This showcase of selected short films displays the prolific contemporary filmmaker's personal and distinctive look at contemporary African American life.
This programme is rated PG.
Kevin Jerome Everson in person!
Over the past fifteen years, Kevin Jerome Everson has created a singular body of work devoted to a personal and distinctive look at African American life. Drawing on his training as a visual artist, notably in sculpture and photography, Everson's films build a formal relationship to his subjects that move beyond documentary into portraits of people's physical relationship to their work, their geographic community, and the material weight of history. His films are performative gestures: they inhabit experience as much as they reveal the stories behind that experience.
As Everson's body of work has steadily accumulated — he currently has seven features and nearly a hundred shorts to his credit — a geographic subtext has appeared that maps the Great Migration of the early and mid-twentieth century, when African Americans moved out of the rural South to the cities of the North. The locations of many of Everson's films (notably Columbus, Mississippi and Mansfield and Cleveland, Ohio), tied as they often are to communities he has personal relationships with, serve as both a skeletal trace of that historical movement and a testament to the interconnections of African American communities across the United States. This two-part spotlight inquires into this restlessness so evident in Everson's work — especially so in the case of his new feature film, The Island of St. Matthews, which takes us to the Mississippi community that his parents left behind when they migrated to Ohio in the 1950s.
Company Line forms the centrepiece to this inquiry. This documentary featurette looks at the neighbourhood in Mansfield, Ohio where Everson was born and raised, an area settled by African Americans from the South after World War II but recently gentrified by city planning. Everson travels the neighbourhood roads with city snowplow drivers, mapping the area through work and testimony. Emergency Needs revisits a tense night in Cleveland history, the Glenville Shootout of July 1968, which took place at a time when the urban North was saturated with racial tension and civil unrest. Rita Larson's Boy (part of the trilogy The Tombigbee Chronicles No. 2) chronicles a westwards migration: Columbus native Nathaniel Taylor's journey to Los Angeles in search of fame, which he found in the role of Rollo Larson on Sanford and Son. In between, we look at examples of Everson's single-roll films, his unique one-take gems that reveal a highly materialist attention to movements that are both physical and metaphoric.
The Pritchard (dir. Kevin Jerome Everson \ USA 2010 \ 11min. \ 16mm \ silent)
Company Line (dir. Kevin Jerome Everson \ USA 2009 \ 30 min. \ 16mm/mini-DV/photographs on video)
Emergency Needs (dir. Kevin Jerome Everson \ USA 2007 \ 7 min. \ 16mm on video)
Undefeated (dir. Kevin Jerome Everson \ USA 2008 \ 3 min. \ 16mm on video)
Rita Larson's Boy (dir. Kevin Jerome Everson \ USA 2012 \ 11 min. \ 16mm on video)
Century (dir. Kevin Jerome Everson \ USA 2012 \ 7 min. \ 16mm)
Films courtesy of the artist; Trilobite-Arts-DAC and Picture Palace Pictures.