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Apr 18, 2010 at 7:30 pm

SMALL-GAUGE: Super-8mm Films by Kevin T. Allen & Jen Heuson

With Kevin T. Allen and Jen Heuson

Kevin and Jen have been making small-gauge films for over a decade. Using Super-8mm film, they have documented places such as Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, Peru, Bolivia, Greece, Vietnam, Argentina, Bolivia, Southern Florida and the American West. Tonight’s program highlights the use of small-gauge film as ethnographic and documentary practice. The artists introduce their films by discussing how the small-gauge format shapes a documentary subject and why super-8mm is gaining such popularity within the current media landscape. An in-depth discussion with the filmmakers will follow the screening.

Kevin T. Allen is filmmaker and sound artist. He has created sound installation work for the Canadian Centre for Architecture, Third Coast International Audio Festival, Film(less) Festival, and Deep Wireless Festival of Radio Art. Kevin’s films have shown at the Museum of Modern Art, Margaret Mead Film Festival, Ann Arbor Film Festival, and Portland Documentary and Experimental Film Festival. His film KIEU won first prize at the 2006 Black Maria Film Festival and was featured on Michigan Public Broadcasting. Kevin is currently shooting his next project, LUTHIER, a documentary portrait of an aging instrument maker in Patagonia.

Jen Heuson is a filmmaker, scholar, and activist. She has conducted fieldwork in Southeast Asia, South America, and the United States. Jennifer’s works include: Sounds of the Amazon, a sound ethnography of the Peruvian Amazon; Welcome, a documentary about tourism in Asia; and Colors of New York City, an audio-visual exploration of race in New York City. She is currently investigating tourist soundscapes of the Black Hills of South Dakota and shooting an experimental ethnography about cowboys, Indians, family, and the politics of memory.

LANKA: Time Loss in Refrain by Kevin T. Allen

(Sri Lanka/USA, 2005, 6 minutes, Super-8mm/Video)

An experimental portrait of Sri Lanka and the decrepit colonial railway that still weaves its way through the island. A personal film about loss, solitude, and the transience of experience.

***Best Experimental Film, U.S. Super 8 Film Festival, 2006

KIEU by Kevin T. Allen

(Vietnam/USA, 2006, 18 minutes, Super-8mm/Video)

Kieu, loosely translated as “foreign,” is the name given to thousands of Vietnamese refugees and their children who have journeyed “home.” We traverse notions of origin and cultural alienation by way of luscious Kodachrome travel footage. Through an intricate weaving of field recordings and the vivid stories of three Viet-Kieu voices we “return” to Vietnam. Their culturally fragmented narratives pose questions relevant to all those who travel. The camera too becomes a voice in this cinematic journey, a kinesthetic query of being and belonging.

***First-Prize, Black Maria Film Festival, 2007


(Vietnam/USA, 2008, 3 minutes, Hand-processed Super-8mm/Video)

An ethnographic encounter with Ho Chi Minh’s personal photographer. Mr. Bay recalls secretly traveling the jungles with Ho Chi Minh during the war against the French and, with great emotion, the day that the Vietnamese flag flew from the U.S. My sister and I met Mr. Bay in Ha Noi, he invited us to his house to show us some of his photographs. This single hand-processed roll of Super-8mm film documents our encounter.

***Documentary Fortnight, Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), 2009

Immokalee, My Homeby Kevin T. Allen + Jen Heuson

(USA, 2009, 28 minutes, Hand-processed Super-8mm/Video)

A portrait of life in Immokalee, Florida, the heart of industrial agriculture in the United States and home to its largest population of migrant farm workers. Through visits to carnivals, churches, tomato fields, and workers’ homes, a narrative emerges. The surface story is of one community’s struggle for farm worker rights. Florida farm workers live in slave-like conditions. Some are beaten, not given food or water, or not paid. Yet, they continue to come. This is the deeper tale revealed. Ultimately, it is a tale of migration, of immigration, and of the persistent hope for a better life.

***Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival, 2009

Desamparadosby Kevin T. Allen + Jen Heuson

(Peru/Bolivia/USA, 2010, 11 minutes, Super-8mm/Video)

Desamparados (the forsaken) is the name of an abandoned train station in Lima and the origin of a month-long journey to Machu Picchu. By rail, by foot we encounter the ghosts of colonial relics, from Catholicism to industrialism to a lost Incan fortress. We transport between the bucolic, crestfallen mountaintops and dejected mining towns, tracing the scars of conquest upon the Andean landscape.


Apr 18, 2010
7:30 pm – 9:30 pm

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