Flaherty NYC, an offshoot of The Robert Flaherty Film Seminar, is a screening series that prides itself with rich discussions about work by groundbreaking documentary filmmakers. This season was programmed by guest co-curators Sherry Millner and Ernie Larsen, a filmmaking duo who have been creating activist work together since the 1970s that have been exhibited internationally, including at two Whitney Biennials.
Starting Tuesday, October 1, Millner and Larsen will be bringing rarely-seen films to New York audiences that explore the historical sources and immediate sparks of popular recent revolts, from Tahrir Square and Zuccotti Park to the streets of Athens. During the six programs of the series, audiences will be be able to engage with invited filmmakers and speakers about the relationship between cinema and sustaining rebellions.
If you’re in New York, join the conversation on selected Tuesday evenings into mid-December at Anthology Film Archives.
Larsen explains to us what went into the undertaking.
Tell us about your approach to curating this season. How did it start?
Larsen: The series Global Revolt: Cinematic Ammunition is the distillation of intense mostly online research we have conducted over several years seeking out short-form videos and films that we consider radical in aspiration, form and content. This has been overall an exhilarating process of uncovering works, sometimes far removed in time and space in a effort to show an extraordinary global community of interest in contesting the rule of capital.
This series comes from our recent work of co-curating politically and aesthetically challenging programs of short-form films and videos. Our first curatorial project, State of Emergency, was an ongoing collective protest which involved more than a dozen artists against United States policy in the Middle East and its consequences for human and civil rights. We started the project in 2005 by projecting in the windows of our loft on 23rd St in New York City, in an effort to reach people who might otherwise never encounter activist video.
What kind of viewing experience should we expect?
Larsen: We were continually inspired by fresh discoveries while curating this series. The films in the program range over 18 countries and all speak to the present moment, no matter if they were made yesterday or half a century ago.
Working within the tradition of political filmmaking, it’s crucial that we give people the opportunity to talk directly about what is being represented. The Flaherty has a history of fostering active audiences through discussions with creators after screenings, and each program in our series will include an invited speaker or filmmaker. As curators of social and politically challenging films, we feel particularly responsible to encourage our audiences to think through the implications and possibilities of what they are seeing. The films within one program often present a variety of view points that at times can be conflicting, and the speakers afterwards can articulate a range of opinions that play off the films, making it easier for audiences to take on an active role and respond.
That’s great that you will be featuring speakers at every screening. Are there any films, speakers or directors in particular that you recommend looking out for?
Larsen: We are very fortunate to have arranged the first U.S. appearance in over 40 years Serbian filmmaker Zelimir Zillnik, who will be the exclusive focus of our third program on October 29. While conceiving this series, we were inspired by the efforts of French radical film critic and curator Nicole Brenez, who we will be screening three films from her recent compilation film Outrage and Rebellion, including one brilliant brief video by Jean-Marie Straub. Equally, we’re looking forward to the works of the Syrian film collective Abounaddara, which are at once precise, beautiful, militant and impassioned. During our second program on October 15 we’ll be screening What Farocki Taught by filmmaker Jill Godmilow, who we have been working with over the past two years put together major collection of short-form radical film called Disruptive Film: Every Day Resistance to Power.
The series will run every other Tuesday evening at 7 PM from October 1 through December 10. Tickets are available at Anthology’s box office on the day of the show only. Find out more about the series at flahertyseminar.org.