Sunday, April 10, 2011

1985: The New York Times on CITV

“The series was launched in 1979 by the video producer Liza Bear under the title of ''Communications Update,'' its territory the exploration of issues in telecommunications and related technology. In 1983, the program was somewhat fancifully rechristened to reflect its changing orientation as a forum for experimental video makers.
According to Milli Iatrou, who took over as the series' executive producer in 1984, ''Cast Iron TV'' has now presented about 100 different programs. ...
Most of them share a playful street- smartness and a deep affinity for the textures of life in New York City. Their looseness of form and less-than- lavish production values are frequently used for purposeful effect, to provide an ironic commentary on commercial television's glossiness and tired formulas. ...
The series features not only productions that ''Cast Iron'' commissions but previously existing video works as well, most of which are brought to Miss Iatrou's attention by word of mouth. A ''core group of five or six'' video artists contributes regularly to the series' original productions, Miss Iatrou said, ''with everyone working in several capacities.'' ...
Over the years, several of the productions that originated on ''Cast Iron TV'' have been shown in video festivals held in Bonn, Bologna and The Hague, as well as at the Museum of Modern Art. The latest tribute to the series came earlier this year when the American Museum of the Moving Image, the film archives located in the Kaufman Studios in Astoria, Queens, screened four ''Cast Iron TV'' segments.
''We try to show things that are experimental in form or content, but which are accessible as well,'' Miss Iatrou explained. Accessibility, however, is somewhat inhibited by the extremely limited budget on which the series operates - ''the toughest thing we have to deal with,'' she said. A half-hour of ''Cast Iron TV'' typically costs $500 to produce, with some of the segments coming in for as little as $200. Grants from the New York State Council on the Arts have helped defray production costs.”

Source: "CABLE TV NOTES: Experimentation Shapes Cast Iron TV", Steve Schneider, New York Times, April 14, 1985
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