Updates (* Please see the blog page for more recent happenings...)
Shoot in LA: Lippard, Brown and Todd
Marcie Begleiter, May, 2013
Lucy Lippard is a writer and was a close friend of Eva Hesse. Her influential books on art and culture include the first major book written about Hesse, published in 1976. While in Los Angeles she sat for an interview and spoke about Eva, the NY art world of the 60's and what has happened to Eva's legacy. Later in the day, Barbara Brown, a photographer and close friend of Eva and Tom Doyle's in the early 1960's, spoke about nights on the town with her friends in '62-'64. The 2 days of shooting concluded at sculptor Mike Todd's Los Angeles River adjacent studio in Atwater Village. (seen in photo with Eva, 1966). Mike was a close friend of Eva's after she split from Tom and being new to NY, Eva introduced him around to her friends including Richard Serra, Carl Andre and Mel Bochner. Through Mike, Eva met another group of NY artists including Paul Thek, who became a good friend.
Shoot in NY : Serra, Andre, Graham, Wilson & Haacke
Marcie Begleiter, October, 2013
In October we were in New York again to shoot interviews with artists who knew Hesse in the 1960s. We sat down with Richard Serra, Carl Andre, Dan Graham, Hans & Linda Haacke and Bill Wilson (a writer and bon viviant who hosted Eva, husband Tom Doyle, Mary Bauermeister and Nam June Paik among many others at his home, which he still inhabits, on West 25th St. ). It was an intense week of film company moves and engaging conversations with fascinating people. We also spent some time on the streets of lower Manhattan shooting the facades of the Bowery and Canal Street and inside the venerable Canal Rubber (they still carry the rubber tubing that Hesse used). Then we returned to Los Angeles and the editing room where we are putting the finishing touches on a 15 minute short film for the Hamburg Museum of Art (Hamburger Kunsthalle) which will be shown in conjunction with an exhibition of Hesse's work opening on November 28th.
Germany: Hamburg, Dusseldorf, Cologne and Kettwig
Marcie Begleiter, December, 2013
In November Director Marcie Begleiter and Producer Karen Shapiro traveled to Germany for 2 weeks of shooting in Hesse's country of origin. The Hamburger Kunsthalle, a venerable art musem in Hamburg, opened an exhibit of her work on November 28th and we were there to film that event and numerous others including the dedication of a plaque at her birthplace. Our crew was international including DoP Ed Moore who came in from England (he also shot for us in London) while the German side was put together by our co-production partner , Cologne-based Televisor/Troika. We had the opportunity to speak with a fascinating group of people - some who had known Hesse when she and Tom Doyle worked in Kettwig during the mid-60's and others who have studied the work in detail. It was an exciting way to end our production year. We are now back in LA contemplaing 2014 and the editing of all our great footage!
London, the Tate and "Hesse '65"
Marcie Begleiter, February, 2013
On January 29th, 2013 the exhibit "Hesse, 1965" opened at the Hauser & Wirth Gallery on Saville Row in London. We were there to film the artwork which included 5 of Hesse's German relief paintings, dozens of the 'machine drawings' that led up to these ground-breaking works and the rarely shown 1968-69 fiberglas works "Sans 2" and "Vinculum". The doc was also in attendance at the reception which was filled with folks from all areas of London culture: from art students to Tate curators, from friends of Eva (including a childhood buddy who flew in with his wife from NY for the opening) to Eva's sister, Helen Hesse Charash and her daughter-in-law Devorah Charash.
We shot a number of short interviews during the party and the next day moved to the Tate where we spent an hour with Nicholas Serota, director of the museum. His connection to Eva Hesse is long-standing, having curated the first European retrospective of her work in 1979 when he was director of the Whitechapel Gallery. Our week continued with a Symposium dedicated to Hesse's work at the University College, London. This program was organized by art historian and Hesse scholar Briony Fer who also spent time before our camera at the Hauser & Wirth Gallery guiding us through the work that is on view there through March 9th.
DOK Leipzig and Cologne
Marcie Begleiter, November, 2012
Wild and wonderful, DOK Leipzig was 3 days of non-stop panels, pitching, and consuming many yummy bits at receptions that went on long after we hauled our jet-lagged bodies back to the hotel. These folks really know how to put on a fesitval! After pitching our film 22 times in 2 days to an international assortment of funders, co-producers and distributors we found that Eva's story engages on many levels and there are lots of opportunties for this project to flourish across the sea.
After leaving that beautiful city with pockets full of business cards, we hopped a train over to Cologne for additional meetings (how lovely to be able to travel easily without a car, sayeth the LA filmmakers). A highlight of those few days included spending time with Werner Nekes, a wonderful filmmaker and the owner of one of the finest collections of pre-cinema objects in the world. Werner knew Eva and Tom quite well during their time in Kettwig (1964-65) and also introduced us to the artists Dore O and Wolfgang Leisen (as well as his lovely wife, RoseMarie) who were part of that circle as well. So the interview list expands!
Research trip to New York
Marcie Begleiter, October, 2012
Director/Producer Marcie Begleiter and Producer Karen Shapiro spent 4 days in NY at the end of September conducting pre-interviews with colleagues of Hesse. Sculptor Carl Andre, artist Ethelyn Honing (Eva and Tom Doyle’s studio-mate from 1961-64) and filmmaker Dorothy Beskind participated in detailed conversations about their experiences with Hesse and the NY scene of the 1960’s.
We also had a fascinating look at Eva's father, William Hesse’s original journals at the Leo Baeck Institute for German-Jewish History. The writings, drawings and photos reflect his thoughtful observations regarding the changing German and New York landscapes of the 1930’s-40’s. This material will add a striking counterpoint to the excerpts from Eva’s journals that will be a major component of the film’s narrative soundtrack.
Upcoming: Leipzig DOK Festival
Marcie Begleiter, September 2012
On October 29-30th DOK Leipzig, a documentary film festival in Germany will hold a by-invitation Co-Production Meeting where documentary teams from around the world will be given a chance to present their in-development projects to their colleagues and potential funders. "Tracing the Rope: Eva Hesse, Life + Work" has been chosen as one of 35 projects from 25 countries that will present at this international meeting. It is the only film from the US to be included this year.
Producer Karen Shapiro and Producer/Director Marcie Begleiter will travel to Leipzig and then onto Cologne to have meetings about the film and identify a European Co-Producer.
At the Whitney...
Marcie Begleiter, August 2012
As part of the first weeks of filming, the team traveled to New York and were honored to be invited into the Whitney Museum. Whitney curator and Hesse scholar Elisabeth Sussman gave a wonderful interview about Hesse's art and life while sitting in front of "Untitled" (Rope Piece) from 1970, one of Hesse's final works.
DP Nancy Schreiber and her camera crew worked their magic and shot the piece while gracefully (and carefully) moving over the museum's pristine flooring.
Goethe-Institut Signs on as Sponsor...
Marcie Begleiter, July 2012
Fareed Majari, the recently installed Director of the Goethe-Insitut Los Angeles worked as a film director before taking the helm of the LA office. From the first meeting with Producer/Director Marcie Begleiter and Producer Karen Shapiro, Majari showed a deep interest in the project and expressed his desire to have the Institut lend support to this German/Amerinca story.
At his suggestion, the team applied to the Leipzig DOK Fesitval's Co-Production Development event, with a commitment from the Institut to provide funding for the producing team to travel to Germany. This funding has come through at a crucial time on our project's development - thank you to Fareed and the whole Goethe-Institut LA office!