Recording Rock History

Who realized one of the great punk rock videographers had been living for years here in Sarasota. We were excited to hear about the Target Video exhibition at this year’s Sarasota Film Festival, but somewhat stunned to learn local notable Jill Hoffman-Kowal had been one of the founders of the revolutionary band of videographers.

It was just this year, after Target Video had already seen at such venues at the Getty in Los Angeles, that Hoffman approached the festival with some of the historic reels of film her old outlet had recorded of the Sex Pistols, Iggy Pop, the Screamers and the Cramps.

“These films represent an archival treasure for an entire generation of music fans, capturing the fundamental spirit and energy of punk rock in America,” boasts SFF Artistic Director Tom Hall, clearly happy to screen this gems.

Target Video was founded in 1977 while Hoffman-Kowal, Joe Rees and Jackie Sharp were in art school in San Francisco. The audio-visual kids got in on the ground floor of punk and ended up becoming video historians for the exploding movement. In the beginning, the group recorded with black-and-white reel-to-reel cameras, splicing footage together in their loft. Eventually, the group had bicoastal offices, was following bands around Europe and recorded milestone performances by Iggy Pop.

Hoffman-Kowal eventually moved to Sarasota and settled down. But since an exhibit at the Getty Museum in L.A. featured the company’s footage, Target Video’s founders have been reunited. Hoffman-Kowal reached out to SFF about a program, and another reunion was quickly planned.

So what will we see here?

SFF officials are excited to screen three presentations from Target Video. An April 14 program will show footage of Los Angeles bands like Black Flag, an April 15 program includes New York and Europe bands like the Ramones and Bauhaus and an April 16 show will include footage of San Francisco groups like the Dead Kennedys and The Mutants.

“It’s snippets of music history,” says Hoffman-Kowal. “The pacing is fast and the color is saturated. It’s very exciting. A lot of it’s very funny and a lot of it is very emotional.”

Until it screens, enjoy this Target Video footage of the Dead Kennedys.

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