Short by Professor Tom Kalin Premiering at MoMa to Celebrate 30th Anniversary

BY Felix van Kann, November 18, 2019

The last and coming weeks have been great for Faculty Member and Directing Concentration Supervisor Tom Kalin. His new short work along with filmmakers like Cindy Sherman, John Waters, Lynn Hershman, Lulu Wang, and James Schamus, will premiere at the Museum of Modern Art on November 25 at 7pm in honor of Strand Releasing and their 30th anniversary.


“Strand Releasing handled the home video and DVD release of my award winning first feature film Swoon,” Kalin commented. “To recognize this singular company and its remarkable leader, Marcus Hu, a wide variety of filmmakers have made new, short videos to recognize and celebrate Strand. We all shot using the iPhone. Faculty member James Schamus also contributed one of the shorts. My video Looking Down on Everything I Crashed Into His Arms takes its title from Joni Mitchell's song “Amelia" from one of my favorite albums she recorded, Heijira, and captures a snowy bird's eye view of flight. I have been collaborating with Thomas Bartlett (Doveman) for the past decade and his spare, gorgeous music drives my piece.”


In addition to his new film, the Museum of Modern Art will also show Third Known Nest, a collection of short films directed by Kalin as part of their Currents: Re-Viewing Cineprobe, 1968–2002 series this weekend. Third Known Nest contains nine shorts completed approximately one each year from 1991 to 1999. Interwoven by nine quotations from some of his favorite authors, the eighteen short entries in Third Known Nest function as an intimate visual diary – fractured pictures from his day-to-day life.


“It is a treat and an honor to have two screenings at MoMA within the same month. I have been fortunate to have a very long relationship with the museum,” Kalin explained. “The screening of my series of short films Third Known Nest is a reprise. These music-based works have the intimacy of a diary and are shot on super-9 film and digital video. They reflect my experimental film background as well as my activist roots which were formed in years of working with ACT UP, the AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power. These non-narrative (or semi-narrative) films employ an idiosyncratic and lyrical visual language and most of the people who appear in them are friends, family, loved ones.”


Kalin also gave a talk titled Stop All The Clocks (A Year of Direct Action and Death) and screened his film They Are Lost To Vision Altogether at the 1989: Bewegungen Impulse, Umbrueche conference at the University of Zurich earlier this month.  


Finally, he also directed the first episode of Pride, a forthcoming series on FX which will air in 2020. Pride is a six-part documentary series hailing from Christine Vachon’s Killer Films and Refinery29, chronicling the fight for LGBTQ civil rights in America as seen through the lens of America’s national history and the biggest pop culture and political events.


Tom Kalin’s critically acclaimed work traverses diverse forms and genres including narrative features, mixed media installations and short experimental films. His first feature, Swoon, was awarded the Caligari Prize in Berlin and named one of the top 100 American Independent films by the British Film Institute. Savage Grace, starring Julianne Moore and Eddie Redmayne, premiered in Cannes, opened Zurich and screened at Sundance, London and Tribeca among many others. Nominated for a Spirit Award, it was named one of the top ten films of 2008 in Artforum, The LA Times and Paper. As a producer Kalin's films include I Shot Andy Warhol and Go Fish. He was a writer of artist Cindy Sherman’s feature film Office Killer. He has twice been included in the Whitney Biennial. A 2011 Guggenheim Fellow, Kalin’s work is in the collection of the Centre George Pompidou, The Whitney Museum and MoMA. He was a founding member of AIDS the activist collective Gran Fury, known for its provocative public art projects, which exhibited in the Venice Biennale and had a major survey of its work in 2012 at NYU. In 2015, he and frequent collaborator Doveman (musician Thomas Bartlett) presented a gallery show in NYC at Participant titled My Silent One/In The Sweetness of Time; and at Dublin’s National Concert Hall for Blood and The Moon, an evening of film, music and performance celebrating the work of Yeats. Kalin is currently working as a Writer/Director for the feature film entitled Archer Gray, a thriller based on the novel by Stephen Dobyns.