Media Arts Program

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Deborah Stratman


Presented at:
Market Arcade Film and Art Center

(USA, 68 min., 2004)
by Deborah Stratman

“An experimental documentary about resistance, balance, and fame, KINGS OF THE SKY follows tightrope artist Adil Hoxur as he and his troupe tour China’s Taklamakan Desert amongst the Uyghurs, a Turkic Muslim people seeking religious and political autonomy. Since he first broke the Guinness World Record in 1997, Adil has become an inadvertent national icon for his people’s struggle in the face of increasingly harsh Chinese repression. By portraying the intimate details of everyday life amidst the troupe, KINGS OF THE SKY reveals to those unfamiliar with Uyghur culture, the small truths which together form a sense of national and political identity. In February 2004, seven of the acrobats whom I toured with in East Turkestan defected to Canada and applied for political asylum; their case is still pending." — D. Stratman

Preceded by
TIGHTROPE (USA, 2005, 3 min.) by Mark Lapore
A girl tightrope walker, part of a circus family, performs anxiously in front of a crowd of men in central Calcutta.

“Kings of the Sky” hovers between a traveler’s diary, a visual poem of ethnographic imagery, and an advocacy video for preserving a traditional art form. It’s as if Stratman ran off, joined the circus and learned a balancing act of her own.”
- Bill Stamets, Chicago Sun Times

Some publications related to this event:
April and May, 2005. - 2005