MoCA Gets Up the Nerve Tonight

The museum celebrates the 10th year of the much-anticipated Optic Nerve film fest

Move over "Work of Art."

The Museum of Contemporary Art's Optic Nerve Film Festival is celebrating its 10th anniversary to a sold out crowd Friday night.

In its 10th year, ON is a locals-only competition that invites all video and filmmakers, both accomplished and budding, to create a masterpiece in five minutes or less. Judges selected 22 films from a pool of 80 submissions that will compete for a spot in the museum’s permanent collection.

Curator Bonnie Clearwater holds the awesome power and responsibility of selecting the winning piece, but the audience will also vote for their favorite.

Clearwater, who brought the program to life 10 years ago, was looking to provide a much needed venue for all local artists.

“The idea is to be able to catch my attention and show a very defined perspective. It is not necessarily about film quality or technique,” said Clearwater.

Susan Lee-Chun hopes to catch the audience’s attention with skin tight, metallic work out gear, digital sound and choreographed work out video from the future.

“It's this quirky yet very visually stark routine based on the idea of trying to seek ultimate happiness,” said Lee-Chun, who pokes fun at the human desire to belong in her film.

Let’s Suz-ercise! features a group of volunteers under the L in Chigago, in the same outfit doing the same routine.

“It was amazing to see 18 people say, 'I'll be a part of your art project and dress up like futuristic work out people,'” Chung added.

Chung joins artists such as Justin Long and Juan Carlos Zaldivar in the pursuit of the grand prize: regonition in South Florida’s less than vibrant film making scene.

"Video art doesn't get much respect. It's nice that MOCA shows video art and is still important in their eyes,” said Long, the man behind In Search of the Miercoles.

As one of the few avenues for artists to screen their work, ON is highly anticipated and extremely popular amongst young artists and art lovers.

“It was so exciting to watch local work. I didn’t know what was being produced. You often get depressed and complain about Miami all the time but there is so much here," said Zandivar.

Zandivar, in his second year at ON, presents four minutes and 38 seconds of Horror. The film begins with a young man lying naked on his back and a speaker describing the torture of child based on Ducasse’s “Les Chants de Maldodor.”

Zandivar expects the film will have different meanings for different viewers, but had his own idea in mind.

"I find it fascinating the power media has to move people, because you have no control over what people say or do with it. No one thinks about the repercussions of the use of media.

“I think it catches attention because it's pretty controversial,” said Zaldivar.

While Long has tried the racier, dark and naked approach in former entries, his first entry selected this year took place under Miami Beach’s hot summer sun.

“I go the beach a lot during the week when no one is there. It is kind of an escape from Miami,” said Long.

“That is the basis [of the video,] which is being able to escape during the week instead of working from nine to five,” said Long.

That non-9 to 5 work will be screened, along with the others, Friday, August 6th, at 7 p.m.

“To have something local and to really embrace the energy that exists and is growing here," Clearwater said, "that’s why Optic Nerve does so well.” said Lee-Chun.

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