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Greta Snider, Experimental Filmmaker

Historical Essay

by Paul Grammatico

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Experimental filmmaker Greta Snider talks about gender behind the camera.

Video by Paul Grammatico

Greta Snider is an experimental filmmaker. Her earlier work on 16mm includes a collection of audio and visual experiences that combines photography, found footage, and her own experiences of the San Francisco punk scene in the early 1990s. Her work includes experiments with simultaneous soundtracks (Blood Story, 1990), engaging personal accounts of a scraped-together journey with friends (Portland, 1996), and an audio travelogue of the San Francisco punk scene. Greta Snider's more recent work includes, in collaboration with Johunna Grayson, a series of slide show projections comprised of hand-processed photographs and stereoscopic images. The series is described as an update on the ‘campy Viewmaster format’, riffing on the concept of the travelogue to present the unseen and underground aspects. Subjects range from forgotten aspects of the everyday (“old man bars”, flowers, parts of the body) to the extreme (a Viewmaster series of atomic test blasts). Snider’s films explore the importance of small memories, retrieving pieces of ephemera from the underground and re-presenting them on screen.1 She is currently a tenured Professor at San Francisco State University.

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Clip of Portland (1996)

Courtesy and permission of Greta Snider

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Clip of Hard Core Home Movie (1989)

Courtesy and permission of Greta Snider

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Clip of Our Gay Brothers (1993)

Courtesy and permission of Greta Snider

I had the pleasure of having Greta Snider as a teacher at California College of Arts and Crafts (now simply California College of the Arts). She is a fantastic teacher and I was able to view works such as Portland and other works such as Hard Core Home Movie and Our Gay Brothers

Doing research on the films of Greta's, I found that she is the queen of all trades and mistress of all. I say this because her works touch on various aesthetics. From the gritty DIY films of Hard Core Home Movie and Portland, to found footage collage in the films of Futility (1989) and Our Gay Brothers, to documentaries such as Urine Man (2000), to a touching homage to her father in Flight (1997).


In the interview, I asked Greta about gender behind the camera. She replied, "Can you tell if the person shooting or directing the film is male or female...I would say no." In the case of Greta Snider's work, I would say that this is a true statement as I believe that her work doesn't identify gender. Her work is honest, gritty, edgy, and visually stunning. It has no conditions or boundaries and that's as it should be.

To view the complete interview, please click here

To know more about Greta Snider, please click here

To view complete versions of her work, please click here

Filmography

The Magic of Radio (23 min., USA, 2001)

Urine Man (5 min., USA, 2000)

Quarry Movie (10 min., USA, 1999)

Flight (5 min., USA, 1997)

Portland (15 min., USA, 1996)

NoZone (18 min., USA 1993)

Our Gay Brothers (9 min., USA 1993)

Mute (15 min., USA 1991)

Blood Story (3 min., USA 1990)

Futility (10 min., USA 1989)

Hard Core Home Movie (5 min., USA 1989)


1 Retrieved from http://cinema.sfsu.edu/people/faculty/greta-snider