Bennington College Alumni Film & Creativity Festival
The Bennington College Alumni Film & Creativity Festival will showcase a curated program of Bennington alumni and student work during All-Class Reunion, September 27-29. Directors Cameo Wood ’08 and Alethea Root ’02, serve as Festival Directors.
2:00-6:00 pm Projection Loop: Newman Court
HELO (Home, Education, Love, and Opportunity) Naomi Middleton ’19 (Director): 24 minutes
This portrait documentary focuses on the children of HELO orphanage in Haiti. This is not meant to be a traditionally styled documentary, but rather a portrait of the place for the audience to experience through the stories told by the children and the images. While all of the children are shown in a larger context, there are more personal conversations held with those who wished to participate in talking with the director. A combination of stories told by some of the children, director’s footage, and the children’s photographs piece together the exploration of how the elements of home, education, love and opportunity are at play in the children’s lives
3:00 pm-4:45 pm: Tishman
The Napolitanos Shelby Moore ’19 (Director): 16 minutes
This documentary is a direct cinema piece about King’s Shoe Repair shop in Bennington. It is a story of an elderly couple from Naples Italy who have run the local shoe repair shop for over 50 years. This documentary attempts to honor their lives and preserve their legacy.
MOTHERLOAD Denise Bostron ’73 (Story Editor): 1.5 hours
MOTHERLOAD is a crowdsourced documentary about a new mother’s quest to counteract the increasing isolation and disconnection in a digital age, its larger impact on communities, and how cargo bikes can be an antidote.
3:30-4:00 pm: Deane Carriage Barn, Fireplace Room
Jules Olitski: Modern Master Andy Reichsman ’76 (Director): 22 minutes
Documentary by Andy Reichsman ‘76 and film faculty member Kate Purdie about the world renown American Abstract painter who was a faculty member at Bennington in the '60's.
7:30-9:30 pm: Cinema 7, 125 Phyllis Lane, Bennington
The Goldfinch is the film adaptation of Donna Tartt ’86’s globally acclaimed bestseller of the same name, which won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction Theodore “Theo” Decker (Ansel Elgort) was 13 years old when his mother was killed in a bombing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The tragedy changes the course of his life, sending him on a stirring odyssey of grief and guilt, reinvention and redemption, and even love. Through it all, he holds on to one tangible piece of hope from that terrible day...a painting of a tiny bird chained to its perch.
Free admission. Students must have their student ID to gain entry; families and alumni must have a ticket from their registration packet or show their name tag to gain entry.
*Shuttle buses will leave from the Flag Pole to the theater at 6:30 and 6:45.
8:00 pm-10:00 pm: Tishman
Rage of the Moment Nathan Thompson ’86 (Director): 5 minutes
The gun debate is deadlocked. The political air is thick on all sides. This project aims to sidestep the plane of current debate. The idea is to approach the gun owner on equal ground, to hear the stories of peers who hold no ideological or moral judgement. We will hear from people who do not aspire to take rights from anyone. But these are people who had an experience that convinced them to give up their gun.
Each story is different, each is intensely personal, and each story is real. They are stories in which life circumstances, chemical ingestion or just plain anger, caused them to reach for a gun. They are stories about a moment that changed a life. They are stories about the rage of the moment.
10:00 pm-12:00 am: Tishman
Celia Cameo Wood ’08 (Producer): 12 minutes
A young girl deals with her grief with the help of a new friend.
Waste Julia Sub ’15 (Director): 2 minutes
A Super 8mm film, Waste explores themes of the human relationship to nature and waste, and playing with visual representations of "mother earth" and the female form. The style of this film is experimental narrative, free form and associative thought.
The Cruel Tale of the Medicine Man James Habacker MFA ’94 (Director): 1 hour 40 minutes
This dark, storybook fairy tale is a genre-defying mixture of comedy, horror, sex, fantasy, freak show, dream and cartoon. The film is an ensemble piece that showcases much of the talent that lives and works within the orbit of The Slipper Room, the New York City variety theatre that is the birthplace of neo- burlesque. The Cruel Tale of the Medicine Man has the delirious and free attitude that has been the linchpin in New York underground film since the sixties - sophisticated, daring, dirty, heroic, playful, defying category and the expectations of the “market,” essentially giving the finger to anyone who thinks it’s “weird,” even as it entertains the hell out of those willing to go along for the ride.
2:00-6:00 pm Projection Loop (Dance): Newman Court
Explicit Female Zornitsa Stoyanova ’06 (Director): 7 minutes
Explicit Female, an experimental film, is a visual poem abstracting pregnancy and the act of birthing. Making another human in one’s body is often thought of as magical, beautiful and peaceful and this film illuminates all that plus the hidden trauma of the experience. Using mirror psychedelic effects, the body gets transformed into sensual ever-changing vaginas, organic looking aliens, shapes and colors that later remind of DNA division. Deeply sensual, the sci-fi imagery lures the imagination while furthering the feel of otherness and alienation. An automatic generated voice speaks of the durability of the female body and the complete identity destruction that happens to a new parent.
The Bloom Sisterhood Society: Love Personified Ezra Bloom ’13 (Composer): 2 minutes
The first project by The Bloom Sisterhood Society, a collective of black womxn artists who offer mentorship and collaborations for girls of color, Love Personified is an exploration of the black woman as a manifestation of love in human form.
Made on Earth Shandoah Goldman ’01 (Director): 4 minutes
This short film serves as a meditation on how humans are made in our current landscape of maternal clocks, technology and the irrevocable desire to make another human. The film is conceived on the beach, layered with metaphors of cycles within the body paralleled with the fertility of the earth.
Past Selves Sarah Fetterman ’14 (Director): 11 minutes
Each time we conjure a memory, our minds are writing over the past.This performance visualizes this fluid process. In this performance, dancer Hannah Simmons ’13 dips herself in a bathtub of white flour, then slides her body across black walls. As she moves, the flour creates a visual “memory” of her body’s passage. Each successive imprint of flour partially obscures the “memory” underneath, while creating a new and beautiful pattern.
See Me Alethea Root ’02 (Director): 5 minutes
See Me is an exploration of women reclaiming their sexuality from the patriarchy. Experience the persistent barrage of verbal attack - cat calls to self-shaming - that women are exposed to daily. Watch as these women strip off those confines and emerge ready to truly be seen.
10:00-11:15 am: Kinoteca
Dentro La Tasca (In the Pocket) Sally Eckhoff MFA ’09 (Director): 4 minutes
An animated appreciation of the late Gianmaria Testa, songwriter.
Afloat Shannon Mahoney ’15 (Director): 14 minutes
A small look into the life of houseboats in London, told by boat owners in differing economic and social lifestyles.
Grounded by Reality Phoebe Brown ’92 (Director): 8 minutes
Jessica Blinkhorn is an artist who lives large, rolls hard and won’t let her declining mobility stop her. Diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy at age 19 months—Jessica took her last steps at three years old, but that didn’t keep her from drawing on the walls of her home. Recognizing her talent early on, her family encouraged her artistic talent and today—even as she loses her ability to draw—Jessica keeps finding ways to create. Grounded By Reality gives you a glimpse into Jessica’s everyday struggles and her fierce determination to be seen as a whole and vital person through her art making.
Falling Adream Melis Bilgin ’01 (Director)
Falling Adream is a meditation on sleep and death, in the form of an experimental stop-motion animation. Each night, sleep washes over everyone like the waves of the sea, no matter who they may be. As we all sink lower into the depths of sleep, at times we encounter death and at times, other desires and fears. In order to complete even a single night’s sleep cycle and wake up, we all need to make peace with death.
The Maker’s Mark Gia Jensen ’92 (Director): 30 minutes
An intimate look at eastern Oregon saddlemaker Monte Beckman, The Maker's Mark encompasses Beckman’s journey as a saddlemaker. Beyond the art of making saddles, tells the story of a father whose five sons — Jared, Levi, Walker, Dale and Isaac — came back into his life as young men to help him get back on his feet after suffering a stroke.
Bitterman House Wendy Call MFA ’07 (Director): 4 minutes
A video essay about gentrification, on one plot of land in South Seattle.
2:00 pm-3:00 pm: Tishman
Serpentine Bronwyn Maloney ’13 (Director): 3 minutes
In the midst of reflective fantasy, a young woman's inner thoughts arouse a surreal exploration of sensuality, self-esteem, and deeply rooted fears.
Tuned to Perfection: Craftsman Profile on Healy Guitars Rebecca Rideout ’04 (Director): 4 minutes
A sweet, intimate look into the work of Trevor Healy, a renowned guitar craftsman in Easthampton, Massachusetts.
Running Deep Elisha Aflalo ’22 (Director): 10 minutes
Based on the myth of the Lady of Stow Lake, Running Deep, is a conceptual look into how trauma can affect one’s reality. What seems like a happy reunion of a mother and her daughter, Marlow, is so much more as the truth comes out. Marlow forces her mother to look back on a lifetime of memories as she hopes to shock her mother back to reality.
The ABC Conjecture Brian Katz ’92 (Director): 9 minutes
The dissolution of the relationship between two middle aged women: a poet and a theoretical mathematician.
4:30 pm- 5:30 pm: Kinoteca
Dream Louay Youssef ’08 (Director): 1 minute
It began a dream but time brought it all into fruition. This project deals with interconnection and the English language.
Hug it Out Jason Eksuzian ’00 (Director): 50 minutes
Post-divorce and seriously broke, Gwen moves to LA and takes a reluctant deep-dive into the odd, hilarious subculture of professional snuggling -- (something she didn't even know was a "real thing" until last week). Challenged by her long standing intimacy issues and the unique array of snuggling clients, Gwen will be forced to shift her perspective in order to cope -- and maybe even thrive -- in this bizarre new life.
9:00 pm-11:00 pm: Tishman
Real Artists Cameo Wood ’08 (Director): 12 minutes
Against all odds, Sophia Baker just scored her dream interview at the world-famous Semaphore Animation Studios -- who’d have thought a fan edit of one of their hit films could land her a shot at a job? But when she meets arch, mysterious executive Anne Palladon, she soon learns all is not as she expects behind the curtain. Every instinct Sophia has ever had about art in filmmaking is about to be challenged.
Based on Nebula, Hugo and World Fantasy Award-winning author Ken Liu’s short story of the same name, Real Artists asks a poignant question: In a dystopian near-future where big data, AI and natural language processing learn and create quickly and at massive scale, what role can a single artist play? Is Sophia a creative rebel who can make a difference? Or is the situation more serious than that?
Imaginary Order Debra Eisenstadt ’91: 1 hour 41 minutes
The sexual, psychological and moral unraveling of an obsessive-compulsive suburban mom.
1:00 pm-2:30 pm: Tishman
Lazarus Bryn Mooser ’01: 26 minutes
Lazarus is a short documentary following Lazarus Chigwandali, a street musician with albinism from Malawi as he teams up with a London-based music producer to record his debut album
Aterúe: the singers from elsewhere Doug Paisley ’91 (Writer, Cast Member): 1 hour 6 minutes
Four New England vocalists reverse-engineer the ancient tradition of Sardinian throat-singing but get in over their heads when a Youtube video of their first performance goes viral—in Sardinia. Aterúe: The Singers from Elsewhere follows the American quartet’s unexpected journey to Sardinia and its deepening involvement with a living if precarious folk culture. The film is a tale of first encounters between the first non-Sardinians to sing in this mysterious throat-singing quartet style and the Sardinian world that embraces them. Capturing the sounds and sights of relationships forged across languages, cultures, and generations through a shared attachment to the music, Aterúe celebrates the vitality of this stubbornly insular Sardinian world and its capacity to survive due, in part, to its openness to the forces of elsewhere.