The Balagan Experimental Film & Video Series was conceived in the summer of 2000 when the Coolidge Corner Theatre approached us with an opportunity to host a regular program highlighting local experimental film/video makers in their brand new Screening room.

The New room is a wonderful compliment to Boston's most treasured art Deco moviehouse and a wonderful opportunity to present experimental films & videos in an intimate theatrical setting. As filmmakers ourselves, struggling to find venues to exhibit our works, we were excited for the challenge of establishing a new space for experimental works by local and international film/video artists who are rarely represented in Boston cinemas.

Our mission in creating the series is to promote films and filmmakers whose works do not fit into the traditional genres of the film "industry". These works traditionally, throughout the history of cinema, have been labeled as avant-garde, art-house, or experimental.

Although an experimental film/video often can contain or combine elements of traditional narrative or documentary filmmaking, experimental filmmakers, as difficult as they can be to define, tend not to make their films/videos for the "industry". Their works are made for very personal and intimate reasons and their visions and creations are uncompromised by the constraints of "mainstream media".

That said, experimental filmmakers create their works to be screened, exhibited and experienced by an audience. Balagan aims to create a "space" where an audience can experience the visions of the artists. Balagan aspires to nurture and develop the rich community of artists working in film & video in New England and abroad. The series provides an outlet for artists to exhibit their works and to see, meet and discuss works by other artists within the "community".

We hope to continue to collaborate with a variety of film/video artists and film organizations in bringing diverse and exciting programming to Boston and to introduce Boston's experimental film/video artists to the rest of the world.



Balagan was a type of travelling theatre troop common during the 18th to early 20th centuries in Russia. Balagan as a theatre genre, combined elements of commedia dell'arte and French street performance. Cities and villages would eagerly anticipate the coming of the Balagan wagons as they traveled from one city plaza to the next bringing laughter, joy, drama and a chance for people to forget about the ordinary doldrums of day to day life.

Curated by local filmmakers Alla Kovgan and Jeff Silva, Balagan aims to rekindle the spirit and essence of the traditional Balagany experience. The Balagan Experimental Film series promises to surprise you with a different experience every time. Come and see for yourself.


Who We Are

Jeff Silva is a filmmaker and visual artist from Boston. Jeff produces works ranging from experimental films, documentaries, live visual performances, and multi-channel installations. His projects challenge cinematic conventions of storytelling, composition, editing, and sound design; blurring the boundaries between genres. Jeff teaches Film and Video production and editing courses at BFVF (Boston Film and Video Foundation) and CCTV (Cambridge Community Television), and is a Producer/Director of Educational Media at MIT's (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) Center for Advanced Educational Services (CAES). He is also a founding member of two emerging Boston based multimedia collectives: MIR (Manipulated Image Research) and Pixonik Labs. Jeff also curates film, video and multimedia events locally. He has curated programs for the Coolidge Corner Theatre (BALAGAN), the BUFF, and Carberry's summer film series among others. Jeff is currently editing his next project "Hard Reigns", a feature length documentary related to the Balkans, that uses footage and interviews he has accumulated over the past year and a half on his trips to Kosovo and Belgrade.

Alla Kovgan is a Boston-based filmmaker, born in Moscow (Russia). Her films and films that she co-directed have been presented worldwide including at the Sundance, Rotterdam, Toronto, Melbourne, Durban, Oberhausen, Clemont-Ferrand, MOMA, Louvre, Centre Pompidou, PBS (US), ZDF (Germany) and numerous others. Alla's most recent film NORA (2008), her collaboration with the British filmmaker David Hinton, is an art film – a poetic biography of the Zimbabwean choreographer Nora Chipaumire. NORA has been an official selection of over 80 festivals, received 23 awards and will be broadcast on PBS in 2010. The two latest documentaries, which Alla co-directed and edited, an Emmy-nominated "Traces of the Trade" (2007) and “My perestroika” (2009) premiered at Sundance and on P.O.V. (PBS). Since 1999, Alla has been involved into interdisciplinary collaborations – creating intermedia performances (with KINODANCE Company), dance films and documentaries about dance such as “Movement (R)evolution Africa” (with Joan Frosch). Alla's projects have been supported by Open Society Institute, LEF Foundation, Trust for Mutual Understanding, Bank of America Celebrity Series, among others. Since 2000, she has taught and curated dance film and avant-garde cinema worldwide as the Programmer of St. Petersburg Dance Film Festival KINODANCE (Russia) and as a co-Curator of Balagan Film Series (Boston). In 2009, Alla was awarded a Massachusetts Cultural Council Fellowship and a Brother Thomas Fellowship for artists working at a high level of excellence and creativity.(http://www.movementrevolutionafrica.com/nora/ ; http://www.kinodance.org, http://www.tracesofthetrade.org, http://www.kinodance.com/russia/)