Filmmaker John Greyson to Conduct Screenings, Workshops at CalArts this Week

Much of Canadian filmmaker John Greyson’s work (Lilies, Uncut, Zero Patience) incorporates political themes and gay issues in ways that are provocative, yet funny. He often includes song and history in his films, using narrative, essay and documentary to elicit action–or at least to ignite audience curiosity–on particular subjects.

An artist-activist to the core, Greyson made a decision to pull his short film Covered from the Toronto International Film Festival last September because of the Festival’s decision to highlight Tel Aviv in the City-to-City Spotlight program without including Palestinian voices to the festival mix. His personal boycott triggered international debate.

Greyson visits CalArts this week directly from screening Covered at the 2010 Berlinale. The film is an experimental documentary about the violent closing of the first Queer Sarajevo Festival, and it blurs the lines between truth and fiction.

While he’s on campus, there will be several opportunities for students to work with and learn from Greyson directly through film screening events, lectures, workshops and individual meetings. Two events are open to the public:

  • Today (Feb. 17) from 1-4 pm: Lilies will be screened at the Bijou Theater on campus and will be followed by a Q&A with Greyson.
  • On Friday (Feb. 19) from 1-4 pm: Greyson will give a guest lecture on Media Activism and Humor. The workshop will include short films by Greyson and other filmmakers. Film/Video faculty Abigail Severance will host and introduce the event. (Priority seating will be given to students students enrolled in FD 518 Guest Artist Workshop.)

To get a glimpse into Greyson’s work, watch the 4 Throats snippet posted above from Fig Trees (2009) his feature length “documentary opera” about the struggles of AIDS activists as they fight for access to treatment drugs.

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