Upcoming Screenings

Bisbee ’17
November 13th, 2019

Bisbee ’17
Wednesday, November 13th, 2019 / 7:00pm
Burning Books


2018 / 112 minutes / English / Color
Directed by: Robert Greene
Print supplied by: POV

Please join Cultivate Cinema Circle as we screen Robert Greene’s Bisbee ’17 [2018].

Ticket Information: Free and Open to the Public

• Stop in early for FREE Breadhive baked goods while supplies last! •


Event Sponsors:


420 Connecticut St, Buffalo, NY 14213


Synopsis

courtesy of website:

Bisbee ’17 is a nonfiction feature film by award-winning filmmaker Robert Greene set in Bisbee, Arizona, an eccentric old mining town just miles away from both Tombstone and the Mexican border.

Radically combining collaborative documentary, western and musical elements, the film follows several members of the close knit community as they attempt to reckon with their town’s darkest hour. In 1917, nearly two-thousand immigrant miners, on strike for better wages and safer working conditions, were violently rounded up by their armed neighbors, herded onto cattle cars, shipped to the middle of the New Mexican desert and left there to die. This long-buried and largely forgotten event came to be known as the Bisbee Deportation.

The film documents locals as they play characters and stage dramatic scenes from the controversial story, culminating in a large scale recreation of the deportation itself on the exact day of its 100th anniversary. These dramatized scenes are based on subjective versions of the story and offer conflicting views of the event, underscoring the difficulty of collective memory, while confronting the current political predicaments of immigration, unionization, environmental damage and corporate corruption with direct, haunting messages about solidarity and struggle.

Director Statement

courtesy of POV:

I’ve been going to Bisbee, Arizona since 2003, when my mother-in-law bought an old cabin in the eccentric former mining town near the border. I immediately fell in love with the place. My partner was born in Tucson and we have roots in the area, but nothing prepared me for this strange, magical, truly haunted enclave – and the secret history buried there. Since then, I’ve been dreaming of making a film that captures the unique and troubled spirit of Bisbee. The centennial of the Bisbee Deportation – a tragedy where 1200 striking miners, many of them immigrants, were marched out of town at gunpoint and loaded unto cattle cars – gave us the opportunity. Maybe it was just a matter of time before I made the Bisbee film – my first ever feature film idea back when I initially came to town was to “re-stage the deportation with the locals.” So after five feature documentaries, many of which use performance to try to create new ways of seeing and understanding, it was finally time to make the movie I’d been dreaming of.

The Bisbee Deportation is one of countless untold tales of radicalism and oppression in American history and I knew I wanted to tell the story when I first heard it in 2003. But we had relatively little idea when we started pre-production in the summer of 2016 just how relevant the story would become. As the calendar turned to the summer of 2017, with the centennial approaching, labor rights under unprecedented attack and a humanitarian crisis gathering on the U.S.-Mexico border, a sense of urgency began to set in for all of us. The desire for the community to tell this story was palpable and we filmmakers were providing the stage. They knew what we knew: the images that we were creating together would matter. Bisbee, in many ways, is a microcosm of the country and understanding the depth of what happened in the old company town is a way to grasp where we are today as nation, how deeply ingrained American mythologies are used to divide us, and what calamities await if we don’t heed the lessons of our history.

Our first mission, then, was to document the emotional awakening the town was experiencing as the centennial of the deportation approached. Then we began working with everyone from descendants of deportees to company families to create scenes that helped facilitate a kind of truth and reconciliation by way of layered performance. In my last several films, I’ve pushed further and further into the possibilities of collaborative, performative documentary filmmaking, where subjects and filmmakers work together to stage semi-constructed scenes that help the viewer imagine the internal lives of real people. With Bisbee ’17, we’ve pushed this idea significantly forward. What we see is a working through of story and history and mythology as non-actors engage in “roles” that relate to their real lives and this collective trauma. The historical, the political, and the personal all become entwined as locals play dress up, portraying ghosts of a buried past. It all leads to a surprisingly cathartic and emotional place, where the collective performance of a town playing itself reveals both divisions and connections between people. Should we bury the past forever or should we work together to exorcise our demons? One white guy who played one of the vigilantes declares at the end of the large-scale recreation, “this is like the largest group therapy session ever.” A Mexican-American man who had played a deportee saw things a little differently. “You guys were good,” he said to a friend playing a deporter, “maybe too good.”

Director Bio

“Stories make order and help us understand the awful noise.”

courtesy of POV:

Robert Greene’s latest award-winning film Bisbee ‘17premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. His previous film Kate Plays Christine won a Jury Award for Writing at Sundance 2016. Robert’s documentaries include the Gotham Awards-nominated Actress, Fake It So Real and the Gotham Awards-nominated Kati With An I. Robert was an inaugural Sundance Art of Nonfiction fellow in 2015 and is a three-time nominee for Best Director at the Cinema Eye Honors. The Independent named Robert one of their 10 Filmmakers to Watch in 2014 and he received the 2014 Vanguard Artist Award from the San Francisco DocFest. His first documentary, Owning The Weather, was screened at the COP15 Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. Robert has edited over a dozen features, including Her Smell (2018), Golden Exits (2017), Queen of Earth (2015) and Listen Up Philip (2014) by Alex Ross Perry, Amanda Rose Wilder’s award winning Approaching The Elephant (2014), Charles Poekel’s Spirit Awards-nominated Christmas, Again (2015) and Douglas Tirola’s Hey Bartender(2013). He has been a Sundance Edit Lab Advisor and was on the U.S. Documentary Jury for Sundance 2017. Robert writes for outlets such as Sight & Sound and serves as the Filmmaker-in-Chief for the Murray Center for Documentary Journalism at the University of Missouri.

Photo: Jeff Vespa/WireImage

Links

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The Feeling of Being Watched
December 11th, 2019

The Feeling of Being Watched
Wednesday, December 11th, 2019 / 7:00pm
Burning Books


2018 / 86 minutes / English / Color
Directed by: Assia Boundaoui
Print supplied by: POV

Please join Cultivate Cinema Circle as we screen Assia Boundaoui’s The Feeling of Being Watched [2018].

Ticket Information: Free and Open to the Public

• Stop in early for FREE Breadhive baked goods while supplies last! •


Event Sponsors:


420 Connecticut St, Buffalo, NY 14213


Trailer

Synopsis

courtesy of press kit:

In the Arab-American neighborhood outside of Chicago where journalist and filmmaker Assia Boundaoui grew up, most of her neighbors think they have been under surveillance for over a decade. While investigating their experiences, Assia uncovers tens of thousands of pages of FBI documents that prove her hometown was the subject of one of the largest counter terrorism investigations ever conducted in the U.S. before 9/11, code-named “Operation Vulgar Betrayal.”

With unprecedented access, The Feeling of Being Watched weaves the personal and the political as it follows the filmmaker’s examination of why her community—including her own family—fell under blanket government surveillance. Assia struggles to disrupt the government secrecy shrouding what happened and takes the FBI to federal court to compel them to make the records they collected about her community public. In the process, she confronts long-hidden truths about the FBI’s relationship to her community.

The Feeling of Being Watched follows Assia as she pieces together this secret FBI operation, while grappling with the effects of a lifetime of surveillance on herself and her family.

Director Statement

courtesy of press kit:

The Feeling of Being Watched takes a vérité and personal journey storytelling approach while artistically exploring how perspective functions in cinema. Throughout the film, the lens of surveillance is used as a metaphor for the various ways my community, and by extension Muslim-American communities across the country, have been “seen.” By cinematically weaving the personal and the political — often polarized versions of the same story — I hope to capture a profound truth about the “War on Terror”: its impact on our sense of self, our ability to create and connect, our right to dissent, and the impact it’s having on our collective democracy.

The German philosopher Hegel wrote that, “seeing comes before words,” and in his writing insists on the impossibility of existence without recognition from the other. Surveillance is in its essence a way of seeing without recognizing, and its harmful effects are profound. Unwarranted surveillance transforms communities into places where neighbors distrust each other, people censor themselves, and everyone lives with an unhealthy dose of fear and paranoia. While surveillance is preconditioned on a great physical distance from the object of its gaze, this film gets intimately closer with the subjects of surveillance who have for so long been seen from afar. I hope this film will serve as a catalyst for radical change that is based on equality, mutual recognition and a way of seeing that is reciprocal.

Throughout The Feeling of Being Watched I use journalistic tools to investigate a complex political issue that is at the same time deeply personal to me. I believe strongly in the public’s right to know. I believe that our ability to hold government accountable is only as strong as our ability to compel government transparency. In this time of great political turbulence in the U.S., I stand committed to creating art that speaks truth to power and is rooted firmly in the principle of the public’s right to hold its government accountable. I hope that this film will herald a cultural shift in public awareness on issues of government surveillance and national security and contribute meaningfully to ending U.S. government policies that allow the unwarranted profiling of communities of color in America.

Director Bio

courtesy of website:

Assia Boundaoui is an Algerian-American journalist and filmmaker based in Chicago. She has reported for the BBC, NPR, PRI, Al Jazeera, VICE, and CNN. Her debut short film about hijabi hair salons for the HBO LENNY documentary series premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. Her feature length debut The Feeling of Being Watched, a documentary investigating a decade of FBI surveillance in Assia’s Muslim-American community, had its world premiere at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival. She is currently a fellow with the Co-Creation Studio at the MIT Open Documentary Lab, where she is iterating her most recent work, the Inverse Surveillance Project. Assia has a Masters degree in journalism from New York University and is fluent in Arabic.

Links

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