STRANGE TRUTH

Film Series
Haverford College and Bryn Mawr Film Institute
Spring 2015

STRANGE TRUTH documentary film series 2015

STRANGE TRUTH explores the non-fiction imagination in the films of Ilisa Barbash, Lucien Castaing-Taylor, Harun Farocki, Maureen Gosling, and Scott Stark.

These filmmakers all work with documentary materials towards diverse ends: political intervention, sheer pleasure, new modes of subjectivity, and questioning and extending the boundaries of ethnographic film. All screenings to be held at Bryn Mawr Film Institute or Haverford College. Each will be followed by conversations with filmmakers and critics.

The series is organized by Haverford College faculty Vicky Funari (Artist in Residence), Joshua Moses (Anthropology), and John Muse (Independent College Programs).

Sponsored by the John B. Hurford '60 Center for the Arts and Humanities (Leaves of Grass Fund and the House Fund for Distinguished Visiting Artists and Critics); Bryn Mawr Film Institute; the Tri-College Environmental Studies Program; and the Distinguished Visitors Program, the Department of Anthropology, and Independent College Programs at Haverford College.

All screenings are open to the public.
Screenings at Bryn Mawr Film Institute are free for all Tri-Co students.
Screenings at Haverford College are free to all.

  Contact: hcah@haverford.edu
Bryn Mawr Film Institute

  Blue Bus transportation provided from Stokes Hall (Haverford) to all screenings at Bryn Mawr Film Institute (BMFI), departing Haverford at 6:45 p.m. and leaving BMFI for Stokes at 9:30 p.m.


Schedule

HARUN FAROCKI: FILMS ON PHOTOGRAPHY AND POWER

  • AN IMAGE
    1983, 25 minutes
  • IMAGES OF THE WORLD AND THE INSCRIPTION OF WAR
    1988, 73 minutes

Wednesday, February 18
7:00 p.m.
Bryn Mawr Film Institute

These two films by prolific German filmmaker Harun Farocki embody his career-long concern with the politics of imagery. An Image documents a rigorous photo shoot for Playboy, while Images of the World and the Inscription of War shows how Auschwitz was captured by aerial reconnaissance and yet was invisible to it.

Film theorist Irina Leimbacher of Keene State College will introduce the films and host a concluding discussion.

Harun Farocki's "An Image and Images of the World and the Inscription of War" courtesy of Video Data Bank, www.vdb.org


THIS AIN'T NO MOUSE MUSIC

  • Maureen Gosling and Chris Simon
    2013, 92 minutes

Wednesday, February 25
7:00 p.m.
Bryn Mawr Film Institute

Since 1960, Chris Strachwitz, founder of famed roots music label Arhoolie Records, has been recording the authentic pulses of the great American music he discovers in the country’s heartland. From New Orleans to Appalachia, this vivid portrait of the sonic sleuth delves right into the very DNA of rock and roll.

With Maureen Gosling, Producer/Director.


BURDEN OF DREAMS

  • Les Blank and Maureen Gosling
    1982, 95 minutes

Thursday, February 26
7:00 p.m.
Sharpless Auditorium, Haverford College

A classic documentary portrait of German filmmaker Werner Herzog as he desperately tries to complete the most ambitious film of his career, Fitzcarraldo, in the Peruvian Amazon. Herzog's single-minded insistence on shooting without models or special effects required hundreds of indigenous cast and crew members to pull a full-sized, 320-ton steamship over a mountain. An extraordinary document of the filmmaking process and of the nature of obsession.

With Maureen Gosling, Filmmaker.

Photo courtesy of Flower Films; "Burden of Dreams" courtesy of Janus Films.


SWEETGRASS

  • Ilisa Barbash and Lucien Castaing-Taylor
    2009, 101 minutes

Wednesday, April 1
7:00 p.m.
Bryn Mawr Film Institute

An unsentimental elegy to the American West, Sweetgrass follows the last modern-day cowboys to lead their flocks of sheep up into Montana’s breathtaking and often dangerous Absaroka-Beartooth mountains for summer pasture. This astonishingly beautiful yet unsparing film reveals a world in which nature and culture, animals and humans, vulnerability and violence are all intimately meshed.

With Ilisa Barbash and Lucien Castaing-Taylor, Producer/Directors.


LEVIATHAN

  • Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel
    2012, 87 minutes

Thursday, April 2
7:00 p.m.
Sharpless Auditorium, Haverford College

A groundbreaking, immersive portrait of the contemporary commercial fishing industry. Employing an arsenal of cameras that passed freely from film crew to ship crew; that swoop from below sea level to astonishing bird’s-eye views in the sky, the film that emerges breaks new ground in both cinema and anthropology, while presenting a cosmic portrait of one of mankind’s oldest endeavors.

With Lucien Castaing-Taylor, Director.


STILL MOVING: AN EVENING WITH EXPERIMENTAL FILMMAKER SCOTT STARK

  • THE REALIST and other shorts
    2013, 36 minutes

Wednesday, April 8
7:00 p.m.
Bryn Mawr Film Institute

Since 1980 Scott Stark has produced almost 80 films and numerous installations and photographic works. Formally inventive, visually compelling, and often both humorous and haunting, the films in this program all foreground the relation of moving pictures and still ones in Stark's work. The Realist is a "doomed love story" storyboarded with flickering still photographs, peopled with department store mannequins, and located in the universe of clothing displays, fashion islands, and storefront windows.

With Scott Stark, Director.


Presenters

Ilisa Barbash

Lisa (Ilisa) Barbash is Curator of Visual Anthropology at Harvard's Peabody Museum where she makes films, and writes books and curates exhibitions about photography. She and Lucien Castaing-Taylor made the films In and Out of Africa (1992), about authenticity and taste in the transnational trade in African art, and Sweetgrass (2009), about contemporary sheep ranching in Montana. Together they also wrote Cross-cultural Filmmaking: A Handbook for Making Documentary and Ethnographic Films and Video (1997), and edited The Cinema of Robert Gardner (2008). Her most recent project is the book Where the Roads All End (2015), about the Marshall Family Photographic Collection and the visual representation of the Ju/'hoansi.

Lucien Castaing-Taylor

Lucien Castaing-Taylor's work seeks to conjugate art's negative capability with an ethnographic attachment to the flux of life. His work is in the permanent collection of New York's Museum of Modern Art and the British Museum, has been exhibited at the Tate, Centre Pompidou, MoMA, Whitney Museum of American Art, Berlin Kunsthalle, PS1, Whitechapel Gallery, and London's Institute of Contemporary Arts, and has formed the subject of symposia at the Smithsonian Institution, the Musée du quai Branly, and the British Museum. His films and videos have screened at Berlin, Locarno, New York, Toronto and other film festivals. Recent awards include the Alpert Award in the Arts (2013), and, with Véréna Paravel, the True Vision Award (2013), Guggenheim fellowship (2012), Los Angeles Film Critics' Circle Douglas Edwards Independent and Experimental Film Award (2012), and FIPRESCI (International Film Critics) Award (2012).

Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel’s works include Leviathan, a film about humanity and the sea, which has been released theatrically in the United States, Mexico, Canada, France, Germany, and Austria. They are currently at work on various installations of still and moving images set in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, as well a new project on the body. Castaing-Taylor is also completing a series of audio-video installations and photographic Westerns that variously evoke the allure and ambivalence of the pastoral, including Into-the-jug (Geworfen) (2014), Coom Biddy (2012), Bedding Down (2012), Hell Roaring Creek (2010) and The High Trail (2010). In 2010, he was commissioned to make a four-channel video installation by the Berlin Kino Arsenal to commemorate the four decades of the Berlinale Forum, The Quick and the Dead / Moutons de Panurge (2010). In 2009, he and Ilisa Barbash completed Sweetgrass, an unsentimental elegy at once to the American West and to the 10,000 years of uneasy accommodation between post-Paleolithic humans and animals, that was released theatrically in the United States, Canada, Latin America, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom. In 1995, he collaborated with Isaac Julien and Mark Nash on their film Frantz Fanon: Black Skin White Mask.

Earlier works (with Barbash) include In and Out of Africa (1992), an ethnographic video about authenticity, taste, and racial politics in the transnational African art market, which won eight international awards, and Made in USA (1990), a film about sweatshops and child labor in the Los Angeles garment industry. Written publications include Visualizing Theory (ed., Routledge, 1994), Cross-Cultural Filmmaking (with Barbash, University of California Press, 1997), Transcultural Cinema, a collection of essays by ethnographic filmmaker David MacDougall (ed., Princeton University Press, 1998), and The Cinema of Robert Gardner (coed., with Barbash, Berg, 2008). He was the founding editor of the American Anthropological Association's journal Visual Anthropology Review (1991-94). Castaing-Taylor is Director of Harvard's Sensory Ethnography Lab as well as the Film Study Center.

Maureen Gosling

Maureen Gosling has been a documentary filmmaker for more than thirty years and is best known for her twenty-year collaboration with acclaimed independent director, Les Blank ("Burden of Dreams," "Always for Pleasure"). Gosling has also been sought after as an editor, working with such directors as Jed Riffe ("Waiting to Inhale," "California’s 'Lost' Tribes"), Tom Weidlinger ("Heart of the Congo," "A Dream in Hanoi"), Shakti Butler ("The Way Home"), Ashley James ("Bomba: Dancing the Drum"), Amie Williams ("Stripped and Teased") and Pam Rorke Levy ("The Mission District: The Hidden Neighborhoods of San Francisco"). Her work has often focused on themes of people and their cultural values, music as cultural expression and the changing gender roles of men and women. Her films have been seen in countless film festivals around the world, on national public and cable television, on television in Europe, Australia and Asia, and have been distributed widely to educational institutions.

Gosling’s Blossoms of Fire, a feature documentary, represents her debut as a Producer/Director. The film, distributed in the U.S. by New Yorker Films, is a celebratory tribute to the Isthmus Zapotec people of southern Oaxaca, Mexico. Blossoms of Fire garnered rave reviews, charming audiences from San Diego to Marseille. Among its awards, the film won the Coral Award for Best Documentary by a Non-Latino Director about Latin America at the Havana International Film Festival. The film has also been broadcast on HBO Latino, Spanish, Swedish and Maori Television channels.

Gosling’s newest projects as Director/Producer are the just-released This Ain't No Mouse Music!, the Story of Chris Strachwitz and Arhoolie Records (with Chris Simon) and the work-in-progress Bamako Chic, Women Cloth Dyers of Mali (with Maxine Downs). Gosling's story of becoming a filmmaker is included in the book for junior high school girls, You Can Be a Woman Movie Maker, published by Cascade Pass. The book includes a 15-minute video on DVD entitled "Maureen Gosling, Documentary Filmmaker."

Irina Leimbacher

Irina Leimbacher is Assistant Professor in the Department of Film Studies at Keene State College where she teaches film history, documentary film, and world cinema. With a decade and a half experience as an experimental film curator, she continues to present programs of experimental work in various venues. She writes regularly for Film Comment and has published in Wide Angle, Bright Lights, and La critica sociologica and has written chapters for Radical Light: Alternative Film in the San Francisco Bay Area 1945-2000 and for forthcoming books on Robert Gardner and on Los Angeles experimental film culture.

Scott Stark

Scott Stark has made over 80 films and videos since the early 1980s, and has created numerous moving image installations, live performances and photo-collages. He received an MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute and served on the Board of Directors of the San Francisco Cinematheque from 1984-1991. His work has shown nationally and internationally in venues as diverse as New York’s Museum of Modern Art, the San Francisco Cinematheque, the Film Festival Rotterdam, the Tokyo Image Forum, and many others. His 16mm film Angel Beach was invited into the 2002 Whitney Biennial, and in 2007 he received a Guggenheim Fellowship. His 2013 film The Realist showed at numerous worldwide film festivals and was on several year-end best lists. His work has garnered numerous awards. He lives in Austin, Texas. He is the webmaster for Flicker (www.hi-beam.net), the web resource for experimental film and video.

In February 2012 Scott initiated an avant garde film screening series in Austin called Experimental Response Cinema. Since then ERC has presented over 50 programs of film and video, including several one-person screenings with the filmmakers in attendance, as well as numerous group shows and collaborations with other arts organizations.


Organizers

Vicky Funari

Vicky Funari is a documentary filmmaker, editor, and teacher. She produced, directed, and edited the feature documentaries MAQUILÁPOLIS (2006) and Paulina (1998); and she directed and edited Live Nude Girls Unite! (2000). These award-winning, critically acclaimed films have screened in many of the world's most respected film festivals, including Sundance, Locarno, Havana, Rotterdam, SXSW, and Tribeca. Her films have won numerous awards, including Grand Jury Prize and Audience Awards at the San Francisco International Film Festival; Lifetime Television's Vision Award at the Hamptons Film Festival; and Audience Award for Best Documentary at the Women’s International Film Festival of Barcelona. Her films have aired on PBS, HBO, and the Sundance Channel. From 2006-2009, Funari directed the MAQUILÁPOLIS binational Community Outreach Campaign, using that film in conjunction with activist organizations and factory workers to promote public dialogue and social change. Funari has edited a wide range of projects, most recently the documentary Strong!, directed by Julie Wyman, which aired on the PBS strand Independent Lens in 2012. Funari is a Creative Capital grantee, a Guggenheim Fellow and a MacDowell Colony Fellow. She is currently directing two documentaries about water bodies: one, currently in post-production, tells a story of healthy aging, community, and ladies in a pool; while the other, in development, is about American rivers and their environmental and human histories.

Joshua Moses

Joshua Moses is Visiting Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Haverford College. His multidisciplinary research focuses on disaster and complex socio-ecological change. He has worked on religious response to the attacks of September 11th and Hurricane Katrina, studying the formation of disaster expertise (“disaster religious and spiritual care”) in what he calls the current “New Age of Anxiety.” Joshua has worked with Nunatsiavut Inuit communities in northern Labrador on inequality, dispossession, community wellbeing, migration and identity in the context of recent land claim settlements and large-scale resource extraction. He has also conducted research in the Northwest Territories on migration, housing and homelessness. He is committed to combining research and teaching, recently piloting a field school with students from Haverford College, University of Massachusetts and Inupiaq Alaskan youth in Northwest Alaska. Joshua is also interested in the response of higher education to climate change, and the ways we are (or are not) preparing students for futures that society itself struggles to imagine.

John Muse

John Muse is Visiting Assistant Professor at Haverford College where he has taught since 2007. He writes criticism, makes media art and installation with frequent collaborator Jeanne C. Finley, and curates exhibitions.