Beth Block was born in 1952 in Buffalo, New York, and has lived and worked in Los Angeles since 1975. She received her BFA from Kent State University, initially studying painting, but under the mentorship of filmmaker Richard Myers, she changed her major to experimental film. In 1975 she enrolled in the MFA program at Cal Arts where she produced FILM ACHERS (1976), a widely-screened optically printed film that has been purchased by the Library of Congress and The Canadian Filmmakers Archives, and TWELVE, (1977), her master’s thesis film, which was included as part of the Ann Arbor Film Festival national tour.
After graduating from Cal Arts in 1977, Block began a prominent career working in the film industry creating visual effects for major Hollywood films including TERMINATOR 2, ALTERED STATES, and JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH. Throughout the 1980s, Block continued to make her own experimental and documentary films, including VITAL INTERESTS (1982), which won the Director’s Choice Award at the Sinking Creek Film Festival.
During the 1990s, Block was among the first generation of artists to transition to using computers to create visual effects, and she anxiously awaited the day when this technology would become affordable for her own personal use.
In 2009, she made her first high definition digital film, THE BATHTUB SHOT (2009), quickly followed by 57 JOBLESS (2009). Her recent work, including THE 108 MOVEMENTS (2013) and SUCCESSIVE APPROXIMATIONS TO THE GOAL (2015) exploit the ability of digital technology to be re-photographed multiple times without generational loss, enabling her to more fully explore her fascination with capturing motion depicted over time.
In addition to her experimental films she is a freelance documentary director, cinematographer and editor. She currently teaches in the directing track at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts and is also documentarian for the Unusual Suspects Theatre Company and the NewTown Pasadena Foundation.
Her films and installations have also been exhibited at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE), The Cinematheque, San Francisco, Los Angeles Downtown Federal Building, Los Angeles Filmforum, Projections on Lake, Pasadena, CA, Film in the Cities, Minneapolis, MN, and festivals including the Philadelphia, Athens, and Black Maria Film Festivals.
Block was a founding member and former board president of the NewTown Pasadena Foundation, where she is still an active member, and from 1985-1995 was a Los Angeles Filmforum board member and past president. Her films are distributed by Canyon Cinema.