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Fellows 2005-06

FSC-Harvard Fellows

Diana Keown Allan

Vincent Brown

Peter Galison

Clara Han

Ruth Kerkham

Gina Kim

Ross McElwee

Laurie McIntosh

Robb Moss

Carmen Oquendo-Villar

Lorelei Pepi

Maple Razsa

David Rice

Jan Schütte

Noelle Stout

Pacho Velez

Emily Zeamer

McMillan-Stewart Fellow

Merzak Allouache

Diana Keown Allan is a doctoral student in Social Anthropology at Harvard University, with a regional specialization in the Middle East. She has studied and worked extensively in the West Bank, Gaza and Lebanon and is writing a thesis on the Palestinian refugee community in Lebanon. She has produced a video, Chatila (2002), as a collaborative project with children from the camp. At the Film Study Center, she is working on a new video, Min al-Kharaj (From the Outside), set both in the Shateela camp and in Beirut. Following the lives of Nabil, a refugee working illegally as a taxi driver in Beirut, and Abu Rabbiya, a "healer" in Shateela camp, Min al-Kharaj seeks to offer a counterpoint to mainstream media representations of Palestinians by engaging the lived reality of being a camp dweller in terms that refugees might use and recognize.

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The McMillan-Stewart Fellowship in Distinguished Filmmaking
Merzak Allouache is perhaps the leading film director from North Africa, whose work embraces an array of styles and subjects, and depicts the human lives and political struggles in both his native Algeria and among the diasporic beur community in metropolitan France. Born in Algiers in 1944, Allouache grew up during the Algerian struggle for independence. He studied filmmaking at Paris's celebrated IDHEC (la FEMIS), and quickly moved on to directing feature films, documentaries, and television programs. Omar Gatlato (1976), his first feature film, set in the neighborhood of Bab el-Oued in Algiers, was such a success that it changed the course of Algerian cinema. The popularity of Omar Gatlato with Algerian audiences demonstrated to the Algerian film industry that its public had an appetite for complex films that dealt with the realities of Algerian contemporary society, opening the door to other films of the same ilk. In 1994 Merzak returned to this same neighborhood to film Bab el-Oued City. The film captured the beginnings of the civil war and the complexities of the resurgent Islamic fundamentalism that was then spreading across Algeria. Bab el-Oued City garnered the International Critics' Prize at Cannes in 1994, as well as the grand prize at the Arab Film Festival in Paris. During a career that has spanned thirty years, Merzak Allouache’s films continue to examine the complex history that ties France to its former North African colonies, giving us characters full of intelligence and dignity, caught between their French and Algerian identities. His other films include Adventures of a Hero/Aventures d'un heros (1978), The Man Who Watched Windows/L'Homme qui regardait les fenêtres (1982), and A Love in Paris/Un amour à Paris (1988). In 1989 he made Following October/L'après-octobre, a documentary about the riots that took place in the suburbs of Paris in 1988.

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Assistant Professor in History at Harvard University, Vincent Brown is a multi-media historian with a keen interest in the political implications of cultural practice, who teaches courses in early American history, African diaspora studies, and the history of slavery. He is currently writing Specter in the Canes: Death and Power in the World of Atlantic Slavery. The book shows how people in Jamaican slave society strove to achieve their political ambitions and communal desires through the cultural practices that related the living to the dead. At the Film Study Center, Brown is producing Melville and the Motherland, an audiovisual documentary about Melville J. Herskovits, the pioneering anthropologist who established the study of the African diaspora in the United States.

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The Mallinckrodt Professor of the History of Science and of Physics at Harvard University, Peter Galison was named a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellow in 1997, and was a winner of the Max Planck Prize given by the Max Planck Gesellschaft and Humboldt Stiftung in 1999. Galison is interested in the intersection of philosophical and historical questions such as these: What, at a given time, convinces people that an experiment is correct? How do scientific subcultures form interlanguages of theory and things at their borders? More broadly, Galison's main work explores the complex interaction between the three principal subcultures of Twentieth century physics — experimentation, instrumentation, and theory. His books include How Experiments End (1987), Image and Logic (1997), and Einstein's Clocks, Poincare's Maps (2003). In addition, Galison has launched several projects examining the powerful cross-currents between physics and other fields — these include a series of co-edited volumes on the relations between science, art and architecture. He has co-produced a documentary film on the politics of science, Ultimate Weapon: The H-bomb Dilemma and is now working at the Film Study Center on a second film, with Robb Moss, entitled Secrecy, about the architecture of the classification and secrecy establishment.

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Clara Han is a MD/PhD Candidate in the Department of Anthropology, Harvard University and the Dept. of Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School. During the past seven years, Clara has worked in Santiago, Chile, focusing on how the assemblage of poverty and debt has provided conditions for subjectivity and bodily experience that have been increasingly recognized through the disciplinary discourses of psychiatry and political economy. Working in La Pincoya, a poor urban poblacion on the periphery of Santiago, she writes about the intersections of violence, economy, and affective states; and, along with this, explores and critiques the conceptual and strategic use of human rights discourse. At the Film Study Center, she is working on her first documentary film, which both follows the daily lives of Paty and Leo and their three children in La Pincoya, as well as explores Clara’s close relationship to this family. As an ex-Communist militant, Leo was detained and tortured during the Pinochet regime. He did not give his testimony to the National Commission for Political Imprisonment and Torture, and was therefore excluded from State reparations. As a result of flexible labor policies, Paty and Leo live in perpetual economic insecurity, which they call a daily torture. Through the juxtaposition of conversations with Paty and Leo, other community members in La Pincoya, human rights activists, state officials, and National Commission officials, this film explores the lived reality of those who experience the violence of economics and questions how we conceive of human rights: For whom? And, at what cost?

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A doctoral student in History of Art and Architecture at Harvard University, Ruth Kerkham has taught studio art and art history in South Africa and Canada, and has published a number of articles and exhibition reviews on Canadian, South African and Zambian visual culture and performance. She is currently living in Zambia where she is conducting dissertation research and producing a documentary film entitled Tisangalale!, which means, "Let's celebrate!" in Nyanja. This documentary explores the significant increase of formally recognized annual cultural ceremonies in Zambia since the country's shift from a one-party state to multi-party democracy in 1991. It complicates the notion of public cultural celebration by considering the less disclosed aspects of these ceremonies, such as ritual communion with the ancestors, and performative parallels between chief’s ceremonies and royal funerals. Tisanagalale! includes the views of cultural enthusiasts, performers, traditional rulers and politicians, and is based on two years of travel throughout Zambia.

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Kim’s feature-length films, Gina Kim’s Video Diary (2002) and Invisible Light (2003) (, have been screened at many international film festivals, including Berlin, Locarno, Rotterdam, Vancouver, IFP Los Angeles, Buenos Aires, Pusan, and Torino, among others. Combining the aesthetic rigors of feminist video art and the simple, yet provocative dramatic technique of narrative art films, Kim’s works have garnered impressive critical acclaim in the last two years. Cahiers du Cinema has called Invisible Light "...the only truly radical discovery in a landscape [of recent Korean cinema], that depicts feminine hardness and repressed anger.” Film Comment writes, "Kim has a terrific eye, a gift for near-wordless storytelling, a knack for generating a tense gliding rhythm between images and sounds, shots and scenes, and for yielding a quality of radiance in her actors." A recipient of the two grants from the Korean Film Commission (KOFIC), Invisible Light has also been awarded a special jury prize at the Seoul Women’s Film Festival (2004) and is consistently listed as one of the most daring films of the year by critics. Kim is currently teaching in Visual and Environmental Studies at Harvard University. At the Film Study Center, she is working on a new film project, Never Forever, which further explores the issue of women's bodily desire.

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"In 1975, as a graduate student at MIT's Film Section, I began filming 'chapters' from my own life and the lives of people close to me. Those chapters coalesced into two films, Charleen, about my wise and flamboyant high school teacher, and Backyard, about my relationship to my surgeon father and my medical school-bound brother. Backyard reveals my father's pride in my brother's choice of careers, as well as his somewhat puzzled concern about my choice of making documentary 'home movies.' He would say to me 'Why don't you try to make nature films?' Instead, I went on to make Sherman's March: A Meditation on the Possibility of Romantic Love In the South During an Era of Nuclear Weapons Proliferation, an absurd title, but one which aptly summed up the major themes of the film. In it, I retraced General Sherman's destructive Civil War route, interweaving this journey with portraits of seven southern women I met along the way. Sherman's March achieved wide acclaim, and led to a sequel, Time Indefinite, in which I document my somewhat awkward shift into adulthood, getting married (finally), and then having to confront the sudden death of my father. At the end of the film, I become a father myself. In Something to do with the Wall, my wife and I reflect upon growing up in the shadow of the Cold War as we film life along the Berlin Wall. Six O'Clock News is my film about local television news and the fears a father can have about raising a child in a society such as the one we see reflected in the six o'clock news. Bright Leaves takes as its terrain the tobacco country of the American South, and my family's implication in it. Each of these films explores new territory for me, but in almost all of them, members of my immediate and extended family reappear over a span of decades. This fact adds, I believe, an additional dimension to my work, providing a record of both how much and how little my family has changed over time."

McElwee grew up in North Carolina. He graduated from Brown University and later from Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he received a MS in filmmaking in a program headed by documentarian Richard Leacock. His career began in his hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina where he was a studio cameraman for local evening news, housewife helper shows, and "gospel hour" programs broadcast by the local television station. Later, he worked freelance shooting films for documentarians D.A. Pennebaker and then John Marshall, in Namibia. McElwee started producing and directing documentaries in 1976. His body of work, much of it produced while a fellow of the Film Study Center, includes many feature-length documentaries as well as several shorter films, most shot in his homeland of the South. His work has played nationally in art house theaters and has been broadcast on Cinemax and PBS. He has experimented with a personal autobiographical approach to non-fiction filmmaking, filming frequently as a one-person film crew and weaving into the final film a highly subjective narration along with on-camera experiences by the filmmaker. McElwee has been awarded fellowships from the Rockefeller Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

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A doctoral candidate in social anthropology at Harvard University, Laurie McIntosh’s academic background includes a Bachelor’s degree in Literature, Studio Art and Feminist Studies, and a Master’s degree in Race and Gender Studies. Laurie is currently filming in Scandinavia for her first feature-length documentary, which is based on her dissertation research. Her research examines the politics of immigration, citizenship, and refugee rights and debates around the resurgence of nationalistic rhetoric and political mainstreaming of neo-Nazi sentiment throughout parts of Northern Europe. Exploring the daily lives of four individuals located in different spheres of this complex human rights dilemma, the digital video attempts to capture the ways in which individuals and nations negotiate the turbulent dynamics of migration, nationalistic fervor, anti-immigrant sentiment, violence, and state bureaucracy.

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Robb Moss has twice won American Film Institute/ National Endowment for the Arts Regional Fellowships and a National Endowment for the Humanities Grant to shoot rituals in West Africa. As a cinematographer, he has shot films in Ethiopia, Liberia, Greece, Mexico, Hungary, Japan, Turkey, Nicaragua and the Gambia. Many of these films — on such subjects as famine, genocide and the large-scale structure of the universe — were broadcast nationally on Public Television. Earlier work has premiered at the Telluride Film Festival and showed at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. He was on the documentary jury of the 2004 Sundance Film Festival, is the past president and board chair of the Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers (AIVF), and has taught filmmaking for the past eighteen years at Harvard University. Moss's film, The Same River Twice, premiered at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival, theatrically opened at New York's Film Forum, and was nominated for a 2004 Independent Spirit Award. The film went on to more than thirty domestic and international film festivals and had a theatrical run in more than eighty cities in North America. The Same River Twice was listed by Chicago film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum as the Best Documentary (and Cinematography) of 2003. At the Film Study Center Moss is now working on a film about the vast and invisible world of government secrecy, with Peter Galison, with whom he co-teaches a course called "Filming Science."

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Originally from Puerto Rico, Carmen Oquendo-Villar is a doctoral student in Romance Languages and Literatures at Harvard. She is completing her dissertation on the use of media by Pinochet. She has numerous publications, fiction, as well as writings on diverse cultural fields including literature, music, art and performance. Oquendo Villar has a particular interest in gender studies in Latin America and she is working on a series of documentaries about the queer Latino community in Massachusetts. This year she has directed 2 short documentaries, Boquita (2005) and Poderistas (2005). At the Film Study Center, she is working on a documentary in Puerto Rico and Boston about gay marriage transit between both places. Her filmic work has screened at the Harvard Film Archive (Arts First), The Boston Public Library (Women in Focus), and the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics in Brazil. She has worked as the Submissions Coordinator for the Boston Latino International Film Festival for the past two years.

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Currently a Visiting Assistant Professor with Harvard University teaching animation filmmaking, on leave from Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in NY, Lorelei Pepi is an internationally award-winning independent animador. Her film work encompasses both the intimate and experimental ranges of animation, as well as the public political voice. Her personal film work has received such international awards as Best of Festival and High Risk Taking, and has been noted for its unusual voice. She has accumulated credit within the animation industry, working commercially in many aspects, and recently chaired a festival panel addressing the art of animation in regards to digital technologies, an area in which her personal research is currently focused. Combining both traditional as well as contemporary technologies, her film at the Film Study Center, Happy & Gay, is concerned with addressing the potentials of revisionist history as a way to replace an actively erased presence of gays and lesbians in the Hollywood animation studio films of the 1930s Hays Code era.

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Maple Razsa is a doctoral candidate in social anthropology at Harvard University and a documentary filmmaker. He has shot and directed films in Slovenia, Croatia, Mozambique and the U.S. Razsa's decade of fieldwork in the former Yugoslavia has focused on nationalism, social movements, intellectuals, video activism, ethnographic film, and the politics of memory. He is currently writing his dissertation on transnational cooperation among radical activists in Europe based on recent fieldwork with anarchist youth in Zagreb, Croatia. While at the Film Study Center, Razsa is collaborating with Pacho Velez on a feature-length digital video. Bastards of Utopia follows the lives of three Croatian anarchists organizing a radical political movement throughout the former Yugoslavia. The three belong to the Black Bloc, the faction of the anarchist community responsible for the most confrontational episodes at anti-globalization protests. Bastards of Utopia documents how these activists' participation in radical protest is only part of a continuum of political action apparent also in their everyday lives, including also not-for-profit cultural production, do-it-yourself media, and post-consumption lifestyles.

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David Rice graduated from the Visual and Environmental Studies department at Harvard in 2001, specializing in documentary film and video production. As an undergraduate, he made numerous short documentary films, an experimental piece about Dziga Vertov, and two feature length documentary videos. His thesis, Seeing Pearl (2001) won a Hoopes Prize from Harvard College. Since graduating, he has undertaken a number of independent video projects and served as a teaching assistant for eight non-fiction video production classes. In freelance work, he has filmed in Croatia, Turkey, Ireland, France, and throughout the United States. At the Film Study Center, he is completing Redcoat, a documentary about New England men who reenact battles from the Revolutionary War. Wary of representing the group as an outsider, he joined the Redcoats in order to make the film. Having sworn his allegiance to King George, he still dons wig and musket, on occasion, to march in various holiday parades or massacre colonial rabble, wherever it bubbles up. He is ready now for peacetime.

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Schütte’s most recent film, SuperTex, about a textile clan in Amsterdam premiered at the San Sebastian and the Toronto Film Festival in 2003 to critical acclaim and won several awards. Schütte studied German literature, philosophy and history of art in Tübingen and Zurich and received his MA in Hamburg. After a short time as a televisión reporter he debuted 1987 with his first feature film Dragons Chow. The black-and-white tragic comedy about two immigrants in Hamburg opened at the Venice Film Festival where it won the Premio Cinecritica (critics award). The film was invited to more then 50 festivals and won numerous international awards including the Prix Francois Truffaut, Prix Unesco, the German Film Prize and was named best film by the German Critics Association. He continued directing feature films, including Winckelmanns Travels (1990), Bye Bye America (1994), Fat World (1998), The Farewell (2000), Old Love (1991) and Supertex (2003), alongside some highly praised documentaries and filmic seáis, such as Lost in America (1988), To Patagonia (1991) and A Trip into the Inside of Vienna (1995).

Since 1994 Schütte has been teaching as a Professor at the Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg. In collaboration with his fellow director Peter Sehr he developed and runs now the Masterclass of the Academie du Film Franco-Allemand in Ludwigsburg and Paris. He is a member of the Akademie der Künste in Berlin and the European Film Academy. Six of his films have been invited to the Festivals of Venice and Cannes. In 2002, Schütte was member of the Jury at the Cannes Film Festival along with Martin Scorsese, Abbas Kiarostami, Tilda Swinton and Sharon Stone. In his documentary project at the Film Study Center, Farewells and Departures, he is preparing a journey through the sixties in East and West Germany based on oral history, and he is also editing his feature film, Old Love, based on three short stories by Isaac Bashevis Singer.

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Noelle Stout is a doctoral candidate in Harvard's Department of Social Anthropology. She received her Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Anthropology and Feminist Studies from Stanford University. At the Film Study Center, she is working on Luchando, a non-fiction film that reveals the ingenuity, vivacity and vulnerability of gay hustlers struggling to survive in Havana, Cuba. Luchando (struggling) has historically referred to the fight for the revolution and has recently been appropriated by hustlers to describe their work with foreign tourists. Shot over the course of a year, the film uses a cinéma vérité approach to capture the daily adventures of four hustlers as they confront the contradictions and ironies of contemporary life in Cuba. Luchando is her first feature length documentary.

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Pacho Velez is a graduate of Harvard University and now works as an independent filmmaker between Boston and New Haven. He has directed two feature-length documentaries: Occupation (2002), made with Maple Razsa, and Orphans of Mathare (2003), made with Randy Bell. His films have won several prizes, including the Rosa Luxembourg Award at the New England Film and Video Festival (2003) and the Best Documentary Award at the Ivy Film Festival (2003 and 2004). Additionally, his films have screened at festivals and on television in North America, Europe, and Asia. At the Film Study Center, he is collaborating with Maple Razsa on Bastards of Utopia (see above).

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Before beginning her doctoral degree in Anthropology at Harvard, Emily Zeamer spent several years working for a small human rights organization in Bangkok, Thailand. This experience in human rights work drew her to the field of social anthropology, particularly to the problem of the role of ideology in people’s lives. Her research considers how individuals understand and talk about collective ideas about freedom and virtue, and how these ideals inform people’s actions. Her ethnographic research in Bangkok looks at the changing ways in which Thai women imagine and relate to Buddhist religious institutions and ideologies in the context of the intense social competition, consumerism, medias and dislocations that characterize life in contemporary Bangkok. At the Film Study Center, Emily is working on her first short documentary, Why I Don’t Go to the Temple Any More, a portrait of a Thai woman named Gop. A resourceful and idiosyncratic working-class mother of two, Gop talks about her life and her own very unusual spiritual commitments. Rejecting many of the ritual duties traditionally performed by ‘good’ Buddhists, such as making offerings to monks, Gop ‘makes merit’ by sacrificing most of her spare income and her free time to care for dozens of stray dogs. Gop’s spiritual and personal commitments emphasize asceticism, privacy and individual commitment, and enact a kind of refusal of the traditional religious ritual performances, which remain very public marks of class and status in Thailand.



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