From the LEF Archive

Here at LEF we’re preparing for a busy couple of months. There’s our LOI deadline – only a week away – plus the upcoming  season of The DocYard.  Still, we’re always trying to keep one ear open for news about films LEF has supported in the past.  Next week, work from two LEF-funded filmmakers is being showcased:

Kathryn Ramey’s films ENDLESS PRESENT: BIOGRAPHY OF AN UNKNOWN FILMMAKER a film by Cornealius Thistle(2002), THE PASSENGER (2006) and YANQUI WALKER and the OPTICAL REVOLUTION (2009) screen at the Mass Art film society, in Boston on Wednesday, January 26, at 8pm

Jenny Perlin’s cycle THE PERLIN PAPERS is showing at the Marina Abramović Studio at Location One in New York, on Thursday January 27, at 7pm as part of the Extracurricular Series

It’s a nice coincidence that works from these two filmmakers are screening so close together – both of these sets of films examine personal and national history through the kinds of details that fall between the cracks of the official record, or get left out on purpose. With experimental techniques various types of archives, they examine those impossible-to-corroborate situations from the past.

Both filmmakers are looking at the processes of making the record. In TRANSCRIPT, one segment from THE PERLIN PAPERS, the film re-enacts a dinner party from a surveillance transcript – visually, we are stuck outside in the hallway, where sometimes the sounds are too muffled to hear.

You might not do very well on your AP history test with either Perlin’s or Ramey’s version of historical events, but both of these screenings should make for some thought-provoking viewing. Too bad the geographical distance between them might make it hard to see both!

YANQUI WALKER and the OPTICAL REVOLUTION is an experimental documentary about a, now obscure, American expansionist and military dictator, William Walker who, through military force and coercion, became president of Nicaragua in 1856. The film blends found footage, documentary photography, ethnographic inquiry and personal travelogue with experimental film techniques such as hand-processing, optical printing and hand conducted time-lapse to detour and derail the various approaches to history making that have been applied to this story.”
(BEST SHORT DOC, Athens International Film and Video festival, 2010, Jury selection (1st prize), Black Maria Film festival, 2010 Official selection at the TriBeca Film Festival, 2010)

THE PERLIN PAPERS is a cycle of films that treats issues of domestic espionage during the Cold War period in 1950s U.S. The Perlin Papers is an archive of 250,000 pages located at Columbia University. The archive contains most of the FBI documents related to the case of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, U.S. citizens who were tried and executed in 1953 for allegedly spying for the Soviet Union For two decades after the execution, the FBI tracked hundreds of people tangentially connected to the case. The Perlin Papers films focus on the overlooked, irrelevant, and seemingly unimportant documents in the archive as a way of unpacking history and connecting it to the present.”

– Nellie

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