An expanded cinema performance” is how the utterly original trailer touts filmmaker and artist Zia Anger’s radical new work MY FIRST FILM, but that’s just a start. Anger’s performance piece-meets desktop documentary-meets total deconstruction of everything you think a movie is supposed to be is a searing, hilarious, imaginatively interactive and deeply personal look at the idea of failure and what it means to subject yourself to system that has seemingly been built to treat you as an enemy. Specifically, MY FIRST FILM tackles Anger’s strained relationship with an often misogynistic, always risk-averse film business and looks at her forced-into-invisibility first feature, ALWAYS ALL WAYS, ANNE MARIE. Anger performs the piece live in the theater, adding to the already intense sense of intimacy she conjures onscreen, where her ironic, palpably intense mode of interrogation makes something glorious free spirited out of stunted frustration. Anger’s performance is preceded by the short film, WALLED UNWALLED, by Lawrence Abu Hamdan.
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
ZIA ANGER works in moving images. Her most recent short, MY LAST FILM, premiered at the 53rd New York Film Festival. In 2015 her short I REMEMBER NOTHING had its world premiere at New Directors/New Films and its international premiere at Festival del film Locarno. Other screenings include: AFI Fest, Denver Film Festival, Maryland Film Festival, Ann Arbor Film Festival, Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art, and Vienna Independent Shorts. She has made music videos for various artists including: Angel Olsen, Mitski, Julianna Barwick, Beach House, Maggie Rogers, and Jenny Hval; the latter of whom she also toured with — as a performer and stage director. Her music videos have been featured in various online publications including: Pitchfork, The Guardian, and NPR. Memorable performances include Pitchfork Music Festival, Basilica Soundscape, Oya Festivalen. In 2018 she began touring a new solo performance that traces the last ten-years of her lost and abandoned work, titled My First Film.
In 2016 Zia participated in the Sundance Institutes Screenwriter’s Intensive. In 2015 Zia was included in Filmmaker Magazine‘s “25 New Faces of Independent Film” issue. She is a 2015 fellow in film/video from the New York Foundation for the Arts. In 2008 she was the recipient of the Panavision New Filmmaker Grant for her short film LOVER BOY. Zia received her BA/BS at Ithaca College and MFA from the School of the Arts Institute of Chicago.
LAWRENCE ABU HAMDAN is a “Private Ear.” His interest with sound and its intersection with politics originates from his background as a touring musician and facilitator of DIY music. His audio investigations have been used as evidence at the UK Asylum and Immigration Tribunal and as advocacy for organizations such as Amnesty International and Defence for Children International. For his work in film, Abu Hamdan’s honors include a 2019 Turner Prize nomination, the Tiger Short Film Qward at the Rotterdam International Film festival, the Audience Award at 25 FPS Festival, the Dialog Award at European Media Art Festival, and the Nam June Paik Award for new media. He is a fellow at the University of Chicago, was a 2017-18 guest of the DAAD Kunstler Program in Berlin, and the 2015-17 fellow at the Vera List Centre for Art and Politics at the New School in New York. His works are part of collections at MoMA, Guggenheim, Van AbbeMuseum, Centre Pompidou and Tate Modern.
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.
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