Strange Truth 2022/23
Strange Truth 2022/2023 explores the non-fiction imagination in films by Lisa Rovner, So Yun Um, Brett Story, Nia Dacosta, and Helena de Llanos.
All Events held at Haverford College, Lightbox Theater at University of the Arts, & Bryn Mawr Film Institute
Fall 2022 & Spring 2023
This year’s series starts in the fall of 2022 and continues through the spring of 2023.
All events to be held at Haverford College’s VCAM building, Lightbox Film Center at University of the Arts, and the Bryn Mawr Film Institute. Each will be followed by conversations with artists and filmmakers..
Organized by Visual Studies faculty John Muse and Matt O’Hare, Hurford Center for the Arts and Humanities Director Gus Stadler, Spanish faculty Lina Martínez Hernández, and Haverford’s Korean Culture Club. Made possible by the John B. Hurford ’60 Center for the Arts and Humanities; the VCAM Media & Makers Program; Bryn Mawr Film Institute; Lightbox Film Center; cinéSPEAK; the Department of Spanish; Distinguished Visitors; and the Visual Studies Program at Haverford College.
- All events are open to the public.
- Events at Haverford College are free to all.
- Screenings at Bryn Mawr Film Institute are free for all Tri-Co students, staff, and faculty.
- Screenings at Lightbox Film Center at University of the Arts are free to all.
- Transportation to Lightbox Film Center at University of the Arts leaving from Stokes Hall (Haverford) at 6:30 p.m.
- Blue Bus transportation provided from Stokes Hall (Haverford) to all screenings at Bryn Mawr Film Institute (BMFI), departing Haverford at 6:30 p.m. and leaving BMFI for Stokes at 9:30 p.m
- Contact: hcah [at] haverford.edu
Schedule of Events
Sisters With Transistors
2022, 1hr 26min (86 min)
Written and directed by Lisa Rovner
Wednesday, October 19, 2022
VCAM Screening Room
Featuring Special Guest and Composer Sarah Davachi via Zoom.
Conversation moderated by Matt O’Hare
Sisters With Transistors is the remarkable untold story of electronic music’s female pioneers, composers who embraced machines and their liberating technologies to utterly transform how we produce and listen to music today.
The film maps a new history of electronic music through the visionary women whose radical experimentations with machines redefined the boundaries of music, including Clara Rockmore, Daphne Oram, Bebe Barron, Pauline Oliveros, Delia Derbyshire, Maryanne Amacher, Eliane Radigue, Suzanne Ciani, and Laurie Spiegel.
Sponsored by VCAM’s CRAFT (CReative Arts, Fabrication, Technology) Initiative.
Liquor Store Dreams
2022, 85 min
Tuesday, October 25, 2022
VCAM Screening Room
Director So Yun Um in person
Conversation moderated by Prof. Elizabeth Kim and Yehyun Song '25. Introduction by Heewon Yang '25.
Liquor Store Dreams is an intimate portrait of two Korean American children of liquor store owners who set out to bridge generational divides with their immigrant parents in Los Angeles. Growing up a daughter of Korean immigrants who ran a liquor store in a South LA neighborhood, So Yun Um decided that what she wanted to do more than anything else, was become a filmmaker, much to the bemusement of her father. In this vibrant and bold film, So turns the camera on herself, her community and her friends, and documents a rarely seen slice of the American dream as she struggles with creating her own path in life.
Organized by the VCAM-HCAH Fall 2022 Club in Residence, Korean Culture Club (KCC)
The Prison in Twelve Landscapes
2016, 90 min
Monday, December 5, 2022
Lightbox Film Center at University of the Arts
Director Brett Story in conversation with Robert Saleem Holbrook, Executive Director of the Abolitionist Law Center.
The Prison in Twelve Landscapes is a film about the prison and its life in the American landscape: from a California mountainside where female prisoners fight raging wildfires, to a Bronx warehouse full of goods destined for the state correctional system, to an Appalachian coal town betting its future on the promise of prison jobs.
Screened as part of Imagining Abolitionist Futures, a year-long Hurford Center initiative exploring the role of the arts and humanities in the struggle to dismantle the carceral state and build reparative practices and institutions in the place of a system driven by racism, retribution, and violence.
2021, 1h 31m
Directed by Nia DaCosta
Wednesday, March 29, 2023
Bryn Mawr Film Institute
Composer Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe in person
Conversation moderated by Matt O’Hare
Oscar® winner JORDAN PEELE unleashes a fresh take on the blood-chilling urban legend: Candyman. Filmmaker NIA DACOSTA (Little Woods, next year’s The Marvels) directs this contemporary incarnation of the cult classic. For as long as residents can remember, the housing projects of Chicago’s Cabrini Green neighborhood were terrorized by a word-of-mouth ghost story about a supernatural killer with a hook for a hand, easily summoned by those daring to repeat his name five times into a mirror. In present day, a decade after the last of the Cabrini towers were torn down, visual artist Anthony McCoy (Emmy winner YAHYA ABDUL-MATEEN II; Watchmen, Us) and his partner, gallery director Brianna Cartwright (TEYONAH PARRIS; WandaVision, If Beale Street Could Talk), move into a luxury loft condo in Cabrini, now gentrified beyond recognition and inhabited by upwardly mobile millennials.
With Anthony’s painting career on the brink of stalling, a chance encounter with a Cabrini-Green old-timer (COLMAN DOMINGO; Zola, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, If Beale Street Could Talk) exposes Anthony to the horrific true story behind Candyman. Anxious to maintain his status in the Chicago art world, and spurred on by his white art dealer, Anthony begins to explore these macabre details in his studio as fresh inspiration for paintings, unknowingly opening a door to a complex past that unravels his own sanity and unleashes a terrifying wave of violence that puts him on a collision course with destiny.
Sponsored by VCAM’s CRAFT (CReative Arts, Fabrication, Technology) Initiative.
Viaje a alguna parte (Journey to Somewhere)
2021, 1h 48m
Written and Directed by Helena de Llanos
Wednesday, April 12, 2023
Bryn Mawr Film Institute
Writer and Director Helena de Llanos in person
Conversation moderated by Prof. Martín Gaspar. Introduction by Lina Martínez Hernández.
A woman inherits a house from her grandparents and with it a number of responsibilities and surprises. Fortunately, they are still present and don't take long to intervene. Both were actors, and wrote books and directed films: two unclassifiable and inexhaustible artists who have left all of their past there. By means of an evocative and surrealist cinema collage, we immerse ourselves along with the main character in a journey to memory and her search for identity. A brilliantly eery and imaginative rapture which celebrates the cinema and creative freedom. An encounter between documentary and fiction based on the presence and absence of Emma Cohen and Fernando Fernán Gómez.
Artists & Presenters
Sarah Davachi (b. 1987, Canada) is a composer and performer whose work is concerned with the close intricacies of timbral and temporal space, utilizing extended durations and considered harmonic structures that emphasize gradual variations in texture, overtone complexity, psychoacoustic phenomena, and tuning and intonation. Her compositions span both solo and chamber ensemble formats, incorporating a wide range of acoustic and electronic instrumentation. Similarly informed by minimalist and long-form tenets, early music concepts of intervallic and modal harmony, as well as experimental production practices of the electroacoustic studio environment, in her sound is an intimate and patient experience that lessens perceptions of the familiar and the distant.
Martín Gaspar’s research engages a wide range of fields that includes Latin American intellectual history since the 19th Century; modern Latin American fiction and contemporary film; translation studies; visibility in literature and the media; and narrative theory. He is the author of La condición traductora (Beatriz Viterbo, 2014, 2nd edition 2020), a historical and formal study of the rise of translator-heroes and narrators in Latin American fiction since the 1990s. His articles have appeared in the Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies, Variaciones Borges, and Latin American Literary Review, among others. Currently, he is engaged in three projects: a co-edited volume of essays on translation in Latin America, a set of essays on contemporary Latin American Bildungsromane, and a study of visibility and marginality in media, literature, and film in Latin America..
Elizabeth Kim is a Visiting Assistant Professor of English at Haverford College, where she teaches courses in Asian American literature, graphic novel, and creative writing (poetry). Her research explores multilingual and multimedia practice in experimental poetry by contemporary Asian American and Pacific Islander writers, examining the ways in which they enact formal hybridity through the combination of text and images as a means of negotiating national, cultural, racial, and ideological boundaries.
Korean Culture Club
Korean Culture Club (KCC) is a student-led organization dedicated to educating the Haverford community about Korean culture, including its traditions, values, culinary arts, and language.
This year, KCC has partnered with VCAM and the Hurford Center’s Club-in-Residence program, welcoming all students to engage more deeply with various elements of Korean culture. KCC’s co-heads for 2022-23 are Yehyun Song ’25 and Heewon Yang ’25.
Helena de Llanos
Helena de Llanos' film work oscillates between documentary and fiction. Her main subjects are art, memory and the intersection between cinema and life. She has spent the last five years in a multidisciplinary project about Fernando Fernán Gómez and Emma Cohen, both filmmakers, actors and writers. Among the results we can find a short doc called Do the dead speak to us? (2019) and now the long feature film Journey to Somewhere (2021).
Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe
Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe (b. 1975) is an artist, curator and composer that works primarily with, but not limited to voice and modular synthesizer for sound in the realm of spontaneous music. Along with analog video synthesis works, he has brought forth an A/V proposal that has been a focus of live performance and installation/exhibition.
The marriage of synthesis and the voice has allowed for a heightened physicality in the way of ecstatic music, both in a live setting and recorded. The sensitivity of analogue modular synthesis echoes the organic nature of vocal expression which in this case is meant to put forth a trancelike state.
Lowe’s works on paper tend towards human relations to the natural/magical world and the repetition of motifs.
As of late Robert has also put more focus on composition for film, both in solo scoring and collaboration. Over the last several years Robert has collaborated on projects or provided sound in a featured artist capacity for such films as End of Summer, Sicario, Arrival, Last and First Men with Johann Johannsson and It Comes at Night with Brian McOmber. Recently Robert has scored Il colpo del cane for Fulvio Risuleo, Candyman for Nike DaCosta, The Color of Care for Yance Ford and Master for Mariama Diallo.
Lina Martínez Hernández
Lina Martínez Hernández, originally from Colombia, is an Assistant Professor in the Spanish Department at Haverford College. Her research focuses on queer aesthetics and politics in the Hispanic Caribbean. She also develops pedagogical collaborations that focus on community engaged learning between Haverford students and Latinx communities in Philadelphia. She recently published the essay "The Queer Hispanic Caribbean: Contemporary Revisions and its Genealogies" as part of New Perspectives on Hispanic Caribbean Studies. You can visit the website Caribe Cuir, created in collaboration with Haverford Students. Lina is also part of the Philadelphia Language Justice Collective and works as a community interpreter with multiple organizations serving Spanish-speaking communities in the area.
Robert Saleem Holbrook
Robert Saleem Holbrook is the Executive Director of the Abolitionist Law Center, a law project dedicated to ending race and class based discrimination in the criminal justice system and all forms of state violence.
Prior to being named Executive Director of ALC he was its Director of Community Organizing responsible for expanding ALC into Philadelphia. He also led ALC’s campaigns against Death By Incarceration (Life Without Parole), Solitary Confinement and State Violence. He has worked with the Center for Constitutional Rights to end Death By Incarceration sentences in the United States and the National Unlock The Box Campaign to End Solitary Confinement.
He is a co-founder of the Human Rights Coalition, an organization with chapters in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh that is composed of family members of prisoners. HRC advocates on behalf of the civil and human rights of prisoners. He is also a co-founder of the Coalition to Abolish Death By Incarceration in Pennsylvania, an advocacy group fighting to end Life without Parole Sentences. He sits on the advisory boards of the Amistad Law Project and Youth Arts and Empowerment Project.
While incarcerated, Saleem wrote extensively on prison abuse, social injustice, state violence and juveniles charged and sentenced as adults. His writings were featured in Truthout, The Appeal, San Francisco Bay View, and Solitary Watch. He was released from prison in 2018 after spending over two decades incarcerated for an offense he was convicted of as a child offender.
John Muse writes criticism, makes experimental films, paintings, and installation works, teaches visual studies at Haverford College, and directs the college’s Visual Culture, Arts, and Media facility (VCAM).
Matt O'Hare, Ph.D. is an interdisciplinary artist and educator whose research and creative practice focus on human-computer interaction, creativity, and the critical study of new media technologies. With a background in the performing arts and creative coding, his work foregrounds the development of interactive systems to support improvisation, collaboration, and meaningful exchange among human performers and digital environments.
Gustavus Stadler is William R. Kenan Professor of English and Director of the Hurford Center for the Arts and Humanities at Haverford College. His writing and research are concerned with the cultural history of the U. S. left.
Brett Story is a non-fiction filmmaker, writer and geographer based out of Toronto. Her films have screened in theatres and festivals widely, including at CPH-DOX, SXSW, Sheffield Doc Fest, and other international festivals. She is the director of the award-winning films The Prison in Twelve Landscapes (2016) and The Hottest August (2019), and author of the book Prison Land: Mapping Carceral Power Across Neoliberal America. Brett holds a PhD in human geography and her work has received support from the Sundance Institute and the Guggenheim Foundation. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Cinema Studies at the University of Toronto.
So Yun Um
So Yun Um is a Korean American Filmmaker born and based in Los Angeles. She explores the intimate stories of marginalized people through her poetic visual language and poignant editing style. Her directorial documentary feature film, LIQUOR STORE DREAMS, about second generation Korean American children of liquor store owners in Los Angeles, will have its world premiere at the 2022 Tribeca Film Festival. So is a CAAM 2021 Fellow with mentorship support from acclaimed Director Nanfu Wang. She is also an alumnus of the Armed with a Camera Fellowship by Visual Communication, recipient of the Sundance Uprise Grant and a Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program Grantee. She is a proud member of Brown Girls Doc Mafia and the Asian American Documentary Network.