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The irrepressible Melinda Stone will host two screenings of amateur and cine-club films, including a tribute to the late Sid Laverents, alongside new productions

Sunday, February 21, 2010
3:00 p.m. For the Love of It: Seventh Annual Festival of Amateur Filmmaking
(U.S., 1972–2009). Artists in person. Introduced by Melinda Stone. Group productions from local amateur film clubs share the screen with newly commissioned Kodachrome films by Kerry Laitala, Jim Granato, Keith Evans, and Paul Clipson. (c. 60 mins)

Sunday, February 28, 2010
3:00 p.m. Sid’s Cinema: A Tribute to Amateur Filmmaker Sid Laverents
Sid Laverents (U.S., 1963–85). Introduced by Ross Lipman and Melinda Stone. We celebrate the career of this amateur auteur, whose “sense of humor . . . braids vaudeville, Looney Tunes, slapstick, and the drollery of old New Yorker cartoons.”—N.Y. Times. (c. 65 mins)

Source: Pacific Film Archive

On August 7th, UCLA will be celebrating Sid Laverents’ 100th birthday, with Sid in person (!) along with many other special guests. The event will feature screenings of two of Sid’s greatest films, a 35mm blowup of his masterwork MULTIPLE SIDOSIS, and Sid’s original 16mm print of his autobiographical magnum opus THE SID SAGA, a must be seen to be believed look at his eventful (eventful enough for three people, actually) life.

Details from the UCLA website (scroll down to August 7th)

Roughly a decade ago, filmmaker/professor/homesteader Melinda Stone started showing film archivists a tape she had acquired from a member of a San Diego filmmakers’ club that she had come across while she was working on her Ph.D. dissertation.  The film was called “Multiple Sidosis” and the creator was Sid Laverents, one of the superstars of the film club scene.  The film is a masterpiece of craftsmanship, involving special effects made almost miraculous by the fact that Laverents had created them all in his home.  News of the rediscovery of the film spread like wildfire in the amateur film circles, and almost instantaneously “Multiple Sidosis” was named to the National Film Registry and UCLA embarked on a project to preserve a selection of Laverents’ films.

Sid’s films had hardly been forgotten among his cine club fans, however, since he had been screening them around the United States and selling them on VHS from his home.  As remarkable as his films are, they are but one aspect of an amazing 100-year long life (he will reach the century mark this August) that he chronicled in his self-published autobiography The First 90 Years Are the Hardest as well as in his multi-part cinematic autobiography The Sid Saga.

Sid Laverents Online:

An annotated filmography, from the fanzine Roctober.  Roctober also released a CD of Sid’s music in issue #36.

A page on Multiple Sidosis from the San Diego Amateur Movie Makers Club, Sid’s sadly defunct film club.

Melinda Stone on Sid Laverents.

A January 2004 article on Sid in the New York Times.

A downloadable version of Multiple Sidosis (plus an mp3 of one of his songs).  More mp3s here.

And, finally, a poor quality YouTube version: