And the first film in that first program? Karen Aqua and Joanna Priestley's six-minute animated "Andaluz," in which swirling green leaves turn into licks of red fire and Spanish mosaic tiles segue into flowers and then a flamenco dancer's dress.
Also included in the well-received 30-minute inaugural event were animated, live action, and experimental films by Nina Yuen, Chip Moore, Joe Gibbons, Robert Arnold, Gina Kamentsky, Suara Welitoff, and Louise Bourque.
Arnold's "Echolalia" got the biggest applause from the full house. The two-and-a-half minute film is a collection of clips of politicians ranging from President George W. Bush to Senator Ted Kennedy saying the phrases "weapons of mass destruction," "smoking gun," and "terrorist" over and over (Merriam-Webster's Medical Dictionary describes echolalia as "the often pathological repetition of what is said by other people as if echoing them").
Branka Bogdanov, who has worked at the ICA for 17 years and is its director of film and video, says that most of the filmmakers in the debut program have been presented at the ICA in the last two years.
"We wanted to show that this is a new beginning, but it's also about continuity," she says. "We have a new building, but it's also a continuation of everything that was good before."
The ICA will present 35 to 40 film screenings next year, says Bogdanov. Her plans include retrospectives and visits by filmmakers Jim Jarmusch and the Brothers Quay (identical twins Stephen and Timothy); surveys of films from geographic regions such as Yugoslavia and Vietnam; screenings of new independent cinema, works by "young upstarts," and "best of the best" commercial films; and collaborations with the Harvard Film Archive, Independent Film Festival of Boston, Boston Jewish Film Festival, and Balagan experimental film series, among others. "We're trying to be purposely eclectic," Bogdanov says.
Film programming starts in earnest on Jan. 5 at 7 p.m. with "Videodrome," a 1983 sci-fi film by David Cronenberg. It is the first of a series that will play throughout January in conjunction with the ICA's art exhibition "Super Vision." The other films are Guillermo del Toro's new fantastical and brutal "Pan's Labyrinth," Matthew Barney's "Cremaster 5," and old favorites "The Matrix," "Being John Malkovich," and "Superman" (the 1978 Christopher Reeve version). The film schedule is online at icaboston.org/programs/film and lists events through May 2007.
The new theater has three times as many seats as the old ICA's, and is fully equipped with two 35mm projectors and a state-of-the-art digital projection system. The space is also designed for live music, theater, and lecture events.
Bogdanov has continued creating her own work. She produced the "Making of the ICA" film that shows, in time lapse, the new building going up, and short films about visual artists Nan Goldin, Laylah Ali, and Thomas Hirschhorn, whose work has come to the museum in the past. (Each of those artists is represented in the ICA's new permanent collection.) The films can be viewed on any of the 18 computers in the ICA's Mediatheque room.
As for whether the ICA will begin acquiring films to add to its permanent collection, the answer, is yes -- at some point. "Once things calm down, purchasing some of the video work or film should be on our plate," Bogdanov says. "For now, we don't have these funds. But we are thinking about it. Or," she adds with a laugh, "at least I'm thinking about it."
CONVERSATION WITH:A panel discussion will introduce a screening of "Longtime Companion" tomorrow at 7 p.m. at the Coolidge Corner Theater. The 1990 film, starring Campbell Scott, Bruce Davison, and Mary-Louise Parker, was one of the earliest movies about the AIDS epidemic. The panelists are Kenneth Mayer, a professor of medicine and community health at Brown University's School of Medicine; Joe Elia, editor at the Massachusetts Medical Society's daily news service "Physician's First Watch"; and Matt Foley, associate director of client services at the AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts. The evening is co-presented by AIDS Action and Fenway Community Health (617-734-2500 and coolidge.org).
SCREENINGS OF NOTE: Also tomorrow, an evening of three modern silent films including Canadian director Guy Maddin's 2003 horror film "Cowards Bend the Knee," beginning at 7 p.m. at the Harvard Film Archive (617-495-4700 and hcl.harvard.edu/hfa ) . . . . Paul Yule's 2005 documentary "The Photographer, His Wife, Her Lover," about art and adultery, with steam train photographer O. Winston Link at its center, Thursday at 2:30 p.m., Friday at 5:15 p.m., and Saturday at 3:45 p.m. at the Museum of Fine Arts (617-267-9300 and mfa.org/film ) . . . . Also at the MFA, Marcel Carné's 1945 "Children of Paradise," Friday at 7 p.m. and additional times through Jan. 7. . . . And Saturday and next Sunday, "The Wizard of Oz," at the Coolidge.
Leslie Brokaw can be reached at email@example.com