An Experimental
    Filmmaker working
    in celluloid


    Artist Biography



    © Bruce Cooper

Love’s Choice | 1986 | 11 minutes | 16mm | B & W

Made by the artist group Boulder Biograph this film is an hommage to the one reel melodrama films of D.W. Griffith, the father of modern narrative film. This is the only sound version in circulation. Love’s was nominated for a Student Acadamey Award (1987) and is in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, NYC, New York.

-- rent: $30, buy $500

Seven Pasades | 1986 | 21 minutes | 16mm | Color

This is a series of seven early 16mm films. Looking back at my student output in 1986-89  I found seven films that could be reworked and expanded into a series exploring dreams, landscapes, and hypnogogic vision all from about the time that I was twenty years old growing up in Boulder Colorado.

-- rent: $50

Romance in Solitude 1-4 | 1993 | 29 minutes | 16mm | Color

"Cooper's ROMANCE IN SOLITUDE is a lyrical hero's journey in four parts. The filmmaker himself searches for beauty/truth, but stumbles over his own identity as well. He begins his quest in the zone between man and nature, speaking of love and languishing with desire. [In his quest] he encounters war, philosophy, religion. He idealizes beauty. This poor Knight fails in his quest. Ultimately, [ROMANCE IN SOLITUDE] is a beautiful, painful tale told by a man with a terrific eye for the flash and splendor of light through the lens of a hand-held camera."

    - M.S. Mason

"Among those who attempt to exist without human sympathy, the pure and tender-hearted perish through the intensity and passion of their search after its communities, when the vacancy of their spirit suddenly makes itself felt. All else, selfish, blind, and torpid, are those unforseeing multitudes who constitute, together with their own, the lasting misery and loneliness of the world."

    - Percy Shelley, from Preface to Alastor

-- rent: $75

3 Diurnals and Nocturn | 2000 | 45 minutes | 16mm | Color

This film unfolds in three parts based on the moods of soul called forth by the Christian observances of Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday. The first part is a city symphony of my hometown Denver, CO. The second is a fever dream that recalls a children's carnival at night. The third part is composed of domestic scenes and birth metaphors that herald the appearance of my daughter Elena, the first of six children.   The complete work is both the envisioned dream-song of a sick child and a lament for lost childhood in general. The first image of a forest thicket encloses the child's world like a stage while the final image of curtains closing suggests the conclusion of one act and the beginning of another.

Bruce Cooper's lovely light poem is a silent film. A rush of rich black and white imagery evokes a variety of experiences—a marching band, an Alaskan cabin, a snowstrom, fire festival, etc.—connected by exquisite shots of light reflected in the water. It's a spiritual journey, an investigation of peace."—M.S. Mason, Rocky Mountain News

-- rent: $100

In Michael’s Hour | 2007 | 15 minutes | 16mm | Color

In Michael's Hour from Bruce J Cooper on Vimeo.

Excerpt from “In Michaels Hour” on Vimeo

A reimagining of World War II as a cosmic struggle between light and darkness. Utilizing found footage from the Russian Front, optically altered and painted-over to reveal occult layers and meanings.

“I could feel a great sense of pain and questioning and searching through a seeming obscurity of meaning -- with a real feeling for complex visual rhythms integrating these layers of imagery… building toward your final celebration of the light (or so it felt to me), with the heaving waters suggestive, then, of emerging life forms and ultimate celestial reachings -- with intimations of immortality.  Congratulations on a beautiful work. I hope many people are able to - see it.”

    - Marilyn Brakhage

-- rent: $40

Kinder Rose 1-6 | 2021 | 100 minutes | 16mm | Color | Silent
*Seventh Edition in progress

"The sense of genuine timelessness as much as needed counterpoint to all 'retro' facsimiles thereof (which sums up just about everything these days...) Simply beautiful! Smashingly good as well: tight, rhythmic, self-assured - the life cycle at work, not afraid to show the darker side."

    - Timoleon Wilkins

"I was also impressed by how little 'play acting' for the camera there was. With children you were able to catch a number of magic moments... raw, real, authentic, on the beach, in different seasons, playing on swings, feeding a farm animal. So much more meaningful than 'home movies' with kids taking on false faces with the awareness that the 'audience will be watching.' There is a certain monotony, and repetition, much more so than in adulthood, and a pattern that was repeated throughout the piece. A suggestion of day, and then night... The clear and meaningful activities of the day, followed by the processing of these events in the dream world (negative images, and ones with a filter (I assume) - so rich with color! The kite flying on the beach with the red and yellows... So delicious for the eye). This is a film about the passing of time. Children growing up in a blink of the shutter."

    - Brent Poole

-- rent: $150, buy: inquire for price

Ariadne’s Reel | 2023 | 7 minutes | 16 mm | Color

Based on the story of Thesues and the Minotaur, focusing on his spurned lover, Ariadne. 

-- rent: $30, buy: $400

World Without End  | 2023 | 8 minutes | 16mm | Color

An envisionment of my adopted hometown Asheville, North Carolina with an homage to Thomas Wolfe’s “Look Homeward Angel.” Abstractions mingle with images of animals, plants, stones, and angels.

“In his WORLD WITHOUT END, Bruce Cooper proposes and proves a universe of multiple dimensions, or perhaps parallel universes gently colliding with each other. Abstractions of redolent blue, backwoods landscapes of autumn leaves, Malick-ian fields of wheat, flowing water in many guises, worlds of animal, and of insect. All these alternate, intermingle, coexist, and are presided over by the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Angel in Cooper’s adopted home of Asheville, North Carolina. Like in Wolfe’s LOOK HOMEWARD, ANGEL, Cooper’s WORLD WITHOUT END directs us to a home we cannot return to aside from in myth, and in the archetypal world residing in our psyches, bones, and fingers. The world is indeed endless should we choose to accept it, and Cooper’s film alternately acclimatizes us consolingly to this reality, and guides us into and through this world of fragmentary shards of ecstatic beauty.”

    - Brecht Andersch

-- rent: $30, buy: $400

World Without End 2 - Orkney | 2024 | 10 minutes | 16mm | 4K digital file | Color

This film was shot in Scotland on the island of Orkney, a land claimed by both the Celts and the Vikings in Medieval times.  It is about the spiritual/religious continuity between the ancient stone circles of  the Ring of Brogdar and the later Christian Gothic cathedral of St. Magnus -  built in the 1100s in capital city of Kirkwall.  There are interludes of water, sunlight, earth and air ; also a few glimpses of human presence on the island.  The original music is by Michael Hynes and Rosalind Buda on both  traditional and electronic instruments.

“This is very beautiful. I'm sure I don't have words that could do it justice, but the monuments in stone, which are slowly eroding, give testimony nonetheless to those who were there and built them, even as the gentle flow of light and water encompasses, consumes, and transcends all things and all time.  While the past feels present, lost but not lost, the negative imagery gives an already-ghostly feeling to the actual 'present,' further intensified by the melancholy bagpipes. There is a felt unity of time and space as humans through history, in their ephemeral existences, have variously sought and responded to the mysteries of the universe, the eternal, the light, the 'world without end.' Beautifully done.”

    -Marilyn Brakhage

“The soundtrack on your film is really outstanding; beautiful, resonant, and totally appropriate to the images. The images ebb and flow in a way that inspires a feeling of timelessness...of "World without End". The editing underscores the concept as something cyclical and earthbound, rather than open-ended or cosmic. I think this is down to a mature viewpoint, compared to your early work like Romance in Solitude, which was cosmic to the extreme.”

-Timoleon Wilkins

“I thought the music was highly appropriate to the film and added to the contemplative mood that seemed to suffuse the work.  The close up of the cathedral's porch and stonework was conducive to  your theme.  This is because, personally, I believe that the only way to approach understanding of that which is great and even divine, is through the contemplation of, perhaps paradoxically, the smallest and exquisite details.” 

-Christopher Loop

-- rent: $40, buy: $500

World Without End 3 - Childhood’s End  16mm film/4K digital, 9 minutes 2024  Color                         

  This film is upcoming.  A dark envisionment of childhood in red and blue, abstraction alternates with narrative.  Dedicated to the filmmaker Phil Solomon 1953-2019.


Bruce Cooper was born in 1965 in Oak Park Illinois, a suburb of Chicago.  He attended the University of Colorado Bolder where he earned a B.F.A. in Film Studies and Film Production. While at Colarodo University at Bolder, Cooper studied under the renowned filmmaker Stan Brakhage. Following his academic career, Bruce founded and operated the Denver Art Museum Cinema Series for four years. He  worked for the San Francisco Cinematheque, and Canyon Cinema Coop. Recently, Bruce organizes and runs a monthly film screen series based in Asheville, N.C.  Cooper has been teaching humanities and film at School of Living Arts in Candler, N.C.

Cooper has explored and mastered the genre of experimental film, focusing on a non-narrative and non-documentary approach to vision.  His films are about visual perception, ways of seeing, which include images from nature, dreams, the lives of children, and hand crafted film abstractions.  Cooper’s films have been featured in Celluloid All Magazine and have been screened at the Boston Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver Art Museum, Calgary Film Society, Film in the Cities, MN, San Francisco Cinematheque, First Person Cinema CU Boulder, as well as Eye for an I Cinema among others. Cooper’s films are represetned in the collections of Canyon Cinema and the Museum of Modern Art.

Beginning as a student of Stan Brakhage and other greats of the experimental film movement, Mr. Cooper's personal quest has been all his own. And the substance of his vision concerns no less than the spiritual nature of experience. Each of his films has offered up many images of great beauty and each seems to me to have built upon the one before for it's insights into meaning--that is, into consciousness of the divine ever-present in daily life. For me, both his full maturity as an artist and even perhaps as a seer has arrived in Kinder Rose Series. Perhaps the only way to speak of the spiritual in our time is not to speak at all -- but to be the Thing Perceived, to allow it to arise in the fluid, lovely memory that is the work of art. Anyway, that is what I believe Mr. Cooper has achieved in this latest film.

-- M.S. Mason