Associate Professor Ariana Gerstein received her M.F.A. from the School of Art Institute of Chicago on the prestigious Trustees Merit Scholarship. Her independent productions have included digital video, sculpture, installation and performance. Her films have been screened at festivals worldwide including International Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam, London International, European Media Arts Festival in Osnabrueck, Germany, Media City in Canada, New York Film Festival, SXSW, and others. She has had shows at MOMA, San Francisco Cinematheque, the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art, Deutsches Filmmueseum, Frankfort, Pacific Film Archives in Berkley, and other locations. Awards include the Gus Van Sant Award for Best Experimental Film from Ann Arbor Film Festival, Golden Gate Award from San Francisco International FIlm Festival, Special Jury Award for Artistry in Documentary at Atlanta Film Festival, Truer Than Fiction/Independent Spirit Award with Monteith McCollum.
Ariana's work has received support from the Rockefeller Media Arts Fellowship in 2008 as well as grants form New York Council on the Arts, New York Foundation of the Arts, The National Endowment for the Arts, and from Illinois Arts Council. Experimental documentaries Alice Sees The Light http://www.pbs.org/pov/alice/interview.php and Milk in The Land, were nationally broadcast on the P.B.S. series P.O.V. She has served on the Artist Advisory Board of the New York State Council of the Arts and is on the artist advisory board of the New York Foundation for the arts. Her current work includes making use of the desktop scanner as a stop motion camera.
Professor Vincent Grenier was born in Québec City, Canada. He has lived largely in the US. mostly New York City. In spite of this, he was a frequent contributor to the Montreal Art scene of the 70's and 80's as well as the SF bay areas in the early 70's. He has made experimental films since the early seventies when he received an MFA at the San Francisco Art Institute in California. Grenier's films have been shown in the United States, Canada and Europe at showcases such as the Museum of Modern Art in NYC, the Anthology Film Archives, the Pacific Film Archives, the Collective for Living Cinema and Cinéma Parallel in Montréal. His films and videos have earned him production grants from the Canada Council, and in New York State, from CAPS, NYFA, and ETC.
He has made over two dozen films and more recently videos, such as TABULA RASA (7.5 min. 2004), 2nd prize Media City Festival, Windsor, Canada; Views from the Avant Garde, New York Film Festival and Onion Film & Video Festival, HERE (6.5 min, 2002) Awarded Gold for best Experimental film, New York Film Expo, COLOR STUDY (4.5 min, 2000) Rotterdam Film festival, London and Toronto Film Festivals, Lincoln Center, Second prize at the Black Maria Film Festival and MATERIAL INCIDENTS, (6 min. 2001), Rotterdam Film Festival, & New York Video Festival, FEET (27 min., video, 1994) won second prize at the 1995 Black Maria Festival and was shown in the WNET series Reel NY. His films include: OUT IN THE GARDEN (1991)--Best Documentary, 1992 Ann Arbor Film Festival, Best Experimental Documentary, 16th Atlanta Film/Video Festival, shown on WNET and London Film Festival; YOU (1990)--Black Maria Festival; TIME'S WAKE (1987)--Prize Winner Black Maria Festival; INTERIEUR INTERIORS (1978)--Prize Winner, San Francisco Are institute Film Festival; WORLD IN FOCUS (1976)--Second Prize Winner, Ann Arbor Film Festival; and WINDOW WIND CHIMES (1974)--Prize Winner, Bellevue Film Festival in Oregon. Seven of his films & videos were curated in the Whitney Museum of American Art 1970-2000 American Century Film program. Films by Grenier are included in the Donell media library in NYC, the National Film Archive, Ottawa, the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, AGO, Toronto and at many other institutions in Canada and the US. Grenier has been active as a film programmer throughout his career, notably, at the Canyon Cinematheque in San Francisco and the Collective for Living Cinema in NYC. He has taught at the San Francisco Art Institute, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, Adelphi University, and Ithaca College.
Associate Professor and Department Chair Brian Wall completed his PhD at the University of Western Ontario, reading Samuel Beckett's plays for radio, television and film through Theodor Adorno's dialectic of the modernist work of art and the culture industry. His primary research areas include critical theory-particularly that of Adorno and Benjamin-and the historical avant garde (in a variety of media); other research interests include film noir, Weimar cinema, paracinema, Marxism, psychoanalysis and phenomenology. He has published articles on Beckett, Bataille, The Big Lebowski and Buffy, and most recently a book, Theodor Adorno and Film Theory: The Fingerprint of Spirit (2013).
Chantal Rodais has been teaching in the Cinema Department since 2005 courses on the Documentary Film, post-1968 American cinema, war in film, Science Fiction cinema, the Road Movie genre, Jim Jarmusch, and Stanley Kubrick. Her other research interests include the historical catastrophe in cinema and Walter Benjamin's concepts of aesthetics and history, critical theory –particularly Rancière and Nancy, the Shoah in film, French cinema since the 1990s, Marguerite Duras's literary and cinematic work, and the films of Alejandro González Iñárritu, Abbas Kiarostami, Béla Tarr, and Amos Gitai.
Visiting Assistant Professor David LaRocca was educated at Buffalo, Berkeley, Vanderbilt, and Harvard (B.A., Hon., ΦΒΚ, M.A., M.T.S., Ph.D.), where he studied philosophy, film, rhetoric, and religion. At Harvard, he worked with Stanley Cavell and Giuliana Bruno, and edited Stanley Cavell’s Emerson’s Transcendental Etudes (Stanford University Press). He served as Harvard’s Sinclair Kennedy Traveling Fellow in the United Kingdom, participated in a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Summer Institute and in The School of Criticism and Theory at Cornell University. In recent years, he taught film theory, history, and analysis in the Department of Cinema, Photography, and Media Arts in the Roy H. Park School of Communications at Ithaca College, value theory and film as Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the College at Cortland (where he was recipient of a Teaching Innovation Award), and fulfilled an appointment as Visiting Scholar in the Department of English at Cornell University, which culminated with the publication of The Bloomsbury Anthology of Transcendental Thought: From Antiquity to the Anthropocene.
LaRocca has edited three books on film: The Philosophy of Charlie Kaufman, The Philosophy of War Films, and The Philosophy of Documentary Film: Image, Sound, Fiction, Truth. Journal articles have appeared in Afterimage, Epoché, Liminalities, Transactions, Film and Philosophy, The Senses and Society, The Midwest Quarterly, Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies, The Journal of Aesthetic Education, and The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism. He has contributed book chapters on Michael Mann, Spike Lee, the Coen brothers, Tim Burton, Errol Morris, Werner Herzog, Casey Affleck, and Sofia Coppola, among others. He wrote the introduction to Takashi Homma’s New Waves and the afterword to Julian Hibbard’s Schematics. As a documentary filmmaker, he produced and edited six features in The Intellectual Portrait Series, and more recently directed Brunello Cucinelli: A New Philosophy of Clothes, which premiered at the New York City International Film Festival. He participated in a cinema workshop with Abbas Kiarostami and attended Werner Herzog’s Rogue Film School.
Assistant Professor Monteith McCollum is an independent filmmaker, musician and educator who has taught at various schools in Chicago, Illinois and upstate New York such as Columbia College, Broome Community College and Ithaca College. He has been a visiting artist at colleges including Boston Museum School, Art Institute of Chicago and University of Iowa. As director of the award winning feature documentary Hybrid, Monteith has traveled extensively showing his work and speaking about film. In 2002 he was selected to tour on the Southern Circuit where he showed work and toured to Universities and high schools in the South. Monteith has served as a juror at various film festivals including the Bermuda International Film Festival, Slamdance, Ann Arbor, and Big Muddy at the University of Illinois. Since 2002 he has served as an advisory board member in film for the New York Foundation for the Arts. Hybrid was broadcast nationally on PBS and Arte in France. It premiered in New York at MOMA's New Directors/New Films. It also garnered many awards, including the IFP/Direct TV truer than fiction Independent Spirit Award in Los Angeles California.
Monteith has received grants from NYFA separately in both film and sound composition, two grants from NYSCA and the prestigious NYFA Prize, which is awarded to one NYFA winner in competition with all others across categories on a given year. With Ariana Gerstein, he was named a Rockefeller Fellow for their collaborative work in documentary. Other honors include over a dozen best of festival awards at San Francisco International, Amsterdam Documentary Festival, Slamdance, Ann Arbor, Bermuda, Nashville, South by Southwest, and Amsterdam International Documentary Festival to name a few. His short films Lawn and Milk in the Land were shown on PBS as part of the P.O.V. series.
Assistant Professor Tomonari Nishikawa films explore the idea of documenting situations/phenomena through a chosen medium and technique, often focusing on process itself. His films have been screened at numerous film festivals and art venues, including Berlinale, Edinburgh International Film Festival, Hong Kong International Film Festival, International Film Festival Rotterdam, London Film Festival, Media City Film Festival, New York Film Festival, Singapore International Film Festival, and Toronto International Film Festival. His film, sound of a million insects, light of a thousand stars, received grand prize at Curtocircuíto International Film Festival and Arouca Film Festival in 2015, and his film installation, Building 945, received the 2008 Grant Award from the Museum of Contemporary Cinema in Spain. In 2010, he presented a series of 8mm and 16mm films at MoMA P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, and he has been an artist-in-residence at Headlands Center for the Arts, Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto, and the MacDowell Colony.
Since 2006, Nishikawa has been curating screening programs for various venues, including Early Monthly Segments in Toronto, Segal Centre in Montréal, and Yebisu International Festival for Art & Alternative Visions in Tokyo. In 2010, he was appointed as a screening program consultant for the Aichi Art Triennale in Japan, and he served as a juror for the 2010 Ann Arbor Film Festival, the 2012 Big Muddy Film Festival, and the 2013 dresdner schmalfilmtage. He is one of the co-founders of KLEX: Kuala Lumpur Experimental Film and Video Festival and Transient Visions: Festival of the Moving Image.
Visiting Assistant Professor DAÏCHI SAÏTO is an independent filmmaker based in Montreal, Canada. As co-founder and administrator of Double Negative, a Montreal-based group of film/video/installation/projection performance artists dedicated to the exhibition and production of experimental cinema, Saïto has been actively involved in Montreal's filmmaking community. His work has been widely exhibited in major film festivals, museums, galleries and cinematheques worldwide, including: Centre Pompidou; The Austrian Film Museum; Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art in Porto; San Francisco MOMA; The New York Film Festival; The International Film Festival Rotterdam; The London Film Festival; The Edinburgh International Film Festival; The Hong Kong International Film Festival, among many others. In 2010, his film Trees of Syntax, Leaves of Axis won the Best of the Festival Award at the 48th Ann Arbor Film Festival and the Jury Grand Prize at the 16th Media City Film Festival. In the New York magazine Film Comment's survey "A Decade in the Dark: Avant-Garde Film & Video 2000 – 2009," Saïto was ranked third among the "25 Filmmakers for the 21st Century." His films are in the permanent collections of the Austrian Film Museum (Vienna) and the Slovenian Cinematheque (Ljubljana) and distributed by Light Cone (Paris), Arsenal (Berlin) and the CFMDC (Toronto). Besides his artistic practice, Saïto has been active in curating programmes of experimental cinema over a decade, recently as Co-Director of CinemaSpace at the Segal Centre for Performing Arts in Montreal (2010-12). Saïto holds a BFA in Film and a MFA in Studio Arts from Concordia University in Montreal and has taught cinema at NSCAD University in Halifax, Escuela Internacional de Cine y TV de San Antonio de los Baños (EICTV) in Cuba and Concordia University in Montreal. In 2013, his book Moving the Sleeping Images of Things Towards the Light was published by Le laps in Montreal. The book has since been translated into Spanish and Slovenian.
Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Ken Jacobs, was born in Brooklyn, NY, in 1933. He studied painting with one of the prime creators of Abstract Expressionism, Hans Hofmann, in the mid-fifties. It was then that he also began filmmaking (Star Spangled To Death). His personal star rose, to just about knee high, with the sixties advent of Underground Film. In 1967, with the involvement of his wife Florence and many others aspiring to a democratic -rather than demagogic- cinema, he created The Millennium Film Workshop in New York City. A nonprofit filmmaker's co-operative open to all, it made available film equipment, workspace, screenings and classes at little or no cost. Later he found himself teaching large classes of painfully docile students at St. John's University in Jamaica, Queens. In 1969, after a week's guest seminar at Harpur College (now, Binghamton University), students petitioned the Administration to hire Ken Jacobs. Despite his lack of a high school diploma, the Administration -during that special period of anguish and possibility- decided that, as a teacher, he was "a natural." Together with Larry Gottheim he organized the SUNY system's first Department of Cinema, teaching thoughtful consideration of every kind of film but specializing in avant garde cinema appreciation and production (Department graduates are world-recognized as having an exceptional presence in this field). His own early studies under Hofmann would increasingly figure in his filmwork, making for an Abstract Expressionist cinema, clearly evident in his avant garde classic Tom, Tom, The Piper's Son (1969) and increasingly so in his subsequent devising of the unique Nervous System series of live film-projection performances. The American Museum Of The Moving Image in Astoria, Queens, hosted a full retrospective of his work in 1989, The New York Museum Of Modern Art held a partial retrospective in 1996, as did The American House in Paris in 1994 and the Arsenal Theater in Berlin in 1986 (during his 6-month stay as guest-recipient of Berlin's DAAD award). He has also performed in Japan, at the Louvre in Paris, the Getty Center in Los Angeles, etc. Honors include the Maya Deren Award of The American Film Institute, the Guggenheim Award and a special Rockefeller Foundation grant. A 1999 interview with Ken Jacobs can be seen online as part of The University Of California at Berkeley's series of Conversations With History.