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.

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.

Julie Dash: Daughters of the Dust 25th Anniversary

Julie Dash’s rich filmography explores the spectrum of Black women’s experience across wide swaths of geography and time. The year 2016 marks the 25th anniversary of her groundbreaking film Daughters of the Dust, and the Black Film Center/Archive is excited to sponsor a screening of the newly released digital restoration print, along with a selection of short films from her time as part of the UCLA-based Black cinema revolution of the late 1960s to late 1980s, known today as the L.A. Rebellion. This series is sponsored by the Black Film Center/Archive, the The Media School’s cinema and media arts program, the Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies, and IU Cinema.

Todd Wagner: The Art and Economy of Indie Film

Entrepreneur and Indiana University alumnus Todd Wagner made his impact in the technology world when he and business partner Mark Cuban launched Broadcast.com, one of the first platforms to stream live events and radio stations over the Internet. Wagner later fused his passion for entertainment with his business portfolio to build the Wagner/Cuban Companies, which spans content creation, distribution, and exhibition: 2929 Entertainment, 2929 Productions, Magnolia Pictures, Landmark Theatres, and AXS TV.

As CEO of 2929 Entertainment, Wagner has provided artistic vision and business acumen critical to such important films as the Oscar®-nominated Good Night, and Good Luck, and Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, We Own the Night, and The Road, to name a few. Wagner has also several other varied business interests that include Chideo and the Weinstein Company, and he serves on the boards of directors for both the American Film Institute and the Tribeca Film Institute.

In addition to his business endeavors and social entrepreneurship, Wagner has made a very substantial commitment of time, energy, and resources to giving back through the Todd Wagner Foundation. Since 2000, the foundation has implemented Wagner’s vision of venture philanthropy and invested tens of millions of dollars in cutting-edge programs that empower underserved communities and at-risk youth. His business and philanthropic efforts have earned Wagner numerous honors and awards over the past 15 years.

Sifting Through the Ruins

The two films in this series are presented in conjunction with a Fall 2016 undergraduate course offered through The Media School—Ethics in Ruins: Images and Aftermaths in the American Mediascape—which focuses on the social presence and visual persistence of “ruins.” This series was made possible by support from Eric Sandweiss and the Department of History, Poynter Center for the Study of Ethics and American Institutions, the Center for Documentary Research and Practice, the Black Film Center/Archive, Justin Hodgson, and IU Cinema.

James Naremore Presents

One of the preeminent scholars in the field of media studies, James O. Naremore is Chancellors’ Professor Emeritus in Communication and Culture, English, and Comparative Literature at Indiana University. His seven books and countless articles cover impressive theoretical and critical ground and have led him to academic honors such as a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Kraszna-Krausz Moving Image Book Award, and being named as an Academy Scholar by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. In appreciation of his scholarship and drive to help open the Indiana University Cinema, we have asked him to program four films. For the series, he chose to present two pantheon directors, Jean Renoir and Max Ophüls. Each film will be presented on 35mm and preceded by a short introduction by James Naremore.