In over 15 short experimental films, Pierce explores the margins of memory and perception and the filmic construction of space and time. Unsentimental close views of small events are rendered in a manner that magnifies their strangeness. Drawing on his early study of music composition, these films present a subtlety of sound/image relationship.


Image1998, 16mm, color/so, 7min.

A not-so-still life in the backyard with children, water, fire and a few other basic elements. While the ultimate effect is poetic and transformative, it is simultaneously a study in the laws of optics - an exploration of refraction, diffraction, diffusion, reflection and absorption.

"A window pane is a paradox of sorts, as it unifies two opposing functions. On the one hand it separates the 'inside' from the 'outside' while the two spaces still remain visually connected. Glass, like water, can also flow, and both substances also share the qualities of transparency, refraction, and reflection. It is in this last quality that 'inside' and 'outside' can merge into one image. The accompanying crystal clear soundtrack, which ranges from a groaning swing to a crackling fire, very effectively contrasts the diffuse qualities of GLASS."

- from the Impakt Festival Catalogue 1998,
Utrecht, The Netherlands

Distribution Canyon Cinema (

50 Feet of String

Image1995, 16mm, color/so, 52min.

The slow and subtle repeated rhythms of daily life provide the material for this 12 part film. The pace is slow with the intention of inviting viewers into a more visceral and less verbally analytical state of mind. The "action," small events like the mail arriving, the storm coming, and the grass getting mowed, are secondary to the way of perceiving those events.

Awards: Best of Fest, Ann Arbor Film Festival, 1996; Best Experimental, Atlanta Film and Video Festival, 1996; Co-Best Experimental, Athens Film Festival, 1996; Juror's Citation, Black Maria Film and Video Festival, 1996.

Exhibition: Oberhausen Short Film Festival; OsnabrÄck Media Arts Festival; Image Forum, Japan; Impakt Film Festival; Robert Flaherty Film Seminar; Museum of Modern Art, NY.

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Blue Hat

1993, 16mm, color/so, 4.5m

An impressionistic painterly study of the work/play involved in learning simple things.

Awards: Humboldt Film Festival, 1994; Sinking Creek Film & Video Festival, 1994; Od Peculiar Cash Award, Ann Arbor Film Festival, 1994; Juror's Award, Black Maria Film and Video Festival, 1994.

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Red Shovel

1992, 16mm, color/so, 8m

A narrow angle of a view, closely watched, on the Fourth of July.

RED SHOVEL is an impressionistic documentary focusing on a few moments in a small town along the coast of Maine on the Fourth of July (American Independence Day). The approach to image is very painterly with the simple view transformed "with Turneresque luminosity." Most of the unusual visual effect is from the careful use of a shallow depth of field and natural objects (blowing grass, bushes, etc.) to bend and twist the images into a languid sense of time. In the end the film documents a state of mind more than a particular spot. It also resonates with the ambiguous metaphoric threat of a national symbol impinging upon the child's toy.

Awards: Cash Award, Bucks County Film Festival, 1992; Kodak Cinematography Award, Sinking Creek Film & Video Festival, 1993; Juror's Award, Black Maria Film and Video Festival, 1993; Humboldt Film Festival; Cash Award, Ann Arbor Film Festival; First Place, Marin Film Festival, 1994.

Exhibition: American Museum of the Moving Image; National Gallery of Art; Robert Flaherty Film Seminar; etc.

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1991, 16mm, color/so, 4.5m

Shot between 11:00 and 1:00 over a series of Thursdays while my infant son slept, this piece has something to do with the sensory pleasure of momentary solitude in a domestic setting.

Awards: Cash Award, Sinking Creek Film & Video Festival; Cash Award, Athens Film Festival.

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You Can Drive the Big Rigs

1989, 16mm, color/so, 15m

An impressionistic documentary on the small town cafes in the rural Midwest. While the cafes function as a focal point for many aspects of the rural subculture, they also reveal the limits and somewhat closed nature of that culture.

Awards: Oberhausen, Atlanta, Athens, Sinking Creek and Bucks County film festivals.

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What's Left Is Wind

1988, 16mm, color/so, 4m

An elegy, this is a poetic film about the dissolution of memory - not as concrete recall of the past, but as a reconstruction and recontextualization of a fading image that is transformed through time.

Awards: Honorable Mention, Baltimore Film Festival; Best Art/Experimental, Bucks County Film Festival. Exhibition: "Independent Focus," WNET; Experi-88, Bonn; Athens Film Festival; Ann Arbor Film Festival; Humboldt Film Festival.



1986, 16mm, color/sound, 7 min


Red Swing

1986, 16mm, color/so, 8m

A film about subjective experience. This film should be viewed as one would look at a painting or listen to a symphony. A dynamically quiet mood is created by the interplay between the densely structured sound track and complex figure/ground relationships in the images. The subjective point of view of a porch swing through a partially opened door is the image to which we constantly return as the tonic, the drone that is always present but not always perceived.

Awards: Atlanta/Image Film Festival, 1987; Sinking Creek Film & Video Festival, 1987.


These Are the Directions I Give to a Stranger

1984, 16mm, color/so, 14.5m

The old man circles outside, looking for water with a dousing rod; the young woman circles inside, moving through a labyrinth-like house, dimly lit, all rooms connecting. Sometimes she is a narrator, existing both outside the film space and within it. The premise for this film is based on the conflict between what is inside and what is outside. It is an exploration of the windows between imagination and reality. The woman is looking for something; the old man thinks he knows what it is.

"A brilliant film." - R.W. Rowley, Athens Film Festival juror

"Images never what they seem, and always more than that ... a unique and powerful vision." - Karen Nulf, Athens Film Festival juror

Awards: Athens Film Festival, 1985; Bucks County Film Festival, 1984.


The Miracle of Change

Image1984, 16mm, color/so, 6.5m

Taking place in a laundromat, this film is an exploration of territoriality, paranoia and voyeurism. The space itself exerts an oppressive force on the characters as they strive to define and maintain their individual semi-private spaces in an essentially public place. The watched and the watcher are constantly shifting roles in a "hand-off" of the point of view.

Exhibition: Ann Arbor Tour, 1984


And Sometimes the Boats Are Low

1983, 16mm, color/so, 3.5m

The man, the woman and their multiples share the same space at different times while being in different places at the same time, creating a paradox of existence. Sometimes they meet and sometimes they don't.

Awards: Athens Film Festival; SF Art Institute Film Festival; Sinking Creek Film & Video Festival; Finger Lakes Film Festival; Ann Arbor Film Festival.


Not Much Time

1982, 16mm, color/so, 7.5m

A bank robbery repeats several times, each time within a different context and from a different point of view. Is there a double-cross? Why are the passersby so calm? The audience must reconstruct the event and assume the role of detective in this mystery of narrative space.

Awards: Award for Creative Excellence, Atlanta/Image Festival, 1984; Best of Expo, NY Filmmakers' Exposition, 1983; Cash Award, Ann Arbor Film Festival, 1985; Cash Award, Sinking Creek Film & Video Festival, 1983; Cash Award, Bucks County Film Festival, 1983.


He Said Without Moving

Image1981, 16mm, color/so, 3.5m

A character study showing the dissolution of the character's sense of self. The structure is based loosely on a pantoum structure in poetry.

Awards: Cash Award, Ann Arbor Film Festival; Merit Award, Athens Film Festival.


He Likes To Chop Down Trees

Image1980, 16mm, 3.5m

A film about editing, rhythm and a bit about character.

Awards: Ann Arbor Film Festival