Occidental College Honors Avant-Garde Filmmaker Chick Strand

Occidental College will pay tribute on Saturday, Oct. 3, to legendary experimental filmmaker and longtime Oxy professor Chick Strand. Strand died on July 11 at age 78. 


The College will screen three of Strand’s expressive and lyrical non-fiction films: "Anselmo," "Loose Ends," and her most well-known piece, "Soft Fiction," beginning at 5 p.m. in Alumni Auditorium (Room 200) in Johnson Hall. Former Strand colleagues will speak about the filmmaker’s influence on their work and lives. Appreciations will be given by former colleagues Eric Frank, Occidental’s Dean of the Faculty, and USC cinematic arts professor and former Oxy professor Marsha Kinder.

What: Tribute to Filmmaker Chick Strand
When: Saturday, October 3, 5-7:30 p.m. Reception to follow.
Where: Occidental College, Johnson Hall, Alumni Auditorium (Room 200)
1600 Campus Road, Los Angeles, CA
Cost: Free and open to the public
Films to be shown: ANSELMO (1967), 4 min., LOOSE ENDS (1979), 25 min., SOFT FICTION (1979), 54 min.
Traffic: Colorado Blvd. from Eagle Rock Blvd. to Argus will be closed as of 12 p.m. for the Eagle Rock Music Festival. This street closure will affect attendees coming from Pasadena and other points east. Use this alternate route: Take the 134 freeway west to the Harvey Dr. exit, left onto Harvey, slight left onto Broadway/Colorado Blvd., turn right at Eagle Rock Blvd., then follow signs to Occidental.

Strand eschewed the Hollywood film industry and instead delved into ethnographic documentary and avant-garde filmmaking. A co-founder of the San Francisco experimental-film venue Canyon Cinema, she worked exclusively in 16-millimeter film, and sometimes incorporated found audio and footage in her films to create a collage effect. They include sound from a 1940s radio show, a 1970s church service, and Third World images.

The result is a catalog of 18 films that document and explore the lives of Mexican and Venezuelan Indians ("Anselmo" and "Mosori Monika"), the loss of innocence ("Guacamole"), and sensuality and sexuality ("Fever Dream" and "Soft Fiction"), among other themes. Her work has been exhibited at prominent venues such as the Cannes International Film Festival, the Museum of Modern Art and the Smithsonian. Some of Strand’s films have been funded by a Guggenheim fellowship and the American Film Institute.

Strand joined the Occidental faculty in 1970 at the invitation of Dean Robert S. Ryf to create the college’s first filmmaking program. She taught at Oxy for 25 years.