In the world of art appreciators, there are two schools of thought: those who enjoy a good landscape or Hummel, and those who want their art to be a little bit harder to swallow. Former San Francisco State University students Mallary Abel and Brenda Contreras are firm believers in the latter. After meeting in a Cinematheque Management class at SFU, these two film buffs decided to join forces outside of the classroom, first at a nonprof called Artists’ Television Access, then on a project of their own. Currently, they are touring the Western U.S. with their first labor of love, an experimental film festival they’ve aptly dubbed Cut and Run: Something to Offend Everybody. Made up of 20 films from as far back as 1965, Abel and Contreras’s collection aims to challenge its viewers by offering up art that’s a little left of center. In other words, consider yourself warned. Cut and Run makes its Santa Barbara stop this Monday, August 17, at Jensen’s Mainstage (2905 De la Vina St.) at 8 p.m. For more info on the fest, visit For tickets and info, call 451-1215 or visit And for some reasons to attend, check out our rundown below.

1) IT’S SOMETHING DIFFERENT: Abel and Contreras’s Cut and Run festival is the result of months of research, networking, and scrounging to find just the right films, and it shows. “These films represent the wide range of experimental films that are out there,” explained Contreras. “We have documentary, collage, re-appropriated, mixed media, and other types of work in the showcase.” “We don’t mind being uncomfortable sometimes,” added Abel. “We feel as artists that the more you take people out of their comfort zone, the more of an impact you can create on them. You can make them think more, or question things more, or maybe think more critically.”

2) THEY’RE TAKING IT TO THE STREETS: Next up, Abel and Contreras will bring Cut and Run to San Fran’s Municipal Railway. “We will bring a projector and a screen and play the films there,” Abel explained. “It’s a definite guerilla-experimental way to have a film show, and that’s our goal-to keep up with the experimental. It’s going to be exciting, and the fact that it is on the Muni at rush hour ensures a great turnout, too.”

3) YOU GET A CONCERT, TOO: Along for the ride are Silicon Valley experimental music-makers Dusty Organ, led by frontman and film fest contributor Phillip Villarreal. Armed with everything from a mountain dulcimer to synths to the project’s namesake organ, they’ll open the Jensen’s tour stop with a short-but-sweet set.


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