Brian Rogers
Artist, Co-Founder / Artistic Director

Reprise Screenings of Screamers:
University of Colorado, Boulder
September 13-15, 2019

Reprise Screenings of Screamers:
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
March 17, 2019

Reprise Screenings of Screamers:
Baryshnikov Arts Center
February 7, 2019

Reprise Screenings of Screamers:
Zukor Theater at Kaufman Astoria Studios
November 15-17, 2018

Reprise Screening of Screamers:
Gund Gallery at Kenyon College
October 30, 2018

Premiere Screening of Screamers:
The Playhouse at Abrons Arts Center
August 24-25, 2018

First Premiere Screening of Screamers:
Museum of the Moving Image
as part of the Queens World Film Festival
March 17, 2018

“A Movie That Creeps to Its Own Choreographic Beat” – Gia Kourlas, New York Times

“We all scream for Screamers” – Eva Yaa Asantewaa, Infinite Body

“While the main draw is the fun of watching these folks adapt their sensibilities to horror-flick conventions, the movie is actually good, a cross between “The Shining” and “Gaslight” in the mode of David Lynch.” – Brian Seibert, The New Yorker

“…as taut and tight as a nerve stretched to its breaking point.” – Erin Bomboy, The Dance Enthusiast

Brian Rogers is a director, video and sound artist, co-founder and artistic director of The Chocolate Factory Theater, which supports the creation of theater, dance, music and multimedia performances at its 5,000 sq ft facility in LIC, Queens. Since 1997, Brian has conceived and/or directed numerous large scale films and performances at The Chocolate Factory and elsewhere including Screamers (2018), Hot Box (September 2012, co-presented with FIAF’s Crossing The Line Festival / January 2013, PS122’s COIL Festival / February 2013, EMPAC Center, Troy NY – supported by a MAP  Fund grant), the Bessie-nominated Selective Memory (July 2010, Mount Tremper Arts / September 2011, The Chocolate Factory / January 2011, PS122’s COIL Festival) and the horror the horror (Movement Research Festival 2011, Abrons Arts Center / 2012). Brian recently completed his first feature film; composed the soundtrack for Shaun Iron & Lauren Petty’s film Standing By: Gatz Backstage; and has collaborated as a sound and video artist with numerous experimental dance and theater artists in NY and elsewhere. In addition to his own work, Brian curates The Chocolate Factory’s Visiting Artist Program (now in its 14th year) which supports the work of more than 100 theater, dance, music and multimedia artists each year.

Screamers

Screamers comprises two separate but related projects: a live performance and a feature film. Each work is meant to be experienced separately but shares certain concepts and materials.

Screamers (the film) is a 70 minute feature film. A kind of conceptual ghost story, Screamers was conceived during a year-long residency at a former Catholic Church owned by the artist Dan Hurlin in Stuyvesant, NY – and was subsequently filmed over the course of two weeks in September 2015. Screamers can be screened in cinemas, film festivals, galleries and performance spaces; and will ultimately be available for streaming and purchase online.

Written and directed by Brian Rogers. Produced by Madeline Best. Edited by Brian Rogers. Director of photography: Jeff Larson. Production design: Sara C. Walsh. Lighting: Jon Harper. Sound recording: Stephen Bruckert. Sound Mixing and Mastering: Jim Dawson. Dramaturgy and Directorial Consultation: Madeline Best. Music by Brian Rogers. Assistant Production Design: Jessie Bonaventura. Production Assistants: Youree Choi, Ben Demarest, Jonathan Ginter, Kenneth Olguin, Nicole Simonson.

Starring: Andrew Dinwiddie, Jim Findlay, Daniel Fish, Vallejo Gantner, Keely Garfield, Jon Kinzel, Quinn Larson, Molly Lieber, Jay Wegman.

Screamers (the show) is an hour-long live audiovisual performance using many of the ideas and techniques developed in our previous works Hot Box and Selective Memory. Screamers (the show) is designed for contemporary cinemas, but can be easily adapted to other kinds of spaces. It begins in a hyper-spatialized sound environment (generated live using analog modular synthesizers) which is experienced in total darkness. As the performance unfolds, elements of light, shadow, real and imagined details of the space itself are gradually revealed. Through evolving patterns of repetition, and the complex layering of architectural details with high resolution video doppelgangers, Screamers (the show) becomes a meditation on (and distortion of) the space in which it happens, without human intervention. Inspired by Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining and its notion of “architecture as protagonist”, Screamers attempts to conjure the uncertainty, dread and horror contained within, behind and underneath the ordinary details of contemporary cinema spaces; and to capture, somehow, the ghosts lurking in the shadow of the screen – the illusory flicker of life within a lifeless medium.

Created by Madeline Best (Director of Photography / Dramaturg), Jon Harper (Lighting Design), Brad Kisicki (Scenic Design), Brian Rogers (Concept / Direction / Music) and Mike Rugnetta (Technology Design). Developed during residencies at The Atlas Institute at the University of Colorado, Yaddo, Bennington College and Mount Tremper Arts.

Hot Box (2012/2013)

co-presented with FIAF‘s Crossing The Line Festival, September 13-22, 2012.

re-presented as part of PS122‘s COIL Festival, January 12-15, 2013.

re-re-presented at The EMPAC Center, Troy NY, February 15-16, 2013.

Conceived, Directed and Performed by Chocolate Factory Artistic Director Brian Rogers in collaboration with Madeline BestHot Box is a companion piece to his 2010 Bessie-nominated performance Selective Memory. Where Selective Memory was extremely clean and minimalist in its approach, Hot Box is loud and messy. Hot Box draws inspiration from a cinematic vocabulary – pans, zooms, cuts etc – while attempting to find a sustained kind of stillness within a totally chaotic and uncomfortable environment. Inspired by films like Apocalypse Now and FitzcarraldoHot Box creates a live performance situation that is violent and chaotic; and from that chaos, attempts to compose a sequence of video images that are quiet, sustained, focused, and organized – but somehow coated with an intense emotional residue. Concept, Direction, “Choreography”, Sound: Brian Rogers. Director of Photography: Madeline Best. Performance: Madeline BestBrian Rogers. Set: Brad Kisicki. Lights: Jon Harper. Costumes: Maggie Dick. Technology Design: Mike Rugnetta.

“despite the beauty of some of the images, it is less interesting” – Brian Seibert, New York Times

Director Brian Rogers and Dancer Madeline Best talk about Hot Box – Gia Kourlas, Time Out New York

Hot Box is an immersion in subtlety and intensity.” – Dance Enthusiast

Hot Box and Einstein On The Beach Put The Audience In Charge – Elizabeth Vincentelli, New York Post

“It was hard to tell…if Rogers was smashed” – Elizabeth Vincentelli, New York Post

Selective Memory (2010/2011)

Selective Memory is a real time video performance about nostalgia for relationships that never took place, events which never happened; a film which was never made, but which everyone remembers; exploiting the misappropriation of “real” sounds and images to confound, distort, remake and ultimately erase the truth. Inside a claustrophic “film set” comprised of computer-controlled moving cameras, a shapeless dioramic background, embedded monitors and microphones, a single performer establishes a hyper-intimate relationship with the cameras; and a simultaneously elusive/remote relationship with the live audience. Using simple cinematic techniques – extreme closeups, slow pans, jump cuts, and tiny movements – all executed in real time – the performer cycles through a series of meticulously choreographed gestures in tandem with composed “shots” designed not to construct a narrative but rather to suggest an endless number of possible narratives, creating an enormous blank space in which the spectator will imagine characters, relationships, conflicts and emotions that are never literally present. Through the gradual repetition and manipulation of images, the “literal” materials of cinema – locations, backgrounds, sets, establishing shots etc. – are discarded, leaving only the camera and the performer in a sustained, neutral but intensely focused exchange that resembles a high wire act or an oscillating sine wave; erasing the distance between camera, performer and spectator; and in the end, erasing all traces of meaning, leaving only light.

Concept, Direction, Sound: Brian Rogers. Director of Photography, Performance: Madeline Best. Technology Design: Mike Rugnetta. Costumes: Maggie Dick. Set Design: Brad Kisicki. Lighting Design: Chloe Z. Brown.

Selective Memory was nominated for a New York Dance and Performance (aka “Bessie”) Award in 2010.

Selective Memory was reprised as part of PS122?s COIL Festival in January 2011.

“The Mystery of a Face, Up Close” – Alastair Macaulay, New York Times