Come celebrate the launch of World Records, Volume I: The Documentary Camera, edited by Jason Fox and published in collaboration with UnionDocs! World Records aims to bring together the voices of scholars, critics, makers, and curators who offer new and complex perspectives on documentary to challenge and extend its margins.
We are thrilled to host an esteemed panel of contributors for the launch program including Kirsten Johnson, Thomas Allen Harris, Cecilia Aldarondo, Benj Gerdes and editor Jason Fox. Each guest will share a short response to the volumes central questions:
What is a documentary camera?
What do cameras do?
How do we know?
Stick around after for discussion to be followed by a festive reception to celebrate!
— The Documentary Camera
The increasing number of cameras, the number of individuals and spaces exposed to their effects, and the massive volume of photographs and video generated by those cameras and then shared, posted, streamed, installed, and screened across the globe suggests that it might be time to re-evaluate these questions and return to a set of first principles.
A series of brief presentations followed by a panel discussion among a selection of contributors to the first volume of World Records, featuring Cecilia Aldarondo, Kirsten Johnson, Thomas Allen Harris, and Benj Gerdes.
Cecilia Aldarondo holds an M.A. from Goldsmiths College and Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota, and is Assistant Professor of Film at Skidmore College. Her award-winning personal documentary MEMORIES OF A PENITENT HEART had its World Premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2016 and will broadcast nationally on POV in 2017. A co-production of POV, Latino Public Broadcasting, and ITVS, MEMORIES has received additional support from the MacDowell Colony, the Sundance Institute, Jerome Foundation, Firelight Media, and New York State Council on the Arts, among others. In 2015 Aldarondo was selected for IFP’s Independent Filmmaker Labs and Sundance Institute’s Edit and Story Lab, and was the winner of the 2015 Paley DocPitch. Aldarondo was the inaugural recipient of the Roberto Guerra Documentary Award in 2015, was named by FILMMAKER Magazine as one of 2015’s ‘25 New Faces of Independent Film,’ and is a 2017 Women at Sundance Fellow.
Kirsten Johnson is a filmmaker and cinematographer interested in addressing the changing dimensions and urgent ethical challenges of documentary camerawork. Her most recent film Cameraperson, which premiered at Sundance Film Festival in 2016, was short-listed for an Academy Award, won the National Board of Review “Freedom of Expression” prize, and was awarded three 2017 Cinema Eye Honors, including “Outstanding Nonfiction Feature.” Cameraperson was named one of the Top Ten Films of 2016 by The Washington Post and The New York Times, and was the Grand Jury Prize Winner of 9 international festivals. Her short film, The Above, which premiered at the 2015 New York Film Festival, was nominated for the IDA Best Short of 2016. Kirsten’s camerawork appeared in the Cannes premiere, Risk, in the Academy Award-winning Citizenfour, Academy Award-nominated The Invisible War, Tribeca Documentary winner, Pray The Devil Back To Hell, Cannes winner Farenheit 9/11, and Emmy Award- winning Ladies First. She shared the Sundance 2010 Cinematography Award with Laura Poitras for their work on The Oath. She and Katy Chevigny co-directed Berlin Premiere Deadline, which won the Thurgood Marshall Award.
Thomas Allen Harris is an award-winning filmmaker, transmedia artist, curator, educator and the founder and President of Digital Diaspora Family Reunion, LLC, a socially engaged transmedia project that employs touring Roadshows and virtual gathering spaces to invite individuals to explore and share the narratives found within their family photo albums. With the support of ITVS, the NMC as well as the Ford and Wyncote Foundations, Harris is currently developing a television series entitled Family Pictures USA.
Benj Gerdes is an artist, writer, and organizer working in video, film, and related public formats, individually as well as collaboratively. He is interested in intersections of radical politics, knowledge production, and popular imagination. His work focuses on the affective and social consequences of economic and state regimes, often via historical research, as well as the critical methods through which art and cultural projects can contribute to social change in the present. His work has been exhibited and screened at venues including the Centre Pompidou, National Gallery of Art, New Museum, REDCAT Gallery, Rotterdam International Film Festival, and the Tate Modern. Writings have been published in October, The Journal of Aesthetics + Protest, Incite! and Rethinking Marxism. He has lectured and taught widely in the United States and internationally; prior to assuming his current position at LIU Post this included positions at Cooper Union, Bard College, and Parsons the New School for Art and Design.
Jason Fox is a filmmaker and professor based in New York City. He has taught at Vassar College, Cooper Union and at CUNY Hunter College. As well, he has worked as a documentary programmer in conjunction with The American Museum of Natural History, The Flaherty Seminar, and Maysles Cinema, among others. He also serves on the Board of Organization for Visual Progression, an organization that partners with social justice organizations to provide training on using visual media in their advocacy efforts. He holds an MA from New York University and and MFA from CUNY Hunter College.