Four-night series of Bill Morrison film screenings this week

MARFA –– The Marfa Book Company and Play Practice will host a four-night series of film screenings focused on the work of acclaimed director Bill Morrison this week. Running Thursday, December 8, through Sunday, December 11, at the Crowley Theatre in downtown Marfa, all screenings will be free of charge and begin promptly at 7 p.m.

Morrison will be present for questions and conversation following each screening. The schedule is as follows: Thursday, Decasia (2002, 67 minutes), with music by Michael Gordon, short film, Light is Calling; Friday, The Great Flood (2013, 78 minutes), with music by Bill Frisell, short, The Mesmerist; Saturday, Dawson City: Frozen Time (2016, 120 minutes), with music by Alex Somers; Sunday, The Village Detective: a song cycle (2021, 81 minutes), with music by David Lang, shorts, Her Violet Kiss, music by Michael Montes, and let me come in.

Morrison creates his films primarily using found and often damaged or decayed footage that is edited, scored and transformed into entirely original and personal works through the process. Using archival celluloid and nitrate stock in various stages of decomposition, Morrison brings fresh artistic life and a poetic narrative to material that had been nearly lost.

Morrison was born in 1965 in Chicago. He has premiered his films at the New York, Rotterdam, Sundance and Venice film festivals, and performance venues around the world, including Carnegie Hall, (2004), Brooklyn Academy of Music (2010 and 2012), and the Barbican, London (2014). His film Decasia was the first film of the 21st century to be selected to the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry. The Great Flood was recognized with the Smithsonian Ingenuity Award for historical scholarship. Dawson City: Frozen Time was included on numerous lists of the best films of the decade (2010s). Deborah Eisenberg wrote in The New York Review of Books, “The film is transfixing, an utterly singular compound of the bizarre, the richly informative, the thrilling, the horrifying, the goofy, the tragic, and the flat-out gorgeous … When it ends, one feels that one has awakened from vivid and transporting dreams, activated, aloft, sharpened — one’s mind enlarged and freer.” 

Of his most recent film, The Village Detective, a song cycle, the New York Times reported “Bill Morrison, the poet laureate of lost films, turns the story of footage found near Iceland into a history of a slice of Soviet cinema.”

Morrison has collaborated with celebrated musicians including William Basinski, Maya Beiser, Gavin Bryars, Bill Frisell, Philip Glass, Vijay Iyer, Kronos Quartet, David Lang, Steve Reich and Julia Wolfe. He created film sequences for Wallace Shawn’s play Grasses of a Thousand Colors (Royal Court Theatre, London; Public Theatre, New York, 2009). His work has been recognized with a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship (2000); the Foundation for Contemporary Arts (2003); the Creative Capital (2004); Herb Alpert Award in the Arts (2006); and a mid-career retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art (2014). Earlier this year University of Austin’s Visual Arts Center hosted an exhibition titled: Bill Morrison, Cycles and Loops. He was a Chinati Foundation artist in Residence in 2011.