anticipated artist in person: Rajee Samarasinghe
Lush cinematic lyricism as expansive anti-ethnography; the world breathes in from outside the frame. Realist portraiture as poetry. Eight films on migration, diaspora, rootedness and ritual, cultural/familial bonding and estrangement. A view of a re-enacted exorcism, presented through a reclaimed colonialist lens. The heroic and traumatic legacies and histories of slavery and resistance in Jamaica and Brazil. An intimate look at life, labor, location and family in the American South; familial estrangement in Los Angeles. A moving portrait of Chemehuevi/Anishinaabe poet Diane Burns.
Kindah (2016) by Ephraim Asili; digital video, color, sound, 12 minutes, exhibition file from the maker
The fourth film in an ongoing series of 16mm films exploring my relationship to the African Diaspora. This one was shot in Hudson NY and Accompong, Jamaica. Accompong was founded in 1739 after rebel slaves and their descendants fought a protracted war with the British leading to the establishment of a treaty between the two sides. The treaty signed under British governor Edward Trelawny granted Cudjoe’s Maroons 1,500 acres of land between their strongholds of Trelawny Town and Accompong in the Cockpits and a certain amount of political autonomy and economic freedoms. Cudjoe, a leader of the Maroons, is said to have united the Maroons in their fight for autonomy under the Kindah Tree—a large, ancient mango tree that is still standing. The tree symbolizes the common kinship of the community on its common land. (Ephraim Asili)
About something that concerns us all/Sobre aquilo que nos diz respeito (2016) by Cristiana Miranda; digital video, color, sound, 9 minutes, exhibition file from the maker U.S. premiere
The Roman statues of the Hanging Garden of Valongo hide histories of blood and death. A garden seven meters up from the ground, with long stairways that border the Hill of Conceição, from where they stand guard over the bends of Guanabara Bay, that the city insists on occupying. A monument for a city of slaves.
About something that concerns us all brings the memory of the slave markets, which took place there before the construction of the Garden, before the landfill of the Valongo Port. We cover the Roman statues with straw of Omulú, an originally African God, to question the symbolic narratives of the so many oppressions that constitute us, the daily violence of worshipping distant and imposed symbols. (Cristiana Miranda)
The Queen of Material (2014) by Rajee Samarasinghe; digital video, color, sound, 2 minutes, exhibition file from the maker bay area premiere
A short procession of colorful material and a mysterious woman lit by the sun. A paean to Kenneth Anger. (Rajee Samarasinghe)
The Spectre Watches Over Her (2016) by Rajee Samarasinghe; digital video, black and white, silent, 14 minutes, exhibition file from the maker world premiere
A reaction to the seminal text by Swiss anthropologist Paul Wirz, Exorcism and the Art of Healing in Ceylon, this silent, high contrast, hand processed film considers a history of colonialism and ethnographic practices in South Asia. At my mother’s village, I restaged an exorcism once performed on her in the early 1960s when she was a little girl. Possessed by the lecherous entity known as the Kalu Kumara, the Sanni Yakuma healing ritual was performed over a 12-hour period. (Rajee Samarasinghe)
Carrs Down South (2017) by Kevin Jerome Everson; digital video, color, sound, 4 minutes, exhibition file from Picture Palace Pictures bay area premiere
…presents three generations of the Carr family waxing poetically about living and working in Salisbury North Carolina. (Kevin Jerome Everson)
R-15 (2017) by Kevin Jerome Everson; digital video, color, sound, 5 minutes, exhibition file from Picture Palace Pictures bay area premiere
…about the material that keeps southern homes warm in the winter months and cool in the summer. (Kevin Jerome Everson)
Droga! (2014) by Miko Revereza; digital video, black and white, sound, 8 minutes, exhibition file from maker bay area premiere
A repeated shot of a singer, combined with a conversation about hallucinations, amplifies the melancholy of a viewpoint burdened by the context of a different culture.
I'll Remember You as You Were, Not as What You'll Become (2016) by Sky Hopinka; digital video, color, sound, 13 minutes, exhibition file from maker bay area premiere
An elegy to Diane Burns on the shapes of mortality, and being, and the forms the transcendent spirit takes while descending upon landscapes of life and death. A place for new mythologies to syncopate with deterritorialized movement and song, reifying old routes of reincarnation. Where resignation gives hope for another opportunity, another form, for a return to the vicissitudes of the living and all their refractions. (Sky Hopinka)
I’m from Oklahoma I ain’t got no one to call my own.
If you will be my honey, I will be your sugar pie way hi ya
way ya hi ya way ya hi yo
— Diane Burns (1957–2006)
Pictured above: About something that concerns us all/Sobre aquilo que nos diz respeito (2016) by Cristiana Miranda
CROSSROADS 2017 is generously supported by: National Endowment for the Arts, Fleishhacker Foundation, Grants for the Arts, Zellerbach Family Foundation, George Lucas Family Foundation, Owsley Brown III Philanthropic Foundation and the Willow Foundation.
With thanks to our festival sponsors: