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FILM Series Opens With: The Prison in Twelve Landscapes


The F.I.L.M. (Forum on Image and Language in Motion) series opens on Sunday, Jan. 29, with The Prison in Twelve Landscapes (2016), presented by producer and director Brett Story.

The spring series will include a “Dead of Winter Classic Comedy Festival” featuring landmark comedy films Feb. 5 to 26. F.I.L.M. series organizer and Visiting Professor of Art History Scott MacDonald will introduce the films.

All F.I.L.M. series events are on Sunday afternoons at 2 p.m. in the Bradford Auditorium, KJ, and are free and open to the public.

Listed below are the programs in the spring 2017 series.

Sunday, Jan. 29: Producer and director Brett Story will be on hand to present her recent film The Prison in Twelve Landscapes.

According to its website, “The Prison in Twelve Landscapes is a film about the prison in which we never see a penitentiary. Instead, the film unfolds as a cinematic journey through a series of landscapes across the USA where prisons do work and affect lives.”

Dead of Winter Classic Comedy Festival on Sundays, Feb. 5 to 26:

Sunday, Feb. 5: Charlie Chaplin’s The Adventurer (1915) and The Kid (1921)

The Adventurer shows the Little Tramp on the run from the police and pretty much everyone else, but not too busy to save women from drowning, kicking bad guys in the rear.

In The Kid, co-starring Jackie Coogan, the Tramp finds an abandoned child and the result is not only “a smile and perhaps a tear,” but one of the quintessential American comedies. Accompanied by Chaplin’s original score.

Sunday, Feb. 12: Buster Keaton’s The General (1926)

Buster Keaton plays Johnny Gray, a locomotive engineer in the Civil War South. When Johnny’s train, “The General,” is stolen by Union spies, he gives chase, risking life and limb to demonstrate how funny overcoming danger can be.

The General is accompanied by the music of the Alloy Orchestra.

Sunday, Feb. 19: Two Tars (1928) and The Music Box (1932) with Laurel and Hardy

Two Tars (“tar” is slang for sailor) demonstrates how a simple traffic jam can become comedy chaos when Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy are involved.

In The Music Box (65 minutes), Stan and Ollie are hired to move a player piano up the longest flight of stairs in town.

Sunday, Feb. 26: Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times (1935)     

The Tramp finds himself part of the Great Depression, tightening nuts (and going nuts) on a factory assembly line in Chaplin’s satire of the tyranny of film-industrial production. Modern Times is accompanied by Chaplin’s own music, including his song, “Smile.”

Sunday, March 5: Film Scholar Jacqueline Stewart explores the career of pioneer filmmaker Spencer Williams

Jacqueline Stewart is a graduate of the University of Chicago where she teaches film history, serves as director of Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry and curates Black Cinema House.

Spencer Williams had a long and diverse career in American media, from his bit part in Buster Keaton’s Steamboat Bill, Jr. (1927) to his starring role as Andy in the television show Amos ‘n Andy. He is best known for his “race film” Blood of Jesus (1941).

Sunday, April 2: Yance Ford, in person, with Strong Island (2016)

Yance Ford was a sophomore at Hamilton College in 1992 when her brother William was murdered. By her senior year, Ford decided she wanted to make a film about her brother’s death; 25 years later, Strong Island, a visually distinctive, emotionally intimate contribution to the genre of personal documentary, is that film.

Between her graduation from Hamilton in 1994 and the completion of her first feature film, Ford worked in and around the documentary film business and in 2002 became a series producer for POV, television’s longest running showcase for independent documentaries.

Sunday, April 9: “A Roll for Peter Hutton”

In the wake of film artist Peter Hutton’s passing in 2016, several of his students and colleagues collaborated on “A Roll for Peter,” inviting filmmakers to submit a roll of film in his honor.

The F.I.L.M. series presents the resulting anthology, which includes mini-films by filmmakers from across the country and around the world, including past F.I.L.M. guests David Gatten, Jennifer Reeves and Lynn Sachs.

Study of a River (1997), Hutton’s film that was added to the Library of Congress’s National Film Registry in 2011, will also be presented.

Sunday, April 16: Ernst Karel, in person, with sound works

Sound wizard Ernst Karel makes electroacoustic music and experimental nonfiction sound works for multichannel installation and performance. His sound installations, in collaboration with Helen Mirra, have been exhibited at Culturgest in Lisbon, KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin, Audiorama in Stockholm, MIT’s List Visual Arts Center and the 2012 Sao Paulo Bienal.

Karel will present two sound works—listened to in the darkened theater—and discuss his work as a sound artist.

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