CalArtians Win at 72nd Locarno Film Festival

The 72nd Locarno Film Festival. | Image from Facebook

Akosua Adoma Owusu (Art-Film/Video MFA 08) and Danski Tang (Film/Video MFA 19) were awarded prizes at the 72nd annual Locarno Film Festival in Locarno, Switzerland.

Owusu won the Premio Medien Patent Verwaltung AG Prize for White Afro, pieced together from archival footage of hairdressers instructing how to offer perms to white customers. The film, which employs the artist’s signature editing style and underlying political messages, continues Owusu’s research into hairdressing in a racial context. Owusu was also awarded the Villa Sträuli residency, a five-month artist residency in Winterthur, Switzerland, held in collaboration with the film festival.

Owusu is a Ghanaian-American filmmaker whose work addresses the “collision of identities.” She is the recipient of various grants and fellowships, including from the MacDowell Colony, the Knight Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation and Creative Capital. Owusu’s work resides in the permanent collections of the Fowler Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Centre Pompidou and Indiana University Bloomington, which houses the Black Film Center/Archive.

Tang was awarded the Pardino d’argento SRG SSR for the Pardi di domani International Competition for Umbilical, which explores the artist’s experiences at a Chinese boarding school, her mother’s abusive marriage and their shared desire for normalcy. The film, animated in a tender and simplistic style, imparts “the intricacies of gender and sexual identification, and the unique bond between mother and child.”

Tang is a Chinese-born and LA-based interdisciplinary artist specializing in 2D hand-drawn animation. In her practice, Tang explores themes of gender, culture and body politics. Her works have been screened in various film festivals, including Annecy International Animated Film Festival, Hiroshima International Animation Festival and Krok International Animated Film Festival.

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