Over the next week, Jeonju International Film Festival (JIFF) will show work from Lei Lei and James Benning, both of whom are faculty in the CalArts School of Film/Video. JIFF takes place in Jeonju-si, South Korea, and prides itself on being at the forefront of international and experimental filmmaking.
On view for the duration of the festival, Benning’s video installation Birth of a Nation attempts to explore the beginnings of racism. The installation is comprised of three different video channels all depicting scenes from D.W. Griffith’s 1915 film The Birth of Nation. By juxtaposing a fallen soldier in battle, black slaves picking cotton and Ku Klux Klan members marching, Benning showcases the synchronous moments of troubling American history. In an interview with the filmmaker last year, BFI described Benning as “legendary for the formal rigour and patience of his landscape films” and “for his devotion to 16mm.”
Lei’s film Breathless Animals presents a new vision for the potentiality of documentary filmmaking and screens May 4, 5 and 11. The work centers around a mother pondering her dreams and past adolescent life, visually rendered via photographs, interviews, animation and found footage. Lei uses statements from his own mother to craft a visual narrative that overlaps personal recollection with musings on Chinese culture and modernity. The film recently screened at Art of the Real, a nonfiction and hybrid festival from The Film Society and Lincoln Center, and premiered earlier this year at the Berlin International Film Festival.
Launched in 2000, JIFF describes itself as a “non-competitive film festival that adopts partial competition.” The festival spotlights innovative works coming out of the contemporary alternative film world, with the aim of showcasing the art-house films of the future. It also gives promising filmmakers the opportunity to meet and connect with international and more-established artists.
Jeonju International Film Festival
May 2 – 11
Jeonju, South Korea