People are often surprised to hear that I have a background in filmmaking. I starting working with film in high school during the Celluloidicene Age using Super-8 and Kodak Tri-X reversal film stock. I made a B&W silent short, The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party in the grassy esplanade between North and South Boulevards in Houston, Texas. If you know Houston, you know this magical block of huge old growth oaks that canopy the entire length of the street.
At Antioch College, I studied the American avant-garde, early French and Japanese film traditions, and actually learned to process 16mm B&W stock using an Army surplus 16mm film processor (Thank you, Ted Lyman!). I finished a few short experimental films, including The Women are Not Crawling, and Bryn Returns to the Womb. I did a term at the School of Visual Arts in NYC for film history, and especially loved Joan Braderman’s class on Godard and Hitchcock. It may have been called Godard/Hitchcock/Godard with a double-dip of Godard.
Later, I began the graduate program in film studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. I loved hot film theory but quickly found that the production program wasn’t a good match for my increasing interest in documentary and ethnographic film. Consequently, I transferred to San Francisco State University were I earned a MA in Visual Ethnography from the departments of cinema studies and anthropology. My thesis advisors were Trinh T. Minh-ha, Mina Davis Caulfield, and Fereydoun Safizadeh, each of whom contributed generously and distinctively to my experience.
I have two perennially unfinished projects, A Berber Fairytale and The Calligraphy of Sisters which–although unfinished–are alive somewhere, even if only on this page. (Hello, ghosts.)
The Pupil of Her Hand in the Palm of Her Eye (1994) 16mm film, 10 minutes, b/w, sound. A portrait of the evil eye in Morocco, with emphasis on the ethnographic process. Selected screenings include California Institute of the Arts (visiting artist); Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley (panelist); Portland Women’s Film Festival; Exposure Film Festival, Brisbane; Turbine Hall, Copenhagen; YYZ, Toronto; Nova Scotia School of Art and Design; Ann Arbor Film Festival (Co-op Film Award), and Bard College, NY.
Hajj (drinking from the stream) (1992) 16mm film, 20 minutes, b/w, sound. An experimental ethnography exploring rural Turkish and Kurdish women and notions of domestic power. Selected screenings include San Francisco Cinematheque; Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley (panelist); Millennium Film Archive, New York; Human Rights Watch Film Festival, Seattle and New York; European Film Festival, Belgium; 1995 UN Conference on Women, Beijing; YYZ, Toronto.
- National Endowment for the Arts Regional Media Arts Fellowship. 1991 and 1994.
- Film Arts Foundation Grant. 1993.
- Ann Arbor Film Festival Co-op Film Award. 1993.
- SFSU Cinema Department Film Finals Award. 1992.