Media Arts Program

Thursday, July 16, 2009 at 8:00 p.m.

$7 general, $5 students/seniors, $4 members

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Hallwalls Artist-in-Residence Project (HARP)

Kevin Jerome Everson

Throughout the month of July, Kevin Jerome Everson—who is our 09-10 HARP media artist—will be visiting Buffalo from Virginia to research and shoot a new project, AMC. The experimental short will examine the role advertising played in the migration of African Americans from the agrarian south to the industrial north during the mid 20th century. A prolific and award winning filmmaker, whose work was featured at the Whitney Biennial and most recently was the subject of a retrospective at the Centre Pompidou, Everson will present a survey of recent work. His films, which blur the boundaries of experimental cinema and documentary, examine with poetic realism the beauty and the relentlessness of everyday life for African Americans.

About the filmmaker:
Kevin Jerome Everson (born 1965 in Mansfield, Ohio) is currently an Associate Professor at the University of Virginia. Everson has a MFA from Ohio University and a BFA from the University of Akron. He has made to date three feature-length films and over 50 shorts. In 2005, his debut feature, Spicebush, a mediation on rhythms of work and the passage of time in Black American working class communities, world premiered at the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) and won the Jury Documentary Prize at the New York Underground Film Festival. Cinnamon (2006), world premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and IFFR and has played at several international film festivals. The 2007 IFFR commissioned Emergency Needs has been selected for inclusion in the 2008 Whitney Biennial. His most recent feature The Golden Age Of Fish (2008) has shown at IFFR, BAFICI (Argentina) and NYUFF. Everson's photographs, sculptures and films have been exhibited internationally. He was named one of the "25 New Faces of Independent Film" by Filmmaker Magazine in 2006.

Old Cat (2009) will eventually and pleasantly get to a destination. (16mm, 11:25, black and white, silent)

Lead (2009) is a story of an early 20th Century Robin Hood. (16mm, 3:00, black and white)

Company Line (2009) is a film about one of the first predominately Black neighborhoods in Mansfield Ohio. The title, Company Line, refers to the name historically used by residents to describe their neighborhood, located on the north side of town close to the old steel mill. The Company Line began during the post-war migration of Blacks from the south to the north in the late forties.  The neighborhood was purchased in the early seventies and its residents were scattered throughout Mansfield.  City employees and former residents of the Company Line narrate the film.  (30:00, black and white, color)

Home (2008) is about disappointment in northern Ohio.  (super-8, 1:30, black and white)

Undefeated (2008) is about mobility and immobility, or just trying to stay warm.  (16mm, 1:30, black and white)

The Citizens (2009) includes Mohammad Ali talking about life, Althea Gibson returning home as a champion, Fidel Castro playing baseball and three gentlemen being escorting into court all under the watchful eye of the media. (16mm, 5:45, color and black/white)

The Reverend E. Randall T. Osborn, First Cousin (2007) is about the art of the cut-away. (16mm, 3:30 minutes, black and white)

North (2007) is about trying to find one’s way. (HD, 1:30 minutes, color)

The Wilbur
(2008) apartment building is overtaken with grief. (16mm, 1:30, color)

Second and Lee (2008) is a cautionary tale about when not to run. (16mm, 3:00, black and white)

Ike (2008) is about a person showing their special gift - if pushed.  (16mm, 2:30, black and white)

Playing Dead (2008) is a film about lying still to stay alive.  (16mm, 1:30, color)

Something Else (2007) is a film about the found footage as subject matter and Miss Black Roanoke, Virginia 1971 expressing her thoughts about the upcoming Miss Black Virginia 1971 Pageant. (16mm, 2:00, color)

Ninety-Three (2008) is a wonderful age to celebrate.  (16mm, 3:00, black and white, silent)

To Do Better…
Films by Kevin Jerome Everson

“I guess to do better…I guess”  --Curley Lanier

Grounded in historical research and a strong sense of place, Kevin Jerome Everson’s films and videos combine documentary and scripted elements with a sparse, rugged formalism. His ongoing subject matter is the lives of African Americans and other people of African descent, often working class, but he eschews standard realism in favor of strategies that abstract everyday actions and statements into theatrical gestures: archival footage is re-edited or re-staged, real people perform fictional scenarios based on their own lives, historical observations intermesh with contemporary narratives. His films suggest the relentlessness of everyday life—along with its beauty—but also present oblique metaphors for art-making. Many of his works return to Mansfield, Ohio, where Everson was born and raised. The community's past is examined in Company Line, in which city employee Curley Lanier explains why he and his family left Alabama in the late 1950s to migrate North: “To do better…I guess.” The remarks betray a sense of deep ambivalence about the promises of upward mobility in America that runs through this collection of recent projects; fifty years later, the people of Mansfield still aren’t sure what “better” means.
-Ed Halter and Thomas Beard (May 2009)

Artists & Communities, a program of the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, is made possible by major funding from the JPMorgan Chase Foundation.