Influenced by filmmakers as diverse as Ed Pincus and Carolee Schneemann, Anne Charlotte Robertson (1949 – 2012) was a Boston area Super 8 filmmaker who examined and shared her life through her work – a mix of essay, performance and stop-motion animation. Anne completed her graduate degree at Massachusetts College of Art in the 1980s – honing her filmmaking skills under the tutelage of Saul Levine. Diagnosed with various and changing mental disorders, Anne faced several breakdowns and mental hospitals – experiences she documented and exorcised thoroughly through her films – particularly within the annals of Five Year Diary (1981-1997), a project spanning nearly two decades.
Though relentlessly intense and emotional, her films are not entirely bleak, for her bracing self-awareness and humor energize and bring a rare effulgence to the depths of her darkest moments. Anne boldly exposed her most intimate and obsessive inner dialogues – from illness, breakdowns and longing for love to diets, cats and the minutia of existence. She also considered the filmmaking experience therapeutic and cited the process as helping cure her depression.
Anne died of cancer September 15, 2012 leaving behind an archive of a life passionately examined, primarily through the rough warmth of Super 8. Most of her work was created on Super 8 sound film featuring a soundtrack on the film, with additional audio on cassette and narrated live by Anne, creating many layers of sound and story. The original materials have been digitally transferred and are presented here on DigiBeta.
The Harvard Film Archive, home to the Anne Charlotte Robertson Collection, is honored to pay tribute, over the course of two evenings, to the vivid insights and imagination of a pioneer of experimental first-person cinema. – Liz Coffey, HFA Film Conservator