Podcast: Echo Park Film Center’s Marvelous Movie Mondays Interview with Simon Tarr

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Echo Park Forums interviews Echo Park Film Center’s curator of the month for the Marvelous Movie Mondays series, Simon Tarr.

What is the Echo Park Film Center?

Echo Park Forums

Since 2002, Echo Park Film Center has provided a dynamic creative meeting place for filmmakers and film lovers of all ages to come together in celebrating the magic of the moving image.


1200 N Alvarado St. (@ Sunset Blvd.) Los Angeles, CA. 90026

(213) 484 – 8846


What is the Marvelous Movie Mondays Series?

Every month, Echo Park Film Center chooses a curator who chooses weekly films to showcase on the Echo Park Film Center’s Facebook page. The curator brings along with him/her a theme, a collection of films to discuss within that theme, and weekly notes about the films.

Who is Simon Tarr?

Echo Park ForumsSimon Tarr is an artist, writer, and educator in South Carolina. He made his first movie at the age of eight using a strip of film fashioned from sandwich bags taped together, with spaceships drawn on it. The projector was a shoebox with a lamp in it, the lens was a magnifying glass on the end of a toilet paper tube. The movie premiered on the wall of his bedroom, where the film melted after a few seconds.

In addition to his films that have been screened in hundreds of film festivals on every continent (yes, even Antarctica), he creates live video shows and immersive environments that he has performed at Carnegie Hall, LaMaMa and around the world from Tokyo to Cairo. His work is available on DVD from Netflix and Amazon. 

Tarr is an associate professor of art at the University of South Carolina. He received the 2010 University Film and Video Association Teaching Award for achievements in pedagogy that contribute to the field of film and video education.

Important Links Discussed in the Interview

 “On The Mountain” Film by Lauren Cook

Watch Here.

Simon’s Field Notes for “On The Mountain”:

All the moisture is frozen out of the air. Lips split and lungs turn to jerky. It seemed like a good idea to hole up here and take refuge from everything that is broken. Start with all that is you, all of you that’s left. Now let yourself dry into sinew and salt. More you than ever. The you-est you’ve ever been. You.

Watch this film and find something to drink.

Audio Interview Discussion Outline

  • Who is Simon Tarr?
    • Teaching in University of Southern Carolina
    • Media Arts Program, teaching
  • Simon’s Experimental Film Endeavors
    • Simon’s short and feature-length films
    • Media performances
      • Live pieces and travels
      • Media designs, plays, experimental video art
      • Simon’s game plan when doing live performances
        • How he chooses clips, sets a theme
    • Simon’s motivations
      • Early years
      • From narrative filmmaking to experimental
      • The benefits of working in the experimental side of film
  • Echo Park Film Center
    • What is it? And early history
    • Simon’s early interactions with Echo Park Film Center
    • His involvement with Marvelous Movie Mondays
  • Marvelous Movie Mondays
    • “The story between the films”
    • December’s theme
    • The movies showcased so far, and what to expect
    • Technicalities of choosing featured films every week
  • “On The Mountain” — December 9th’s Featured Film
    • Audio clip
    • Summary, discussion, analysis
      • Lauren Cook (Director)
  • How It Works on Facebook
  • Keep in Touch with Simon and Moving Forward

Simon Tarr’s Memorable Quotes

I’m interested in moving images on film that people look at. I make work that thinks about human systems and how we make sense of unfamiliar situations.

When I approach live media performances I think of it like presenting a film, but where the film is different every time, where there is an improvisational component.

Echo Park Film Center is this dream organization that a lot of independent filmmakers who got moving and got into the field in the 90’s in particular, really needed.

What does it mean to be dark and frozen and without direction, and how do we find our past through the dark…I’m trying to tell a story through other people’s stories. (Talking about his theme for December’s Marvelous Movie Mondays.)

I’m interested in science and all kinds of things, but from an early age Iv’e wanted to tell stories in some way.

There’s an energy that you can’t replicate when you get by working in front of people.


Thank you Simon Tarr for your time, and for letting us in on what you’re doing with film, and with Echo Park Film Center!


Photo/Image credits: Echo Park Film Center Logo is from their website. Picture of Simon Tarr is from QuarkNova.com, his website.

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