Fanta Régina Nacro
Originally from Lvov, Ukraine, Vera Babayeva received her Masters from Harvard Divinity School with a focus in Religion and Culture. Her interests include the theoretical discourse between modernity and post-modernism, notions of the sacred in literature and contemporary culture, and formulations of identity, exile, and nostalgia in storytelling. At the Film Study Center, Vera is working on her first documentary project, Rue de Russie, a rhizomatic historiography of two sacred spaces in Biarritz, France, overlooking the ocean, built on the same street but a few years apart. One, is a pre-revolutionary blue-domed Russian-Byzantine church built as a summer sanctuary by the Orthodox white Russian community and still housing a vibrant community of white émigré descendants; and the other, a turn-of-the-century synagogue built similarly by white Russian Jews, the famous Poliakoff family, and later inhabited by Morrano Jews; now but a closed building, recently renovated. The film will explore the histories of the two communities housed by these nearby buildings in the form of two visual vignettes. What fate met the members of these parishes as the century darkened and grew old, and how will the story of these holy places continue to unfold as a new century dawns? The goal of this project is to tell the stories of these two living and void sacred spaces and of their past and present communities.
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Melissa Davenport graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design with a BFA in painting and is the Events Coordinator of the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts at Harvard University. She is filming a series of videos about the evolution of a rural town in Maine (where she was born and lived until she was 16), as outside influences arrive and how returning places her as an observer who has a unique but detached familiarity. She will finish three short videos while at the Film Study Center. The Dock is a study of the typical old wooden town boat dock at a lakeside summer resort and the tourists that gather there. The Sap House contrasts the architectural spaces of a church and of a local industry and considers the bridge between the private and the public. The Deer is about the culture of hunting, gossip, storytelling, and the trade of information in a small town.
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Sharon Harper is Assistant Professor of Visual and Environmental Studies at Harvard University. She received an MFA in photography and related media from the School of Visual Art in New York in 1997 and a BA from Middlebury College in literary studies. She works with photography and video to record a subjective experience of landscape, exploring ways that technology mediates our relationship with the natural world and generates perceptual experiences. Her work was the subject of a solo exhibition, Sharon Harper: Photographs from the Floating World, at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 2001. She has had solo exhibitions at Marcel Sitcoske Gallery in San Francisco; Savage Art Resources in Portland, Oregon; and the Goethe Institute in New York. Her work was included in the Greater New York exhibition at PS1, New York, in February 2000; On Site, Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College; Walk Ways, a traveling exhibition sponsored by Independent Curators International; Sublime Metaphor, Oxford University Museum of Natural History; Celestial, Work Space Gallery, New York; Art on Paper, Weatherspoon Art Museum, at the University of North Carolina; and Summertime, smART gallery in Munich, Germany. Her work is in permanent collections at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Whitney Museum of American Art; Portland Art Museum, Portland, Oregon; and Bayerische Vereinsbank, Munich, Germany. She was an artist-in-residence at the Headlands Center for the Arts in Sausalito, California, in 2002. She has been a fellow at the MacDowell Colony, Ucross Foundation, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts; she received a Meredith S. Moody Residency Fellowship at Yaddo and the Sam and Dusty Boynton Residency Fellowship at the Vermont Studio Center.
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Kims feature-length films, Gina Kims Video Diary (2002) and Invisible Light (2003) (www.ginakim.com), 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, Kims 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 Womens 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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Irene Lusztig was born in England to Romanian parents, grew up in Boston and now lives in New York City. She has also lived in France, Italy, Romania, China, and Russia. A Visiting Lecturer in Visual and Environmental Studies at Harvard University in 2005-6, she received her BA in filmmaking and Chinese studies from Harvard, and completed her MFA in film and video at the Milton Avery Graduate School of Fine Arts at Bard College. In addition to making her own films, she works as a freelance editor and teacher. Her work has won film festival awards and has been screened around the world, including at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts, at IDFA in Amsterdam, and on television in the US, Europe, and in Taiwan. She has also been the recipient of major grants from the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities, Massachusetts Cultural Council, LEF Foundation, and the New York State Council for the Arts. Lusztig's most recent film, The Samantha Smith Project, is an experimental documentary that explores historical amnesia, nostalgia, and US foreign policy through a meditation on the end of the Cold War in the 1980s and the media phenomenon of child diplomats. Her previous films are Reconstruction (2001), winner of the Boston Film Critics' Society "Discoveries" award, For Beijing with Love and Squalor (1997), and Crema Roz (1996).
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A doctoral candidate in social anthropology at Harvard University, Laurie McIntoshs academic background includes a Bachelors degree in Literature, Studio Art and Feminist Studies, and a Masters 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 is Rudolph Arnheim Lecturer in Visual and Environmental Studies at Harvard University. He 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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FANTA RÉGINA NACRO
The McMillan-Stewart Fellowship in Distinguished Filmmaking
Fanta Régina Nacro studied at the African Institute for Cinematic Studies (INAFEC), the national film school of Burkina Faso, and the Sorbonne in Paris, where she earned a Master’s Degree in Film and Audiovisual Studies. She is the first Burkinabe woman to direct a dramatic film, the short Un Certain Matin (1991), and has made many shorts which address the AIDS epidemic in Africa, including Vivre Positivement (1993). Her short films Puk Nini (1996) and Un certain matin (1991) have been hailed as representing the “African New Wave.” Her last short for the Mama Africa series, A Close-Up on Bintou (2002), won more than twenty prizes in international festivals, and her first feature The Night of Truth (2004) was featured in the touring program of the Global Film Initiative and received screenwriting honors at the San Sebastian Film Festival.
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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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Cindy Skach is Associate Professor of Government at Harvard University, and Affiliated Professor of International Legal Studies at Harvard Law School. Skach's research and teaching interests are in political and legal anthropology, particularly in Europe and Europe's former colonies. As a Faculty Fellow of the Film Study Center at Harvard, Skach is currently producing Cadi Justice. Filmed on a remote tropical island in the Indian Ocean, Skach's observational film charts the everyday rhythm and texture of life in an Islamic court. In hope of shattering myths and encouraging dialogue, the film, the multiple sequences of disputes, most often among family members, provide a rare glimpse into the daily routine of the cadi, challenging our western, secular conceptions of 'justice' and 'modern law.'
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An anthropologist, Lisa Stevenson is currently a NIMH Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Social Medicine at Harvard. Her previous research concerned the question of life during a suicide epidemic among the Inuit of Canada. As part of that research she worked collaboratively to produce a video with Inuit youth as a response to the epidemic. At the Film Study Center she is embarking on a video project, To Make Them Well, that will explore the tuberculosis epidemic that ravaged Canadian Inuit communities in the 1940s and 50s. Focusing closely on those Inuit who were sent from Baffin Island to the Mountain Sanatorium in Hamilton Ontario, To Make Them Well will document the Inuit experience of being forced to leave their home communities and live for an unspecified period of time in a southern sanatorium. The transition from a hunting life to the cement, glass and medical machinery of a hospital was swift. One week Inuit were hunting whale and walrus, the next they were sipping apple juice from a straw in a hospital cot. Without minimizing the humanitarian crisis the TB epidemic posed for the Canadian State, this film will explore the experience of rupture and dislocation caused by its policies. Using archival footage and sound along with interviews with contemporary Inuit who survived the sanatoriums, To Make Them Well will pay attention to the communication and miscommunication between Inuit and medical personnel. The film will attempt to draw out the significance of that which could not be spoken both by doctors and Inuit.
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Tim Szetela graduated from Harvard College in 2003, in the department of Visual and Environmental Studies, where he concentrated in animated film. Szetela's work explores aspects of design, language, and collage, specifically through animation. His films have been screened at festivals in countries around the world. One of his student films, the typographical experiment a.z (2002), won the award for Best Non-Narrative Film at the Ottawa International Animation Festival. At the Film Study Center, he will be creating his latest project, Romaji, an animated exploration of language in Japan. In this film, Szetela will recreate and reinterpret his personal encounters with a foreign language. He will explore the dual nature of language, both as content and as image. For observers, familiar languages act as a means of communication of content while foreign languages become indecipherable, intricate images and patterns. Throughout the process of making Romaji, Szetela will chart his own development in understanding Japanese, by following this image-to-content path that is learning a language.
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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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Film Study Center–Radcliffe Fellow
Clea T. Waites experimental video works examine the meta-meanings found in unlikely correspondences between myth and science. Her early video works focused on synesthetic assimilations of language, image, and music. In the 1990s, her work shifted to large-scale, multi-channel video installations that explore the corporal perception of time by means of nonlinear montage in space. Her current project, Moonwalk, continues in this structural vein.
While at the Film Study Center and the Radcliffe Institute, Waite will work on Moonwalk, a lyrical history of humanitys scientific and allegorical relationship with the moon. The film, an investigation in both genre and form, is designed for projection on a planetarium cupola. This format presents an aesthetic and technical challenge to compose a new mode of imagery and time structure.
Waite has exhibited and received prizes at festivals internationally. She has been an artist in residence at the Swiss Museum of Transportation and Communication in Lucerne and the CERN European Organization for Nuclear Research in Geneva and has received fellowships from the Artists in Labs program, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Waite holds bachelors and masters degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she studied laser physics and creative writing. She did her graduate work in 3D computer graphics at the MIT Media Lab while surreptitiously pursuing filmmaking. Waite recently completed a five-year associate professorship at the Hochschule für Film und Fernsehen Konrad Wolf, Babelsberg, in Berlin, where she was chair of the Montage Department in 2003 and 2005-2006.
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Carlin Wing graduated from Harvard College in 2002 with a degree in Visual and Environmental Studies and Social Anthropology. As an undergraduate she completed a photographic and written thesis called "Culture Inc." which explored the intersections of the art world and the business world. She has since returned to Harvard as a teaching assistant for several photography and multi-media classes. She is currently working on a number of photography and video projects. At the Film Study Center she is continuing work on a multi-pronged project based around the childhood home of Ernestine Solomon. Ernestine was her babysitter when she was growing up in Brooklyn and is somewhere between a second mother and grandmother figure to her. Ernestine returns every summer to the house her father built in Allen Junction, West Virginia. The project will use video to investigate ideas of place and home with an attention to what happens to a place as more and more people move away. The project will also include a photographic component that will show the people who are still there.
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Fellows before 2004