February 10, 2010

PODCAST: Al Jarnow

Al Jarnow, Cosmic Clock

Beginning in 1969 and for the next three decades or so, Brooklyn-born artist and animator Al Jarnow created over 100 short films that have been seen by tens of millions of people worldwide... chances are you know his work, even if you didn't know his name. This Friday, February 12, an hour-long showcase of his films (plus a short documentary) will be screened at the 92Y Tribeca (NYC), and again February 19-20 at the Gene Siskel Film Center (Chicago). Additionally, The Numero Group will release Celestial Navigations—an impressively packaged, deluxe DVD of his films, transferred and remastered from the original 16mm prints—on February 23:

Curled up on our couches in the wee hours of the morning, in reruns, and nostalgic You Tube forwards, filmmaker Al Jarnow has touched our lives and changed the way we look at the world without us ever knowing. Beginning with his work for a certain public television show that featured a big yellow bird, Al Jarnow captured life's scientific minutia and boiled it down for easy consumption between cookie eating monsters and counting vampires. Coupling time-lapse, stop motion, and cel animation with simple objects found in every day life, Jarnow deconstructed the world for an entire generation.

From the third floor of his Long Island gingerbread home, his mind wandered beyond the confines of educational programming. Delving into New York's avant-garde film scene alongside Harry Smith, Jonas Mekas and Stan Brakhage, Jarnow created a body of awe-inspiring films that remain in the collections of MOMA and Pompideau Center.

I phoned Jarnow at said home in Long Island to talk about "digital films made by hand," new perceptions he's had about his work in the YouTube era, why he no longer considers himself a filmmaker, and the baffling reason why an animated yak was once rejected from Sesame Street.

Note: Al Jarnow's Celestial Navigations is now available to rent on GreenCine.

To listen to the podcast, click here. (16:38)

Podcast Music
INTRO: Cookie Monster: "C is for Cookie"
OUTRO: They Might Be Giants: "Older"

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Posted by ahillis at February 10, 2010 12:28 PM


Will Greencine be getting the DVD? I can't find it through a site search.

Posted by: Hilary at February 17, 2010 12:34 PM

Yes, the DVD will be available next week. Definitely grab it, the presentation is wonderful!

Posted by: Aaron Hillis at February 20, 2010 12:03 PM
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