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Rene Daalder

Here Is Always Somewhere Else: The life of Bas Jan Ader, Free Flow Lecture Series

June 8, 2006, 5:00 pm   » 

Film about the life and work of Dutch/Californian conceptual artist Bas Jan Ader, who in 1975 disappeared under mysterious circumstances at sea in the smallest boat ever to cross the Atlantic. As seen through the eyes of fellow emigrant filmmaker Rene Daalder, the picture becomes a sweeping overview of contemporary art films as well as an epic saga of the transformative powers of the ocean. Featuring artists Tacita Dean, Rodney Graham, Marcel Broodthaers, Ger van Elk, Charles Ray, Wim T. Schippers, Chris Burden, Fiona Tan, Pipilotti Rist and many others.

Starting out as a conventional filmmaker, Rene Daalder has written and directed six feature films as well as numerous television and music related projects in Europe, the U.S. and Canada. In his native Holland, he worked as a team with Jan de Bont, made numerous films with Dutch documentary filmmaker Frans Bromet, and wrote several screenplays with architect Rem Koolhaas. Together they made some highly acclaimed, award-winning movies, culminating in Daalder's feature film, “The White Slave.”

Often operating at the cutting edge of his medium and heavily involved with special effects, software development and music, Rene Daalder has gained worldwide recognition as a pioneer of virtual reality and digital motion picture technologies. His Los Angeles based company, American Scenes Inc, consults for computer imaging studios all over the world and develops technology-driven TV show formats (i.e. the real time-animated series, “Jungle Jury,” to be broadcast in the fall of 2005 by Avro TV in the Netherlands).

A man of many firsts, he developed digital filmmaking tools and movie projects at the Computer Graphics Lab (at the New York Institute of Technology), which spawned the CGI medium as we know it today, from SGI computers to Toy Story's Pixar and George Lucas' Industrial Light and Magic. He made the first virtual reality film for European TV (Centipede); the first feature film shot in Sony Digital High Definition (Habitat, starring Tcheky Karyo and Alice Krige); the first long form narrative music video for MTV (Supertramp's Grammy nominated Brother Where You Bound?); the first sequence to use real time animation in a movie (Robocop 2); and he was one of the creators of the seminal punk rock movie, “The Great Rock&Roll Swindle.”

His teenage cult classic, “Massacre at Central High,” acknowledged as one of the most influential films ever to deal with high school terror, will be re-released in 2006, along with his science fiction drama, “Hysteria,” starring Patrick McGoohan (The Prisoner) and Amanda Plummer (Pulp Fiction).

As a writer, Grammy-nominated director (and sometime music producer), he worked with a wide range of muscians and bands, from the Sex Pistols to Supertramp, and from Metallica to Beck and Bob Dylan.

Among the movies for which Daalder created computer effects and consulted, are “Robocop II,” “Lawnmower Man,” Michael Apted's “Blink,” “Brainscan” and the X-Files TV series. With programmer Pierre Jasmin, he developed the original software that gave “What Dreams May Come” its Oscar winning painterly look.

At present, Daalder is completing a documentary feature about Dutch/Californian conceptual artist Bas Jan Ader, who in the 1970s, got lost at sea. Production has started on “Codename: Fubar,” a cyber-thriller based on the government suppression of extraterrestrial intelligence and unauthorized mental states. Pre-production is scheduled in Vancouver on “Strawberry Fields,” a computer animated musical feature film for which Daalder and his partners have secured the rights to 40 Beatles songs.

As a contributing editor, Daalder's articles on the future of digital cinema appear on a regular basis in the art magazine “Contemporary.” His recent writings on computers, art and architecture have been published by MIT Press and Taschen Books.

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