The Island of St. Matthews

Approx. Duration: 1 hour 21 minutes

The Island of St. Matthews

Approx. Duration: 1 hour 21 minutes

The Island of St. Matthews

Approx. Duration: 1 hour 21 minutes

TIFF Cinematheque - Free Screen

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Kevin Jerome Everson creates a poetic portrait of the community of Westport in his hometown of Columbus, Mississippi, which was cut off from the rest of the city by a catastrophic flood.

This programme is rated PG.

Kevin Jerome Everson in person!

In 1973, a catastrophic flood deluged the city of Columbus, Mississippi, gutting many of the homes that were built in the floodplains of the Tombigbee River. A subsequent dam project by the US Army Corps of Engineers enabled the regulation of future floodwaters, but also separated the community of Westport from the rest of Columbus.

For Kevin Jerome Everson, the flood first manifested itself in a lack of family heirlooms, washed away as they were by the floodwaters. Reflecting on this, in The Island of St. Matthews Everson returns to Westport to create a portrait of the community, the remarkable insights he gleans via his personal access to the local residents amplified by the rich beauty of his 16mm cinematography. The film unfolds as a mixture of poetic sequences centred upon the local church; moving testimonials recalling the flood; a tour of the dam locks; and an idiosyncratic sequence following a water-skier as he circles the "island" along the Tombigbee. Through this beautiful and subtly revealing film, Everson once again captures the pull of personal roots by focusing on the resilience of a displaced community ever more committed to calling their land home.

The Island of St. Matthews is preceded by Juneteenth Columbus Mississipi, a single-frame journey through the Columbus fairgrounds during the annual celebration of the abolition of slavery.

Juneteenth Columbus Mississippi (dir. Kevin Jerome Everson \ USA 2013 \ 2 min. \ 16mm on video \ silent)

The Island of St. Matthews (dir. Kevin Jerome Everson \ USA 2013 \ 64 min. \ 16mm on video)

Films courtesy of the artist; Trilobite-Arts-DAC and Picture Palace Pictures.

Guest Biography

    • Kevin Jerome Everson
    • Kevin Jerome Everson was born and raised in Mansfield, Ohio. He has a MFA from Ohio University and a BFA from the University of Akron. He is currently a Professor of Art at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, and is the recipient of the 2012 Alpert Award in the Arts, Film/Video. Everson has been the subject of mid-career retrospectives at the Centre Pompidou, Paris, and Visions du Reel, Nyon, Switzerland, and a solo exhibition of short-form works, More Than That, was featured at the Whitney Museum in 2011. His films have been included in the Whitney Biennial 2008 and 2012 and the Sharjah Biennial in 2013. His artwork (paintings, sculpture, photographs) and films, including six features (Spicebush, 2005; Cinnamon, 2006; The Golden Age of Fish, 2008; Erie, 2010, awarded the Jury Prize, Best Feature, Images Festival 2010; Quality Control, 2011; and The Island of St. Matthews, 2013) and over ninety short-form works, have exhibited internationally at festivals, museums, galleries, cinemas and public institutions.