Nestled in San Francisco with a closet full of orthochromatic film harvested from the garbage of a dental office, Kerry Laitala resembles a mad scientist filmmaker. She hand-tools images, working in the glow of red Christmas lights, laying broken car windshields and thrifted glass lamp covers on long strips of unexposed film, then turning a flashlight on it all. Laitala hand-processes the film she so painstakingly exposes, then hangs it to dry and discovers what shes created. At times she employs a hand-cranked 1923 ACME projector to show her works. You may have seen her on KQEDs Spark, or teaching classes at the San Francisco Art Institute. The program Journey from Darkness Into Light features a fine selection of her eerie works, including 1997s Secure the Shadow ... Ere the Substance Fade, a lush and disturbing sequence of Victorian-era stereoscopic medical images. This meditation on disease and control, pathology and loss takes its name from a 19th-century postmortem photographers advertisement. The feature-length program of films is completed by Little Brassy Velvet, a piece combining 16mm film loops, 35mm slides, and sleight of hand. Laitala also appears on March 20 with an entirely different program of her films, titled The Muse of Cinema Series.
Fri., March 13, 8 p.m., 2009