Art House Theater Day

Art House Theater Day celebrates the art house theater and the cultural role it plays in a community. It is a day to recognize the year-round contributions of film and filmmakers, patrons, projectionists, and staff, and the brick and mortar theaters that are passionately dedicated to providing access to the best cinematic experience.

Art House Theater Day is an initiative of the Art House Convergence, an international consortium of community-based, mission driven film exhibitors and community programmers. The Art House Convergence began in 2005 as the Sundance Institute Art House Project, celebrating the 25th Anniversary of Sundance Institute by honoring a small group of leading U.S. Art House theatres. A few years later, this grew into the independently run Art House Convergence, which in 2008 presented its first annual conference, an industry educational program designed to empower and inform independent cinemas nationwide.

Indiana University Cinema is a proud member of the Art House Convergence and encourages everyone to celebrate art house theaters on September 24, 2016.

#BlackPanthersMatter: The Black Panther Party at 50

Founded 50 years ago on October 15, 1966, the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense created the foundational iconography of Black radicalism in the United States. Their revolutionary aesthetics and self-controlled image established them in the nation’s eye: Black berets, Afros, leather jackets, and militarized organization. #BlackPanthersMatter brings together four films that highlight the depth behind the visuals, both by relating the Black Panthers outward to contemporary Black lives and by pointing the camera inwards at the emotional experiences of the movement’s founders. This series is sponsored by the Black Film Center/Archive, The Media School’s cinema and media arts program, the Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies, Center for Documentary Research and Practice, and IU Cinema.

Sawyer Seminars: Documentary Media and Historical Transformations

The Mellon Foundation’s Sawyer Seminars were established in 1994 to provide support for comparative research on the historical and cultural sources of contemporary developments. Foundation support aims to engage productive scholars in comparative inquiry that would, in ordinary university circumstances, be difficult to pursue, while at the same time avoiding the institutionalization of such work in new centers, departments, or programs. Sawyer Seminars are, in effect, temporary research centers.


Documentary and the Legacies of Colonialism: Images, Institutions, and Economies

Led by Joshua Malitsky and Marissa Moorman
September 15–16, 2016

This Sawyer Seminar will focus on the role imperial institutions played in nonfiction film history. As tools of colonial administration, this series and its speakers will illustrate how nonfiction films promoted state projects, public-health campaigns, and the idea of empire in an effort to fashion modern colonial subjects. In addition to studying and shaping its subjects through film, this series will also outline how the state established nonfiction film institutions and practices to maintain imperial order. Furthermore, it will examine how the documentary image, its institutional home, and its role in projecting and modeling national and other subjectivities emerged as critical areas of intervention both in the decolonization movement and after independence. This series is sponsored by Center for Documentary Research and Practice, The Media School, the Institute for Advanced Studies, the Mellon Foundation, and IU Cinema.

The complete seminar schedule for “Documentary and the Legacies of Colonialism: Images, Institutions, and Economies” can be accessed here.


Capturing the Imagination: Independence and the Claim to Rights

Led by Christiana Ochoa and Timothy Lovelace
October 20–21, 2016

Social unrest and claims to rights invoke the dual capacity of the documentary form to both “capture the moment” and to serve a role in advocacy and activism. These potentials have captured the imagination of nonfiction filmmakers as well as civil rights historians and activists in the United States. Similarly, the potential documentary images hold for shining light on abuses has been reflected in films and images from around the world that articulate with the rise of human rights law and politics. This workshop explores how and whether these possibilities have been realized, and their lasting significance and legacy for both rights claims and the nonfiction form. This conference continues the Sawyer Seminar series and will explore the state/activist/citizen triad and consider to what extent the transnational spread of the idea of civil rights, or human rights, has been captured, reflected, and advanced through documentary film. It brings scholars and filmmakers from the United States and abroad to discuss these questions. The series is sponsored by Center for Documentary Research and Practice, The Media School, the Institute for Advanced Studies, the Mellon Foundation, and IU Cinema.

The complete seminar schedule for “Capturing the Imagination: Independence and the Claim to Rights” can be accessed here.

Contemporary Polish Cinema: Lives on the Margin

This semester’s Polish film series provides fascinating insight into recent Polish cinema through the lens of two award-winning films which, in idiosyncratic ways, combine a sophisticated cinematic language with a focus on individual life stories. Boldly exploring a range of existential and social issues, the films invite a critical inquiry into a set of universal themes and concerns, including the complexities of identity negotiation, the mechanisms of social exclusion, and the issues of dignity and victimization. The series is sponsored by the IU Polish Studies Center, the Department of Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures, the Russian and East European Institute, and IU Cinema.

John Boorman: Conjurer of Cinema

“John Boorman is an intoxicated moviemaker, with a wonderful kind of zeal,” raved film critic Pauline Kael. Indeed, his impassioned cinematic forays have followed Lee Marvin through a criminal labyrinth, Sean Connery into a dystopian future, four city-dwellers down a harrowing river journey, a merry child through the rubble of the London Blitz, and King Arthur on his quest for the Holy Grail.

With 17 feature films over 50 years, Boorman’s distinctive, personal signature (namely the recurring theme of creation through destruction) has transcended every genre in which he has worked. Yet his boundless imagination and ability to immerse himself into different eras, cultures, and worlds make each of his films feel different than the last. As Kael added, “I don’t know of any other director who puts such a burnish on his obsessions … It’s as if he were guiding us down a magic corridor and kept parting the curtains in front of us.”

This series is presented in partnership with IU Libraries. In 2016, Lilly Library acquired the papers of the esteemed filmmaker, which are now part of their research collection. Special thanks to Dean Carolyn Walters, Joel Silver, and Craig Simpson.

Kelly Reichardt: A Keen & Subtle Eye

One of the most highly regarded auteurs of current filmmaking, Kelly Reichardt creates a cinema that helps us recognize the poetry, politics, struggle, and beauty in our day-to-day lives. She manages to draw delicate, nuanced performances from her actors, giving her characters dignity and space. There is a mystery to her films in the amount and way in which she reveals, often creating a delayed social and emotional impact on us as viewers.

Dark Carnival Film Festival Retrospective

The Dark Carnival Film Festival (previously presented at IU Cinema as the Diabolique International Film Festival) started in Bloomington in 2007. Over the last nine years, it has screened more than 400 films from over a dozen countries and hosted visiting filmmakers from around the world. Throughout its history, Dark Carnival has gained a reputation as a festival that truly values independent genre films and the people who make them. As a result, the festival has been recognized by MovieMaker Magazine as one of the “Top 25 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee,” and one of the “13 Horror Film Festivals to Die For.”

The Lived Experience

Films have always had the power to provide a view of what others experience in their lives. For many who have mental-health problems, films have provided a stereotypical, sometimes comical, sometimes sugar-coated, and often times dangerous portrayal of people with mental illness. These films offer a contemporary and honest look at what it means to experience mental-health problems for the affected individual, their families, and for others around them. They provide a picture of how we feel about and behave toward individuals who experience depression or bipolar disorder. Since national studies have documented that mental health problems are more common than we ever suspected, understanding the nature of mental illness as well as the power of tolerance or stigma, inclusion or rejection, seeking help or isolation represents a powerful reminder of how we shape the trajectory of what happens. This series is sponsored by U Bring Change 2 Mind, College Toolbox Project, Indiana Consortium for Mental Health Services Research, College of Arts and Sciences, and IU Cinema.

Devotion, Poetry, and Vision: Films of Nathaniel Dorsky and Jerome Hiler

For half a century, Nathaniel Dorsky and Jerome Hiler have been creative collaborators, partners, and inspiration to one another in their personal lives and work as filmmakers. The two met in 1964 at a screening of Dorsky’s Ingreen, as both were beginning to make films on 16mm in New York City. This was a golden era of experimental filmmaking with icons like Jonas Mekas, Gregory Markopoulos, Marie Menken, and Stan Brakhage trying to shatter the traditional language of film.

Dorsky is considered a master of color, restraint, and montage, with a respect for his images as they reveal themselves and their truth. Hiler, whose films have influenced many experimental filmmakers including Dorsky and Warren Sonbert, revels in the variations in light. His obsessions and precision with the use of light, rhythm, and visual poetry are rooted in his history as a painter, stained-glass artist, and lover of ancient and obscure forms of music.

For both, the medium of film and its materiality—imperfect, magical, and fragile—cannot be separated from the work. Neither filmmaker would present their work publicly for years, only screening in their home for a small circle of friends. Over the past two decades, their films have reached beyond the living room, being screened in renowned programs around the world. This series features their most recent films, including a ‘work in progress’ from each filmmaker. All films will be projected in 16mm, with some being the only copy in existence. This program is presented with support from the Underground Film series. Special thanks to The Speed Museum, Speed Cinema, its curator, Dean Otto, Owsley Brown III, and Russell Sheaffer.

David Holbrooke: Original Thinker

David Holbrooke is a documentary filmmaker whose films include The Diplomat (2015), Hard as Nails (2007), Freaks Like Me (2005), Time for a New God (2004), and A Redwood Grows in Brooklyn (2006), featuring acclaimed nature photographer James Balog. Several of these films are part of an ongoing series he created called “Original Thinkers.” He is currently developing narrative features and several documentaries. David is also Festival Director of Telluride Mountainfilm in Colorado since 2008, where he lives with his family, two big dogs, and a bunch of bikes. David Holbrooke’s visit to Indiana University is presented in partnership between the School for Global and International Studies, The Media School, and IU Cinema.