Chumlum / Early Abstractions

When and Where

Wednesday, March 27, 2024 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Deluxe Screening Room, IN-222E
Innis College
2 Sussex Avenue, Toronto, ON M5S 1J5



This program features two remarkable films that define the heterogeneous nature of underground cinema. Chumlum (1963) was made by the American absurdist filmmaker Ron Rice, who passed before his time leaving only a handful of masterful, diverse films. Of these, Chumlum could be cinema’s greatest behind-the-scenes document of filmmaking, shot on the set of Jack Smith’s Normal Love, with Smith’s coterie of creatures in costumes both esoteric and alien, filmed in continuous superimpositions that give their transgressive parade an unexpected grace. Harry Smith, the sorcerer-dean of American folklore, embraced a variety of camera and cameraless technique in the making of his Early Abstractions (1946-1957), films that are precise in their action, profoundly allegorical in their imagery, but loose in an overarching structure, an imprint of the artist’s fascinations changing over time from non-representational geometric abstraction, to the photographic animation of paint-on-canvas, to figurative collage.

Chumlum (23 minutes)
Early Abstractions (23 minutes)

TRT: 46 minutes

AD HOC is made possible thanks to the sponsorship of Innis College and the Cinema Studies Institute at the University of Toronto.

AD HOC aims to rethink what an experience of cinema can be. We seek to reposition historical landmarks and buried treasures within the on-going tradition of experimental and other non- commercial modes of filmmaking, drawing on work from Toronto, throughout Canada, and internationally. Within these parameters, we aspire to diversity in programming, as well as to multimedia and interdisciplinary screening events that bring together varied communities.

AD HOC = Stephen Broomer, Madi Piller, Jim Shedden, Tess Takahashi, Bart Testa.

AD HOC would like to thank James Cahill, Denise Ing, Charlie Keil, and the staff of Innis College and the Cinema Studies Institute.

Contact Information


Cinema Studies Institute, Innis College


2 Sussex Avenue, Toronto, ON M5S 1J5