with jurors Alison S.M. Kobayashi and Jean-Paul Kelly



ICDOCS Selections Award

GIVE – David de Rozas

Between Relating and Use – Nazlı Dinçel


Flat Pyramid – Kevin Doherty


PDF of Program

Thursday, April 26

5:00pm: El Mar La Mar (2017), presented by Vertical Cinema, followed by panel discussion with panelists Jason Livingston, Dalina Perdomo, and Juana New
FilmScene, 118 E College St.

El Mar La Mar –  Joshua Bonnetta and J.P. Sniadecki (2016)
USA | 2017 | 94 min | 16mm to DCP
An immersive and enthralling journey through the Sonoran Desert on the U.S.-Mexico border, EL MAR LA MAR weaves together harrowing oral histories from the area with hand-processed 16mm images of flora, fauna and items left behind by travelers. Subjects speak of intense, mythic experiences in the desert: A man tells of a fifteen-foot-tall monster said to haunt the region, while a border patrolman spins a similarly bizarre tale of man versus beast. A sonically rich soundtrack adds to the eerie atmosphere as the call of birds and other nocturnal noises invisibly populate the austere landscape.

Emerging from the ethos of Harvard’s Sensory Ethnography Lab, J.P. Sniadecki’s attentive documentary approach mixes perfectly with Joshua Bonnetta’s meditations on the materiality of film. Together, they’ve created an experience of the border region like nothing you’ve seen, heard or felt before.

Jason Livingston is a film and video maker currently based in Iowa City, IA, working with the Department of Cinematic Arts at the University of Iowa. A teacher, writer, and occasional programmer, he has worked with many non-profits, including Cornell Cinema, the Experimental TV Center, the Standby Program and others. He is currently on the Board of Trustees with the Flaherty Seminar. His award-winning work has screened widely, including Rotterdam, Anthology Film Archives, the Austrian Museum, the Vancouver Art Gallery, and more.

Dalina Perdomo is a graduate student in the University of Iowa Department Cinematic Arts. She was born and raised in Puerto Rico, and received her B.A. in English Literature from the University of Puerto Rico – Mayagüez. She specializes in Latin American cinema, especially the history of Puerto Rican film. Her other research interests include feminist film theory, intermedia, and the study of film and video exhibition.

Juana New is a doctoral student in the Department of Cinematic Arts at the University of Iowa. She studies Latin American cinema, documentary film, and environmental politics. Her dissertation project examines the cartographic impulse in documentary cinema. Juana graduated from the Universidad de Los Andes in Mérida, Venezuela, where she later taught literature and film history. She holds a Diploma in Film Editing from The International Film School in San Antonio de Los Baños, Cuba. She has also worked as a film editor in documentary cinema.

9:30pm: Competitive Program #1: “Okay. Proceed.”
Adler Journalism Building, E105 Franklin Miller Screening Room

Flying to Nowhere – Matthew Lancit
France | 2017 | 1:14 min | Digital
A flock of seagulls senselessly persist in the attempt to fly forward, against the wind and over the crashing waves of the ocean.

From Source to Poem – Rosa Barba
Germany | 2017 | 12 min | 35mm to Digital
From Source to Poem shifts the focus from artworks into archival storage: Shot at the National Audio-Visual Conservation Center of the Library of Congress in Culpeper, Virginia, and at an enormous solar power plant in the Mojave Desert in California, it juxtaposes images from the largest media archive worldwide with a study of rhythm, and images of cultural with those of industrial production.

Serpents and Doves – Nellie Kluz*
USA | 2015 | 30 min | Digital
Behind the scenes at a Christian passion play staged in the Ozark mountains. A dramatization of the last days and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the play is a decades-long evangelizing project, tourist attraction, and spectacle — part religious ritual, part community theater. In a space where associations are swirling, the cast and crew speak about their experiences, memories, and fears.  

The Free White Sea – Jason Oppliger*
USA | 2017 | 29:21 min | Digital
For even if we have the sensation of being always surrounded by our own soul, it is not as though by a motionless prison: rather, we are in some sense borne along with it in a perpetual leap to go beyond it, to reach the outside, with a sort of discouragement as we hear around us always that same resonance, which is not an echo from outside but the resounding of an internal vibration. We try to rediscover in things, now precious because of it, the glimmer that our soul projected onto them. An object. Like the free white sea.

Friday April 27

12:15 CompetitiveProgram #2: Handmade History
Adler Journalism Building, E105 Franklin Miller Screening Room

Answer Print – Mónica Savirón
USA | 2017 | 5 min | 16mm to Digital
“The fading that devastates color films occurs in the dark. It is accelerated by high temperatures and, to a lesser extent, relative humidity. Dye fading is irreversible. Once the dye images have faded, the information lost cannot be recovered”—Image Permanence Institute

Evidence of the Evidence – Alexander Johnston
USA | 2017 | 21:33 min | Digital
The 1971 Attica prison uprising is a signature moment of radical resistance for the American Civil Rights movement. The bloody retaking of the prison however, is an open wound. Utilizing rarely seen video recordings, Evidence of the Evidence explores this tortured history. It offers a visceral account of the events at Attica, and chronicles the mediation and narrativization of these events. In so doing, it reflects on the role that moving images play in the production of history and memory, its creation and its destruction.

GIVE – David de Rozas
USA | 2017 | 16:20 min | Digital
Challenging traditional documentary practices with experimental approaches to editing and sound, GIVE explores Roland Gordon’s motivations to create a monumental visual archive displaying centuries of black agency and achievements, in the United States and beyond. Roland’s collage, ‘The Cloud of Witnesses’, is comprised of thousands of photographic portraits, newspapers, and magazines cutouts, presenting an alternative visual history to empower the black community. The film explores collective representations of history, memory, and culture; where pasts, presents, and futures are modeled by the blending of imagination, facts, and love.

The Violence of a Civilization without Secrets – Adam Khalil, Zack Khalil, Jackson Polys
USA | 2017 | 10 min | Digital
An urgent reflection on indigenous sovereignty, the undead violence of museum archives, and postmortem justice through the case of the “Kennewick Man,” a prehistoric Paleo-American man whose remains were found in Kennewick, Washington, in 1996.

Nutsigassat – Tinne Zenner
Greenland, Denmark, & Canada | 2018 | 20:20 min | 16mm to Digital
“Go outside. The lovely mountains two, Sermitsiaq and Kingittorsuaq, look at them.” While the housing blocks carry a past of national diaspora, layers of snow cover a future development in the city of Nuuk, Greenland. The landscape acts as a scenery for collective nostalgia and industrial production, as the film studies glitches in translation of language and culture in a post-colonial modernity.

3pm: Juror Program: Alison S.M. Kobayashi*
FilmScene, 118 E College St.
Alison S. M. Kobayashi is an award-winning interdisciplinary artist whose short videos and performances that have been exhibited widely in Canada, the United States and overseas. She was a guest artist at the 2008 Flaherty Film Seminar and her work was the focus of a Spotlight Presentation at Video Out, Jakarta International Film Festival, Indonesia. She was a 2016 Yaddo and MacDowell Colony fellow. Her performance Say Something Bunny! currently running in New York City has received critical acclaim, heralded as “The best new theater experience in town” by Vogue. Alison S. M Kobayashi was born in Mississauga, Ontario and is based in Toronto and Brooklyn where she is the Director of Special Projects at UnionDocs, Center for Documentary Art.

From Alex to Alex
Canada | 2006 | 6:11 min | Digital
In the fall of 2003 I found a letter on the Winston Churchill Blvd QEW overpass. It was labeled From: Alex To: Alex. This is a film based on the contents of that letter.

Hungry Kitty
Canada | 2011 | 0:28 min | Digital
Hungry Kitty is the first installment of Kobayashi’s YouTube Diptych series. By carefully reshooting YouTube videos from the perspectives of animals, babies and other beings, Kobayashi experiments and playfully reinterprets the gaze of YouTube videos.

Canada | 2009 | 2 min | Digital
I catalogued my family’s home video collection. I came across videos of my sister and I in Brownie and Girl Guide ceremonies. It made me want to DO GOOD. It made me want to invite others to DO GOOD too. Five Brownies created new badges.Each Brownie made a video that explained what was required to earn her badge.

Music is Magic
Canada | 2015 | 15 min | Digital
A 15 minute personal documentary and live performance about Sisterhood, music and teenage lust using family archival footage. Featuring live music by Joshua Gen Solondz.

Personality Unlimited
Canada | 2015 | 2 min | Digital
Personality Unlimited is adapted from a self improvement book of the same name. The book, written by Veronica Dengel and published in 1943, features a series of photographs of young women in domestic spaces demonstrating positions “to flatten that stomach” and aimed at “that hard-to-get-at fat”. These photographs are translated into a choreography performed to Solomon Burke’s Cry To Me.

Canada | 2009 | 3 min | Digital
Part of the DO GOOD Project

Just Relax
Canada | 2016 | 11 min | Digital
Over the course of a painful and humorous afternoon, three best friends attempt to stick and poke a tattoo on particularly sensitive skin.

Say Something Bunny (excerpts)
10-15 min | Digital
With Say Something Bunny!, Alison S. M. Kobayashi and UnionDocs present an enthralling performance based on an amateur audio recording made over sixty years ago. The origin of this audio was a mystery. Two spools of thin steel wire were found tucked inside an obsolete sound device purchased by a collector at an estate sale. There were no labels; no dates, no names, and no context. Through her obsessive research and active imagination along with hundreds of times listening through, Kobayashi decodes the rich dialogue in the recording and discovers the detailed history of an unforgettable Jewish family from New York that bursts with humor, surprise and drama. The one-woman show annotates, illustrates, and reconstructs the scenes of the recording, while revealing the stranger-than-fiction biography of the eldest son, David, who made the wire recordings. Using video, installation, performance and plentiful archival material, Kobayashi leads the audience through a close listening, spinning “a multigenerational yarn of Rothian heights.”

5:15pm: Competitive Program #3: Painted Perception
Adler Journalism Building, E105 Franklin Miller Screening Room

Filter – Jaakko Pallasvuo
Finland, Canada, United States, Germany | 2017 | 25:03 min | Digital
Filter explores the ways in which nostalgia is experienced in the 21st century. Tracing a journey from Europe to New York City to Syracuse, the film considers the ways in which mediation can enhance or disrupt nostalgic sentiment. Integrating visual culture, music and performance, Filter examines the question of what is included and what excluded when memories are created.

Wherever You Go, There We Are – Jesse McLean*
USA | 2017 | 12 min | Digital
In this experimental travelogue, efforts to sound human and look natural instead become artificial. The scenery is provided through photo-chromed vintage postcards, displaying not only scenic North American landscapes but also the rise of infrastructure and industry. Aspiring to look more realistic by adding color to a black and white image, the postcards are instead documents of the fantastic. The road trip is narrated by an automated correspondent (all dialogue is taken from spam emails), his entreaties becoming increasingly foreboding and obtuse, in a relentless effort to capture our attentions.

Phototaxis – Melissa Ferrari
USA | 2017 | 6:45 min | Animation Digital
Phototaxis draws parallels between Mothman, a prophetic and demonized creature in West Virginia lore, and Narcotics Anonymous, the primary treatment program in West Virginia’s addiction epidemic. Rooted in nonfiction through a curation of archival text, this film contemplates synchronicity and the role of belief systems in perception; the tendency to assign supernatural meaning to tragedy and the unknowable; anonymous and apocryphal oral histories; and the moth to the flame. To visualize these narratives, natural materials and pastel-on-paper palimpsest animation are woven together using a multiplane and analog overhead projection.

Flat Pyramid – Kevin Doherty*
Canada | 2017 | 11:30 min | Digital
Outtakes from a defunct pyramid scheme’s promotional and instructional videos incidentally document its unraveling. The source material—over 60 hours of raw footage produced in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis—was appropriated, fictionalized, and reenacted for the film. In spite of the scheme’s manipulative tactics, participants push back against its logic through performative errors or deliberate rejection. ‘Flat pyramid’ isolates these moments and, consequently, mimics the trajectory of the scheme itself: inevitable collapse.

Decoy – Alee Peoples
USA | 2017 | 10:37 min | 16mm
Decoy sees bridges and walls as binary opposites and relates them to impostors in this world. Humans strive for accuracy. You don’t always get what you wish for.

Trigger Warning – Scott Fitzpatrick*
Canada | 2017 | 5 min | Digital
An examination of everyday household objects based on a list published in the December, 2016 issue of Harper’s Magazine, shot on a camera shaped like a gun.

8:15pm: Competitive Program #4: Ritual of Disruption
Adler Journalism Building, E105 Franklin Miller Screening Room

Homewrecker – Orr Menirom*
USA | 2015 | 14:30 min | Digital
Homewrecker is an experimental narrative film about a bride who lost all memories and documentation of her wedding. Her story is told through a juxtaposition of protest and wedding footage, downloaded from different social media accounts and merged into one single viewpoint.

Onward Lossless Follows – Michael Robinson
USA | 2017 | 17 min | 16mm to Digital
A password-protected love affair, a little vapor on Venus, and a horse with no name ride out in search of a better world. Against the mounting darkness, a willing abduction offers a stab at tomorrow.

Film Without Film – Dalibor Martinis
Croatia | 2017 | 18:20 min | Digital
In “Film Without Film” Dalibor Martinis testifies in his defense about the events that led to the not-showing of “Z1,0339” (made in 2013). The verbal description of the movie and his own artistic procedure that Dalibor Martinis gives in front of the deputy state attorney is a substitute for the movie “Z1,0339” which the author must not show. The film without film is still a film, and the circumstances that made its screening impossible, and brought his author to the unpleasant and sad situation now become its structural part.

Strangely Ordinary This Devotion – Dani & Sheilah Restack
USA | 2017 | 26:23 min | Digital
Strangely Ordinary This Devotion is a visceral exploration of feral domesticity, queer desire, and fantasy in a world under the threat of climate change. Utilizing and exploding archetypes, the film offers a radical approach to collaboration and the conception of family. Dani and Sheilah collect and arrange images and moments that are at once peculiar and banal, precious and disturbing, creating resonance and contrast through experimental modes of storytelling.

10:00pm: Competitive Program #5: The Speed of Expansion
Adler Journalism Building, E105 Franklin Miller Screening Room

Trip – Marko Mestrovic
Croatia | 2017 | 10:40 min | Digital
A film beyond the eyelids. In one word: a trip.

.TV – G. Anthony Svatek
USA, Tuvalu, New Zealand, France | 2017 | 22:05 min | Digital
.TV is a found footage essay film: Voicemails left by an anonymous caller from the future guide us to the remote islands of Tuvalu, a place the international media has described as “the first country to disappear due to rising sea levels”. Surrounded by thousands of miles of open water, much of Tuvalu’s revenue comes from its country-code web extension .TV, a popular domain choice among global video-streaming and television industries. The caller describes how heat, digital screens, and distance gave him no choice but to leave his sinking home and escape into cyberspace where rising waters will never reach him.

SOUND SPEED – Alex Cunningham*
USA | 2017 | 4:45 min | 16mm
Every time you watch this film, it may very well appear to move faster.

SERIOUSLY NOT FUNNY – Charles Fairbanks*, Lillian Burke, Ellie Burck*, Odette Chavez-Mayo*, Forest Bright*, David Blakeslee*, Charlotte Norman*
USA | 2016 | 18:40 min | Digital
Seriously Not Funny documents the carnivalesque 2016 Republican National Convention. We filmed protesters and counter-protesters, as well as ironic, comedic, magical, musical, belligerent, and prayerful demonstrations. As witnesses to our country’s deep political divisions – and to Cleveland’s unresolved trauma from the murder of Tamir Rice – we lost all hope, we found deeper meaning, we cried and we laughed and we kept the cameras rolling.
Inspired by the 1972 documentary Four More Years, from the pioneering video collective TVTV, Seriously Not Funny was made collaboratively by five students and two professors from Antioch College.

Dislocation Blues – Sky Hopinka*
USA | 2017 | 17 min | Digital
An incomplete and imperfect portrait of reflections from Standing Rock. Cleo Keahna recounts his experiences entering, being at, and leaving the camp and the difficulties and the reluctance in looking back with a clear and critical eye. Terry Running Wild describes what his camp is like, and what he hopes it will become.

Saturday, April 28

12:15pm: Competitive Program #6: If Light No Longer Spreads
Adler Journalism Building, E105 Franklin Miller Screening Room

A Net to Catch the Light – Erin Espelie
USA | 2017 | 8:22 min | Digital
With a nod to Wallace Stevens (“the light is like a spider”), this piece contrasts digital imagery with hand-processed 16mm footage of an orb-weaver. It’s sonically charged with spider vibrations, the voice of Steve Jobs, and a compression of Mac/Apple computer start-up sounds from the 1980s to now.

The Making and Unmaking of the Earth – Jessica Bardsley
USA | 2018 | 16:30 | 16mm to Digital
Combining archival footage of earth processes with interviews of mysterious experiences of physical and emotional pain, this film turns to the earth and its geology to make visible the often invisible events happening inside of people.

Luna e Santur – Joshua Gen Solondz*
USA | 2017 | 11 min | 16mm to Digital
“Originally commissioned as a short for Ben Coonley’s My First 3D Part 2 at Microscope Gallery, I expanded this project into what it currently is: hooded figures, violent passion, and stroboscopic tenderness brought on by a paranormal encounter I had in the summer of 2015.” -JGS

Optimism – Deborah Stratman
Canada, USA | 2018 | 14:48 min | Super 8 to Digital
Draw down the sun.  Sift up the gold.

Paragon – Mike Rice*
USA | 2017 | 20 min | 16mm
Paragon is a 16mm film that observes the complicated history of a small Massachusetts fishing town where a grand-amusement park once stood, Paragon Park. The film sways back and forth from historical to present-day, from still to moving, from artifact to imagination. It has eyes pointed in opposite directions: to re-discover the present, it observes the past.

3pm: Juror Program: Jean-Paul Kelly*
FilmScene, 118 E College St.
Jean-Paul Kelly (born London, Canada; lives and works in Toronto) makes videos and exhibitions that pose questions about the limits of representation by examining complex associations in the production, reception and circulation of documentary and other socially-generated images. He was a resident artist at the International Studio & Curatorial Program (New York) and Delfina Foundation and a featured artist at the 2013 Robert Flaherty Film Seminar. Kelly received the 2015 Images Festival Award and the 2014 Kazuko Trust Award from the Film Society of Lincoln Center. His solo exhibitions include: Delfina Foundation (London), Wexner Center for the Arts (Columbus), Scrap Metal Gallery (Toronto) and Gallery TPW (Toronto).  His screenings include: Canada House (London), Courtisane Festival (Ghent), Vdrome, Film Society of Lincoln Center (New York), TIFF Cinematheque (Toronto), International Film Festival Rotterdam, New York Film Festival and Toronto International Film Festival.

The Innocents
2014 | 12:54 min
The Innocents features an image stream, an interview with Truman Capote’s desire, and shapes that correspond to the former through the instructions of the latter. “Jean-Paul Kelly’s elegant and enigmatic The Innocents is partially constructed around a shot-by-shot re-enactment of segments from the Maysles brothers’ 1966 documentary With Love from Truman, with Kelly ingeniously recasting Capote’s desire as the speaker. With its own formal predilections, the film succeeds in drawing parallels with the legendary author’s brazen statements about form and style.” – Andréa Picard, TIFF

A Minimal Difference
2012 | 5:10 min
A Minimal Difference is shot using a multi-plane camera setup and features receding cell paintings referenced from widely circulated press images (barricades from political protests in Bangkok, bodies piled after the 2010 Haitian earthquake, furniture from an eviction in Cleveland, destruction in Gaza) and more metaphoric pictures (a logjam, clouds or smoke). Each tableau is separated into visual planes that, when filmed with movement, mimic the perception of optical distance.

Movement in Squares
2013 | 12:43 min
Movement in Squares is a two-channel video comprised of three documentary sources: video appropriated from a Florida-based foreclosure broker who documents the condition of bank-owned properties at the time of their repossession; studio recordings that document retrospective exhibition catalogues of painter Bridget Riley; voice-over narration from filmmaker David Thompson’s 1979 profile of Riley’s work for the Arts Council of Great Britain. “In conversation on the screen, these elements put forth questions about representation, ethics and perception in how we look at images.” – Pablo de Ocampo, Flaherty Seminar

Service of the Goods
2013 | 29:10 min
Service of the goods is comprised of selected scenes from American filmmaker Frederick Wiseman’s seminal documentaries on state-run, tax-funded institutions, including Titicut Follies (1967), High School (1968), Law and Order (1969), Hospital (1970), Basic Training (1971), Juvenile Court (1973) and Welfare (1975). While creating shot-by-shot reproductions of each chosen scene, including accompanying subtitled dialogue, Wiseman’s representational strategy–his overall production and editing process–is, itself, evoked as an institution subject to the same means observation and expression.

That Ends That Matter
2016 | 16:52 min | Single-channel version of three-channel original.
That Ends That Matter is a three-channel video installation incorporating: a re-enactment of events witnessed in a courtroom; an image stream of found photographs in which the artist’s hands appear to caress or outline details in each image; and a graphical-sound animation choreographed from movements of Kelly’s hands in the previous sequence.

5:15pm: Competitive Screening #7: The Subject Destroys the Object
Adler Journalism Building, E105 Franklin Miller Screening Room

Fluid Frontiers – Ephraim Asili
USA | 2017 | 23:00 min | Digital
Fluid Frontiers is the fifth and final film in the series entitled The Diaspora Suite exploring Asili’s personal relationship to the African Diaspora. Shot along the Detroit River, Fluid Frontiers explores the relationship between concepts of resistance and liberation, exemplified by the Underground Railroad, Broadside Press, and artworks of local Detroit Artists. All of the poems are read from original copies of Broadside Press publications by natives of the Detroit Windsor region, and were shot without rehearsal.

Nu Dem – Jennifer Saparzadeh
Austria/USA | 2017 | 9:08 min | 16mm to Digital
Nu Dem traces Europe’s closed borders in the Spring of 2016, arriving at an informal settlement between Greece and Macedonia. There, people wait and try to move forward in anxious, stagnant flux- confronting the dissonance between a vision of freedom and the fact of its denial.

Between Relating and Use – Nazlı Dinçel*
Argentina/USA | 2018 | 9 min | 16mm
Borrowing words from Laura Mark’s “Transnational Object” and DW Winnicott’s “Transitional Object”, this film is an attempt to ethically make work in a foreign land. Transitioning from assuming the position of an ethnographer, we turn and explore inwards- on how we use our lovers.

Radius – Julie Murray*
USA | 2018 | 8 min | Digital
Calculating the angle of awe at a gas station in rural Midwest.

Shizugawa – Andrew Littlejohn
USA, Japan | 2017 | 26:55 min | Audio
Shizugawa is a sonic composition constructed from unprocessed 5.1 surround sound recordings made in Shizugawa, the central area of Minamisanriku Town (Miyagi Prefecture, Japan), between 2013 and 2015. On March 11, 2011, a tsunami 20m in height devastated the town following an undersea megathrust earthquake with a magnitude of 9.1. For residents, there are two Shizugawas today. We can no longer hear the first one, which was lost in the flood. The second—the subject of this piece—is not yet a town, but a town-in-the-making: a sonic gestalt formed by the overlapping of human and nonhuman life.

8:15: Awards Party, 281 N Linn St


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