Ernie Gehr is an American experimental filmmaker, whose film Serene Velocity (1970) remains one of the best known works of structuralist cinema and perhaps experimental cinema more broadly. Further works, such as Shift (1972-74) and Side/Walk/Shuttle (1991), continued to show how inspired Gehr’s placement of a camera could be, while the personal quality of Signal – Germany on the Air (1982-1985) contributes to an intensely overall affecting film. Since shifting from film to video in 2001, Gehr’s films continue to explore ontology and the experience of spectatorship, including the camcorder-degraded sunsets of Waterfront Follies (2009) and especially his latest work.
Gehr brought two short films to the Wavelengths programme at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival: Departure and Auto-Collider XV. We were thrilled to spend some time with Ernie at our TIFF studio space, Onsite [at] OCAD U, where we were able to discuss as much of his career as our limited time would permit.
This interview is from our extensive 2012 Toronto International Film Festival coverage and the full length interview was released in December 2012.
Lead image from MoMA.