Radical Nonfiction Film Series: America and New Short Films
Thursday, October 10, 2019
James Stewart Film Theater, 185 Nassau St.
FREE and open to public
The films of New Orleans-based artist Garrett Bradley relish in the most exciting instabilities of documentary. Her work is literal yet impressionistic, theatrical yet intimately observed, mannered yet emotionally raw. Bradley is preoccupied with history and the legacies of racially-charged moving pictures, yet her films are firmly rooted in the now and more than mildly obsessed with the future of image making. Her recent film AMERICA, which premiered at Sundance and has since become an installation at the New Orleans Museum of Art, is an experimental, visually stunning examination and transformation of African American history-through-cinema, that makes clear Bradley’s standing as one of the most exciting filmmakers working today. This program will feature several of her short films, including the Sundance-winning ALONE (2017), and will be followed by an extended conversation between the filmmaker and Robert Greene.
FILMS IN THE PROGRAM:
ALONE — 2017, 12 min.
This investigation into the layers of mass incarceration and its shaping of the modern black American family is seen through the eyes of a single mother in New Orleans, Louisiana.
THE EARTH IS HUMMING — 2018, 13 min.
Around 10 percent of all earthquakes occur in and around Japan, with citizens experiencing as many as 1000 earthquakes per year. For them, preparing for these disasters is a part of daily life, as well as a full-blown industry.
AMERICA — 2019, 30 min.
A cinematic omnibus rooted in New Orleans, challenging the idea of black cinema as a “wave” or “movement in time,” proposing instead, a continuous thread of achievement.
ABOUT THE FILM SERIES
Fantasy, Observation and Elasticity in the Documentary Form
Programmed by ROBERT GREENE
Documentary film is full of contradictions; the staged meets the observed, intervention meets the authentic. Documentary film uses observation to show us the world we inhabit, but nonfiction images are also records of the fantasies of both filmmakers and subjects. What we believe, how we subjectively formulate our experiences — the fantasy of our own realties— can be captured and magnified by the camera and how we edit images together. This is documentary: an elastic, ever-changing attempt at working with the world as it is and as we hope it be. RADICAL NONFICTION is a series put together by filmmaker Robert Greene to take the current pulse of this ever-changing form. The images of RaMell Ross use legacies of racial objectification to create new ways of seeing. Zia Anger takes the role of the filmmaker playing herself to new heights of immediacy. Lawrence Abu Hamdan uses sound and precise performances to electrify his political interventions. Meanwhile, Garrett Bradley has found a language all her own, mixing performance, history, journalism and the gallery space to challenge modes of representation in exciting ways. Films by these innovators (and a look at Greene’s own work) serve as a temperature check for this enduringly exciting cinematic form.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Garrett Bradley was born and raised in New York City. She received an MFA from University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) in Film and a BA from Smith College in Religion. Bradley’s first professional work began in high school as a concert photographer, during which her work was published in RollingStone Magazine, VIBE and The New Yorker. Bradley’s debut feature length film, Below Dreams, premiered at the 2014 TribeCa Film Festival. The film followed the lives of three people making their way back to New Orleans in search of a better life. Bradley became known for her lyrical, hybridized filmmaking style described by New York Magazine critic Bilge Ebiri as “a slow-burn beauty…improvisatory, glancing, gorgeous and as much about the textured quality and imagery as it is about character development or class conflict.” That same year, Bradley’s follow up feature, Cover Me, was conceived for The International Arts Biennial Prospect 3 and curated by Artistic Director Franklin Sirmans. Bradley received the Artadia Prospect 3 Artist Award and went on to premiere Cover Me at The International Film Festival Rotterdam.
A 2019 Creative Capital Awardee and recipient of the 2017 Sundance Art of Nonfiction Fellowship and Field of Vision Fellowship, Bradley has been honored with grant support from Art Matters, The Ford Foundation and The Warhol Foundation. Bradley has received numerous prizes — most recently the 2017 Sundance Jury Prize for the short film Alone, released in February of 2017 with The New York Times OpDocs. Alone was an Oscar contender for short nonfiction filmmaking and was included on the Academy’s shortlist.
Bradley’s short films and feature-length projects have exhibited internationally at museums, festivals and platforms including the 2019 Whitney Biennial, The Getty Museum, The Hammer Museum, The Sundance Film Festival, The TribeCa Film Festival, The New Orleans Film Festival, Festival du Nouveau Cinema Montreal, The Rotterdam Film Festival, DokuFest, Norwegian Film Festival, Nantucket Film Festival, Rooftop Films, The LA Film Festival, Hot Docs, SXSW, The US Embassy Tel Aviv, The New York Times OpDocs, Field of Vision, the OWN Network for television series Queen Sugar, (episode 212) and more.
Bradley is the co-founder of Creative Council, an artist-led after-school program aimed at developing strong college portfolios and applications for students attending public high schools in New Orleans. Creative Council is supported by The New Orleans Video Access Center (NOVAC).
Photo courtesy Getty Images
ROBERT GREENE’s latest film BISBEE ’17 (2018) premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and screened on POV on PBS. His previous film KATE PLAYS CHRISTINE (2016) won a Jury Award for Writing at Sundance. Robert’s documentaries include the Gotham Awards-nominated ACTRESS (2014), FAKE IT SO REAL (2011) and the Gotham Awards-nominated KATI WITH AN I (2010). Robert was an inaugural Sundance Art of Nonfiction fellow in 2015, is a three-time nominee for Best Director at the Cinema Eye Honors and received the 2014 Vanguard Artist Award from the San Francisco DocFest. His first documentary, OWNING THE WEATHER (2009), was screened at the COP15 Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. Robert has edited over a dozen features, including HER SMELL (2018), GOLDEN EXITS (2017), QUEEN OF EARTH (2015) and LISTEN UP PHILIP (2014) by Alex Ross Perry, Amanda Rose Wilder’s award winning APPROACHING THE ELEPHANT (2014), Charles Poekel’s Spirit Awards-nominated CHRISTMAS, AGAIN (2015) and Douglas Tirola’s HEY BARTENDER (2013). He has been a Sundance Edit Lab Advisor and was on the U.S. Documentary Jury for Sundance 2017. Robert writes for outlets such as Sight & Sound and Indiewire and serves as the Filmmaker-in-Chief for the Murray Center for Documentary Journalism at the University of Missouri.