F.I.L.M. Series

All events are free and the public is cordially invited.

Unless otherwise indicated, events are scheduled for Sunday afternoons at 2 in the Bradford Auditorium—Room 125, in the Kirner-Johnson Building. Events run between one and three hours.

This series is made possible by the office of the Dean of the Faculty, by the generous support of the Kirkland Endowment, and by the Experimental Television Center re-grant program.

Events are curated by Scott MacDonald, with help from Bret Olsen.

Fall 2017 Schedule

Unless otherwise indicated, events are scheduled for Sunday afternoons at 2 p.m. in the Bradford Auditorium—Room 125, in the Kirner-Johnson Building.

Sunday, September 24

Yance Ford ’94, in person, with his Strong Island (2016)

In 1992, Yance Ford was a sophomore at Hamilton College when her brother William was murdered. By graduation, Ford was determined to make a film about William’s death; 25 years later, Strong Island (the title is a reference to African-American enclaves on Long Island) is that film.

Beginning in 2002 Ford worked a series producer for POV, television’s longest running showcase for independent documentary and contributed to the emergence of many films in that role. Ford, who has transitioned to male, released Strong Island this past season: it is a visually distinctive, emotionally intimate contribution to the genre of personal documentary.

Strong Island won a Special Jury Award at Sundance; and Ford, the Emerging Artist Award at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. This is Ford’s first visit to campus since 1997.

Friday, October 20 (4 p.m.)

The Alloy Orchestra accompanies A Page of Madness (1926)

Lost for 45 years, A Page of Madness was directed by Teinosuke Kinugasa, though the project emerged out of an avant-garde group called Shinkankakuha (School of New Perception). A man (Masao Inoue) takes a job as a janitor at a mental asylum in order to be near his wife (Yoshie Nakagawa). Although his wife suffers genuine mental anguish, the man believes he can rescue her. Nothing is predictable in this classic of Japanese cinema.

Saturday, October 21 (4 p.m.)

The Alloy Orchestra accompanies The Phantom of the Opera (1925)

The Phantom of the Opera is an American horror-film adaptation of Gaston Leroux's 1910 novel Le Fantôme de l'Opéra, directed by Rupert Julian among others, and starring Lon Chaney, Sr., “the Man of a Thousand Faces,” in the title role. The film was famous for Chaney's ghastly, self-devised make-up, which was kept a studio secret until the film's premiere on November 25, 1925.

Sunday, October 22 (Noon)

The Alloy Orchestra accompanies The Man with a Movie Camera (1929)

In 2014 the British film journal Sight & Sound conducted a poll to rank the greatest documentary films of all time. 200 film critics and filmmakers contributed; and The Man with a Movie Camera, Dziga Vertov’s day in the life of a modern, Communist Russian city, was voted number 1. Vertov’s film has remained an inspiration for inventive filmmakers ever since its release in 1929, and the Alloy Orchestra’s score brings the film to life.

Sunday, October 29

Raoul Peck, in person, with I Am Not Your Negro (2016)

Pioneering director and writer Raoul Peck has spent a lifetime using film to tackle historical events and tough subject matter, while still engaging audiences politically, artistically and socially. Peck’s Oscar nominated I Am Not Your Negro focuses on James Baldwin and is based on Baldwin's unfinished manuscript Remember This House. Peck: “If you take any books of Baldwin and start reading, you’re not reading about the past, you’re reading about today; it’s as if he’s reacting to current news items.”

Recently, the on-line media journal Indiewire, claiming that “there's never been a deeper or more diverse time for documentary cinema,” listed I Am Not Your Negro as one of the top 5 documentaries of the 21st Century. 

Sunday, November 5

Ernie Gehr, in person, with new work

Cine-magician, Ernie Gehr has been making inventive films since the 1960s. A prolific artist and an influential teacher—Laura Poitras (Citizenfour) was his student at the San Francisco Art Institute—Gehr emerged during the heyday of “structural film” when filmmakers used filmmaking as a way of thinking about the fundamental elements of cinema and worked at generating new modes of film experience. Gehr remains prolific and inventive and returns to Hamilton with new digital video works.


Sunday, November 12

Bill Morrison, in person, with Dawson City: Frozen Time (2016)

It is hardly surprising that a history of the Klondike gold rush and the town it created would be the subject of Dawson City: Frozen Time the remarkable new film by Bill Morrison (The Great Flood). Morrison “mines” the Dawson City “archive” of early films, which, like literal gold, had been buried in Klondike permafrost for generations. Dawson’s golden moment lured a remarkable group of dreamers to northern Canada—you’ll be surprised at who shows up in this engaging historical chronicle.

LA Times critic Kenneth Turan calls Dawson City “An aesthetic knockout that's crammed with wild tales, amazing facts and unconventional personalities…a history of a particular place that turns into an examination of an art form as well as a gloss on the political history of the 20th century.”


Sunday, December 3

Tomonari Nishikawa, in person, with recent work

Japanese experimental filmmaker Tomonari Nishikawa is currently on the filmmaking faculty of the Cinema Department at Binghamton University. He makes short, often place-oriented films that have been shown at film festivals around the world.  You can preview Nishikawa’s work at his website. He’ll show a selection of recent films.

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