French Shadow Puppet Masters Stereoptik Make Their U.S. Debut at SFIAF with DARK CIRCUS

One of the opening night highlights at this year's San Francisco International Arts Festival on May 25 is the French shadow puppet masters Stereoptik, who begin their debut North American tour of Dark Circus at SFIAF prior to an engagement at HERE in New York City.

Paper, ink, sand and silhouettes spring into being in the skilled hands of two visual artists who draw and play music live to build a big top universe, their striking creations projected onto a large screen. 'Come for the show, stay for the woe.' A sinister ringmaster invites the inhabitants of a dreary city to his circus tent, where he presides over catastrophic acts. The trapeze artist plummets, the animal trainer is devoured, the human cannonball is lost in space ... until a juggler strikes a discordant note, releasing the flash of colour everyone has been waiting for.

Founded by Jean-Baptiste Maillet and Romain Bermond, STEREOPTIK makes cinema without film, using sound and images projected onto a giant screen to create live animated features. Everything, from the music to the illustrations, is created in front of the audience using traditional methods -pen, charcoal, paint, ink, chalk, sand-with no digital effects or editing. The company's pieces play with the relationship between a work and the process of its fabrication. At once illustrators, musicians, projectionists and sound designers, the two artists also serve as lighting designers and cameramen. On either side of the screen - Jean-Baptiste on the bandstand and Romain at the drawing table-they work in perfect synchronicity to perform the stories that they develop together over the course of long periods of experimentation in the studio.

Artist Biographies
Romain Bermond After learning the perspective at school, he devotes himself to the visual arts. He exhibited ingalleries in Paris and several artistic events in France or abroad. Also musician and percussionist, he plays in several bands, brass bands, orchestras Cuban music. He works with different companies ofTheatre where he will be by turns musician, designer or stage designer. He is a part at cultural events as SLICK, La Nuit Blanche or at personal exhibitions in Parisian galleries as Guigon and Danielle Laroche.

Jean Baptiste Maillet When he was a child, he discovered the drums, rhythm and melodies after listening to a Max Roach's album. He soon learns more instruments like piano, bass, guitar or classical writing and jazz arrangement... Drummer, composer, he is involved in varied projects : French music, fanfare, funk, electro, circus or short films. Jean-Baptiste Maillet plays also on stage alongside Clyde Wright (Golden Gate Quartet), David Walters, Christophe Mae, Le Cheptel Aleïkoum, Les Yeux Noirs, Jur(Cridacompany), Florent Vintrigner, La Rue Ketanou ...

PEF Born in 1939, Pierre Elie Ferrier has worked as a journalist, as a cartoonist, as a perfume salesman, and as a racecar test driver, before publishing his first book, dedicated to his grandmother, who he claims held even weirder jobs (Me, My Grandmother..., 1978). A writer and a cartoonist, this rambler whose first love is for the wind and clouds uses the pen name Pef for the many books he writes. In 1980, he created the now wildly famous character, Prince de Motordu, the hero of a series of children's books filled with puns and other linguistic stunts. He has written for television and theatre and is also a prolific book illustrator. In 2014, Gallimard published Pef's second book for adults.

Who: Stereoptik
What: Dark Circus
Where: Southside Theater, Building D, Third Floor, Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture
When: Thursday May 25 8:30pm, Friday May 26 7:00pm, Saturday May 27 4:00pm
Tickets: General Admission: $25.00. Discounts available for students, seniors and children
Box Office and More Information: www.sfiaf.org or call 415-399-9554

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