William Moritz - Selected Filmography

Moritz' own 34 films, both experimental and animation, have screened at museums in Paris, Amsterdam, Stockholm and Tokyo, and venues including Pacific Film Archive, Moderna Museet (Stockholm), Anthology Film Archive, San Francisco Art Institute, Academy of Fine Arts (the Hague), and the Stedlijk Museum (Amsterdam).

Comments and descriptions are by William Moritz unless noted.

All My Lost Lovers (1994-1999) 32 min, color, sound, 3/4 video. A memoir of some people I knew who died of AIDS. Partially funded by an American Film Institute Independent Filmmakers grant, but not yet finished perfectly.

Garden (1987) 17 min, color, sound, 2 screens. Made with Harry Frazier. The film documents Will Gear's Theatricum Botanicum, an open air theatre in Los Angeles which hosted annual summer Shakespeare festivals.

Ewige Blumenkraft (1986) 4 min, color, sound, super 8 or video. Made with Harry Frazier. A film about lotus blossons and a few water lilies. [CVM Note: Moritz also used this title as the name of his lab accounts and company for most of his productions; it appears throughout his papers]

Haiku for Tom Thomson (1984-5) 2 min, color, sound.

Winds of Time (1983) 13 min, color. A film about women and nature and the cycles of the Goddess.

Gathering (1982) 17 min, 2 screen, super-8 or video. Made with Harry Frazier. A documentary about an International Faerie gathering near San Diego in the summer of 1982.

Shards (1982) 23 min, color, sound. 3/4 video. A memoir of Bob Opel, best known as the Academy Awards streaker, but a considerably more complex character. Also an indictment of the media and their distortion of facts in favor of a desired message.

Braiding (1980) 4 min, color, sound,16mm [18fps]. Harry Frazier braids Don Kilhefner's hair, while Suchitra Mitra sings a Rabindranath Tagore song on the radio. Another exercise in forbidden information.

Elysian Fields (1980) 3 min, color, sound, 16mm. Cal Valadez, Pat Turnbull and Michelle Jeanette dance in their garden. An elegy for Robert Opel.

Slow Morning Rain (1970-78, preferably 45 mins. at 16fps; also 30 mins. at 24 fps.), color, sound, 16mm. A film by William Moritz, co-produced with Harry Frazier and Robert Cisko Curtis. A ceremonial healing film, with footage shot by William Moritz, Harry Frazier, Robert Curtis, Amy Halpern, Phil Stuart and FuDing Cheng, with additional camerawork by Pat O'Neill and Elfriede Fischinger. Music by Robert Curtis, Brian Eno and Tony Selvage.

Starring Roy Barge, James Brownfield, Robert Curtis, Ken Emerald, Harry Frazier, Will Geer, Kent Gordon, Gregg Heacock, Arlyn Helmka, K. Kawakita, Dave Krecke, Howard Lester, Richard Mattsson, William Moritz, Murphy, Rosalie and Ken Newell, Beverly O'Neill, Pat O'Neill, Kosei Ono, Robert Opel, Buddah-John Parker, Margaret Porter, Aggy Reed, Priscilla Rockwell, Jos Schoffeln, Tony Selvage, Rathin Sikdar, Phil Stuart, Sadao Tsukioka, Pat Turnbull, Cal Valadez, Jasper Vance, and holy people everywhere. Additional program credit reads "Thanks to the many people over the past seven years who helped make this film possible, epecially Chick Strand, Neon Park and Kikuo Mori. Some of the footage from this film was processed with money from a grant from the Judith S. Thomas Foundation." This film premiered January 28, 1979 in The Midas Well Show at The LA Independent Film Oasis at LA Institute of Contemporary Arts.*

[Another description of this film by Moritz includes the following]: I am fascinated by the theories of Italian Renaissance philosophers Marsilio Ficino, Pico della Mirandola and Giordano Bruno, who maintained that a created image = a created event, and therefore all image-makers (and image exhibitors) are responsible for the karma of the subject matter in the pictures that [sic] create (or show); and furthermore, that various images have essentially detrimental or essentially salutary effects. Botticelli derived his VENUS and PRIMAVERA from descriptions of beneficial images in manuals, so I resolved to create a ceremonial film for the healing of a friend, choosing suitable images from Renaissance manuals and rendering them in contemporary terms. The imagery is structured with an introductory sequence of hypnagogic, hypnogenic flashes, an invocation by the Three Graces of the Spirits of the Four Elements (Fire, Water, Earth and Air), and a holy ritual of Aether and ecstasy for the transmutation. Dedicated to the principle that everything exists all the time and always has and always will.

Clap/Bored (1972-78) (CVM Note: elsewhere listed as a stereo/3D film)

Ian (1977) 3 min, 16fps, 3 projectors. A portrait inspired by the aesthetic of the Group of Seven painters as they represented the Ontario landscape in the 1920s.

Naar-bilder (After-images), (1977), color, 6 min, 16 and 24 fps, for 3 projectors, optical sound on one projector only. A portrait (of sorts) of a brilliant and persuasive "structuralist" filmmaker, the Dutchman, Jos Schoffeln, whose image appears flickering on the side panels (delivering a lecture on after-images) flanking a central repository of sentimental footage of Holland (much of it surviving from a now lost film I made about Amsterdam in the 60s), the absolute antithesis of everything Jos is talking about.

Kent (1976), color, 4 min, 16 fps, single projection, optical sound. A ceremonial portrait for the release from prison of a friend. During the performance, I must be able to approach the screen while carrying the projector.

Summer Garden (1976), color, 3 min, 16 fps, single projector, optical sound. With Michelle Jeannette, Pat Turnbull and Cal Valadez. I went back to Pat and Colly's house that summer for some pick-up shots with flowers for the Three Graces sequences in Slow Morning Rain, but discovered that Pat had shaved his beard, so I couldn't use the footage for the long film. The garden still has a magical charm, though, and I was reminded of Thomas Campion's lute song, "My Sweetest Lesbia," so I shot the footage to synch with the lovliest funeral music I can imagine - a dance from Gretry's rococo opera Zemire et Azor. Summer Garden is one of a pair with an unfinished film Plaisir d'Amour.

Star Trick (1975) 7 min, color, sound,16 mm [18fps]. Produced by Robert Opel, shot during an intermission of a play "Heartbreak of Psoriasis" (starring Divine) at the Kabuki Theatre in San Francisco. With Goldie Glitters, Ken Rodriguez, Charlie Airwaves, Blaze Lust, Lux Zircon, Tom O'Horgan, Pristine Condition, Dimitrie Kabbaz, Lee Mentley, and the people of San Francisco, i.e. the audience during two intermissions of the play. Described by a French critic as "The most beautiful single shot since the Lumiere Brothers watched the train arrive at La Ciotat." Ideally screened as a 2 projector performance.

Rumanian Dance Rushes (1975) 10 min, color, sound, 16mm [18fps]. James Brownfield, Pat Turnbull and Cal Valadez dance, while William Moritz, Robert Curtis, Harry Frazier, Phil Stuart, and Gene Partyka voyeurize.

Michael Brod's "Whoever in Transit" (1974). A documentation of an environmental art work, starring the people of Venice, California. (CVM Note: elsewhere listed as a stereo/3D film)

Grains (1973) 4 min, color, sound,16mm. A film patterned after a haiku poem, shot in Shofukuji cemetery. Fukuoka, 1972. (CVM Note: elsewhere listed as a stereo/3D film)

Observers Observed (1972 - continuing work), color, c. 4 min, 16 fps, for 2 projectors with side-by-side panels, sound on tape. I love photographing filmmakers, and this is a continuing project film which I frequently revise and re-edit. Glimpses of Malcolm Legrice, Birgit & Wilhelm Hein, Pat O'Neill, Steve Dwoskin, Chick Strand, Lotte Eisner and Elfriede Fischinger, Gunvor Nelson, Louise O'Konor, Sadao Tsukioka, Tom Chomont, etc. Also available as a four projector piece, and as a bi-pack film if the gate on your projector will accept two film strips at once.

Allegro Ambientale (1971), b/w, 3 min, 24 fps, for single projector, magnetic sound. This was shot at a conference in Rimini using an RAI-TV crew. Hundreds of short shots and single frames of the city of Rimini flowed together to give the sense of the fountains and tree-lined streets coming t life and dancing together. Cf. Belson's Bop Scotch and Conner's Looking for Mushrooms. I never got my print from RAI, but it was shown on Italian TV.

Branches (1971), color and b/w, about five minutes a piece, 16 fps and 24 fps, for multiple 16mm projectors and a 35mm slide projector, sound on tape.

Jude (1970) 3 min, color, sound,16mm. A film haiku, with Jude Carter, James Brownfield and Francoise Rosee.

Allee and Hot Flashes (1970), color, 3 minutes each, 16 fps, for two projectors in exact synch, with polaroid filters and glasses. I originally made these two films as conceptual pieces when a local theatre was screening experimental films at midnight while a stereo porno movie was on the regular day shift. The theatre was using a projector that superimposed two adjacent frames by using a special prism, so I figured that any tracking shot with quick lateral movement would produce illusions of depth or "counter-depth" depending on the direction of movement. Allee is based on that principle, using images of a newly constructed building with plenty of arcades and arches. However, I also found that the unevenness of the original take (done from a wheel chair) caused an exciting jitteriness called retinal rivalry, which I like more than the smoother depth sensations. Hot Flashes is composed primarily of conceptual binocular (rather than strictly stereo) experiments - images of different color for each eye, different images for each eye, a few regular 3-D images, images that seem to approach but do not change size, and some readymade optical illusions from Rrose Selavy's Anemic Cinema polarized for greater clarification.

Gertrude Stein Film (1969) 9 min, color, sound, 16mm. Ah, the 60s... An attempt to apply Gertrude Stein's strategies to filmic language. Camera, editing and opticals by William Moritz and Robert Curtis. Cast: Priscilla Rockwell, Marilyn Murray, Beverly O'Neill, Kathleen Lattinville, Ira Smith, Marsha Kinder, Pat O'Neill, Michael Curtis, James Brownfield, Robert Curtis, Stephen Glazer, Barbara Miller, and William Moritz.

East Meets West (1968/69), color, 4 min, 16 fps, for four projectors, two with magnetic sound. A Balinese and a Dahoman dance, recorded on magnetic stock, are played on two magnetic sound projectors pointed at opposite side walls (preferably to the East and the West) of the projection space. The images (suggested by Balinese and Dahomen design) are "batiked" directly onto the mag stock with solvents and paints. Both strips are rethreaded into two other (silent) projectors with their beams superimposed on the main screen area to the front of the room.

Screen Test (1968), color, c. 10 min., 16 fps, for one projector. The surface of the regular screen in the projection space is replaced in turns by different materials (sheet mylar, patterned fabric, black cloth, etc.) which are also projected as a photographed image on those same materials. The black cloth also "highlights" the projector beam by not reflecting animated white shapes that then "exist" primarily as light movement in the center of the room. This film must be prepared for each particular screening space: cost c. $50.

Conversation (1968), color, 4 min., 24 fps, for 2 projectors with images overlapped to produce three equal rectangles, optical sound on both projectors. Pure color frames in various speeds and blends from slow dissolves to single-frame flickers, overlap to develop a complex color rapport, while voices on the tracks name hues. (Voices of Aggy Read and Lane Gravesen recorded 1977).

Heads = Tails (1968), color, 5 min., 16 fps, for 2 projectors with side-by-side panels overlapped very slightly in the center, silent. Pure red and green frames are projected for a duration, then pop to black, in order to "highlight" complementary (green and red) colored after-images. This was (and still is) a free movie, since once I'd had the basic idea of making a film about retinal color exhaustion, I discovered that when I go to a film supply store to buy some red and green leader, the clerks will never believe that what I want to do will work, so they insist on giving me a free sample of the material (which otherwise must be bought in large reels) to try it out. This has worked several times over the years. Once the initial color after-images are established, punches are used to induce eye movement and cause displacement and mixture of after-images.

Positron/Electron (1968), b/w, 3 min., 16 fps, for 3 projectors with three side-by-side panels, silent. The images are pure black-and-white flickers, the center being a "negative" of the image on the side panels. The projector beams are crossed, so that right-projector = left-panel, left-projector = right panel, and center-projector = center-panel. During the performance, I pass through the projector beams (carrying a lighted incense stick or sparkler) between the projectors and the point of intersection of the beams, so that my shadow and the curls of smoke appear going backwards in space and forwards in time (or vice versa, depending on your point of view) which is something like a model for the current speculations about the mode of operation of Matter and Anti-matter.

Child **** (1968), 20 minutes, for analytical regular 8mm and Super 8mm projectors with two side-by-side panels, collage sound on tape. Inspired by Bruce Conner, an exhaustive re-working of bits of imagery taken from children's films (cartoons, Shirley Temple films, action and horror serials, etc.) mixed with fragments of newsreels (The Beatles, Mick Jagger dancing, John Kennedy visiting the Pope, etc.) which had appeared commonly on TV, available to children.

Five Loop Dances. (1967). My first attempt to create a wholly and automatically meditative structure.

I. "St. Oscar & Mr. Ross" / Oscar Wilde's tomb at Pere Lachaise, Paris
II. Priscilla Rockwell / James Brownfield
III. My Great-Aunt Lola & Marlene-Lola-Lola / My Great-Uncle Franz
IV. Allen Ginsberg form / Allen Ginsberg at Spring Mobilization, 1967
V. Bimbo-Mose / Scratch & green flare at Spring Mobilization, 1967

Earlier films, noted by Moritz as "not available for projection":

1962 - present: numerous informal 8mm and Super 8mm pieces, among them:

Had a Peace Lately? (1967), color, 12 minutes, for analytic Super 8 projector, sound on tape [collage]. A documentary about the Spring Mobilization anti-Vietnamese War demonstration in San Francisco.

Home Movie (1966), color, 14 minutes, for one Super 8 and one analytic regular 8mm projector, sound [Indian Raga] on tape. An overtly psychedelic film, parodying home movies and travel films, as well as Resnais' Last Year At Marienbad. Super 8 reel shows a collection of images with surrealistic connections and a slight linear flow; Regular 8mm projector shows parallel imagery on a side panel for about two minutes, then begins to show loops superimposed over the Super 8 image (e.g. flickers and tunneling shots taken driving down French country roads with regular vaults of trees along the sides).

Stiles (1965), color, Super 8 loop event, silent. Different people climb over the same stile in the English countryside, on their way to see the Cerne Abbas Giant, which rests on the hillside behind. Fixed camera.


Moral of Four Monkeys (1961), b/w, 10 min., 16 fps, silent, 16mm. Another Eisensteinian psychodrama. Destroyed. (W.M.)

Toys (1961), b/w, 10 mins, 24 fps, silent, 16mm single projector. An Eisensteinian exercise in montage and psychodrama. Destroyed (W.M.)


Notes were culled from program notes for various screenings, and filmographies and documents provided by Moritz to C. Keefer, 2003-04

Filmography (c) C. Keefer/Center for Visual Music 2010. Please seek permission before reproducing.

Last updated July 2010

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