Review of the Final NOMAD FEST show

the end of an era

The NVF was originally created by a group of five friends in Seattle WA, circa 1992, as “Nomad Video”, as an inner city video festival manifesting screenings at differing locations every two months: nightclubs, cafes, bars, resturants, and any dive or watering hole easily converted into a screening room. After two years and twelve shows, Nomad Video outgrew itself and transformed into an annual west coast touring outfit called The Nomad VideoFilm Festival, which booked screenings at arthouse cinemas, theatres, and galleries in Berkeley (CA), San Francisco (CA), Petaluma (CA), Mendocino (CA), Sacramento (CA), Portland (OR), Seattle (WA) and Port Townsend (WA).

Ten years later, in the end of 2002, The Nomad VideoFilm Festival has run out of steam. This year’s tour was our final festival. We’ve experienced a great decade of showing short experimental films and cutting edge videos that we, and our audiences, may have never seen otherwise and may never see, again. It’s been much like live theatre that way -- vital and ephemeral -- and I will miss that.

Lastly, I wish to encourage you, who entered and were accepted into NOMAD, to persist in the transformation of your art and to persist in whatever kind of life you need to be living in order to continue creating and, to continue staying creative.

The only art that comes from the "conscious mind" is dead art.

Antero Alli, co-founder
Oct. 20, 2002




“LINE-UP” (2:00; 2001) Julie-C. Fortier (Montreal, Canada) From non-profit media arts group, Perte De Signal, this wry video detonates the NOMAD line-up. BetaCam video. West coast premiere.
“CAT FIGHT TONIGHT” (3:40; 2001) Greg Pak (New York City, NY) Breaking up is hard to do but who decides who gets the cat ? Who ?! Mini-DV.
*SLEEPLESS MOVIE” (3:30; 1999) Mark Haren (San Jose CA) Hand-drawn and experimental animation techniques combine to evoke childhood fears, life’s big questions and random thoughts on a sleepless night.
“FAIRY” (4:00; 2000) Antero Alli (Berkeley, CA) Arthur Rimbaud’s poem acts as an oblique narrative for a slo-mo courtship ritual between a dancing goddess and her masked demon love slave. Mini-DV.
* “TENNIS MATCH” (10:00; 1998) Robert Ellmann (Prague, Czech Republic) “We find poetry from the clash between archeology (silent film techniques) and anthropology (modern commercial rivalry).” Robert Ellmann, filmmaker
“HIATUS” (1:00; 2001) Sebastien Pesot (Montreal, Canada) Another video-active blast from Quebec’s Perte De Signal group. BetaCam video. West coast premiere
* “FINE LINES” (5:30; 1998) Jane Higgins (New York City, NY) A brilliant disturbance of cinematic expectations, the ideas behind the words seem to explode as they’re spoken in this battle cry of an enraged imagination. Super-8 film.
“LOVERDOSIS” (15:00; 2000) Andres Tapia-Urzua (Pittsburgh, PA) As an encroaching techno-scientific world stretches the schism between body and mind, this artist’s gutsy vision attempts to pull them back together, again. BetaCam video.
“WUSTENSPRINGMAUS” (2:30; 2002) Jim Finn (Chicago IL) A favorite of school children everywhere, the “wustenspringmaus” has successfully avoided extinction by scaling the heights of Unbridled Silly-ness. 16mm film & DV. World premiere.
“WATER FROM THE MOON” (8:30; 2001) Jenny McCracken
(Jamaica Plain, MA). Live-action marionettes enact "The Angel Closet', a short story by surrealist writer Jose Pierre. 16mm film.
“VORTEX” (3:00; 2002) Michele Beck and Jorge Calvo
(NYC, NY) Two performers with their heads wrapped in packing tape (sticky-side out) attempt interpersonal relations in this highly visceral digital video. West coast premiere.
“FEARS” (8:00; 2001) Antero Alli
(Berkeley CA) Czech poet Rainer Maria Rilke’s text serves as a solitary man’s thoughts and memories on his final day on earth in this chilling music video. Mini-DV.
* “CHUCK MAKES A WOODCUT” (7:30; 2000) Michael Houston and Joe Caterini (Brooklyn, NY). A hilarious melodrama of a day in the life of an artist (made by a painter who sold his own work to make this film). 16mm 16mm film.
“SPIT” (2:30; 2000) Jeremy Drummond (Ontario, Canada) This year’s NOMAD gross-out award goes to this in-your-face, macro close-up of everything you already knew but have never seen before about...(see title) Mini-DV
* “PATH” (4:00; 2000) Clancy Dennehy (Vancouver BC Canada) A homage and dance to the beat of nature in humanity and the humanity in nature. Mini-DV.
(4:20; 2000) Steven Rosenbaum (NYC, NY) We close with a heart-wrenching tribute to those who were there before, during and after the September 11th tragedy in New York City; set to Live’s song of the same title. mini-DV

Though the NVF bias is hard to explain, we tend to favor work showing poetic immediacy and fearless experimentation. We're not film school brats or art critics; we're self-funded mediamakers. Our bias remains fiercely subjective; we tend to choose whatever moves us the most. We also know enough about mediamaking to see whatever commitment, or lack thereof, was invested in most everything we review. Though we respect craft and technique, we love originality and guts.


Our major selling point is the currency of written audience response; no petty cash prizes, distribution promises, commodity coupons or ridiculous certificates are sent to our winning entries. Each NVF artist receives personal hand-written notes from each audience in every city of our tour.

Past N O M A D Fests
program notes, pix, venues
1999: "the poetry film"
2000: “Real or Faux Docs?”
2001: “No Theme Theme”


Port Townsend WA
Oracle Arts Center,
Max Grover Studio, PT Community Center
Seattle WA
911 Media Arts Center
Portland OR
Hollywood Theatre, Clinton St. Theater, NW Fim Center (Guild)
Mendocino CA
Helen Schoeni Theatre

Sacramento CA
MatrixArts Space
Petaluma CA
Cinnabar Theatre

San Francisco CA
Berkeley CA

Fine Arts Cinema


e-mail the producers