Between 2009 and its discontinuation in 2013, I was film programmer for Black Sun. This was a Cork-based outer limits/weirdo music and experimental film event that first erupted in May 2009. Since then, its founder and curator Vicky Langan brought many renowned makers of strange sounds from around the world to play for the first time in Ireland. Black Sun was conceived as a space where the experimental is not something clique-ish, reserved for the afficionado, but precisely the opposite – an opening of possibility for the adventurous, wherever they’re coming from.
Black Sun first complemented its live acts with film programmes in December 2009. The Black Sun screenings introduced the work of such major underground film figures as Iván Zulueta, Stéphane Marti, the Buharov Brothers and Piero Bargellini to Irish audiences. In presenting recognized masters like Jeff Keen and Ben Rivers alongside equally brilliant, if less well known, talents from the past (Etienne O’Leary) and present (Oriol Sánchez), it expanded Black Sun’s commitment to opening minds and eyes.
In August 2012, the first film-only Black Sun Cinema event took place at the Triskel Christchurch Cinema, Cork, featuring James Fotopoulos’ The Nest, a retrospective programme of Frans Zwartjes and a number of contemporary Irish shorts. These programmes continued until October 2013, allowing scope for the presentation of feature films as well as short programmes.
Since January 2014, I have been programming ‘Phantoscope’, a quarterly experimental film programme at Triskel Christchurch Cinema.
In addition to programming for Black Sun, I have been involved in arranging retrospective screenings and talks in Cork by Abigail Child (in collaboration with The National Sculpture Factory), James Fotopoulos, Vivienne Dick and, in collaboration with Cork Film Festival, the Buharov Brothers and Christoph Girardet, and workshops by Peter Tscherkassky, Pip Chodorov and John Porter.
During the 2011 Cork Film Festival, I curated ‘Seeing The Light’, a group exhibition of contemporary Irish experimental film at Tactic Gallery, Cork, as well as an accompanying screening series of experimental film. Concurrent with the 2012 Cork Film Festival, I curated ‘I’m Not A Doctor But I’ll Take A Look’, a solo exhibition by Michael Higgins at Cork Film Centre Gallery, Ballincollig, Co.Cork. And in October 2013, also at Cork Film Centre Gallery, I curated and contributed to Seesound 2013, a day of collaborative screenings, performances and installations by members of Experimental Film Society and mainly Cork-based musicians and sound artists.
‘Cianoramic Profanations’, a programme of contemporary Spanish experimental film which I curated and presented during Cork’s Avant Festival in 2009, was hailed by Circa magazine as ‘a very rare chance to see an exraordinary series of experimental films, all expertly presented by Max Le Cain… Just the kind of event that a festival of this nature required: unusual, challenging (in formal terms especially) and properly international’.