Craig Baldwin and Damon Packard

Hallucinogenic California: The Alternate Worlds of Craig Baldwin and Damon Packard

"Mock Up On Mu is an overwhelming experience, an allegorical cyclone of images and ideas haunted by sardonic humor and gnostic longing..." Erik Davis,

Jack H. Skirball Screening Series

Two of California’s most notorious underground filmmakers unleash a pair of deliriously subversive visions of Los Angeles culture — past and present — as poverty-row sci-fi thrillers. Bricolage wizard Craig Baldwin, of Tribulation 99 (1991) fame, takes his culture-jamming to a new orbit with Mock Up On Mu (2008, 109 min., color and b/w). This new work is a frenzied collage narrative following the far-flung exploits of L. Ron Hubbard, master of the Empire of Mu (aka the moon) in the year 2019, as he schemes with and against Marjorie Cameron, Jack Parsons and Aleister Crowley to make havoc on the terrestrial homeland. Baldwin’s twisting plot uses B-movies, self-help infomercials, pulp serials, aerospace promo films and otherworldly footage shot by Baldwin to spin an allegorical yarn of subterranean cults, government secrecy, and the co-opting of utopian visions by the military. Mock Up on Mu is preceded by Damon Packard’s SpaceDisco One (2007, 42 min.). The director, writer and star of the paranoid freakout Reflections of Evil (2002), Packard (who also plays L. Ron Hubbard in Baldwin’s film) gives a frightening and hilarious depiction of Los Angeles as an Orwellian land of split realities: placid suburban routines under invisible but inextricable mind control.

In person: Craig Baldwin, Damon Packard

The Jack H. Skirball Screening Series is curated by Steve Anker and Bérénice Reynaud.

Funded in part with generous support from Wendy Keys and Donald Pels and The Herb Alpert Foundation. The Alpert Awards in the Arts, a fellowship program that supports innovative practitioners in the fields of dance, film/video, music, theater and visual arts, are administered by CalArts on behalf of The Herb Alpert Foundation.

Additional Screenings and Information:

Mock Up On Mu will also screen on Sunday September 28, 7:00 pm at Los Angeles Filmforum at the Egyptian Theatre 6712 Hollywood Blvd. at Las Palmas

$10 general, $6 students/seniors, free for Filmforum members

For reservations, email with your name & number of people

Born in Oakland, California, Craig Baldwin attended the University of California at Santa Barbara and then enrolled in the film department at San Francisco State University (MA, 1986). There, under the mentoring of Bruce Conner, he became increasingly drawn to the collage film form. His interest in the recontextualization of "found" imagery led him to the theories of the Situationist International and to various practices of mail art, 'zines, altered billboards and other creative initiatives beyond the fringe of the traditional fine-arts curriculum.

Selected Filmography:

  • Wild Gunman (1978)
  • RocketKitKongoKit (1978)
  • Tribulation 99 (1991)
  • ¡O No Coronado! (1992)
  • Sonic Outlaws (1995)
  • Spectres of the Spectrum (2000)

"As a new generation of "media savages," our cargo-cult can sift through the debris left by the corporate producers, to construct a playful and ingenious bricolage that re-invests the older material with new, critical meanings. ... For the marginalized practitioners of this cinema povera, the appropriation and détournement of "found" pop-cultural imagery towards oppositional ends serves to render some overdue satisfaction, perverse yet just...

... I'm interested in black-comic social critique, and also in graphic montage, rhythm, and acceleration; but above it all, I'm interested in the mobilization and manipulation and manic play with old and new meanings, as "found" footage is recontextualized with newly-produced sound and imagery, documentary testimony and collateral text. This polymorphous collage-essay form represents an effort to create an audio-visual language that has the same metaphoric and punning qualities as spoken language; clusters of signifiers in provisional constructs cobbled together. The flotsam and jetsam of film culture can serve to stage a review of the carnival acts of history."
—Craig Baldwin

For further information check

Underground film hero Damon Packard was born in 1967 in Akron Ohio. His father Ray Packard was a professor of fine arts and highly regarded artist/collector/gallery-owner of Akron. His mother, actress Frances Pollock, the daughter of union activist Sam Pollock, died when he was one. A Spielberg and Lucas fan (like many teenagers in the early 1980s), Packard got a Super 8 camera and started making shorts in 1979 at the age of 11, eventually drawing his inspiration from the feature films of his idols. Working as a theater usher and a watch salesman, and living in cars and tents, Packard produced various experimental films during his teens and twenties. At the death of his grandmother, an inheritance allowed him to complete his most famous film to date, Reflections of Evil, considered as “a major film of contemporary underground cinema” (Lausanne Underground Film and Music Festival). Packard lives and works in Los Angeles.

Selected Filmography:

  • The Afterlife/Amazing Stories (1982-86) (early experimental shorts)
  • Dawn of an Evil Millennium (1988-89)
  • Apple (1992-95)
  • The Early 70's Horror Trailer (1999)
  • Reflections of Evil (2002)
  • Grizzly Redux (2003)
  • Sage Stallone: Portrait of a Madman (2003)
  • The Untitled Star Wars Mockumentary (2003)

For further information check and

Associated Images: 

FRI 9/26
8:30 pm

G - General Audience

M - REDCAT Members

ST - Students

CA - CalArts Students/Faculty/Staff