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Karrabing! Low Tide Turning


Image courtesy of the artist

Karrabing! Low Tide Turning

Written and Performed by the Karrabing Indigenous Corporation Liza Johnson and Elizabeth A. Povinelli, 2012

May 1, 2012–May 31, 2012

See another innovative short from Liza Johnson (In the Air, South of Ten), whose debut feature, Return, screened here in March as part of this year’s Director’s Dialogue on Art and Social Change.

Codirected with anthropologist Elizabeth A. Povinelli, Karrabing! Low Tide Turning is set in the Northern Territory of Australia and features a nonprofessional cast of Indigenous Australians. The film tells the story of an extended family who go in search of a missing relative in order to avoid eviction from their government-subsidized home. As they journey from a suburban ghetto to a remote landscape, the family faces challenges from the everyday obstacles of racism and poverty. Karrabing! Low Tide Turning was produced in conjunction with the Karrabing Indigenous Corporation and premiered in February at the Berlin International Film Festival. (14 mins., video)

Artist and filmmaker Liza Johnson has received support from the Wexner Center’s Film/Video Studio Program for Karrabing, Low Tide Turning and for an earlier short, In the Air, about the impact of a circus school on the youth of Johnson’s hometown, Portsmouth, Ohio, which screened in the Box in November 2009. Return, which stars Linda Cardellini (Freaks and Geeks, ER, Brokeback Mountain) as a veteran returning from military service to a small town in Ohio, was the only American film selected for the 2011 edition of the prestigious Director's Fortnight series, held in conjunction with the Cannes Film Festival. The film has earned enthusiastic reviews as one of the strongest independent films and most unusual female character studies in recent memory.

A professor of art and chair of the American Studies Program at Williams College in Massachusetts, Johnson attended Williams as an undergraduate and received her MFA from the University of California, San Diego. Her short films and installations have been shown at the Museum of Modern Art, the Walker Arts Center, and the Centre Pompidou, as well as major film festivals in Cannes, Berlin, New York, and Rotterdam. Return. She has been a fellow of the DAAD Berliner Kunstlerprogramm and the Sundance Institute and has published a number of articles and interviews about art and film. For her next film, Johnson will direct Mark Jude Poirier’s adaptation of Alice Munro’s 2001 short story “Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage.”

Elizabeth A. Povinelli is an academic and cultural critic. She received a BA in philosophy and mathematics at St Johns College, Santa Fe, in 1984 and a PhD in Anthropology at Yale University in 1991. She is the author of four books, most recently, The Empire of Love and The Economies of Abandonment, and has been an invited visitor at Cambridge University, the American Academy in Berlin, and The Franklin Humanities Center at Duke University. She was editor of Public Culture from 2000 to 2004 and is a founding member of Karrabing Indigenous Corporation. She is currently Professor of Anthropology and Gender Studies at Columbia University.

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