Ross Lipman - "Notfilm" - David Isaacson

Thursday, March 23, 2017 - 6:00pm - 7:30pm

One of the Ten Best Films of the Year: Dana Stevens, SLATE 2016; Nicole Brenez, ARTFORUM 2015; many others

"NOTFILM testifies to an almost inexhaustible fascination with the pleasures and paradoxes of cinema.... (it) finds a hitherto uncharted dimension of human and cinematic experience." – A.O. Scott, New York Times

In conjunction with the DVD/Blu-Ray release of Notfilm, filmmaker/archivist Ross Lipman will present a selection of video clips of rare Beckett material included in the release, including his reconstruction of the long-lost prologue to Film, and audio recordings of Beckett in production.  He will also discuss the restoration of Film and the making of Notfilm, and be available to sign DVD and BluRay copies of the new release. He will be joined in conversation by David Isaacson.

At the Co-op

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About the film: In 1964 author Samuel Beckett set out on one of the strangest ventures in cinematic history:  his embattled collaboration with silent era genius Buster Keaton on the production of a short, titleless avant-garde film.  Beckett was nearing the peak of his fame, which would culminate in his receiving a Nobel Prize five years later.  Keaton, in his waning years, never lived to see Beckett's canonization. The film they made along with director Alan Schneider, renegade publisher Barney Rosset, and Academy Award-winning cinematographer Boris Kaufman, has been the subject of praise, condemnation, and controversy for decades. Yet the eclectic participants are just one part of a story that stretches to the very birth of cinema, and spreads out to our understanding of human consciousness itself.

Notfilm is the feature-length movie on Film's production and its philosophical implications, utilizing additional outtakes, never before heard audio recordings of the production meetings, and other rare archival elements  It premiered at the 2015 London International Film Festival, and is being distributed internationally by Milestone Films, the British Film Institute, and Reading Bloom.  Literary release is being arranged in collaboration with Artbook / Distributed Art Publishers.

About the author: Ross Lipman is an independent filmmaker, essayist, and archivist. Formerly Senior Film Restorationist at the UCLA Film & Television Archive, his many restorations include Charles Burnett's Killer of Sheep, Kent Mackenzie's The Exiles, the Academy Award-winning documentary The Times of Harvey Milk, and works by Charlie Chaplin, Orson Welles, Shirley Clarke, Kenneth Anger, Barbara Loden, Robert Altman, and John Cassavetes. He was a 2008 recipient of Anthology Film Archives' Preservation Honors, and is a three-time winner of the National Society of Film Critics' Heritage Award. His writings on film history, technology, and aesthetics have been published in Artforum, Sight and Sound, and numerous academic books and journals. Lipman's filmmaking works have screened internationally and been collected by museums and institutions including the Oberhausen Kurzfilm Archive, Budapest's Balazs Bela Studios, Munich's Sammlung Goetz, The Academy Film Archive, Anthology Film Archives, and Northeast Historic Film.

Through his parallel disciplines lies a fascination with the temporality and transience of human endeavor. His recent documentary feature, Notfilm, premiered at the London International Film Festival in 2015 and was named one of the 10 best films of the year in ARTFORUM. It's distributed internationally by Milestone Films. Current projects include the in-progress live documentary Bruce Conner's CROSSROADS and the Exploding Digital Inevitable, slated for world premiere at the Rotterdam International Film Festival in 2017. More information at and

About the interlocutor: David Isaacson is a founding member of Theater Oobleck, for which he has appeared in over thirty plays and written fifteen, including Letter Purloined  and Casanova Takes a Bath. His work has been published by The Louisville Review and in Belt Magazine's upcoming Chicago anthology. He has been featured on Public Radio International's This American Life.

Event Location: 
Seminary Co-op Bookstore
5751 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637