Featuring appearances from rising and established film artists, the Wexner Center’s popular Visiting Filmmaker series kicks off its fall run on Wednesday, September 9, with the return of the renowned director Ben Russell, who will introduce and discuss his latest trilogy of films.
The fall series also includes films and conversations with Penelope Spheeris, who will introduce her iconic documentary The Decline of Western Civilization; the Columbus debut of the Sundance Film Festival favorite How to Dance in Ohio, with director Alexandra Shiva and producer Bari Pearlman; and more.
Notes Director of Film/Video David Filipi, “Our Visiting Filmmaker series is one of the crown jewels of Wex programming. We love to share the work of distinguished filmmakers from all genres and styles with audiences and to give them a chance to speak directly with the artists. It’s part of our ongoing commitment to deepen the dialogue surrounding the film and art of our time.”
Visitor information: Unless otherwise noted, tickets for individual screenings are $8 for the general public and $6 for Wexner Center members, students, and senior citizens. Tickets are available in advance at tickets.wexarts.org, 614-292-3535, or at the ticket office. All films screen in the Wexner Center Film/Video Theater, 1871 N. High St.
The schedule follows.
The Garden of Earthly Delights: Recent Films by Ben Russell
Presented by Ben Russell
Wed, Sept 9 | 7 pm
Artist-filmmaker (and past Wexner Center Artist Residency Award recipient) Ben Russell returns to present a recent trilogy of films, including a just-finished live performance film that serves as an “epilogue” to the series. Taking its title from Hieronymus Bosch’s triptych in which the pleasures of Eden are surreally conflated with the torments of Hell, this program of (mostly) nonfiction works examines the ecstatic limits of finding utopia in the present. (approx.. 100 mins., HD video)
Cosponsored by The Center for Ongoing Research & Projects, where Russell has an exhibition opening on September 12.
Tue, Sept 22 | 7 pm
Golden Gate Girls tells the fascinating story of filmmaker Esther Eng: the first woman to direct Chinese-language films in the US, the most prominent female director in Hong Kong in the 1930s, and, for most of the 1940s, the only woman directing feature-length films in the US. With newly discovered images and captivating interviews with those who knew Eng, filmmaker S. Louisa Wei uncovers a rich chapter of film history that challenges both gender hierarchies and national narratives. (88 mins., DCP)
A discussion with Wei and Ohio State Professors Linda Mizejewski (Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies), and Judith Mayne (emerita, Department of French and Italian) follows the screening.
Cosponsored by Ohio State’s Departments of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies andEast Asian Languages and Literatures.
How to Dance in Ohio (Alexandra Shiva, 2015)
Introduced by director Alexandra Shiva and producer Bari Pearlman
Thu, Oct 8 | 7 pm
Free for all audiences
This touching documentary follows a group of autistic Columbus teenagers and young adults as they prepare for a spring formal. Focusing on three young women as they go through an iconic American rite of passage, the film offers intimate access to the lives of people who are often unable to share their experiences with others. Director Shiva shows the daily courage of people facing their fears and opening themselves to the pain, worry, and joy of the social world. A conversation with the filmmakers and many of the film’s subjects follows the screening. (89 mins., DCP)
The gripping documentary Miners Shot Down explores a 2012 “wildcat” strike in one of South Africa’s biggest platinum mines. Six days into the spontaneous employee action, the police used live ammunition to suppress it, killing dozens and injuring even more. The tragedy portrayed in the film resonates beyond this single incident to question the lingering social and economic issues in South Africa’s nascent democracy. The film was named Best Documentary at FESPACO (Panafrican Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou). (86 mins., HD video)
Cosponsored by Ohio State’s Departments of African American and African Studies, Comparative Studies, and the Center for African Studies.
NSEW: Films by Vanessa Renwick
Introduced by Vanessa Renwick
Wed, Oct 21 | 7 pm
“Vanessa Renwick’s films reveal the hidden stories and secret lives that define our national weirdness, imbued with the radical curiosity and vision of a true pioneer.”—filmmaker Todd Haynes
Portland-based DIY filmmaker Vanessa Renwick, founder of the Oregon Department of Kick Ass, makes her long-overdue first visit to the Wex. Focusing on portraits of Portland outsiders or Pacific Northwest landscapes, her wildly eclectic filmography covers a spectrum of tones, styles, and subjects with works that are hard to forget. Spanning her 30-year career, this program provides an excellent introduction to an inspiring and extraordinary filmmaker. (Approx. 90 mins., 16mm and video)
Shot in 1979–80, Spheeris’s instant cult favorite The Decline of Western Civilization captures LA’s punk music subculture with still-startling performance footage and interviews with the likes of the Circle Jerks, X, Black Flag, and more. Spheeris will introduce and discuss this freshly restored and legendary documentary (100 mins., DCP). The Wexner Center will screen parts two and three of this acclaimed series at 2 pm Sunday, October 25. Additionally, collection of short films by Speeris will be screened at 7 pm Thursday, October 22.
More on Visiting Filmmakers at the Wex: http://wexarts.org/series/visiting-filmmakers