NU Docs

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Northwestern University’s MFA in Documentary Media program is proud to present thesis films produced by its third graduating class. Please join us to watch a great selection of new short documentaries, hybrid films, and even an interactive project.  Stay after the show to engage in dialogue with the filmmakers and celebrate their accomplishments.

Union Station

Wednesday, June 13, 2018 6:00 PM FREE
(Stephen Nelson, 2017, USA)

Everyone around you is living a life just as rich and meaningful as your own. While this fact is simple logic, the profundity of it can often elude us. Union Station is an interactive media art project where users move their bodies to trigger and explore a repository of personal anecdotes that were shared by travelers waiting for their trains in Chicago's Union Station.

This interactive media project will be presented in front of the Block Museum each evening (June 13-15) and visitors are encouraged to participate.

Program 1: LEGACIES

Wednesday, June 13, 2018 7:00 PM FREE

Fountain of Tears

(Kyeongbok Lee, 2018, USA, 18 min)

Decades after the Nazis abducted her child, a Polish mother travels from her home in the U.S. to reunite with her now adult son in Germany. But the decades have changed them, and the mom encounters a profound inner conflict after discovering her son.

 

Two Empty Nests

(Sandeep Pamulapati, 2018, India/USA, 19 min)

When their children dispersed into lives of their own, filmmaker Sandeep Pamulapati’s grandparents remained in their now empty homes. With only memories to keep them company, they are on a journey of spirituality.

 

Swan Lake

(Yu Bai, 2018, China/USA, 19 min)

Traditional life and tourism co-exist uncomfortably in a small fishing village at the edge of China’s Yellow Sea. A young man’s ambitions for a hotel start-up conflict with his parents’ desire for a more traditional path for their son. 

 

Reception will begin at 6:00 PM 

Program 2: BORDERS/EDGES/FRAMES

Thursday, June 14, 2018 7:00 PM FREE

The Schweinfurt Pentalogy - Center (Kai Allen Blakley, 2018, Germany/USA, 20 min)

The Schweinfurt Pentalogy is a series of short films that explore the transitory nature of life in the refugee and military communities that have lived and are living in an abandoned U.S. military installation turned refugee center in southern Germany. Center is the third installment of the series and follows the rhythms and organization of bodies at various stages of a German run refugee processing facility. The film depicts the confused and complex interactions between the refugees, security guards, and the German workers as they struggle to interact and coexist in the space originally inhabited by the US military.

 

Roughly Delicate (Heqiuzi Wang, 2018, USA, 14 min)

Living in Chicago, a group of Chinese women gathers to gain more control over their bodies and lives. They dance in high heels, wear traditional Chinese dresses, and shoot guns at the range.

 

Book of Daniel (Elodie Edjang, 2018, USA, 11 min)

An intimate portrait of Daniel, a Sudanese refugee living in Chicago. With limited interactions beyond his workplace, Daniel finds companionship in his paintings to cope with the deep trauma and isolation from his past.

 

The B-Roll (Peter Franco, 2018, USA, 15 min)

You’ve seen it in the news, documentaries, social media videos. This essay film constructed entirely from pre-existing B-roll footage unspools the history of B-roll and how it became the most common way we see the world through documentaries.

 

Reception will begin at 6:00 PM 

Program 3: WHERE WE FIND OURSELVES

Friday, June 15, 2018 7:00 PM FREE

Whimper (Pam Austin, 2018, USA, 14 min)

In the backwoods of a shrinking northern Indiana town, thirteen-year-old Tony prepares himself for the end of the world. In this intriguing docu-fiction, mounting anxieties in his family and church lead Tony to retreat into the woods to enact his own imaginary solutions.

 

In Order (Joyy Norris, 2018, USA, 12 min)

Sister Desiré, a young Afro-Latina woman of the Catholic Felician Franciscan order prepares for perpetual profession, the final stage in becoming a nun. This film is a dive into what it means to seek purpose in this era of social upheaval and splintered ideologies through the lens of a member of religious life. This inspiring portrayal of a quiet, yet active and reflective life shows how there is no one way to be of service in the effort to change our society for the better.

 

Parallel (Evan Yin Wang, 2018, USA, 18 min)

Blending conversational interviews with an essay film approach, Parallel pays homage to Latvian filmmaker Laila Pakalnina’s work through playful interpretations and re-enactments. In an attempt to capture the essence of Laila’s unique style, filmmaker Evan Yin Wang also discovers the power of cinema to connect us despite differences in time and space.

 

Castle Boys (Chad Wallin, 2018, Ghana/USA, 20 min)

Set amongst the palm trees and beaches of coastal Ghana, this film celebrates the rhythm and sounds of a community overshadowed by a tourist industry that is steeped in a dark history.  Highlighting the struggles and desires of the hustlers who earn their living off of unsuspecting tourists, the camera finds itself in the middle of an historically complicated, yet musically rich environment.  

 

Reception will begin at 6:00 PM