Before After

Five vignettes of varying cinematic approaches create a portrait of a neighborhood

Before After (2011) explores South Williamsburg Brooklyn through a series of filmed experiments in the mostly Latino and Jewish communities. The camera is considered as a compass that gives direction to a variety of inquiries. This compass guided interactions with the neighborhood, both in terms of physical space and its inhabitants, and consequently the method of approach was to experience the area like a spacious urban playground.

The short sequences in this piece are the result of unexpected encounters with people, images, and local rituals. Objects were used as props to facilitate interventions with spaces and communications with people. The title of the project is in reference to a photography storefront sign along Lee Avenue in the heart of the Jewish neighborhood, reminding us that deciding when something is “over” or “finished” is easier said than “done.”

Screenings and Awards

Living Los Sures, Ildiko Butler Gallery, Fordham University, New York, NY, 2014
Distrital 2013, Distrital (District) Film Festival, Mexico City, Mexico, 2013
Video Dumbo, Eyebeam, New York, NY, 2013
ExDox (Experimental Documentary Film Fest), Cologne Art & Moving Image Awards, Cologne, Germany, 2012
Endless Plain, Armory Center for the Arts, Pasadena, CA, 2012
Our Haus, Austrian Cultural Forum, New York, NY, 2012
End Tymes Fest, Outpost Artist Resources, Queens, NY, 2012
Videorover: Season 3, Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans, LA, 2012
Videorover: Season 3, Manhattan Neighborhood Network, New York, NY, 2012
Videorover: Season 3, NURTUREart Gallery hosted at IndieScreen Cine Club, Brooklyn, NY, 2012
Experiments in Place and Collaborative Documentary: UnionDocs’ Looking at Los Sures, Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, Cambridge, MA, 2011
Almost Down, Gallery Tayuta, Tokyo, Japan, 2011
Visible Evidence, Tisch School of the Arts, New York University, New York, NY, 2011
UnionDocs Collaborative Group Show, UnionDocs, Brooklyn, NY, 2011

Short Listed for OK. Video FLESH, National Gallery of Indonesia, 5th Jakarta International Video Festival, Jakarta, Indonesia, 2011

Director’s Statement

When we were first told that our final projects needed to center around Los Sures, Michael and I both bristled at the limitation of working within the borders of a neighborhood that we considered a Hipster enclave. We found ourselves drawn to subjects that were taking place outside of the neighborhood’s boundaries — at the time, in 2010, Off Track Betting parlors were being shutdown by the city — so we began shooting in every parlor we could find (the closest one to Los Sures was on Manhattan Avenue in Greenpoint). After we killed that project, we began following a stuntman that owned a stunt school in Greenpoint; he let us film him slamming his de-commissioned taxi into his students, setting people in burn suits on fire, and teaching his pupils how to fall from buildings (he stopped returning our calls after a few weeks); other subjects we pursued included a young Canadian girl that knew a lot about the Williamsburg heroin scene and a Romanian paparazzi photographer living in Bushwick.

During this time, we were also doing a ton of wandering, sometimes in my car, sometimes on foot. After so many rejections, false leads, and disappointments, we began freeing ourselves up to the possibility of chance encounters, and most importantly, having fun (playing with a strobe light at night in the Jewish area, bouncing handballs off of walls, asking kids what their favorite colors were). Towards the end of the program, we realized we had some gems from these random jaunts and experiments, and that’s sort of how Before After became what it is. It was born from a lot of failure and the idea that we needed to make a “professional documentary,” with subjects, a narrative, and OCD camera-work. Watching our film today is a real pleasure because I feel like our visual interests and goofy kinetic personalities genuinely come through. To quote our original project statement: ‘The camera is considered as a compass that gives direction to a variety of inquiries. This compass guided interactions with the neighborhood, both in terms of physical space and its inhabitants, and consequently the method of approach was to experience the area like a spacious urban playground.'”

— Daniel Terna

Team

Daniel Terna

Daniel Terna

Daniel Terna, based in Brooklyn, NY, questions when we choose to make pictures and examines the relationship we have with picture-making. Exhibitions include BRIC Arts Media Brooklyn Biennial, Camera Club of NY, Photoville, New Wight Biennial, Morris Museum (Augusta, GA), Wild Project, 321 Gallery, Museum of the City of NY, Side Effects Gallery, Eyebeam, Armory Center for the Arts (Pasadena), Austrian Cultural Forum, Outpost Artist Resources, NurtureArt Gallery, Contemporary Arts Center (New Orleans), Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts (Cambridge, MA), Gallery Tayuta (Tokyo), and UnionDocs. Terna graduated from Bard College and is an MFA candidate at the International Center of Photography.

Michael Kugler

Michael Kugler

Michael Kugler is a Brooklyn, NY native who graduated with a BA in Comparative Arts from Washington University in 2007. He has worked as a media educator with organizations including the Tribeca Film Institute, the Museum of the Moving Image, the Jacob Burns Media Arts Lab, and Urban Arts Partnership. His films and audiovisual installations have been exhibited in the US and in Japan. Michael is currently pursuing an MA in Media Art in Design at the Bauhaus University in Weimar, Germany.

Daniel Terna

Daniel Terna

Daniel Terna, based in Brooklyn, NY, questions when we choose to make pictures and examines the relationship we have with picture-making. Exhibitions include BRIC Arts Media Brooklyn Biennial, Camera Club of NY, Photoville, New Wight Biennial, Morris Museum (Augusta, GA), Wild Project, 321 Gallery, Museum of the City of NY, Side Effects Gallery, Eyebeam, Armory Center for the Arts (Pasadena), Austrian Cultural Forum, Outpost Artist Resources, NurtureArt Gallery, Contemporary Arts Center (New Orleans), Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts (Cambridge, MA), Gallery Tayuta (Tokyo), and UnionDocs. Terna graduated from Bard College and is an MFA candidate at the International Center of Photography.

Michael Kugler

Michael Kugler

Michael Kugler is a Brooklyn, NY native who graduated with a BA in Comparative Arts from Washington University in 2007. He has worked as a media educator with organizations including the Tribeca Film Institute, the Museum of the Moving Image, the Jacob Burns Media Arts Lab, and Urban Arts Partnership. His films and audiovisual installations have been exhibited in the US and in Japan. Michael is currently pursuing an MA in Media Art in Design at the Bauhaus University in Weimar, Germany.

Book

Before After Revisited

Three years after the making of Before After, filmmakers Daniel Terna and Michael Kugler rewatched the video together. Before After (Revisited) is a recording of a Skype conversation that took place while Michael was in Weimar, Germany and Daniel was in Brooklyn, NY.

Read the full PDF »

Credits

Directing, editing, sound, and color by Michael Kugler & Daniel Terna

UnionDocs Artistic Director: Christopher Allen

Collaborative Program Director: Andre Almeida

2010-2011 Collaborative Fellows: Annie Berman, Emma Brenner-Malin, Stephanie Chang, Michael Kugler, Will Martin, Laura Mayer, Ashley Panzera, Andrew Parsons, Kristin Rogghe, Joshua Gen Solondz, Laurie Sumiye, Daniel Terna, Rosa White, Matthew Yoka

WordPress Image Lightbox