Deborah Stratman presents O’er the Land (2009) along with selections from Canyon Cinema’s collection.  Deborah Stratman in person

Program includes:

Nocturne, Phil Solomon (1980/1989 / 10 min / 16mm)

Ciao Bella, Betzy Bromberg (1978 / 13 min / 16mm)

O’er the Land, Deborah Stratman (2009 / 52 min / 16mm)


A meditation on the milieu of elevated threat addressing national identity, gun culture, wilderness, consumption, patriotism and the possibility of personal transcendence. Of particular interest are the ways Americans have come to understand freedom and the increasingly technological reiterations of manifest destiny.


While channeling our national psyche, the film is interrupted by the story of Col. William Rankin who in 1959, was forced to eject from his F8U fighter jet at 48,000 feet without a pressure suit, only to get trapped for 45 minutes in the up and down drafts of a massive thunderstorm. Remarkably, he survived. Rankin’s story represents a non-material, metaphysical kind of freedom. He was vomited up by his own jet, that American icon of progress and strength, but violent purging does not necessarily lead to reassessment or redirection. This film is concerned with the sudden, simple, thorough ways that events can separate us from the system of things, and place us in a kind of limbo. Like when we fall. Or cross a border. Or get shot. Or saved.


The film forces together culturally acceptable icons of heroic national tradition with the suggestion of unacceptable historical consequences, so that seemingly benign locations become zones of moral angst.” – DS


This evening and special presentation is curated by Light Field, and is co-presented by Pro Arts Gallery and Canyon Cinema, with San Francisco Cinematheque. Deborah will also present The Illinois Parables (2016) at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on Thursday, June 29th at 7:30pm.


Deborah Stratman is a Chicago-based artist and filmmaker interested in landscapes and systems. Much of her work points to the relationships between physical environments and human struggles for power and control that play out on the land. Recent projects have addressed freedom, expansionism, surveillance, sonic warfare, public speech, ghosts, sinkholes, levitation, propagation, orthoptera, raptors, comets and faith. She has exhibited internationally at venues including MoMA NY, Centre Pompidou, Hammer Museum, Mercer Union, Witte de With, the Whitney Biennial and festivals including Sundance, Viennale, CPH/DOX, Oberhausen, Ann Arbor, Full Frame, Rotterdam and Berlinale. Stratman is the recipient of Fulbright, Guggenheim and USA Collins fellowships, a Creative Capital grant and an Alpert Award. She lives in Chicago where she teaches at the University of Illinois.


About Canyon Cinema

Canyon Cinema Foundation, is a non-profit dedicated to educating the public about independent, experimental, avant-garde and artist-made moving images. In 1967, Canyon Cinema Co-Op, an artist owned and operated film distribution cooperative, was officially incorporated as a business in San Francisco. For half a century, Canyon has served as one of the world’s preeminent sources for experimental and artist-made moving image work. Canyon Cinema 50 celebrates this legacy and the filmmakers who made it possible.


About Light Field

Light Field is an international exhibition, artist-run and collectively organized, presenting recent and historical moving image art on celluloid. The next edition of Light Field will take place in San Francisco in the Fall of 2017.


This screening is a part of the Canyon Cinema 50 project. Canyon Cinema is thankful for the long-term support of the George Lucas Family Foundation. Dedicated project funding for Canyon Cinema 50 has been generously provided in part by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, National Endowment for the Arts, Owsley Brown III Foundation, Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation and The Fleishhacker Foundation.