production still, Death Work (2013), Oakland Cemetary in Carbondale, IL
October has been a very busy month for getting work done and for good news! There have been some recent screenings and much visibility gained for the Racial Justice Community Coalition, a social movement that has emerged from the community screenings of 778 Bullets (2011). Before we continue the discussion about community engagement, my most recent shorts, Death Work (2013) and Sexy Scissors (2012), have been finding their way to audiences around the globe.
Death Work (2013) has recently premiered at the Transient Visions: Festival of the Moving Image in Johnson City, NY, at the Spool Contemporary Art Center, an artist-run alternative space. Death Work (2013) addresses the invisible labor of those who dig graves and how history flows through the practices of burring the dead. In a few weeks, the short will have its international premiere at Nuremberg International Short Film Festival in Germany.
Sexy Scissors (2012) has recently screened at the OffShoot Film Festival and Phenom Film Festival where the documentary was nominated for best short. Sexy Scissors (2012) documents a “special” men’s hair cutting salon in Austin, TX, exploring the funky vortex of sex, power, masculinity and the endless journey to get the perfect haircut. The short will soon have its international premiere at the South West London International Film Festival in the UK.
The Rural Civil Rights Project and 778 Bullets (2011) continue to gain a great deal of support from the local community. I was recently invited by the City of Carbondale’s Human Relations Commission to screen 778 Bullets (2011) as a way to raise discussion about local tensions around issues of race. The students from my graduate course, Documentary and Critical Practices, attended the public meeting and contributed to the discussion. The film was met with enthusiastic reception. Afterwards the graduate class discussed nontraditional distribution and community engagement.
Finally, the Racial Justice Community Coalition and the anniversary of the shootout between black panthers and police made the local news! This is a particularly big deal because the newscast was broadcast across a conservative Southern Illinois. Here is what emerged: