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Oct 29, 2020 at 7:30 pm

Cinetracts ’20

20 filmmakers reconsider their practices in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and months of protest in response to police violence against the Black community.

UnionDocs invites you to an extra special screening of The Wexner Center’s Cinetracts ’20 broadcasting live from our backyard LEAN-TO straight to you! We’re delighted to host to this exciting event featuring artists from this expanded project.

In 1968, a group of French filmmakers including Jean-Luc Godard and Chris Marker crafted short, quickly made cinematic responses to the political and social upheaval that shook Paris in May of that year. Inspired in part by this project, called Cinétracts, the Wexner Center commissioned 20 short films by filmmakers from around the world.

Wexner Center Film/Video curators David Filipi, Jennifer Lange, and Chris Stults invited artists to capture “the zeitgeist in your own backyard,” in hopes a global portrait would emerge from this index of diverse locales. The project was launched in 2019, supported by a 2019–20 Wexner Center Artist Residency Award, and called upon both established and emerging filmmakers to participate.

In line with the Cinétracts ‘68 manifesto, artists were given a set of guidelines with which to work: Films should be two minutes in length, shot in one day, all sound must be native to the footage, and the completed work should indicate the date and location of the production. The COVID-19 pandemic and months of protest in response to police violence against the Black community led many filmmakers to reconsider their original concepts.

Included in the finished contributions are portraits of specific times and places, such as Tony Buba’s record of a protest demanding a civilian review board for police in his native Pittsburgh and a glimpse of Serbian life on the day of the country’s fraught 2020 parliamentary election by Želimir Žilnik. A number of the films further reflect how the present is inextricably linked to the past, from Kelly Gallagher’s stop-motion consideration of the abolitionist history of her current hometown of Syracuse to a cinematic statement by Karrabing Film Collective on the ancestral resilience that informs current generations of Aboriginal people’s resistance to the enduring effects of colonialism.

Filmmakers include Natalia Almada, Tony Buba, Charles Burnett, Tamer El Said, Akwaeke Emezi, Su Friedrich, Kelly Gallagher, Cameron Granger, Christopher Harris, Sky Hopinka, Karrabing Film Collective, Bouchra Khalili, Gabriel Mascaro. Rosine Mbakam, Natasha Mendonca, Sheilah and Dani ReStack, Beatriz Santiago Muñoz, Cauleen Smith, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Želimir Žilnik.

Join us socially distanced in the backyard LEAN-TO, or tune in online for this amazing program and conversation with some of the featured artists and the team from the Wexner Center.


Cinetracts '20

45 min., 2020

Cinetracts ’20 is commissioned by the Wexner Center for the Arts Artist Residency Award, The Ohio State University.

45 min

Natalia Almada was born in Mexico City in 1974. The great-granddaughter of Mexico’s controversial 40th president Plutarco Elías Calles, she makes intimate films that delve into the tragedies of her Mexican-American family’s personal history as well as the Sinaloa region’s violent present. Ranging from documentary to fiction to experimental narrative, Almada’s films portray a world filtered through recollection and constructed by diverging points of view. Whether chronicling the daily lives of Mexican drug smugglers, immigrants, corrido musicians, or government bureaucrats, Almada’s camera acts a witness to lives ensnared by violence and power struggles.

Tony Buba holds an M.F.A. from Ohio University and has been producing both long and short-form documentaries since 1972. Buba began working on major feature films early in his career, with production roles on George Romero’s “Martin” and “Dawn of the Dead.” He primarily worked behind the scenes on Romero’s famous zombie film, but Buba also appears as an actor: a featured motorcycle raider who gets his arm torn off at a blood pressure machine. Buba also has a cameo in the Sundance hit, “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl.”

Charles Burnett is an American film director, film producer, writer, editor, actor, photographer, and cinematographer. His most popular films include Killer of Sheep (1978), My Brother’s Wedding (1983), To Sleep with Anger (1990), The Glass Shield (1994), and Namibia: The Struggle for Liberation (2007). He has been involved in other types of motion pictures including shorts, documentaries, and a TV series.Called “one of America’s very best filmmakers” by the Chicago Tribune and “the nation’s least-known great filmmaker and most gifted black director” by The New York Times, Burnett has had a long, diverse career.

Tamer El Said is an Egyptian filmmaker. He wrote, produced and directed numerous films including Take Me (2004), an award winning documentary about five friends who unwittingly became political prisoners in Morocco, and the short film On a Monday (2005) on an old married couple who rediscover their relationship. His first fiction feature In the Last Days of the City was shot in Cairo, Berlin, Baghdad and Beirut and premiered in 2016 at the Berlin International Film Festival. He is co-founder of several independent initiatives in Cairo, including Cimatheque Alternative Film Centre, Mosireen, and Zero Production.

Akwaeke Emezi is an artist and writer based in liminal spaces. Their art practice is located in the metaphysics of Black spirit and uses video, performance, writing, and sculpture to create rituals processing their embodiment as a nonhuman entity/an ogbanje/a deity’s child.

Kelly Gallagher is an animator and filmmaker exploring politically radical left histories through collage animation, found footage essays, and experimental live action.

Cameron A. Granger came up in Cleveland, Ohio, in the Euclid area, alongside his mother, Sandra, inheriting both a love of soul music, and a certain way of apologizing too much. A 2017 resident of the Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture, his work explores his place in, and role as a product of American history and its media. His most recent projects include “Ten Toes Down” at the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, “Pearl” a body of collaborative works with his mother at Ctrl+Shft in Oakland, and “A library, for you” a traveling community library.

Christopher Harris is a filmmaker whose films and video installations read African American historiography through the poetics and aesthetics of experimental cinema. His work employs manually and photo-chemically altered appropriated moving images, staged re-enactments of archival artifacts and interrogations of documentary conventions. His current project is a series of optically-printed 16mm experimental films in conversation with canonical works of African-American literature.

Su Friedrich has directed twenty-three films and videos since 1978, which have been featured in eighteen retrospectives at major museums and film festivals, including one at the Museum of Modern Art in 2007. The films have been widely screened at film festivals, universities and art centers, have been extensively written about, and have won numerous awards, including Grand Prix for Sink or Swim at the Melbourne International Film Festival. Her DVD collection is distributed by Outcast Films. She teaches video production at Princeton University.

Sky Hopinka (Ho-Chunk/Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians) was born and raised in Ferndale, Washington and spent a number of years in Palm Springs and Riverside, California, and Portland, Oregon and is currently based out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In Portland he studied and taught chinuk wawa, a language indigenous to the Lower Columbia River Basin. His work centers around personal positions of homeland and landscape, designs of language and facets of culture contained within, and the play between the accessibility of the known and the unknowable. He received his BA from Portland State University in Liberal Arts and his MFA in Film, Video, Animation, and New Genres from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Karrabing Film Collective, an indigenous media group based in Australia’s Northern Territories that uses filmmaking and installation as a form of grassroots resistance and self-organization. The exhibition features the collective’s entire filmic output to date, which comprises nine short single- and multi-channel films that will run concurrently, along with sculptural works. The collective includes approximately 30 members—predominantly living in the Belyuen community—who together create films using an “improvisational realism” that opens a space beyond binaries of the fictional and the documentary, the past and the present. Meaning “low tide” in the Emmiyengal language, karrabing refers to a form of collectivity outside of government-imposed strictures of clanship or land ownership. Shot on handheld cameras and phones, most of Karrabing’s films dramatize and satirize the daily scenarios and obstacles that collective members face in their various interactions with corporate and state entities. Composing webs of nonlinear narratives that touch on cultural memory, place, and ancestry by freely jumping in time and place, Karrabing exposes and intervenes into the longstanding facets of colonial violence that impact members directly, such as environmental devastation, land restrictions, and economic exploitation.

Bouchra Khalili is a Moroccan-French artist. Born in Casablanca, she later graduated in Film & Media Studies at Sorbonne Nouvelle and Visual Arts at the École Nationale Supérieure d’Arts de Paris-Cergy. She lives and works in Berlin. Encompassing film, video, installation, photography, printmaking, and publishing, Khalili’s practice explores imperial and colonial continuums as epitomized by contemporary forced illegal migrations and the politics of memory of anti-colonial struggles and international solidarity. Deeply informed by the legacy of post-independence avant-gardes and the vernacular traditions of her native Morocco, Khalili’s approach develops strategies of storytelling at the intersection of history and micro-narratives. Combining documentary and conceptual practices, she investigates questions of self-representation, autonomous agency, and forms of resistance of communities rendered invisible by the nation-state model.

Gabriel Mascaro is a visual artist and filmmaker from Recife, Brazil. Mascaro’s work is characterized by a critical interpretation of the contemporaneity and investigates relations between micropolitics and everyday life from different media such as film, nstallation and photography, installation and photography. He researches minimalist narratives and self-fictions. As a process, it uses narrative re-appropriation and perspective inversion games. His films and video installations have been screened at important festivals and artistic events/exhibitions including Venice, IDFA, Locarno, Toronto, Rotterdam, MoMAn-nNY, Oberhausen, Clermont Ferrand, the Guggenheim, MACBAn- Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art, Panorama da Arte Brasileira at MAM – SP and the São Paulo Art Biennale.

Rosine Mfetgo Mbakam started working at COE where she was trained in editing and directing. She made several documentaries for this NGO. In 2003, she joined the team of STV (Spectrum Television) where she made audiovisual programs. In 2007 Mbakam left Cameroon for the first time in her life to study film at INSAS in Belgium. Les deux visages d’une femme Bamiléké (2017) is her debut film.

Natasha Menonca MENDONCA is a film and video artist. She holds a BA in Sociology and Anthropology from St. Xavier’s College Bombay and holds a Masters of Film and Video from the California Institute of the Arts. In 2003, she co-founded and curated Larzish – India’s first International film and video film festival on sexuality and gender. Her work has been showcased at numerous prestigious international film festivals. Strange Love (2016) is her feature film debut.

Apichatpong “Joe” Weerasethakula is a Thai independent film director, screenwriter, and film producer. Working outside the strict confines of the Thai film studio system, Weerasethakul has directed several features and dozens of short films. His feature films include Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, winner of the 2010 Cannes Film Festival Palme d’Or prize; Tropical Malady, which won a jury prize at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival; Blissfully Yours, which won the top prize in the Un Certain Regard program at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival; Syndromes and a Century, which premiered at the 63rd Venice Film Festival and was the first Thai film to be entered in competition there; and Cemetery of Splendour, which premiered in the Un Certain Regard section of the 2015 Cannes Film Festival to critical acclaim. Weerasethakul has received numerous additional accolades, including the 2016 Principal Prince Claus Award and the eighth edition of the Artes Mundi Prize. Themes reflected in his films (frequently discussed in interviews) include dreams, nature, sexuality (including his own homosexuality), and Western perceptions of Thailand and Asia, and his films display a preference for unconventional narrative structures (like placing titles/credits at the middle of a film) and for working with non-actors. Cinephiles affectionately refer to him as “Joe” (a nickname that he, like many with similarly long Thai names, has adopted out of convenience).

Dani and Sheilah ReStack have embarked on an artistic relationship that is formally and emotionally adjacent to their domestic lives, a quotidian zone they share with their young daughter Rose. Both artists have established careers on their own. Neither Dani’ video work or Wilson’s multimedia performance and installation work could exactly prepare us for the force of the women’s collaborative efforts. – Michael Sicinski, Cinema Scope, 2017 Recent collaborations have shown at the 2017 Whitney Biennial, Iceberg Projects Chicago, Toronto International Film Festival, Images Film Festival, Toronto, Lyric Theater, Carrizozo, NM, Leslie Lohman Project Space, NYC, Gaa gallery Wellfleet and The Columbus Museum of Art, Ohio. Their upcoming video, Future from Inside, received a 2018/19 Canada Council Project Grant.

Beatriz Santiago Muñoz is an artist based in San Juan, Puerto Rico. She works in moving image with particular attention to social structures and their relationship to aesthetics. Her works arise out of long periods of research, observation and documentation, in which the camera is present as an object with social implications and as an instrument mediating aesthetic thought. Subjects of her recent work have been politically fraught: an artist accused of terrorism, post-military land, mega-factories, the relationship between art work and work, and a concrete poet/union leader. Her film and video work is always in between the performance and its document, and sometimes unfolds into a double existence. Her work has been shown at the Tate Modern, Wattis Institute/CCA, Galería Kurimanzutto and the Guggenheim Museum. She recently completed projects commissioned by Glasgow International and the Bienal do Mercosul in Brazil, presented solo exhibitions in Gasworks and Sala de Arte Público Siqueiros, and held artist residencies at Transmission in Glasgow and IASPIS in Stockholm.

Cauleen Smith (born Riverside, California, 1967) is an interdisciplinary artist whose work reflects upon the everyday possibilities of the imagination. Operating in multiple materials and arenas, Smith roots her work firmly within the discourse of mid-twentieth-century experimental film. Drawing from structuralism, third world cinema, and science fiction, she makes things that deploy the tactics of these disciplines while offering a phenomenological experience for spectators and participants. Her films, objects, and installations have been featured in group exhibitions. Studio Museum of Harlem, Houston Contemporary Art Museum; Yerba Buena Center for Art, and the New Museum, New York, D21 Leipzig and Decad, Berlin. She has had solo shows for her films and installations at The Kitchen, MCA Chicago, Threewalls, Chicago. She shows her drawings and 2D work with Corbett vs. Dempsey. Smith is the recipient of several grants and awards including the Rockefeller Media Arts Award, Creative Capital Film /Video, Chicago 3Arts Grant, and the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, Chicago Expo Artadia Award, and Rauschenberg Residency. Smith was born in Riverside, California and grew up in Sacramento. She earned a BA in Creative Arts from San Francisco Sate University and an MFA from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Theater Film and Television. Smith is based in the great city of Chicago and serves as faculty for the Vermont College of Fine Arts low-residency MFA program.

Želimir Žilnik is one of the most important, politically committed filmmakers in Europe. Radicalized in the wake of the student protests in Belgrade in 1968, the director (born in 1942) became a pioneer of Yugoslavia’s Black Wave film movement, which created works that did not ignore the ills of a socialist society. Living and working in Novi Sad, Serbia) has written and directed numerous feature and documentary films which have reaped many awards at domestic and international film festivals. From the very beginning his films have focussed on contemporary issues, featuring social, political and economic assessments of everyday life (A Newsreel on Village Youth in Winter (1967), Little Pioneers (1968), The Unemployed (1968), June Turmoil (1968), Black Film (1971), Uprising in Jazak (1972).

Presented With

Wexner Center for the Arts

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Oct 29, 2020
7:30 pm – 10:00 pm
Free – $30.00


352 Onderdonk Avenue
Ridgewood, NY 11385 United States

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