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Fellows 2008-09

FSC-Radcliffe Fellows

Hyun Kyung Kim

Anne Makepeace

FSC-Harvard Fellows

Diana Keown Allan

Edgar Barroso

Henri Herré

Toby Lee

Ruth Lingford

Ross McElwee

Rebecca Meyers

Simon Pummell

JP Sniadecki

Stephanie Spray

Juan de Dios Vázquez

McMillan-Stewart Fellow

Mahamat-Saleh Haroun

Diana Allan has just completed a doctorate in social anthropology at Harvard. Her current project, Still Life, is a triptych of video portraits with three generations of Palestinian refugees living in Lebanon that explores the different ways in which memory is mediated. The first sequence considers how a series of photos belonging to Said, an elderly refugee in his eighties living in Sidon, now mediate his recollections of his life in Acre before 1948. It also reveals how the “reality” represented in these images has in fact become conflated with them. The second portrait follows Nabil, a Palestinian taxi driver who grew up in Tel’Azater – a camp in a Christian neighborhood of East Beirut that was destroyed during the civil war. For Nabil, remembering emerges cartographically – a spatial relationship with the past that is activated by movement through the city of Beirut. The final piece examines memory generated through ritual practice. Ali, a refugee born in Shatila, now in his late fifties, visits the border several times a month and spends hours videoing Israeli checkpoints and his ancestral village of Khalsa, which is just visible from the observation deck at Fatima’s gate. Ali now has an archive of over 100 hours of video shot during these visits. As opposed to the codification of memory in a finite set of photos (as we see in the case of Said), Ali’s continually expanding collection constitutes a ritualized, mediated substitute for lived experience and the mnemonic processes associated with it. Allen's other film projects include Chatila: Beirut (2002) and Nakba Archive (2006).

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A collaboration between composer Edgar Barroso, poet Juan de Dios Vázquez, filmmaker Aryo Danusiri, and designer Yen-Ting Cho, Kapsis will be a 7 to 10 minute piece for flute, electro-acoustic music, and video art. It will portray the mesmerizing Nahua myth of a young girl who becomes a starfish.  Within the Florentine Codex there is a Nahuatl proverb which states the possibility that that which occurred before in the past, will once again repeat itself in the future.  In the same way, in the current project of writing and composing a Nahua operetta, the new converges with the old. The goal is to represent the unrepresented, to provide though structured musical figuration an understanding of invisible forces and principles that regulated not only the myths, riddles and proverbs of ancient Aztecs but also the pulse of contemporary indigenous politics. Zazanilli (which in Nahuatl means both "story" and "enigma") is meant to be an oeuvre that will celebrate the bicentennial of Mexican independence, while bringing into question the so-called achievements of this significant event.

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The McMillan-Stewart Fellowship in Distinguished Filmmaking
Born in Chad in 1961, Mahamat-Saleh Haroun left the country during the civil war of the 1980s and relocated to France, by way of Cameroon. There he worked as a journalist before studying at the Conservatoire Libre du Cinéma in Paris. He is now more than a dozen years into his career as a filmmaker, shooting primarily in Chad. This career has so far produced three feature films and a number of shorts that have made Haroun one of the leading lights in African cinema. He excels at spinning narratives that begin with easily recognizable situations – usually the loss of a parent – and expand to encompass allegorical and political reflection on the state of Chadian society. Often calm on the surface, Haroun's filmmaking belies this calm with simmering strains of anger and melancholy. While occasionally compared to the work of Iranian directors Abbas Kiarostami and Mohsen Makhmalbaf, perhaps because of their deceptively quiet surfaces, Haroun's films recognizably belong to an African tradition of filmmaking stretching from Ousmane Sembene to Abderrahmane Sissako that considers the place of cinema in a postcolonial Africa and, by extension, in a postcolonial world.

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Henri Herré began his film career by making fiction films exploring the interaction of people and environment, both in very impersonal urban areas as well as on Easter Island. His fiction output includes five shorts and two features, Août and L'île au bout du monde. He subsequently moved into nonfiction film, making documentaries on various topics for European television channels, as well as scientific movies. Many of these works have been shown in international festivals and have won prizes. He has taught at the film school FEMIS in Paris. With the Film Study Center, he is working on a documentary on Boston's history of cinema vérité. Other current projects include Cher Cherokee and a film on a public school in Dorchester.

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Film Study Center–Radcliffe Fellow
Hyun kyung Kim is an independent filmmaker from Seoul, Korea, who is interested in discovering buried emotions and relationships between human beings through filmmaking. Her current project, Marginal Life, is about Korean-Chinese workers in Seoul. Marginal Life is composed of various portraits of Korean-Chinese workers rushing to South Korea from China in search of their “Korean identities” and the “Korean dream.” They believe they will find happiness and wealth in South Korea, but what actually awaits them is the harsh reality of a capitalist system. They are not considered “Koreans,” but as just poor “foreigners” in the society. South Korea is experiencing a rapid change in cultural and racial diversity from foreign labor imports and international marriages, but South Koreans’ awareness of this current transformation lags far behind the speed of these changes. More about Hyun kyun Kim.

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Toby Lee is a doctoral candidate in social anthropology at Harvard University. She is working together with Fotini Lazaridou-Hatzigoga, an architect and co-director of Program: Initiative for Art + Architectural Collaborations, in Berlin. They have previously worked together in performance and video, including their first joint video project, Royal, Nebraska, a short non-fiction portrait of a small town in northeastern Nebraska, produced in 2007 with the support of the Sensory Ethnography Laboratory at Harvard.Their current project, Οι Ξενοι (The Foreigners), is a feature-length non-fiction video about a group of Georgian women working in Thessaloniki, Greece, as live-in caretakers for the elderly. Public discourse on immigration in Greece tends to focus on the figure of the immigrant as a point of rupture in a relatively homogeneous social fabric. However, due to the nature of their work, these women often develop close and long-lasting relationships with their charges and their charges’ families - relationships of both foreignness and familiarity, intimacy and distance, that complicate that public discourse. Focusing on the smaller and more intimate level of everyday experience, Οι Ξενοι looks at how the lives of these “foreigners” are quietly woven into the day-to-day life of the city and how the city, in turn, is changed through their presence.

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Orgasm project is a short animated film and sound installation based on interviews exploring the experience of orgasm.

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Film Study Center–Radcliffe Fellow
Anne Makepeace is an independent filmmaker who has been a directing fellow at the Sundance Institute and a Sundance Film Festival judge. Her recent documentary about the migration of Somali Bantu refugees to America, titled Rain in a Dry Land, earned her several awards and was broadcast on PBS. Makepeace will spend her year at Radcliffe chronicling, again through documentary film, the disappearance and resuscitation of the Native American Wampanoag language.

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Ross McElwee has made seven feature-length documentaries as well as a number of shorter films. Sherman's March has won numerous awards, including Best Documentary at the Sundance Film Festival. Time Indefinite and Six O'Clock News won a number of festival awards before being distributed theatrically throughout the United States.
McElwee's last film, Bright Leaves, premiered at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival's Directors' Fortnight. His current work-in-progress, Paraguay, takes as its subject a journey to this country to adopt his daughter, Mariah, but it is also a meditation on Latin American history and politics, and the role of the United States in the tragic history of Paraguay.

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Rebecca Meyers has been making 16mm films since her undergraduate work at Cornell University, after which she studied at the University of Iowa, where she earned a Master of Fine Arts. Her films have screened internationally at festivals including the Media City and Images Festivals in Canada, the London International Film Festival, Oberhausen, the San Francisco International Film Festival, and Third Text: Images and Media Festival in Hong Kong, and her work has been included in curated exhibitions that include "Techniques of the Observor" at Cinema Project in Portland, "Bringing to Light" at the San Francisco Cinematheque, "The Independents" at the Cinematheque Ontario, and "White Shadows: Stories and Polar Visions" at the Galleria Civica di Arte Contemporanea of Trento, Italy. Rebecca also works as an independent programmer, a pursuit begun in Iowa City for the THAW Festival of Film, Video, and Digital Media and the monthly screening series Light Reading, which she founded. She served three years as the Co-Programmer of Chicago's Onion City Experimental Film and Video Festival and has curated film programs for the Chicago Underground Film Festival, the Massachusetts College of Art Film Society, and the Harvard Film Archive, where she acts as the Archive Coordinator. Rebecca's current project with the Film Study Center explores the local history of the Massachusetts coast, shipwrecks, and the role of the sea as aesthetic inspiration.

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Simon Pummell’s animated & special FX films for television, idents and promos have won numerous international awards. In 2003 he wrote and directed Bodysong, a feature film & website that used found footage taken from across the last 100 years of cinema to depict an archetypal life story. The project received critical acclaim and won a BAFTA, and a British Independent Film Award, among other awards; the soundtrack, composed by Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead, received an Ivor Novello Nomination. In 2005/6 Pummell received a UK National Endowment for Science, Technology & Art ‘Dream Time Fellowship’ to research ways to harness new media strategies for story telling in film. In 2007 he was a visiting Lecturer in the VES faculty at Harvard. Tests shot during this period became initial steps towards the creation of a method to ‘draw’ or ‘redraw’ lensed images directly: lifting, stretching and twisting film footage frame by frame in ways directly analogous to drawing. His current project with the Film Study Centre will exploit the potential plasticity, and graphic flexibility, inherent in digital moving images to visualise the theology and cosmology of Daniel Paul Schreber, the psychotic writer: whose book -- Denkwürdigkeiten ein Nervenkranken (Memoirs of My Nervous Illness 1903) -- was made famous by Freud’s critical reading. Schreber, the son of child educator Daniel Gottlieb Moritz Schreber, was raised within bizarre and punitive systems of training and discipline developed by his father, and suffered from severe psychosis later in life.

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J.P. Sniadecki primarily likes working in image and sound, and somehow finds himself as a doctoral candidate in social anthropology at Harvard.  As an undergraduate at Grand Valley State University, he made Working Classics, a documentary about his service as a liberal arts instructor in a progressive education program in a Michigan state prison.  Working Classics screened at the 2003 East Lansing Film Festival and helped the education program garner support from the American Philosophical Association and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.  After studying and working in China, he entered Harvard’s Regional Studies: East Asia Master’s program to pursue his interest in contemporary Chinese culture and media anthropology.   In collaboration with the Harvard Sensory Ethnography Laboratoryand the Harvard Asia Center, he produced Songhua, which has been shown at festivals and conferences nationwide, including the 2007 SIGGRAPH Festival, the 2007 Negotiated View Film Festival, and the University of California Santa Barbara Media Fields Conference.  He also serves as the Director of Communications for the Children’s Healing Initiative and has made videos to promote medical exchange between medical providers in the U.S. and health institutions and orphanages in western China.  His current project with the Film Study Center, Chaiqian (Demolition), is a nonfiction video about migrant workers at a demolition site in the center of Chengdu, the capital city of Sichuan province.

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Stephanie Spray is a filmmaker and doctoral candidate in social anthropology at Harvard University. She received her B.A. in the study of world religions at Smith College and a master’s degree at Harvard Divinity School. She has been engaged in various fieldwork-based projects in Nepal since 1999. In 2001 she was the recipient of a Fulbright-IIE grant, which she used to begin fieldwork with the Gaine, a caste of itinerant musicians. Two such musicians were the subjects of an observational digital video, Kale and Kale, produced in 2007 with the support of the Sensory Ethnography Laboratory and the South Asia Initiative at Harvard. Her current project, The Gayek Family, is a portrait of a joint-family in Arghau Archale, Nepal. Employing an embodied camera style, this observational video project seeks to unveil, through moving image and sound, the intersubjective exchange of the subjects, cameraperson, and viewers as they are mutually constituted in seeing and/or being seen. The Gayek Family will be composed of discrete vignettes, typically of two or three takes, and will experiment with duration and framing with the aim of accentuating an exchange that is at once subtle and intimate.


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