Archive for the ‘film/video’ Category

Fellows Notes – Feb 15

Thursday, February 5th, 2015

Here it is, the February Fellows Notes, featuring the news and honors of past awardees of MCC’s Artist Fellowships Program. Enjoy!

(We’ll be shoveling snow until further notice.)

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Amy Archambault, Matthew Gamber, Cristi Rinklin, Leslie Schomp, and Marguerite White are in PULSE: New Works by Faculty Artists at the College of the Holy Cross Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery (thru 4/10).

Candice Smith Corby and Jan Johnson are among the artists in Drawing The Line, an exhibition of drawings by seventeen Fort Point Arts Community member artists, at Atlantic Wharf Gallery (thru 3/20).

Samantha Fields, Kenji Nakayama, and August Ventimiglia are among the artists participating in SEVEN: A Performative Drawing Project at Montserrat College of Art (thru 3/28).

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Alexandra Anthony‘s nonfiction film Lost in the Bewilderness will screen at the Boston University CINEMATHEQUE on 2/13, 7 PM. The film was named was of the 10 Best Documentaries of 2014 by Arts Fuse.

Claire Beckett has photography in the group exhibition Permanent War at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts (thru 3/7).

Linda Bond has work included in the Brooklyn Museum Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art’s Feminist Art Base. Also, her work was selected for the Brattleboro Museum’s Open Call NNE (thru 2/7) by juror Richard Klein, Exhibitions Director of the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum.

Cree Bruins has a solo exhibition, Drawn to Analog, at Kingston Gallery (thru 3/1).

Georgie Friedman has an installation, Under the Icy Sky, at the Integrated Science Complex at the College of the Holy Cross (2/9-2/27, artists reception 2/9, 5:30 PM).

Danielle Legros Georges, the new Poet Laureate of Boston, read her poem Praisesong for Boston at the inauguration of Mayor Marty Walsh. Read the poem on the Boston Public Library’s site.

Congratulations to Eric Gottesman, who won a Creative Capital Grant.

Brian Knep is exhibiting in Wave & Particle at Ronald Feldman Gallery in NYC, a show celebrating Creative Capital’s 15th Anniversary.

Shirish Korde‘s multi-media chamber opera Phoolan Devi: The Bandit Queen will have its world premiere June ’15 at Ailey Citigroup Theater in NYC.

Mariko Kusumoto‘s fabric exhibition, Translucent Explorations II, is on view at Mobilia Gallery in Cambridge (thru 3/15).

Ilana Manolson has a solo show, Fragile Season, at the de Menil Gallery at Groton School (thru 3/5).

Anne Neely and her Water Stories exhibition at the Boston Museum of Science was featured on WBUR’s Here and Now.

Bob Oppenheim has a solo show, Je Suis, at Miller Yezerski Gallery (2/5-3/3, opening reception 2/6, 5-8 PM).

Cristi Rinklin‘s solo show at Steven Zevitas Gallery, Displaced, received an enthusiastic review on WBUR’s ARTery.

Emily Ross‘s young adult novel Half in Love with Death will be published by Merit Press in 2016.

Congratulations to Karen Skolfield, who will receive a New England Public Radio Arts & Humanities Award at the at the Log Cabin in Holyoke, MA, in May.

Elaine Spatz-Rabinowitz has art in the Milton Academy’s Nesto Gallery (thru 2/27).

Elizabeth Whyte Schulze was the featured artist in January for James Gallery in Pittsburgh.

Read past Fellows Notes. If you’re a past fellow/finalist with news, let us know.

Image: Bob Oppenheim, BREATHING (2013), acrylic, thread, canvas on wood panel, 12×12 in.

Call to Past MCC Film & Video and Music Composition Fellows

Monday, December 22nd, 2014

We’re excited to share that MCC has issued two calls to past MCC Fellows:

 

So past Fellows: check out the calls and contact us with any questions!

Artists in Film & Video, Music Composition, & Photography: Apply Now for an Artist Fellowship

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

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We’re excited to announce that the Massachusetts Cultural Council is now accepting 2015 Artist Fellowship applications in the categories of Film & Video, Music Composition, and Photography. Deadline: Monday, January 26, 2015.

The Artist Fellowships are unrestricted, anonymously judged, competitive grants of $10,000 and finalist awards of $1000, in recognition of artistic excellence.

Who should apply for an Artist Fellowship? Massachusetts artists creating original work who meet eligibility requirements (see guidelines) are encouraged to apply. Read our tips on applying for an MCC Artist Fellowship.

Rachel Loischild (Photography Fellow '13), FALLEN, BELCHERTOWN MA (2011), from the NOT AS OF YET - STORIES OF AFTERMATH series, 20x30 in

We know artists work in ways that are not always easily categorized. If you have any questions where your work might best fit in the program, don’t hesitate to ask us.


Play an excerpt from STILL TELLING by Tamar Diesendruck (Music Composition Fellow ’13)

There are two deadlines per fiscal year, divided by discipline, and this is the second deadline. Applications in Crafts, Dramatic Writing, and Sculpture/Installation/New Genres were accepted earlier in 2014, with a October 6, 2014 deadline. Grant results in those categories will be announced by February 2014.

Read full program guidelines, eligibility requirements, and application instructions.

Images and media: still from HERMANAS by Cristina Kotz Cornejo (Film & Video Fellow ’13); Rachel Loischild (Photography Fellow ’13), FALLEN, BELCHERTOWN MA (2011), from the NOT AS OF YET – STORIES OF AFTERMATH series, 20×30 in; excerpt from STILL TELLING by Tamar Diesendruck (Music Composition Fellow ’13).

Premiere of Film 30 Years in the Making at MFA Boston

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

Along with running the ArtSake blog, we (the editors) administer a grant program that rewards excellence in individual artists. Consequently, we get to experience a lot of new work, often in the process of its being made.

As the years tumble on, certain projects stick with us. One such project is Lost in the Bewilderness, a captivating personal documentary that Alexandra Anthony submitted, in progress, when she won a fellowship in 2007. It’s a film about Alexandra’s cousin Lucas, kidnapped at age five from his native Greece, only to be found as a teenager in the U.S. (the working title in 2007 was Lucas Lost and Found).

The film stayed with us for its sadness, its sense of wonder, its evocative portrayal of time. The filmmaker spent 30 years making the film. It’s about to have its Boston film premiere.

Lost in the Bewilderness
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Thursday, December 4, 7:30 PM
Q & A and reception to follow
Learn more and find ticket info

Watch the film’s trailer, above. And find more work that stays with you in the Gallery@MCC.

Fellows Notes – Oct 14

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

October! Welcome the Great Pumpkin and read this month’s news and notes of past MCC Artist Fellows/Finalists.

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Sachiko Akiyama and Beth Galston are both exhibiting in Branching Out: Trees as Art at Peabody Essex Museum in Salem (thru 9/20/15).

Andrew Mowbray, Cristi Rinklin, Deb Todd Wheeler, and Joe Wardwell join Dana Clancy, Audrey Goldstein, John Guthrie, and curator Resa Blatman for the exhibition Forecasted: Eight Artists Explore the Nature of Climate Change at Northeastern University’s Gallery 360 (10/1-11/5, opening reception 10/9).

Congratulations to Daniela Rivera and Hannah Verlin, both of whom were named 2015 School of the Museum of Fine Arts Traveling Fellows. The award goes to SMFA alumni, supporting travel for exploration and research critical to the artists’ careers; at the end of the fellowship, one artist will be selected for a solo show at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston.

Ben Berman was featured on GrubStreet’s The Grub Daily blog, writing about a file he keeps called “Poems to Plunder and/or Fix.”

Simeon Berry has poetry in issue 41.1 from Black Warrior Review. Read an interview with the poet on the journal’s Web site.

Steven Bogart‘s screenplay Blood’s Child was recently optioned by True Friend Productions.

Vincent Crotty had a solo show of paintings, Paintings of Ireland: A Sense of Place at Borgia Gallery at Elms College in Chicopee (thru 10/4).

Martin Edmunds will teach the workshop “Versification: The Essentials” as part of Open University at Wellfleet Preservation Hall (five Thursdays 10/23-11/20, 4 PM).

Samantha Fields will present a talk, “A Marvel of Modern Inefficiency” at American Textile History Museum in Lowell (10/5, 2 PM). She’s part of the Fiberart International exhibition there, on view thru 10/26. Her work Wallpapered space is featured in the exhibition Unraveled: Contemporary New England Fiber Art at The Museums of Old York Remick Gallery in York, Maine (thru 12/5). In December, she’ll present The Push and Pull—Exploring Liminal Spaces, a gallery walk-through of Fiber: Sculpture 1960–present at the Institute of Contemporary Arts Boston.

Eric Gottesman is publishing a new photography book, Sudden Flowers. The book is based on the artist’s ongoing collaboration with Sudden Flowers, a collective of children living in Addis Ababa. The book is being launched in London; watch for upcoming events in the U.S.

Joel Janowitz has an exhibition of paintings, Finding Yourself There, with painter Squeak Carnwath at Clark Gallery in Lincoln (10/7-11/22, opening reception 10/11, 4 PM).

Jesse Kreitzer is running a Kickstarter campaign for his film-in-progress Black Canaries, through 10/12. The project is a Kickstarter Staff Pick.

Ellen Raquel LeBow has a solo exhibition, The Storm: Large-Scale Drawings, at the Cape Cod Museum of Art (thru 11/9).

Melinda Lopez wrote a moving essay about grief, playwriting, and translating Lorca, for HowlRound.

Rachel Mello‘s newest cut silhouettes, a pair of “Sky Cranes,” are installed in New York at Red Hook’s Brooklyn Waterfront Artist Coalition (thru 10/26).

Greg Mencoff has a solo exhibition, Chasing Artifacts, at Carroll and Sons Gallery in Boston (thru 11/1). Watch a video about the exhibition’s installation.

Anna Myer and Dancers will perform the work Between the Lines: A Work in Progress at Hibernian Hall in Roxbury (10/18-10/19, 10/24-10/26).

Monica Raymond‘s play The Owl Girl will be performed at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City (10/24-11/2). She’ll present a lecture and poetry reading in conjunction with the production. Also, she’ll have photographs in Cambridge Community Television‘s Narrative Photography exhibit, opening 10/5.

Brian Rosa has a solo exhibition, Convey, at the Mayors Art Gallery at Boston City Hall (10/1-11/17, opening reception 10/24, 4:30 PM).

Jo Ann Rothschild has a solo show, An Important Day at The Painting Center in New York (thru 10/25, opening reception 10/2, 6 PM).

Congratulations to Cam Terwilliger, whose novel-in-progress, Yet Wilderness Grew in My Heart received the 2014 James Jones First Novel Fellowship.

Read past Fellows Notes. If you’re a past fellow/finalist with news, let us know.

Image: Brian Rosa, CONVEY, part of an exhibition of the same name at the Mayor’s Gallery at Boston City Hall.

Paul Turano on Wander, Wonder, Wilderness

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

Paul Turano set out to make a personal, nonfiction film about urban green spaces  – but the project wandered into a new realm. The resulting work, Wander, Wonder, Wilderness, is a multi-faceted, participatory documentary project. Fresh off screenings at the Institute of Contemporary Arts Boston, the artist has launched a Kickstarter campaign to support the ongoing work.

We asked him about WWW, the possible tension between authorship and participation, and the urban wilds of his life as a film & video artist.

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Can you talk about the trajectory of Wander, Wonder, Wilderness – its origins, its development, and where you hope to see it go?
This project is based on a community engagement approach, so in essence it’s a participatory artwork that crosses many disciplines and fields of interest. It connects with environmental concepts and concerns, natural history, philosophy, urban planning and human ecology. It uses technology to encourage creative expression and outdoor exploration – prompting people to visit green spaces in greater Boston and to really immerse themselves in these locations. The mobile app experience offers an opportunity to learn something interesting about these sites, and invites people to explore, contemplate, and consider our relationship to nature in an urban environment.

So much of my research has disclosed the hypothesis that nature-based experiences are a foundation for well-being and balance. Green space can act as an antidote to the challenges of urban living, it can cultivate our creativity and raise consciousness around our relationship to the environment. I see this project as an opportunity for a whole community to collectively test this hypothesis.

When I started this project I was really just considering making a personal essay film about my experiences in green spaces around the city. Early in the collecting process when I was shooting portraits of green spaces and urban wilds, around 2011, I was at Walden Pond and visited the cabin site where Thoreau lived while he wrote Walden. I found this rock pile full of smooth round pudding stones and noticed that people had inscribed Thoreau-inspired sentiments on these rocks, leaving them for other visitors to find and perhaps consider contributing their own. I was struck by the idea that technology would now allow us to do this virtually. We could chronicle our experiences and inspirations in green spaces for others to “find” using our phones as field recorders and creative journals. From this realization flowed the idea that this could be an interactive documentary project – where audiences contribute content for the ultimate artwork. The film is merely my experience, and I hope it can be a reference point and inspiration for others to document their own experiences with image, text and sound.

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The backbone of the user experience is in the bi-weekly prompts that the app provides. They ask participants to visit a green space nearby, or one that the prompt is specifically written for. Once there, people are asked to put their smart phones away – do something creative, contemplative, educational, profound or pleasurable, either alone or collaboratively in the green space – then take out their devices to use as interpretive and creative tools, to document the experience they just had. We are hoping that this approach encourages them to really immerse themselves in their immediate environment, but also consider the role technology plays in their lives and ways in which it can be used creatively and as an empowering form of expression.

We know that smart technology can be intensely distracting, even addicting, and has dramatically altered our everyday lives. I am interested in asking participants to consider our relationship to technology, to try using it as a positive and nurturing tool. If we integrate more nature-based experiences into our weekly routines and document those experiences over multiple seasons, what are the cumulative effects? I think regular use of the app may change our behavior patterns and hence our thinking.

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Is there any tension between your artistic “control” (for lack of a better term) of the project and its collaborative aspects? If so, how have you dealt with this tension?
There is a tension here for sure around control on so many levels. Between artist and audience, hypothesis and results, technology and nature, between individual and community. But out of this tension, really interesting things can transpire. I am trying to embrace this aspect of the project by thinking of it as a participatory experiment – we are collecting data from our field work to see what can result. On a creative level I am typically a solo creator (as well as an OCD control freak), so I guess I am operating way outside my comfort zone, and taking a leap of faith in the potential of collaboration. I am learning so much from this process. Urban living forces people to consider their relationship to each other, and effective problem solving often depends on collective voices and collaborative approaches. The Project Team I am working with is amazing! We all put our heads together and come up with solutions that are much better then anything I could come up with on my own. For this project the “team” idea expands to include the community of participants and I’m interested in seeing what we can do with the sum of our parts.

Why are you choosing to crowdfund the project?
Deep down I feel it is both a worthy project and a worthy cause, and offers something unique to the contributors. Given the participatory nature of the work it seems to make sense to run a crowdfunding campaign, as it fits with the crowdsourced nature of the interactive content generation concept. I am hoping that people who would be interested in becoming part of Wander, Wonder, Wilderness would look at the opportunity to donate as providing a positive return on their contribution. They join a community that is grappling with the role and relevance nature plays in our urban lives. Right now the project is being developed for greater Boston, but it could be a model for other cities and easily be adapted to their green spaces. There could be a Wander, Wonder, Wilderness San Francisco, Houston, Detroit, Atlanta!

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What artist do you most admire but work nothing like?
Olafur Eliasson

What’s the most surprising response to your art you’ve ever received?
“Can you make money off of this?”

If forced to choose, would you be a magic marker, a crayon, or a #2 pencil?
#2 Pencil, as I want to be able to hit undo.

How do you know when your work is done?
For 16mm filmmaking it is when you get the final corrected print – there is nothing you can do to change anything because it is analog. For digital, you could just keep going back in and tweaking stuff, it drives me nuts.

What do you listen to while you create?
Hmm, I can tell you what I try not listen to – my inner (negative) voice saying “this makes absolutely no sense, why are you still doing this?”

What films have influenced you as an artist?
The late Harun Furocki’s essay films, Kitlat Tahimik’s Perfumed Nightmare, Agnes Varda’s more recent personal docs, The Planet of the Apes (the first one) and The World According to Garp.

What are you currently reading?
I’m reading The Nature Principle by Richard Louv about adults and Nature Deficit Disorder – and See a Little Light by Bob Mould, former front man for Husker Du.

Have you ever revised your work on the spot, during a shoot (intentionally, I mean)?
I don’t think there has ever been a time when I made a pre-conceived plan for what I was going to shoot, and then got to the place and followed through with it.

How many revisions does your work typically go through?
So, so many that I’ve stopped counting.

What’s next?
I want to take my two-year-old twins to the Arnold Arboretum, sit down on Peter’s Hill and watch the sunrise.

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The Kickstarter campaign for Wander, Wonder, Wilderness runs through Fri, Oct 24 2014.

Paul Turano is an award winning visual artist whose work in film and video has been presented throughout Europe, Asia, Australia, and North America. Based in Boston, he has presented his work at the Harvard Film Archive, the Institute of Contemporary Art, and The Museum of Fine Arts. His films have also been screened in over 50 national and international film festivals.

Catching Artist Opportunities

Monday, July 7th, 2014

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Land, sea, or air, ArtSake has it covered!

One Act Plays The Manhattan Repertory Theatre’s One Act Play Competition is looking for fully produced one act plays (cast, directed and ready to perform) 7 minutes to 20 minutes in length. $1,000 prize for Best Play. Each play will be given four performances, plus two extra performances if chosen to advance to the finals. They will supply a technician to run sound and lights. Learn more.
Deadline: July 21, 2014

Female Playwrights The Shakespeare’s Sister Fellowship provides a cash prize of $10,000 for a female playwright to write and develops a new play. In addition to the playwright will receive residencies at three geographically distinct institutions. Learn more.
Deadline: July 31, 2014

Residencies for Writers, Media, Visual and Performing Artists Yaddo in Saratoga Springs, NY, offers residencies of an average of 5 weeks for writers, media artists, visual artists and performing artists. Facilities include dance/choreography studios, exhibition/installation spaces, metal shop, music studio, and performing arts space. Residency provides housing, meals, studio, travel assistance, and materials stipend. Artists responsible for additional materials or travel costs. Learn more.
Deadline: August 1, 2014

Artist Grants Artist’s Resource Trust Fund has grants available in painting, sculpture, printmaking or mixed media to mid-career artists over 35 years old with financial need living in New England. Grants range from $2,000 to $10,000. Learn more.
Deadline: August 1, 2014

Film/Animation Glovebox Short Film & Animation Festival is currently accepting submissions. Short films (under 25 minutes) in the following categories: animation, documentary, dance, performance, fine art, conceptual, drama, comedy, narrative, music video. Learn more.
Deadline: August 1, 2014

Printmakers The Monotype Guild of New England is currently accepting entries for the ” Quarter Sheet: Almost Legal” print show at Zea Mays Studio. Learn more.
Deadline: August 15, 2014

Fund for Performing Arts Therapy The Emily List Fund for Performing Arts Therapy supports theatre, dance, and music projects aimed at helping the sick and disadvantaged in the interest of making their lives better and brighter through the performing arts. Grants of up to $1,000 to fund instruments or equipment for a music therapist working in a hospital; scholarships for young people to attend theatre camp; travel expenses for a chorus or theatre group; space for a dancer working with disabled or elderly people; payment for an instructor teaching arts to patients; tickets for groups to attend theatre performances they otherwise could not… and any other proposal along those lines. Grants are focused in the Pioneer Valley and at Mass General Hospital. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis year-round. Learn more.
Deadline: Rolling

Image credit: Photograph of Barbara Hughes cutting a back flip with beach ball (black ballet fashion) – Saint Petersburg Beach, Florida. From the State Library and Archives of Florida.

Fellows Notes – Jul 14

Monday, July 7th, 2014

It’s July and the mercury is climbing. Regulate the temp of, if not your home, then at least your Massachusetts pride with this month’s news and notes from past MCC Fellows/Finalists.


Video by Gallery NAGA of installation of the show On the Wall, which features MCC awardees Sophia Ainslie, Masako Kamiya, David Moore, and Randal Thurston, with John Guthrie (thru 7/11).

Elizabeth Alexander, Beth Galston, and Sarah Wentworth are among the artists in Winter at NAVE Gallery Annex in Davis Square, (7/17-8/16, opening reception 7/17, 6-8 PM).

Congratulations to Janet Echelman and Liz Nofziger, both of whom will create public art projects supported by NEFA’s recent public art grants. Janet will create an aerial sculpture in Boston’s Rose Kennedy Greenway, and Liz will create an interactive community ping pong court at the Boston Center for the Arts.

Nona Hershey, along with artists including Linda Bond and Joel Janowitz, is exhibiting in The Cloud in the Paper at The Schoolhouse Gallery in Provincetown (thru 7/16).

Ellen Lebow and Julie Levesque join Michael Snograss for an exhibition at Rice Polak Gallery in Provincetown (7/16-7/30, opening reception 7/18, 7 PM). Later in July, Joshua Meyer and Dawn Southworth join Lizbeth Firmin for an exhibition (7/31-8/13, opening reception 8/1, 7 PM).

Sophia Ainslie is now represented by Gallery NAGA.

Linda Mieko Allen has a solo show, Figmenta, at Nancy Hoffman Gallery in NYC (thru 7/31).

Denise Bergman published a new book, A Woman in Pieces Crossed a Sea, from West End Press.

Sarah Braman was profiled in The Believer Magazine.

Timothy Coleman‘s Birdseye Maple Desk is in the New Hampshire Furniture Masters Annual Exhibit (multiple locations July-October).

Beth Galston has a large-scale permanent public artwork, Prairie Grass, at the Northwest Service Center in San Antonio, TX. Recent, current, or upcoming exhibitions include the Middlesex School Wood Gallery in Concord (March-May), Suffolk University Art Gallery (June-August), and Peabody Essex Museum (opening September).

Congratulations to Eric Gottesman who, with Daniel Debebe Negatu, received a LEF Foundation Moving Image Fund Pre-Production Grant for his Oromaye project.

There’s a fascinating profile of Elizabeth Graver in The Boston Globe.

Sarah Stewart Johnson‘s O-Rings was selected for the Best Science and Nature Writing 2014 anthology.

Congratulations to Ann Kim, who won a Chicken and Egg Follow-up Grant.

Justin Kimball has a solo photography show, Where We Find Ourselves at Carroll and Sons Gallery (thru 9/6).

Brian Knep‘s generative art installation Chunky Frog Time is now at the Boston Harbor Islands Welcome Center located on the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway. The installation, commissioned by Boston Cyberarts, features an animation of a frog morphing through its life cycles and swimming against an ever-changing landscape and can be experienced after sunset.

Niho Kozuru has a piece in the group show Recently Acquired at The Art Complex Museum in Duxbury, MA (thru 9/7). Also, her sculptural beeswax candles are now available at Room 68 in Provincetown.

Jesse Kreitzer is holding a series of events screening his short films in an effort to raise funds for his film-in-progress Black Canaries. The films will screen in Newton and Cambridge, as well as venues in Vermont and Iowa. Also, his film Lomax about folklorist Alan Lomax’s 1941 journey through the Mississippi Delta has been an official selection at film festivals across the country and just had its international premiere at the Biografilm Festival in Bologna, Italy. Upcoming screenings include the Woods Hole Film Festival (7/26), and the Museum of the Moving Image in NYC (8/8).

Scott Listfield co-curated and has work in the exhibition Lost Moment at Gauntlet Gallery in San Francisco (thru 7/19). He is profiled by FLUX.Boston founder Elizabeth Devlin in the June issue of Juxtapoz.

Rania Matar is in the exhibition The Middle East Revealed: A Female Perspective at the Howard Greenberg Gallery in New York (thru 8/29). Read about the exhibition in the Huffington Post.

Caitlin McCarthy will discuss her film Wonder Drug, her DES activism, and other topics on the WNTN talk show REEL TALK with The Hollywood Kid. Also, The Worcester Telegram & Gazette ran an article about her recent award from the Massachusetts Teachers Association.

Anne Neely has collaborated with sound artist Halsey Burgund to create Water Stories: Conversations in Paint and Sound, at the Museum of Science. The exhibit, an exploration into water’s unifying role in our world and the many ways humans affect it, will be on view until January 2015. Read about the project in The Boston Globe.

Masha Obolensky‘s The Bluebeard Project (created with Melia Bensussen) will have a public reading as part of the Huntington Theatre’s Summer Workshop, on 7/20, 1:30 PM.

Robert Oppenheim is in a show called Manufactured by Hand at Miller Yezerski Gallery (thru 8/15).

Congratulations to James Rutenbeck who, with Diana Fischer, received a LEF Foundation Moving Image Fund Pre-Production Grant for The Clemente Project.

Janet Rickus has a solo show at Quidley and Co. in Nantucket.

Evelyn Rydz, whose solo exhibition Forever Yours is at MFA Boston thru 9/14, will give a talk and exhibition tour on 7/17, 1 PM, with curator Al Miner.

Work by Sarah Slifer Swift is part of the Summer dance performances at Windhover in Rockport (7/18-7/20).

Joe Wardwell‘s solo show at LaMontagne Gallery received a glowing review in The Boston Globe.

Read past Fellows Notes. If you’re a past fellow/finalist with news, let us know.

A Rare Insight

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

Every story suggests a larger narrative. Even complete in its own right, it can serve as a tile within a larger mosaic, or a window overlooking a vaster experience. Photographer and filmmaker Michaela O’Brien encountered two girls with the rare skin disease Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB), and her investigations of their story led to the documentary In Crystal Skin, as well as a larger conversation of the way society addresses (or doesn’t, as the case may be) rare diseases.

The film is currently raising post-production funds on IndieGoGo, and we asked Michaela about her project and the larger story it illuminates.

What inspired the In Crystal Skin project?
I first visited a Colombian orphanage in 2011 as a documentary photographer. It was here I met Nixa and her older sister Nury, both of whom were born with EB and continue to struggle with this disease. The sisters wrap their limbs in plastic to minimize damage to their raw and fragile skin. Life with EB has proved isolating; the sisters draw stares on the streets of Bogotá, whether on their way to a medical appointment, or just out for a walk. Despite their challenges, the sisters are a feisty, resilient pair who fervently yearn for independence.

Inspired, I began an impromptu shoot, and upon my return to the U.S., shared the footage with editor Melissa Langer. Convinced of the story’s power, we embarked on the first of four return trips to Bogotá, scraped together with personal funds and vacation time. Over the course of the next three years, we uncovered a larger EB community, colored by different people and perspectives, yet united by a common struggle and setting. In Crystal Skin reflects this process of organic discovery, following four characters along their individual yet interwoven paths which combine in a universally resonant story of courage in the face of great odds.

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How does this film relate to the larger dialogue about rare diseases of all kinds?
This documentary will be a window into the untold story of a tireless network of individuals, parents, and doctors battling an orphan disease. Our film unearths the personal experiences of spirited individuals to create a portrait of just one of the world’s 7,000 rare diseases. These rare diseases affect 1 in 10 Americans and over 350 million people worldwide.

From the tight-knit neighborhoods of Bogotá to the bustling biotech firms of Boston, the struggle to understand rare diseases and how they affect our lives and our families reaches across continents to form a global community. In Crystal Skin ignites dialogue about managing life with a rare disease and reveals those at the forefront of developing life-saving therapies for EB.

Our IndieGoGo campaign is a chance to be a part of that dialogue and to be a part of a larger effort to bring these stories to light. Our donors’ generosity will help finish this documentary and in turn will help bring the experiences of people living with rare diseases out of anonymity.

Why are you choosing to crowdfund the project?
Creating In Crystal Skin has been an act of dedication and perseverance. What inspired us to create this film in the first place – the voices and stories of those living with a rare disease – is what drives us to complete a documentary which will reach a wide audience. We are turning to Indiegogo first to raise money to complete a film which deserves to be shared, but also to establish a relationship with the many individuals experiencing life with a rare disease and those involved with patient advocacy, EB & rare disease research.

The In Crystal Skin IndieGoGo campaign is raising funds through 7/1/14.

Michaela O’Brien is a filmmaker, producer, and photographer based in Boston, MA. When she is not behind the camera, she works as an Associate Producer at Northern Light Productions located in Allston, MA.

Images: all photos by Michaela O’Brien: Melissa Langer places lav mic on interview subject, Maria Alejandra; cribs in an orphanage, Bogota, Colombia; Miguel watches the city pass him by as he rides the Transmilenio to work.

Global Trot

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

Just because.

Proving the point that dancing is awesome, Bebe Miller has choreographed a short global dance. The project asked 50 filmmakers from around the world to teach Bebe Miller’s dance to an ‘everyday’ person (watch for Hadley, MA at 1:14, Boston at 1:27, Cambridge at 1:29, and Winchenden at 1:41).

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