Week eleven: Huckleberry Lain (aka Paul Shepherd)

This week in Seminar, we veer away from the animation industry into a discussion and presentation of experimental film works encompassing visual music, expanded cinema, and new media.

Long-standing organizations such as Anthology Film Archives in New York City, the EchoPark Film Center and the iotaCenter in LA, and Artists Television Access in San Francisco are dedicated to showcasing independent experimental cinema and stand as proof of its longevity. Hench-DADA alumnus Huckleberry Lain will discuss his experience working with each of these organizations, his collaborations with musicians and other artists, and tips on how best to traverse the art film world as an emerging experimental filmmaker.

The eclectic program curated by Lain from the iotaCenter library includes many styles, important classics, documents of interactive installations, new media art, and a selection of his own works.


1. Mary Ellen Bute – New Sensations in Sound (1.25) 1958

2. Chris Casady – Son of Puddle Jumper (1.30) 2009

3. Huckleberry Lain – First Look ’08 Intro, Parallel (excerpt) 2009 Antiquities for the Queen of Angels (10.25) 2013

4. Larry Cuba – Calculated Movement (6.30) 1985

5. Adam Beckett – Heavy Light (7.00) 1973

6. Sky David – Lumia Nocturna (3.26) 1974

7. Sara Petty – Furies (3.00) 1977

8. Laura Heit – The Deep Dark (7.06) 2011

9. Stephanie Maxwell – Nocturne (3.00) 1999

10.Naomi Uman – Removed (5.50) 1999

11.Jacques Perconte – Apres Le Feu (7.08) 2010

12.Dr Strangeloop – Fields (Part 1, 6.36) 2012

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IotaCenter Mission:

IotaCenter is a public benefit, non-profit arts organization founded in 1994. Our mission is to inspire both new and existing artists in a historically dispersed and constantly changing technological environment. We aim to do this by foregrounding and contextualizing historically underrepresented experimental and visual music works, enriching current scholarly and academic inquiry into the artists and works in our collection, and providing our community of patrons with a foundation with which to a) study historical work and b) create new work. In other words, the end of one work’s life cycle can inspire the beginning of another. Iota is dedicated to fostering a community of artists by engaging them with our fourprograms: community, exhibition, research and preservation. We work with other like-minded organizations to exhibit and distribute underrepresented experimental works; foster research and discovery by maintaining an archive, on-site library and website; and preserve the films, artwork and paper material in our collections.

Huckleberry Lain bio:

A DADA alumni, Huckleberry Lain has directed, animated and produced dozens of shortfilms, advertisements, online video projects and multimedia installations over a 13 year span and recently won an award for his latest film in Sydney. He has studied under leaders in the field of filmmaking both inside and outside of academia including Mike Kuchar, Bradley Eros, Larry Cuba, Kathryn Smith, Christine Panushka, Maasaki Tanabe and many other esteemed filmmakers. Huckleberry has also curated and programmed numerous events during his time as the Artistic Director of NewTown, a volunteer and Board Member of the iotaCenter, the founder of piXel (+) freQuency gallery and on other occasions as a guest curator. A current artist in the Oakland based collective, ABCO ArtSpace. He has been involved in an assortment of projects highlighting the illustrious past of experimental cinema and animation including producing three DVD’s on legendary animators Adam K. Beckett, Robert Darroll and Bill Alves, as well as performing in the films of Mike Kuchar and Marie Losier.

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40 Responses to Week eleven: Huckleberry Lain (aka Paul Shepherd)

  1. LinHui Wang says:

    Thanks school bringing us this Visual music screening. They were basically experimental animations. I really like the “Son of Puddle Jumper” which hit the music tempo so well when the shapes changing. And when I watched the “Heavy Light”, also thinking about what kind of technology the filmmaker used, because it seemed like something made from the particle system or some feedback from the real light . I can hear people laughing when they were watching “Removed”.

  2. joseph Yeh says:

    Really Great guy and super good and intriguing work! Thanks for the insightful thoughts and facts on life as an independent animator, Mr. Lain.
    I also loved the screened films especially Adam Beckett’s work. His work is Amazing! like dragons made of light or something. crazy.

  3. Dustin Reno says:

    It seems like Mr. Huckleberry Lain has been involved with some very cool and historic groups since graduating. It’s great that there are people out there that cherish and see the need to preserve/share work like we saw.

  4. Yizhou Li says:

    He brought some interesting films, and I liked the “Furies” cat film we saw again. It was a cool idea for the IOTA center to be collecting the films. I hope I can donate my films in there one day too! His list of website links should hopefully be useful too.

  5. Tristan says:

    For me the most interesting film that Huckleberry showed was the glitch film. At one point it felt like you were traveling through a psychedelic pixel tunnel. I also enjoyed the film he made about the dying film theatres, the concept and execution was pretty cool.

  6. I think Huckleberry seemed less like an artist and more like a curator. I hope that is okay to say! But, his excitement and selection of abstract animations seemed much more interesting to me than his actual art. I specifically loved the selection toward the end of the night that was a trio of films by women. Unfortunately, I lost the sheet he handed out, but I really enjoyed the film about the woman in the woods and the wolf. It reminded me a lot of Christina Brous’s work! So fun. And of course, the reimagining of the porno film was quite interesting. All around, I would love to see more of the films that Huckleberry finds interesting.

  7. Jake Zhang says:

    It was a great speak and screening. It gave sense of how broad “visual music” is and how powerful it can be. The beauty of visual music is quite universal; no matter if there is a story, the visuals really express enjoyment and emotion.

  8. Andrew Malek says:

    Huckleberry was a good guest and its nice to see someone with so much passion for the avant-gard side of film making. The work that the Iota Center archives is undervalued and is far more interesting than a good deal of the work that ends up on Motionographer or other video aggregates. I was pleased to hear that the Center is moving toward an all-digital archive. In particular heavy light and the glitch film and the one with the cats will stay with me forever. Huckleberry is fighting the good fight and I wish him all the success.

  9. Ivan Sayon says:

    I have a great respect for experimental animation and I think its definitely a good idea to have an archive focusing on this type of work. Huckleberry’s films were interesting too and I liked his passion and enthusiasm for visual music and experimental animation techniques. I did a search on their website and I’ve noticed a number of the artists have already been guests during our seminar class over the past few years. It’s interesting to see something that ties them all together.

  10. Josh Weisbrod says:

    I thought Huckleberry Lain was interesting to hear from, as he is coming (quite recently) from the same place as we are and spoke to us from a very relateable perspective. I thought his advice was good and that it is definitely worth checking out the Echo Park Film Center (we went there last year!). His film about the disappearing theaters was my personal favorite piece of work he showed– but all of the work he showed was interesting and it was great to hear him speak on each one to get a little historical basis for them.

  11. Christina Brous says:

    It was interesting to hear from a recent grad and hear about what they’ve been doing since graduation. I thought Huck’s films were pretty interesting, my favorite being “The Deep Dark.” It really made me think about my own work and what it means. “Removed” was hilarious, but also thought provoking. I would never have watched had I not been forced to, but I’m glad I did 🙂

  12. earnason says:

    I was very happy to get the chance to see a presentation by H.L. He brought some spectacular films to watch and was lively and interesting as a person. I was particulary happy to see the old student films from CalArts. Very inspirational.

  13. Tim says:

    It’s always encouraging to learn that USC graduates are happily building their own careers/interests after school, and great to see them being successful in the paths they choose. This was no exception, although the body of work was not one I would have chosen to watch if I was left to my own devices (it’s just not where my interests lie).

  14. Brian Rhodes says:

    Very informative, as he introduced me to a world of new creative outlets in Los Angeles. I also enjoyed and was inspired by the work he demonstrated.

    He was very much about preaching being on the cutting edge. I would have liked to see more of his personal work.

  15. Even though I didn´t attend this seminar, I got to meet Paul Shepherd at a screening that Amy Lee Ketchum hosted a while ago. I didn´t know he was Huckleberry Lain, but I did get to see his Downtown L.A timelapse. We shared conversations about living in Downtown, architecture and homeless people. Nice guy.

  16. Caress says:

    It’s always interesting to see where DADA alumni are these days. Huckleberry’s work, as well as his influences, are really fun to watch. It’s also inspirational to see animators working on a variety of creative projects like festivals, workshops, installation work, and freelance. It looks a lot more exciting than working in one studio.

  17. Hearing Huckleberry Lain’s talk and seeing the work he screened reminded me how lucky we are to have a program so oriented around the history for animation. We’ve all seen most of that work, or at least we know who the vast majority of those animators are, and it’s such a cool community to be part of. Every time I see the early visual music animation it makes me want to find a way to share it with more people!

  18. Yifu Zhou says:

    I enjoyed myself seeing Huckleberry’s work. The music and the animation works so well together. Sometime his work makes me feeling a little dizzy. But I like his experimental work. I guess my favorite one is Son of Puddle Jumper.

  19. emily says:

    I like the films that mr.Huckleberry brings to us. I especially like the animations form CalArts. I got lots of useful information form this seminar.

  20. jrronzani says:

    It was great having Huckleberry as a guest since his work represents another career avenue for life outside of school. I really enjoyed the work he showed from Iota. Many people I was already familiar with, but one of my favorites that I did not know about was Calculated Movements by Larry Cuba. I love early video computer and graphics. We owe a lot of what we do today in After Effects, Photoshop, and Maya to these pioneering digital artists who were ahead of their time. Huckleberry’s personal work was great as well. His work is a tribute to these older artists and I like how he uses current software to mimic older methods of animation.

  21. Here it is – another wonderful example of what is possible after graduating from DADA. I applaud Mr. Shepherd for following his bliss, and for sharing it with us. We should all be so lucky to find our voice and express it so clearly, so soon after school. One change in language he may consider is to switch the work ‘experimental’ with ‘research’ in describing his work – and the work in the iotaCenter. As experimental films, it seems the audience doesn’t ask (or care) what the novel experiment is in the film. “Experimental” in Cinema in synonymous for strange, or weird. Calling it ‘Research” then demands the author clearly articulate the research goals, and the process for testing – and allows projects to still be considered informative, even if they are fail as entertainment. In research you often learn more from a failure than a success.

    • elisabethmann says:

      I disagree. “Research” does not signify cutting edge the way “experimental” does. Research is not necessarily alternative to the mainstream, in the way that the term experimental is (by definition.) Although experimental animation and commercial mainstream animation are not necessarily mutually exclusive (ie SpongeBob), research would seem to be the study or pursuit or practice of something, which may or may not be experimental. Research can be very mundane and ordinary and non-reactionary, unlike experimental work. The term avant-garde has pretty much been put to rest as a particular period of art and cinematic history, but the terms “experimental” and “alternative” are still widely in use. And, if experimental work is weird to you, it is probably as comfortable and “unweird” as sliced Wonderbread to someone else. Finally, the term “research” is associated with science. Not all of us produce work or have a process which falls into this category of scientific inquiry/method. Many artists are less scientific and more intuitive. Anyway, thanks Kurosh, for “the food for thought!”

  22. Interesting view of the contemporary form of experimental animation. Happy to see that some animators still develop the medium within it’s abstract potential. Nice films he showed. Great experience!

  23. Sijia Huang says:

    Mr. Huckleberry Lain remind me one of the my favorite artist. They both have a strong eager of expressing composition a and how to take advantage of light! Amazing !

  24. Zheng Kang says:

    Great speak and screening.Huckleberry brought some interesting films. The music and the animation worked very well together. I really liked “Furies” and “Son of Puddle Jumper”. I got lots of helpful information form this seminar. Also had a chance to feel the beauty of visual music.

  25. Eric Cheng says:

    I think most of Huckleberry’s animation are very interesting, I am pretty like the one “Furies”. Also It’s very glade to see our alumni keep the creative spirit after getting into society.

  26. And lo and behold there IS a career in visual music! While I certainly fall under that category with a lot of my work, I certainly get the feeling sometimes that pursuing that medium would prove to be a difficult one since there’s no easily visible infrastructure or totem pole to climb. I’m glad that there’s a coalition of resources available to people that want to develop their work and I certainly hope to take advantage of this in the near future.

  27. Li,Xia says:

    Actually, I still don’t have interested in experimental animation. But I really respect the artist who work for it. they keep trying new way of express, give us a lot of inspiration. I like “Son of Puddle Jumper”

  28. Yawen Zheng says:

    Huckleberry Lain’s work are very abstract and experimental, I especially remember the Antiquities for the Queen of Angels. he brings me the interests in visual music and abstract animation. Without the story, sometime the picture and the music can bring us the more powerful feelings.

  29. Lanzhu Jian says:

    I love the independent film club he mentioned. I cherished the care he have for the old buildings in Los angeles, I thought that was a cool thing to do.

  30. Reggie says:

    I enjoyed Huckleberry Lain’s presentation. It’s nice seeing different experimental films. It gives the artists a chance to play with various techniques and explore various concepts. It’s cool seeing Huckleberry’s work from the DADA program and get a glimpse of what he wanted to accomplish before graduating.

  31. Ning Xu says:

    I like experiment animation though I never tried. if there is a chance to try I would love to do it.

  32. Simo Liu says:

    When I taking the visual music class, I began to love visual music animation and tried to create some pieces. I really enjoy working on them and it’s very fun. Huckleberry’s presentation inspired me a lot. I saw different kinds of visual music pieces and broaden my eyes. Also knew some cool visual music community websites. Very helpful resources.

  33. Sophie Xing says:

    I like this presentation which about experiment, music animation. I will take Visual music class last year. I always want to make music video before. This presentation gave me many ideas and to explore new ways in animation.

  34. Frank Gu says:

    What a cool presentation. Thank you Mr.Huckleberry gave us a such fantastic time. I really enjoyed all the art works that he brings to us. Those art works inspired me a lot.

  35. Catalina says:

    I like Huckleberry Lain attitude towards his work. I like the fact that he enjoys his work and it was very refreshing to see a person outside the studio system working as an animator and feeling passionate about it.

  36. Chaoqi Zhang says:

    I like experimental film, good to see some hidden treasure from his collection, but hope can be more behind scene story.

  37. Fan Feng says:

    It is a so nice chance to have this seminar, I was so inspired by them. H.L has a good passion for his work. Just like animator, we need to get a really important reason to insist on animation. I think the reason will be ourselves. Just we like animation, we are very enjoyable during drawing,

  38. It was a very inspiring seminar, and the films were so awesome. It confirmed to me the fact that I definitely do enjoy the experimental work. It is great seeing somebody independently developing their films, thank you so much for coming!

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