The Engine Theater and its kinetic wonder-screen

The Engine Theater is a wondrous thing conceived by underground director Burke Roberts and a team of artists. A mechanical screen and projection system, designed to be portable inside a small trailer, described on the official website as a film screening unit with a complex, kinetic sculpture as the centerpiece to hold the screen.

I found out about The Engine Theater only recently, through a series of seemingly unrelated events, people, and emails. This was, apparently, going to be the next Thing but the the lure was in the title itself; “The Engine Theater Global Underground Cinema Series Part 1: Berlin Subculture films from 1977 – 2007” , too curious to pass up, even on very short notice! The night’s schedule read like this:

– Berlin Super 80 [shorts]

– Some of an Equation

– Philipp Virus short films & world premiere of Alec Empire‘s new video

Miron Zownir‘s films

The venue was a cleaned up warehouse deep in the guts of downtown LA, with a mural and the words “Sky Drops” painted on the outside. Inside – a small bar and rows of chairs arranged in front of an intricately constructed screen. The atmosphere was pleasant, the crowd was eclectic, no one seemed obviously wasted, Philipp Virus was curating. This was the first time I’d been genuinely excited by an alternative event in ages. The actual projections were fantastic, showcasing everything from hilarious underground 80s dancing to elaborate video art. Much to my amazement during intermissions the screen majestically auto-retracted.

This innovative creation can be next seen in December at the International Underground Film Series 2: Films from Paris. No specific dates are yet listed on the website, but I’ll be checking back. If you’re planning to be in LA during December, this is not to be missed.

3 Responses to “The Engine Theater and its kinetic wonder-screen”

  1. Jerem Morrow Says:

    What’s not to love about this endeavour?

    Ze machine itself is gorgeous. The intention behind it is more than admirable. Alec Empire’s name attached…in any way, really, adds extra LOVE to it all.

    You guys are already on my virtual coffee table, but once CH is put to paper, Imma have to buy an actual coffee table just for it.

  2. E. Black Says:

    If only all things cinematic were this brilliant.

  3. alumiere Says:

    thanks for the feedback – i helped build finish construction on the engine (last minute help as i came out for the premiere), and worked on the last two bizzurke army films and i love what they’re doing – it really pleases me to see independent film with such presence here in la (ny native – i expect that there, but not so much here where i’m a new transplant) and it’s great that people are coming to the events and getting the word out