rain on lens, boom in frame

I first met Jem Cohen when I was a lowly intern at the NJ Media Arts Center (an amazing organization bringing a perfectly curated film series to NJ under the direction of filmaker Albert Gabriel Nigrin). We screened Jem's film Benjamin Smoke, a documentary about the title figure; a soulful man whose sexuality and wit formed his southern tinged/gritty ny music during a time of great uncertainty & sexual upheaval in the city. The film, which was co-directed by Pete Sillen, was unbelievable. I'm not going to describe it. You should just see it.

 When Jem was out here shooting some footage for Gravity he had a little trouble getting started saying "I like to shoot unhinged reality" (as opposed to the completely all engulfing alternate reality that Brent creates when making a film) which is completely true in all of his work. Jem takes a real life subject and visually uncovers the subtle depths and oddities that are inherent in everything, no matter how seemingly "normal." If this film viewer we had would cooperate (more on this ancient metal box of a machine later) we could watch his film but for now I have his polaroid portraits of me (above) to remind me of his greatness!

Pete's footage on the other hand we've been able to take a peak at and, as usual, it is wonderful! His style is more of an odd hyperealism, intensifying the things in front of the camera to a point of near surrealism. Pete took the above footage of me which I then shot off of the film viewer screen. The rest of his film is just as stunning too! So so gorgeous! Hopefully I'll have some more shots later (kicks film viewer to try to make it work better) but until then, I sit and wonder if my right side is my "good side"....? 



Donna K. is a recent transplant to the Midwest where she can be found exploring culture at large through film programming, writing and her general interest in the world- both on and offline.