Holly Fisher – Selected Short Films 1968-1984

SUBWAY (1968) 7mins,
APPLE SUMMER (1974) 24mins, 
CHICKEN STEW (1978) 11mins, 

“Holly Fisher has combined her poetic vision with powerful montage to create unique films that become indescribable experiences where the concrete and the abstract mingle.” – Margarita De la Vega-Hurtado, scholar, critic, curator

1968 | 16mm | color | sound | 5 min
Subway is a subterranean passage that lies somewhere between fiction and diary, with literal and psychological overtones from the late ’60s. Framed within a ride on the Harvard/Ashmont Subway Line at rush hour–as the train fills and then empties, moving further from downtown Boston while I direct my 7-year-old nephew, Ben, to stand and look around, sit, get off, watch himself depart, get back on, and walk away–intercut with various scenes from my on-going (Bolex) film diary; seagulls circling, anti-war street demonstration past Playboy Club in downtown Boston, large dogs leaping into saltwater, crowd on escalator, Ben’s image in surveillance camera, twilight through half-built, backlit Coop City under construction…
The impulse for multiple layering, juxtaposition and other interplay of disparate imagery seemed to come naturally, even after having spent some years co-making documentary films. At the same time this film comes closer to a narrative structure than anything I’ve made before or since, with the exception of PSSSHT!

Rushlight (aka Here Today Gone Tomorrow)
1984 | 16mm | color | silent | 54 min
Rushlight (aka Here Today Gone Tomorrow) was made from a single, three minute roll of Super 8 footage shot over one day of stop/start driving through the Maramures folk district of Romania. I reworked this footage via JK Optical Printer using a larger than normal film gate designed (by myself) to allow the re-filming and hence layering of frame clusters as well as single frames.
This project explores an intersection between transition and memory (passing time, times past, arrested in time, what lies ahead) through looping, stretching, and layering of images filmed originally while driving through this unique preserve of Romanian culture. A silent, visual sketchbook of sorts, this work explores the repetitive, cyclical structuring of this Super 8 footage developed over several years of working with a JK Printer. The result is an open and meditative work around the subject of “passage.”
Optically-printed from a single roll of Super 8 original filmed on a single day while driving through Maramures, Romania–reworked via JK Optical Printer and proceeding through the S8, head:tail pretty much in sequence. There are 4-5 prints in existence, each struck from original A&B rolls, and in several versions with small variations.

Apple Summer
1974 | 16mm | color | sound | 24 min
Camping in Down East, Maine with artist friends evolved into a spurt-framed portrait of artist Donn Moulton. Footage of Moulton in Maine, his studio in Cambridge, and installation of his fiberglass apple paintings at Kornblee Gallery, NYC, is intercut with edited-in-camera expressionistic sequences from our camping trip.
The project became a playful exploration of my own way of working, via voice-over conversations between Moulton and myself on the subject of art, film, and commitment. The rough-edged, cross-cut, free-wheeling form reflects ways in which my early, highly intuitive notions of art-making differed from Moulton’s. It’s in making this film that I learned to exploit my mistakes and think with my hands.

1978 | 16mm | color | sound | 11 min
Re-enactment of a mellow evening with friends, in which a static camera, synchronous sound, a shiny cook pot, and an old wood stove conspire in a game of hide-and-seek with the viewer—involving film illusion and point-of-view. A single strand of 16mm and/or a watched pot.