Online streaming the Thursday 15 October at 18:04 (UTC+2)
A roll of film is not a successful conduit for grief.
Lori Felker is a Chicago-based filmmaker, artist, teacher, programmer, and performer. Her films and videos attempt to study the ineloquent, oppositional, delusional, frustrating, and chaotic qualities of human interaction. She loves every facet of filmmaking and has worked as a cinematographer, editor, and actor for a variety of artists and directors. She has also spent beloved, valuable time as a Festival Coordinator and programmer for the Chicago Underground Film Festival and Roots & Culture Gallery and as a projectionist at the Gene Siskel Film Center. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Film Department at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.
What is the starting point for your film?
In 2018, in honor of the recent death of filmmaker Robert Todd, filmmakers were asked if they wanted to shoot a roll of 16mm film that would be played at his memorial. Since Rob and I were close friends and collaborators, it made sense to me to try to connect with him, one more time, in this way. While shooting the roll of film only a month after his passing, I put a lot of pressure on myself, I was deep in grief, and I had no patience. I shot the film and sent the roll to Boston. All of the films were shown on loop at the memorial, but I kept missing my film. I didn’t see it until almost a year later when I finally got the negative back and had it transferred. When I was finally able to watch it, all of the intense emotions came back to me and I knew I wanted to make a film that contrasted the surface of the grieving process with its frightening and ugly depth.
What techniques did you use when making I Can’t?
I shot one roll of 16mm film. What you see in I can’t is exactly what I shot, in order, on that day. As I played back the film in Premiere Pro, I would stop it and add my thoughts, memories, and feelings as text on screen.
how long did it take you to complete?
About a year and a half. I shot the film, didn’t see it for a year, edited it in the Fall of 2019 and then finally worked up the courage to share it in early 2020.