100% handcrafted, each "Queer Sleepover Classic" VHS pendant necklace celebrates critical formations of queer identity nurtured by independent video stores in the late 80s & early 90s. Pieced together with craft wood and paint, I hope to add more pendants to this special series, now exclusively on-sale and on display at the boutique gallery A Love Bizarre in Los Angeles.
“Tayra and I grew up on a beach in the north east of Brazil. We were inseparable. The sea breeze brings me back happy memories.”
This stunning film by director Nara Normande was my favorite at the 2019 Palm Springs International ShortFest. Blessed by the fortune of having Guaxuma programmed in the same shorts block as my friend Lizzy’s, this devastating and powerful stop-motion documentary evoked these special “memories” through sand paintings on glass. Extraordinary work that left me in tears.
The Society for Visual Anthropology’s Film & Media Festival screens work by students, professional anthropologists, and professional filmmakers at the American Anthropological Association’s annual conference. This year’s festival is hosted in the beautiful city of Vancouver, and I can’t wait to present my film alongside other works of visual ethnography at such a critical event. This year’s theme, “Changing Climates,” invites anthropologists and their collaborators to examine how we engage with communities around issues of change over time, including climate change, to envision and build a more equitable future.
June 8th, 2019: Underneath the warm acoustic rafters of Voltiv Sound in Los Angeles, Maggie Dave rolled up its sleeves and got down to work on its first single. It was invigorating to hear musicians like Brian breath life into our demos, what once were tidy attempts to simulate a “live” band, now pulsed with rhythm and soul. It’s been a blessing to involve so many of our friends and fellow artists we admire on this project, and with so much album left to go, we can’t wait to share these experiences together, again!
I am inspired by my friend Lizzy Hogenson and her film Dani, a claymation documentary short about a daughter delivering the news of her breast cancer prognosis to her mother. The intricacies of their relationship are painstakingly handcrafted, one subtle movement at a time, from yarn, beads, cardboard & felt. These fragile elements are bound together by the hard work of producer Kyle McClary, editor Robert Panico and original music & sound editing by Ricky Berger. An official selection to this year's Oscar-qualifying Palm Springs International ShortFest, I'm eagerly awaiting to see it on the big screen next week!
For my sister’s birthday last month, I wasn’t able to afford tickets to Phloston Paradise for her and her husband David - but I was able to grease the palms of a few intergalactic customs agents to secure a MULTIPASS. It’s good for the next five years.
About the program: Eyes and Lenses is an annual, 4-day ethnographic film festival organized by the Student Research Group of the Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology Institute of the University of Warsaw - “Etno,” and the Witold Dynowski Ethnographic Workshop Association (Stowarzyszenie Pracownia Etnograficzna). Accompanied by discussion panels and meetings with artists, an international program of shorts and features are shown in cooperation with leading centers of visual anthropology and preeminent ethnographic film festivals, such as the Royal Anthropological Institute, Granada Center for Visual Anthropology and Lomonosov Moscow State University. This year's program, June 7th - 10th, will be held at Służewski Dom Kultury in Warsaw, Poland.
Ghost Tape #10 will be screening on June 10th as part of this year’s festival.
Sometimes in a university classroom, other times in a theatre, screening Ghost Tape #10 has given me the opportunity to quietly reflect in the back row, in darkness. After sharing my film this afternoon with the students of UC Riverside, my memories of making it and of my gratitude to one particular individual, came to the surface.
Filmmaker Pham Thu Hang, director of The Future Cries Beneath Our Soils, was gracious enough to guide me through my noble stumbles in Vietnam, summer of 2017. Her patience and grace in how she sees the world is reflected within her work, her camera capturing light like a painter's brush - in this, a her film about five men enjoying an odd friendship in Vietnam's Quảng Tri province, a site still bearing the scars of war.
Cảm ơn, Hang 🍟your spirit always finds its way to say hello to me during each screening of mine. Here’s to the next time we see each other!
News of my film’s first language translation outside of the United States came as a warm surprise earlier this week. Screening at the Eyes and Lenses ethnographic film review in Warsaw on June 10th, Ghost Tape #10 will accompany of a program of films “shot by anthropologists with film intent and by filmmakers with ethnographic sensitivity.” I’m honored by the opportunity to share my work with a Polish audience thanks to the "Ethno" Scientific Club of the Institute of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology of the University of Warsaw, and one translator in particular, who wishes to remain anonymous. To you, I humbly thank you for your labor and attention to detail!
About the festival: “In the over 10-year history of the review, we have shown several hundred films . Among them were the classics of the ethnographic film (Jean Rouch, Jacek Olędzki ...), and the latest films shot both by ethnographers grabbing the camera and filmmakers endowed with ethnographic imagination. We try to make every next edition surprise our viewers.” (From Eyes and Lenses)
2019 screening will take place at the SŁUŻEW CULTURE CENTER - Warsaw, Poland, June 7th-10th.
When you’re lucky enough to find yourself riding waves of laughter with a cinema audience, it’s a sublime experience. This was animator Bryan Lee’s gift to those who gathered for a screening of the USC Cinematic Arts - John C. Hench Division of Animation & Digital Arts’ fourth-year final projects on May 11th, 2019, his film capping the evening and his cohort’s four-year program with raucous laughter. Cage Match, a devilishly clever ode to the resilient spirit of innocence, was one of my favorite films. Animated with BIC Round Stic ballpoint pens with a childlike fury, its deceptively mischievous surface (complete with hulking, chicken wrestlers and a frenzied Japanese language-speaking game show host) masked Lee’s tender exploration of what it means to preserve one’s sense of wonder and belonging in this world. Hilarious and heartfelt, Lee executes his distinct style with handcrafted innovation and heart.
Bryan Lee is an animator, story artist and designer in Los Angeles, CA.
Recorded live at The Moth LA's GrandSLAM; The Regent Theater, January 28th, 2019.Read More
It is my profound honor to count Ghost Tape #10 among the incredible, award-winning films at the 2019 Athens International Film + Video Festival. Awarded a Special Jury Prize, the “Alden Award,” from a guest panel of renowned artists and filmmakers, I was moved by this unexpected surprise early this morning. One of my favorite destinations for humane and invigorating experimental and documentary works, AIF+VF continues to inspire me with their lovingly-crafted shorts blocks, as delicate as ever, this year…definitely not to be my last! Special thanks to Festival Director David Colagiovanni and 2019 Jury Members: Laura Harrison, Lynne Sachs, Chris Sullivan & Jodi Wille.
2019 Athens International Film + Video Festival - Award Winners
Documentary Short Award: Stone Engravings and the Three-Colored Chickenpox Tale by Vinícius Lopes & Luciana Mazeto (Brazil)
Narrative Short Award: De Terugkeer van Sooi Dingemans by Marc Bryssinck (Belgium)
Animated Short Award: Egg by Martina Scarpelli (France)
Experimental Short Award: Goodbye Fantasy by Amber Bemak & Nadia Granados (Mexico)
Black Bear Award (Best use of sound): Pain is Mine by Farshid Akhlaghi (Australia)
Film House Award (For visionary filmmaking): Shooting Crows by Christine Hürzeler (Switzerland)
Alden Award: Ghost Tape #10 by Sean David Christensen (USA)
Narrative Feature Award: We Are Thankful by Joshua Magor (South Africa)
Documentary Feature Award: A Thousand Girls Like Me by Sahra Mani (Afghanistan)
Special Jury Mentions:
Fest (Animation) by Nikita Diakur (Germany)
Elder Abuse (Experimental) by Drew Durepos (USA)
I Have Sinned a Rapturous Sin (Experimental) by Maryam Tafakory (Iran/United Kingdom)
Fauve (Narrative) by Jeremy Comte (Canada)
If you don’t mind spoilers, Sean Wing has composed a soaring musical climax to Wet City, an Adult Swim SMALLS limited series created by Nate Sherman & Nick Vokey (Fired on Mars). Set in an oceanic, post-apocalyptic seascape reminiscent of Waterworld, Wing provides (in addition to his laconic character narration) a wistful, future-pop score that beautifully gallops towards the final episode’s conclusion. Watch the entire series here, its three episodes make for a great mini-binge!
Created by Nate Sherman & Nick Vokey
Co-Producer & Supervising Animator: Matthew Incontri
VO and Music by Sean Wing
Animation by Matthew Incontri and Nick Vokey
Storyboards by Olivia Pecini
Character Design by Nick Vokey
Backgrounds by Liesel Plambeck and Nick Vokey
Editing, Compositing, Sound Design, Music Supervision by Nate Sherman
Special Thanks Liesel Plambeck, Amy Vokey, Cam Vokey, Elise Wine
Produced for Adult Swim SMALLS by Matt Harrigan & Dave Hughes
Timothy Asch's (1932-1994) impact on documentary filmmaking was profound, as was his role in continuing the legacy of the USC Center for Visual Anthropology at the University of Southern California, the same institution that incubated and supported the development of my most recent documentary, Ghost Tape #10.
On November 9th, 2018, DER (Documentary Educational Resources) 50th Anniversary Symposium provided a unique opportunity for all those in attendance to reflect on Asch's pioneering work of incorporating audio-visual media into anthropological research and teaching. Accompanied by a special screening of excerpts from the beautifully restored Yanomamö film series, Asch's vision and generosity of spirit were celebrated by those who knew him and admired his work.
It was an honor to guest blog for DER in covering this event - my own small way of showing tribute to the USC CVA, an institution that has meant so much to my professional growth & development as a documentary filmmaker.
A finely-tuned short, Bloodlines is the rare type of film that showcases its assuredness and strength of vision through restraint. Executed with grace and delicacy, it rewards the viewer for listening and leaning into its quiet spaces, disclosing subtle moments of conflict and tension. From PBS Film School Shorts: “Two brothers suffer a crisis of conscience while trying to impress their gruff father in this quiet film about a Native American family.” A film by Christopher Nataanii Cegielski, co-starring Jon Proudstar.
Jocelyn DeBoer and Dawn Luebbe (Gulp Splash) are masters of the comedic slight of hand, concealing acerbic commentaries on the maniacal obsessions of domesticity beneath their whimsical comic fantasies. Having just returned from SXSW 2019 with their feature adaptation of Greener Grass, a dizzyingly off-kilter suburban nightmare, Buzz is the perfect example of their craft’s deliberate pace and control, trading simple punchlines for the types of laughs you’re afraid to make in a crowded theatre. From the filmmakers: “A codependent woman’s life is disrupted when her servile best friend wants to move out of their isolated mountain home to be with a man. She hatches an unusual plan to ensure she will never be alone.”
Created by: Jocelyn DeBoer and Dawn Luebbe (“Greener Grass” Sundance 2019)
Directed by: Mitch Magee (“Welcome To My Study” Funny or Die Presents, HBO)
Written by and Starring: Jocelyn DeBoer and Dawn Luebbe
With Patrick Carroll as Buzz and James Pumphrey as Hank
Gulp Splash Productions & Alpen Pictures
Producer: Nate Vaughan
Supervising Producer: Matt Pittman
Executive Producers: Jocelyn DeBoer and Dawn Luebbe
Director of Photography: Daniel Kenji Levin
Production Design: Traci Hays
Editors: Taylor Gianotas, Chris Punsalan
Costume Design: Michelle Thompson
Hair and Makeup: Veronica Sinclair
Music Composer: Samuel Nobles
Sound Designer: Brian Goodheart
The Academy Award-qualifying Athens International Film + Video Festival awaits Ghost Tape #10 next month. I’m honored to be included in this year’s documentary program, alongside AIFVF’s 46-year legacy of finely curated shorts & features. Very special thanks to the faculty & instructors of the USC Center for Visual Anthropology MVA for their support - my film wouldn’t have been possible without their guidance and patience.
A long time (first time) fan of the show, it was an absolute delight and an honor to perform on the RISK! storytelling stage in Los Angeles last winter. A show whose impish premise is grounded in “true stories you never thought you’d dare to share,” my story came from an original idea I workshopped with The Moth GrandSLAM in October of 2018. The version on this RISK! show, “The Album Cover,” was expanded from that original performance, with thanks to Master Instructor Larry Rosen for his notes and guidance.
Whenever I’m on stage, I can’t help but lose myself in the story I’m crafting for the audience in real time. I hope it feels real and immediate for them. Sometimes, the emotions of whatever I was feeling in those moments within those stories, those past lives, will finally catch up with me behind the microphone. Sometimes they surprise me. The story above was a special performance for me, one that I’m thankful I’m able to share thanks to my friends at RISK!; LA producer Beowulf Jones and Executive Producer/Founder, Kevin Allison. Special thanks to the storytellers I shared this episode with, Mike Cho and Leland Carina. Thank you for your honesty and vulnerability. As always, thank you for taking the time to listen. It means more than I can ever express on my blog!