Nanton, a man is visited by the ghosts of the dead in his dreams. What happens when the lines between dream and reality become blurred? Hand-painted and digital animation on Super 8mm film. Spanish with English subtitles.

Dakota Nanton is an experimental animator based out of Boulder, Colorado. His artwork and films draw inspiration from such diverse areas as comic books, folklore, science fiction, religious imagery, and art history. Borrowing from the images and iconographies of the past, and mixing old techniques with new, he explores the complexities and contradictions of living in the modern world. His work has been exhibited all around the world and is held in permanent collections in the United States, Canada, Italy, Australia, Egypt and New Zealand.

Wayward Fronds, by Fern Silva. 2015. 14 min.

In Wayward Fronds, by Fern Silva, mermaids flip a tale of twin detriments, domiciles cradle morph invaders, crocodile trails swallow two-legged twigs in a fecund mash of nature’s outlaws… down in the Everglades. Wayward Fronds references a series of historical events that helped shape the Florida Everglades today, while fictionalizing its geological future and its effects on both native and exotic inhabitants.

Fern Silva primarily works in 16mm. His films consider methods of narrative, ethnographic, and documentary filmmaking as the starting point for structural experimentation. He has created a body of film, video, and projection work that has been screened and performed at various festivals, galleries, museums, and cinematheques, including the Toronto, Berlin, Locarno, Rotterdam, New York, London, and Hong Kong International Film Festivals, Anthology Film Archives, Gene Siskel Film Center, Cinemateca Boliviana, Museum of Art Lima, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, New Museum, Greater New York at MOMA P.S.1, and Cinema du Reel at the Centre Georges Pompidou. He has organized and curated screenings at venues including the Nightingale Cinema, Gallery 400, and DINCA Vision Quest in Chicago. His work has been featured in publications including Film Comment, Artforum, Cinema Scope, Filmmaker Magazine, Millennium, and Senses of Cinema. He studied art and cinema at the Massachusetts College of Art and the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts. He is Visiting Artist in Residence in the Film & Electronic Arts Department at Bard College and is based in New York.

The Watchmen, by Fern Silva. 2017. 10 min.

The panopticon, the all-seeing eye, is a philosophical model of control and discipline often applied in society, from which Fern Silva’s meandering, associative filmmaking style could hardly be more distant. The Watchmen therefore not only reveals the consequences of the concept, but also opens opportunities for escape.

What Happens to the Mountain, by Christin Turner. 2017. 12 min.

What Happens to the Mountain, by Christin Turner, draws on literary sources, late night radio, and ancient legends to conjure a psycho-geographic experience in a sacred landscape. A long-distance driver, a drifter, journeys from a tenuous reality into a vision of the afterlife, called forth by the spirit of the mountain. 2017. 12 min.

Christin Turner (North Carolina, USA) is a filmmaker and artist based in Boulder, Colorado by way of Southern California. Her films navigate the psychological terrains of landscape, material, and image; they investigate the possibilities of cinema as a site for transcendence.

Turner is currently an MFA candidate at University of Colorado at Boulder. She received her BFA from the University of California San Diego. Her work has shown in exhibitions and film festivals internationally including Rotterdam International Film Festival, Ann Arbor, Edinburgh Film Festival, Karlovy-Vary International Film Festival, and Hamburg International Film Festival, where she received a jury prize. Her abstract films and music videos have toured with musicians around the world, and were included in MoMA’s Abstract Currents (2013).

Dot Matrix, by Richard Tuohy and Dianna Barrie. 2 x 16mm. 2013. 16 min

Dot Matrix, by Richard Tuohy and Dianna Barrie, uses two projectors slightly offset from one another. Each film contains a flicker printing of various sized dots. The dots were produced by “rayogramming” dot screens (used in manga cartoons) directly onto raw film stock in the dark room. The sound you hear is the sound produced by the dots themselves. The ‘drama’ in this work is generated by the interference patterns created by the otherwise regular arrays of dots. 2 x 16mm. 2013. 16 min


 Richard Tuohy (b. 1969, Melbourne, Aus.) began making works on super 8 in the late nineteen eighties. After a brief hiatus from cinema (including formal study in philosophy for seven years) he returned to filmmaking in 2004. Since then he has created over 40 films.  His films have screened at venues including the Melbourne IFF, EMAF (Osnabruck), Rotterdam IFF, New York FF, Ann Arbor and Media City and he has toured Europe, North America and Asia presenting solo programs of his work. His films are typically highly structured and and have strongly formalist concerns. He is the proprietor of the artist-run film lab nanolab – the only lab for small gauge film in Australia. An advocate for the possibilities of hand-made cinema, Tuohy has devoted much time and effort in sharing his knowledge through workshops and classes both in his native Australia (notably through the Artist Film Workshop in Melbourne of which he is the founder and convener) and internationally.


 As a young person Dianna Barrie found her way into filmmaking as a middle ground between the pursuit of abstract music and philosophy. Ever pushing the limits of the hand processing of super 8 led to the establishment of nanolab with Richard Tuohy, and into the intersection of hand making and industrial cinema technology. This exploration has spread beyond individual work to the establishment of Artist Film Workshop, where celluloid is embraced and advocated by a community of practitioners in Melbourne.


There are two sides to nanolab. Firstly, nano is a commercial super 8 film lab, the spirit of which is to make super 8 a possible option for artists and the general community in Australia.  Secondly, as the home lab for experimental filmmakers Richard Tuohy and Dianna Barrie, nanolab is an active element in the international artist-run film lab movement. The nanolab team spend a good part of each year conducting workshops in the art and practice of do-it-yourself filmmaking. In Australia these workshops are usually run at the Artist Film Workshop in Melbourne which the nanolab team started. Nanolab also offers  residencies for artists (especially from the Asian region) to stay and work at the lab in rural Victoria.


Readers and Reading Curator

Serena Chopra is the author of Ic (Horse Less Press, 2017), This Human(Coconut Books, 2013) and the chapbooks, Penumbra (Flying Guillotine Press, 2011) and Livid Season (Free Poetry, 2012). She is a 2016-2017 Fulbright Scholar, working on a novel informed by her research with Maya For Women, a queer women’s support organization in Bangalore, India. She is a multidisciplinary artist, working as a professional modern dancer and company member with Evolving Doors Dance, as well as a visual artist, serving as a 2011-2013 resident artist at the RedLine Gallery in Denver. She is a co-founder and actor in the poet’s theater group, GASP, and she recently worked with Splintered Light Theater on a shadow/light production of Ic, for which she composed the soundscape. Her ongoing text/image collaboration, Memory is a Future Tense, with artist Lu Cong, can be found at She lives and works in Denver.


Steven Dunn is the author of the novel Potted Meat (Tarpaulin Sky, 2016). He was born and raised in West Virginia. Some of his work can be found in Columbia Journal and Granta Magazine. His second novel water & power is forthcoming from Tarpaulin Sky in Fall 2018.





Mathias Svalina is the the author of five books, including Destruction Myth (Cleveland State University Poetry Center), Wastoid (Big Lucks Books), & the recently released The Wine-Dark Sea (Sidebrow Books). He is an editor for the small press Octopus Books. Since 2014 Svalina has run the Dream Delivery Service & a similar project for the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver in 2015. In the fall of 2016 through the summer of 2017 he will be delivering dreams in other cities, including Richmond, Tucson, Marfa, Austin & Chicago.



Selah Saterstrom is the author of the novels Slab, The Meat and Spirit Plan, and The Pink Institution, all published by Coffee House Press. Widely published and anthologized, she also curates Madame Harriette Presents, an occasional series. A former instructor at Warren Wilson College in Asheville, North Carolina, Saterstrom currently lives in Colorado and is on the faculty of the University of Denver’s Creative Writing Program.