Nat Geo WILD Rings in the New Decade and Its 10th Anniversary by Announcing Robust Slate of New Series and Specials

The Network’s Wild Look Ahead Includes Diverse Programming From Multiple Genres: Veterinary Profiles, Zoo Docs, Animal Rescue & Conservation and Sweeping Natural History

Beloved Australian Actress Naomi Watts to Narrate Franchise Series SECRETS OF THE ZOO: DOWN UNDER, Premiering March 1

Additional Key Announcements Include:

Next Season of Hit Series SECRETS OF THE ZOO (2/23)

New Series ALASKA ANIMAL RESCUE (4/11) and WORLD’S BIGGEST ZOO (Fall 2020)

New Natural History Special THE REAL BLACK PANTHER (Winter 2020) and Return of SAVAGE KINGDOM (Winter 2020)

New year, new decade, New “Roaring” ’20s — and Nat Geo WILD certainly has a lot to roar about. Celebrating its 10th year on the air, the fastest-growing network for animal lovers of all ages celebrates its wild achievements throughout the past decade by announcing its robust 2020 programming slate.

The network that made the Dog Whisperer Cesar Millan a household name has launched more than 200 series and 780 specials in its decade on air. Since the network first took to the airwaves on March 29, 2010, Nat Geo WILD has commissioned more than 2,000 hours of content and has grown by nearly 10 million households, reaching 59.3M in the U.S. Its global footprint delivers 247M international households in 131 countries in more than 40 languages.

Nat Geo WILD has distinguished itself as the premier destination for viewers who love animals and the natural world as much as we do. Over the years, we’ve been incredibly successful in breaking through with passionate animal caregivers, experts and advocates who are the heart and soul of our biggest hit series. We’ve also transformed National Geographic into a world leader in the creation of awe-inspiring blue-chip natural history,” says Geoff Daniels, executive vice president of global unscripted entertainment for National Geographic Global Networks. “I couldn’t be more proud of our results; the real-world impact we’ve had over these past 10 years; the lives we’ve touched; and the trails we continue to blaze. This is all in service of National Geographic’s mission and commitment to inspiring family audiences everywhere to join us in making our planet a better place for all living things for generations to come.”

Following the success of network stalwarts like WILD’s top ranker and longest-running series, THE INCREDIBLE DR. POL, vet-based docuseries have developed into franchise series, including DR. K’S EXOTIC ANIMAL ER, DR. OAKLEY, YUKON VET and DR. T, LONE STAR VET.

Zoo programming has also taken off on the network with original hit series SECRETS OF THE ZOO, featuring the world-renowned Columbus Zoo in Ohio, leading to the greenlight of SECRETS OF THE ZOO: TAMPA — which is posting strong numbers after only two weeks on air. And now, we’re going bigger — MUCH bigger — to the only country in the world that’s also a continent. SECRETS OF THE ZOO: DOWN UNDER premieres Sunday, March 1, at 10/9c, and is narrated by Academy Award-, Golden Globe- and BAFTA Award-nominated Australian actress Naomi Watts (“Luce,” “Mulholland Drive,” “The Impossible”). Watts, who is recognized for her love and concern for all of Australia’s indigenous animals, especially in perilous times, will lend her voice to this 10-part series set within the one of the world’s most famous zoos — Taronga Zoo — which employs more than 240 keepers who care for 5,000-plus animals. SECRETS OF THE ZOO: DOWN UNDER provides rare, behind-the-scenes access while also bringing to focus the horrific wildfires that have killed more than a billion of the continent’s animals.

Nat Geo WILD is renowned for its cinematic, natural history portfolio, underscored by its “Wild” franchise, beginning with early titles, including WILD MISSISSIPPI, AFRICA’S GREAT RIFT and WILD ALASKA. The successful performances of these specials launched a total of nearly 70 additional titles. Looking ahead, the network sinks its teeth further into natural history with the return of the beloved epic SAVAGE KINGDOM and the premiere of THE REAL BLACK PANTHER, profiling Saya, the only black panther in India’s Kabini Forest. This saga, told in first-person narrative, builds drama around Saya and his rival, Scarface, the current king of the forest, and tells an astounding story that defies the laws of natural selection.

NAT GEO WILD UPCOMING PROGRAMMING SLATE

*Schedule and Titles Subject to Change*

VET SERIES

New Series:

CRITTER FIXERS: COUNTRY VETS

Premieres Saturday, March 7, 10/9c; 6×60

Dr. Vernard Hodges and Dr. Terrence Ferguson are two lifelong friends who own and operate Critter Fixer Veterinary Hospital, located 100 miles south of Atlanta. Together with their loving staff, these physicians bring real heart, soul and a lot of humor to their treatment and care of more than 20,000 patients a year across their two locations. Between emergency visits to the office and farm calls throughout rural Georgia, this special team is constantly bombarded with unique cases. From a police dog with cactus thorns around her eye to a potbellied pig with life-threatening lacerations, for the Critter Fixer team, there is no such thing as “normal.”

Continue reading

Smithsonian Film Festival Celebrates Cultural and Linguistic Diversity

Fifth Annual Mother Tongue Film Festival Runs Feb. 20–23

The Smithsonian’s Recovering Voices Initiative will host a film festival that showcases films from around the world. Centered around the United Nation’s International Mother Language Day Feb. 21, the fifth annual Mother Tongue Film Festival will offer visitors the opportunity to see 21 films featuring 28 languages from 22 regions and hear from filmmakers who explore the power of language to connect the past, present and future. The four-day festival runs Feb. 20–23.

Vai looks on at her daughter Mata, filmed in Kuki Airani, one of seven Pacific Nations featured in Vai (2019). Photo courtesy of MPI Media

Recovering Voices is an initiative of the Smithsonian founded in response to the global crisis of cultural knowledge and language loss. It works with communities and other institutions to address issues of Indigenous language and knowledge diversity and sustainability. Recovering Voices is a collaboration between staff at the National Museum of Natural History, the National Museum of the American Indian and the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage.

The Mother Tongue Film Festival provides a forum for conversations about linguistic and cultural diversity,” said Joshua Bell, curator of globalization at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and director of the Smithsonian’s Recovering Voices Program. “It gives the public an opportunity to talk with directors, producers and scholars who devote their lives to documenting the human experience.”

Screenings will take place at multiple locations across the Smithsonian and Washington, D.C. A complete schedule of screenings, including times and locations, is available on the festival’s website. Doors will open approximately 30 minutes before each show. All screenings are free and open to the public, with weekend programming for families.

The festival kicks off with an opening reception Thursday, Feb. 20, at 6 p.m. at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian. Festival highlights include:

  • A performance by Uptown Boyz, a local intertribal drum group, before the screening of Restless River Feb. 20 at 7 p.m. in the National Museum of the American Indian’s Potomac Atrium. The film is set at the end of World War II and follows a young Inuk woman as she comes to terms with motherhood after being assaulted by a soldier. It is based on Gabrielle Roy’s 1970 short novel Windflower (La Riviere Sans Repos). This film contains a scene of sexual violence that some viewers may find disturbing.
  • The world premiere of Felicia: The Life of an Octopus Fisherwoman Feb. 21 at 11 a.m. in the National Museum of Natural History’s Q?rius Theater. Felicia is one of the thousands of Malagasy fishermen and women on the Velondriake archipelago whose way of life is increasingly threatened by poverty and political marginalization. As an orphan and later as a mother, she turns to the sea as a means for sustenance, even when migration and commercial trawling threaten small-scale fishing operations. Like many other women in Madagascar, she embodies a steadfast willingness to keep moving forward in the face of major challenges.
  • The North American premiere of Ainu—Indigenous People of Japan Feb. 22 at noon in the National Museum of Natural History’s Baird Auditorium. The film tells the stories of four elders from the declining Ainu population in Japan. It sheds light on their traditions, both past and present, and the efforts to keep the culture and language alive in Japan. A Q&A with the director will follow the screening.
  • Age-appropriate viewers can enjoy Québec beer courtesy of the Québec Governmental Office during a late-night screening of Blood Quantum Feb. 22 at 8 p.m. in New York University Washington, D.C.’s Abramson Family Auditorium. The dead come back to life outside the isolated Mi’gmaq reserve of Red Crow, except for its Indigenous inhabitants who are strangely immune to the zombie plague. The local tribal law enforcement officer must protect his son’s pregnant girlfriend, apocalyptic refugees and the drunken reserve riff raff from the hordes of walking corpses infesting the streets of Red Crow. This film contains strong bloody violence and may not be suitable for younger audiences.
  • A screening of One Day in the Life of Noah Piugattuk Feb. 23 at 3 p.m. in Georgetown University’s ICC Auditorium. The film is set in April 1961 as the Cold War heats up in Berlin and nuclear bombers are deployed from bases in the Canadian Arctic. In Kapuivik, north of Baffin Island, Noah Piugattuk’s nomadic Inuit band live and hunt by dog team as his ancestors did. When an agent of the Canadian government arrives, what appears as a chance meeting soon opens the prospect of momentous change, revealing Inuit-settler relationships humorously and tragically lost in translation. The events playing out in this film are depicted at the same rate as the characters experienced them in real life.
Continue reading

Walker Art Center Presents Native-Directed Film Series INDIgenesis: Gen 3, Guest Curated by Missy Whiteman

INDIgenesis: GEN 3, A Showcase of Indigenous Filmmakers and Storytellers, March 19–28

Presented over two weeks, the series INDIgenesis: GEN 3, guest curated by Missy Whiteman (Northern Arapaho and Kickapoo Nations), opens with an evening of expanded cinema and includes several shorts programs in the Walker Cinema and Bentson Mediatheque, an afternoon of virtual reality, and a closing-night feature film.

The ongoing showcase of works by Native filmmakers and artists is rooted in Indigenous principles that consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations. GEN 3 connects perspectives and stories from the past, present, and future to convey Indigenous truths, teachings, and values.

Indigenous artists use the creative process of filmmaking for revitalization and narrative sovereignty,” says Whiteman. “Our stories tell us where we came from, re-create our truths, affirm our languages and culture, and inspire us to imagine our Indigenous future. We come from the stars. How far will we take this medium?

Throughout the program, join conversations with artists and community members centered on themes of Indigenous Futurism, revitalization, and artistic creation.

Opening Night: Remembering the Future
Expanded Cinema Screening/Performance
Thursday, March 19, 7:30 pm Free, Walker Cinema

Missy Whiteman’s The Coyote Way: Going Back Home, 2016. Photo courtesy the filmmaker.

Combining film, a live score, hoop dancing, hip-hop, and spoken word, a collective of Indigenous artists led by curator Missy Whiteman creates an immersive environment that transcends time and place. Guided by ancestral knowledge systems, traditional stories, and contemporary forms of expression, the expanded cinema program features performances by DJ AO (Hopi/Mdewakatonwan Dakota), Sacramento Knoxx (Ojibwe/Chicano), Lumhe “Micco” Sampson (Mvskoke Creek/Seneca), and Michael Wilson (Ojibwe). Archival found footage and Whiteman’s sci-fi docu-narrative The Coyote Way: Going Back Home (2016), filmed in the community of Little Earth in South Minneapolis, illuminate the space.

Missy Whiteman’s The Coyote Way: Going Back Home, 2016. Photo courtesy the filmmaker.

View The Coyote Way: Going Back Home trailer

Indigenous Lens: Our RealityShort films by multiple directors
Friday, March 20, 7 pm, $10 ($8 Walker members, students, and seniors), Walker Cinema

This evening of short films showcases a collection of contemporary stories about what it means to be Indigenous today, portraying identity and adaptability in a colonialist system. The program spans a spectrum of themes, including two-spirit transgender love, coming of age, reflections on friends and fathers, “indigenizing” pop art, and creative investigations into acts of repatriation. Digital video, 85 mins

Copresented with Hud Oberly (Comanche/Osage/Caddo), Indigenous Program at Sundance Institute (in attendance).

Lore
Directed by Sky Hopinka (Ho-Chunk Nation/Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians)

Images of friends and landscapes are fragmented and reassembled as a voice tells stories, composing elements of nostalgia in terms of lore. 2019, 10 min. View excerpt.

Adam Khalil, Zack Khalil, Jackson Polys, and Bailey Sweitzer’s Culture Capture: Terminal Adddition, 2019. Photo courtesy the filmmakers.

Culture Capture: Terminal Adddition
Directed by New Red Order: Adam Khalil (Ojibway), Zack Khalil (Ojibway), Jackson Polys (Tlingit), Bayley Sweitzer

The latest video by the public secret society known as the New Red Order is an incendiary indictment of the norms of European settler colonialism. Examining institutionalized racism through a mix of 3D photographic scans and vivid dramatizations, this work questions the contemporary act of disposing historical artifacts as quick fixes, proposing the political potential of adding rather than removing. 2019, 7 min. View excerpt.

Shane McSauby’s Mino Bimaadiziwin, 2017. Photo courtesy the filmmaker.

Mino Bimaadiziwin
Directed by Shane McSauby (Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians)

A trans Anishinaabe man meets a young Anishinaabe woman who pushes him to reconnect with their culture. 2017, 10 min. View excerpt.

The Moon and the Night
Directed by Erin Lau (Kanaka Maoli)

Erin Lau’s The Moon and the Night, 2017. Photo courtesy the filmmaker.

Set in rural Hawaii, a Native Hawaiian teenage girl must confront her father after he enters her beloved pet in a dogfight. 2018, 19 min. View excerpt.

Erin Lau’s The Moon and the Night, 2017. Photo courtesy the filmmaker.
Erin Lau. Photo courtesy the filmmaker. Photo By: Antonio Agosto

Shinaab II
Directed by Lyle Michell Corbine, Jr. (Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Chippewa Indians)

A young man seeks to honor the memory of his late father in a film that looks at Ojibwe ideas surrounding death and mourning. 2019, 6 min.

Daniel Flores’ Viva Diva, 2019. Image courtesy the artist.

Viva Diva
Directed by Daniel Flores (Yaqui)

This road trip movie follows Rozene and Diva as they make their way down to Guadalajara for their gender affirmation surgeries. 2017, 15 min. View excerpt.

Daniel Flores. Image courtesy the artist.

Dig It If You Can
Directed by Kyle Bell (Creek-Thlopthlocco Tribal Town)

An insightful portrait of the self-taught artist and designer Steven Paul Judd (Kiowa), whose satirical manipulations of pop culture for an Indigenous audience are gaining a passionate, mass following as he realizes his youthful dreams. 2016, 18 min. View excerpt.

Continue reading

Cauleen Smith: Mutualities To Open At The Whitney In February

Mutualities, the multidisciplinary artist Cauleen Smith’s first solo show in New York, will open at the Whitney Museum of American Art on February 17. The exhibition includes two films, Sojourner (2018) and Pilgrim (2017), shown in two installation environments newly created for the Whitney, along with a group of new drawings, collectively titled Firespitters (2020).

Image credit: Cauleen Smith, still from Sojourner, 2018. Video, color, sound, 22:41 min. Courtesy of the artist, Corbett vs. Dempsey, Chicago, and Kate Werble Gallery, New York.

Scott Rothkopf, Senior Deputy Director and Nancy and Steve Crown Family Chief Curator, remarked, “We’re delighted to welcome Cauleen Smith back to the Whitney. With their exquisite atmosphere and construction, Sojourner and Pilgrim offer lyrical views of important figures and sites in Black history, and also look toward a shared future. The show builds a beautiful bridge between the other pillars of our spring exhibition program, pointing to the political concerns of Vida Americana and the spiritual uplift of Agnes Pelton.”

Smith (b. 1967)—whose banners were prominently featured at the Museum in the 2017 Whitney Biennial—draws on poetry, science fiction, non-Western cosmologies, and experimental film to create works that reflect on memory and Afro-diasporic histories.

Cauleen Smith is a multi-disciplinary artist whose work draws upon Black radical thought, structural film, poetry, and science fiction. Born in Riverside, California in 1967, she grew up in Sacramento, and earned a B.A. in Cinema from San Francisco State University and an MFA at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Theater Film and Television. At UCLA, she studied with the L.A. Rebellion filmmakers, a group of graduate students who started a Black Cinema movement at the university in the mid-1960s. She has made over 40 films, and her first feature length film, Drylongso (1998), premiered at the 1999 Sundance Film Festival before circulating with acclaim to other film festivals. She has had exhibitions at the Art Institute of Chicago, ICA Philadelphia, MASS MoCA, the Studio Museum of Harlem, the New Museum, New York, the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, and the Kitchen, New York, and was featured in the 2017 Whitney Biennial. She is the recipient of numerous awards and residencies including the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture (2007), the National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture, Artist Award (2012), the Washington Park Arts Incubator, Arts and Public Life Residency (2013), and the Rauschenberg Residency (2015). She has taught at various universities over the span of the last two decades, and is a Faculty member of Cal Arts School of Art in Los Angeles.

Chrissie Iles, the Whitney’s Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Curator, who has organized the show with Clémence White, senior curatorial assistant, commented, “We are proud to bring together Cauleen Smith’s films, installations, and drawings in an exhibition that articulates an ethics of care, engagement, and generosity. Each element of the show is experienced through another—books written and chosen by poets invited by the artist appear in delicate gouaches; a film tracing a pilgrimage to spiritual sites is bathed in the colored light of the installation surrounding it. The Museum’s recognition of Smith’s long and deeply engaged practice is underlined by our recent acquisition of both films, Sojourner and Pilgrim, which join her banners already in the Whitney’s collection.”

Unfolding across several important sites in Black spiritual and cultural history, the two films in the exhibition weave together writings by women from different eras, including Shaker visionary Rebecca Cox Jackson, abolitionist Sojourner Truth, the Black feminist Combahee River Collective of the 1970s, and experimental-jazz composer and spiritual leader Alice Coltrane, whose music also forms the soundtrack for both films. This gathering of voices enacts a shared Black female subjectivity, the collective strength of which is expressed in Smith’s poetic use of the camera and light as improvisational instruments to reveal how invention, creativity, and generosity can be resources for transformation and regeneration. By placing the title of this exhibition in the plural, Smith draws a connection between the two films while pointing to the idea that what is held in common is never singular.

In Sojourner, a group of women walk in procession through sites including Dockweiler State Beach and Watts Towers in Los Angeles. The women carry translucent orange banners, each emblazoned with part of a text by the jazz composer and spiritual leader Alice Coltrane (1937–2007). Watts Towers, a cluster of seventeen sculptural spires, served as a symbol of hope and regeneration after surviving the 1965 Watts Rebellion unscathed. Smith locates a similar spirit in assemblage artist Noah Purifoy’s Outdoor Desert Art Museum in Joshua Tree, California. The women end their procession there, listening to readings of the Black feminist Combahee River Collective, Sojourner Truth (1797–1833), and Alice Coltrane. Their collective voices, echoed in contemporary footage of the Chicago-based activist coalition R3 (Resist. Reimagine. Rebuild.), fuse spirituality and activism into a potent articulation of self-realization and resistance. The actions unfold not only within different sites within the film itself, but in an immersive kaleidoscopic environment of light and seating in the Museum that interconnects the film with a more expansive sense of place and collective presence.

Pilgrim traces the artist’s pilgrimage to three sites: Alice Coltrane’s Turiyasangitananda Vedantic Center in Agoura, California; Watts Towers in Los Angeles; and the Black spiritual activist Rebecca Cox Jackson’s (1795–1871) Watervliet Shaker community in upstate New York. Smith vividly evokes the creative atmosphere of each place, allowing the camera to slowly explore the ashram’s interior and Coltrane’s musical instruments, and using the soft grain and subtle color of Super 8 film to infuse the footage of Watts Towers and the flowers in the Shaker garden with an emotional intimacy. Jackson’s advocacy of racial and gender equality, her fight against the patriarchy of organized religion, and her awareness of the African roots of her faith resonate with Coltrane’s own hybrid, transnational spiritual and musical language. Both women’s challenges to accepted authority are, like the enduring independent spirit of Watts Towers, grounded in a sense of place, community, and generosity that are also hallmarks of Smith’s own transformative work.

The screenings of Smith’s films in High Line Art’s presentation of Signals from Here, organized by Melanie Kress, High Line Art Associate Curator, will take place from dusk until the park closes, on the High Line at 14th Street. The program includes Three Songs About Liberation (2017), Crow Requiem (2015), Lessons in Semaphore (2015), H-E-L-L-O (2014), and Songs for Earth and Folk (2013).

PUBLIC PROGRAM

Screening and Conversation with Cauleen Smith and Michael Gillespie Friday, March 27, 6:30 pm

In conjunction with the exhibition, the Whitney will present a rare screening of Passing Through (1977, 105 min) by LA Rebellion filmmaker Larry Clark, preceded by one of Cauleen Smith’s films. Following the screening, Smith will be in conversation with film scholar Michael Boyce Gillespie, Associate Professor of Film in the Department of Media and Communication Arts and the Black Studies Program at the City College of New York, City University of New York.

Tickets required. ($10 adults; $8 members, students, seniors, and visitors with a disability).

Cauleen Smith: Mutualities is part of the Whitney’s emerging artists program, sponsored by Nordstrom. Generous support is provided by The Rosenkranz Foundation. Additional support is provided by the Artists Council.

Nat Geo WILD and Sun Valley Film Festival Launch Seventh Annual Wild to Inspire Short Film Contest to Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day

Grand Prize Includes Festival Screening and Filmmaking Expedition Abroad

In partnership with the Sun Valley Film Festival, Nat Geo WILD announces the seventh annual Wild to Inspire short-film contest. This year, the contest is seeking short films inspired by the milestone 50th anniversary of Earth Day. National Geographic has a storied history of inspiring people to care about the planet and is now looking for films to help with this mission. Films should celebrate the natural world, inspire viewers to work toward a planet in balance in the 21st century and draw a connection to the Earth Day anniversary.

The grand-prize winner will receive a once-in-a-lifetime, all-expenses-paid excursion to one of the far corners of the globe to find out firsthand what it’s like to be a National Geographic filmmaker. Past winners have traveled to Africa and Peru.

U.S. residents are invited to submit a short film of three minutes or less using the submission platform Submittable™. Up to three finalists, announced in early March 2020, will receive an invitation to attend SVFF, which unites filmmakers and industry insiders from around the world, in Sun Valley, Idaho, March 18-22. At SVFF, the finalists will screen their films for festival attendees and before a panel of judges that includes Nat Geo WILD executives. The grand-prize winner will be announced at the festival’s closing ceremony.

National Geographic has always been at the forefront of storytelling excellence, having redefined the natural history genre throughout the decades,” says Chris Albert, EVP of global communications at National Geographic and Nat Geo WILD. “Which is why it’s so relevant to inspire the next generation of filmmakers who are eager to put our planet in the spotlight and encourage guardianship and sustainability through heightened awareness of our living, breathing and dynamic planet.

Since 2012, the Sun Valley Film Festival has invited fans and filmmakers to America’s first ski resort to celebrate the magic of storytelling. The year-round Sun Valley Film Initiative develops professionals and illuminates the process of filmmaking, propelling emerging voices with grants and education. Each March, SVFF celebrates with a slate of cutting-edge films and TV premieres, industry panels, engaging Coffee Talks with entertainment luminaries, a Screenwriters Lab led by award-winning writers and a series of parties culminating with the spectacular SVFF Awards Bash. The 2020 SVFF will be held March 18-22. SVFF is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. (Learn more at sunvalleyfilmfestival.org.)

Sun Valley is committed to bringing together the best and brightest in filmmaking while also celebrating the aspiring creators whose work deserves our attention,” says Teddy Grennan, executive director of the Sun Valley Film Festival. “Screening Wild to Inspire finalists during our annual festival is just one way this contest helps foster new talent.”

Continue reading

Aubrey Plaza Returns to Host 35th Film Independent Spirit Awards

Film Independent announced that Aubrey Plaza will return to host the 2020 Film Independent Spirit Awards. The Spirit Awards are the primary fundraiser for Film Independent’s year-round programs, which cultivate the careers of emerging filmmakers and promote diversity in the industry. Nominees were announced by Zazie Beetz (Atlanta, Joker, Deadpool 2) and Natasha Lyonne (Russian Doll, Ad Astra, Orange Is the New Black) on November 21. Best Feature nominees include A Hidden Life, Clemency, The Farewell, Marriage Story and Uncut Gems. The show will be broadcast live exclusively on IFC at 2:00 pm PT / 5:00 pm ET on Saturday, February 8, 2020.

2020 Film Independent Spirit Awards logo (Image provide by Film Independent)

Like all great independent film performances, this one deserves a sequel,” said Host Aubrey Plaza. “The people have spoken. Bow down to your host!

At a time when the world is so bitterly divided and civil discourse is almost impossible, it’s nice we can all agree that Aubrey Plaza is the greatest host in the history of hosting,” said Josh Welsh, Film Independent President. “We are thrilled to have her back. Today is also the last day to join Film Independent as a Member to get access to the nominated films and vote on the winners. Only a fool would not watch the Spirit Awards on IFC on February 8, 2 PM PST / 5 PM EST.”

Aubrey is back! Last year, fear of her signature take on hosting duties kept that other awards show host-less. We are excited to see what she brings to the tent this year,” said IFC Executive Director, Blake Callaway.

Now in its 35th year, the Film Independent Spirit Awards is an annual celebration honoring artist-driven films made with an economy of means by filmmakers whose films embody independence and originality. The Spirit Awards recognizes the achievements of American independent filmmakers and promotes the finest independent films of the year to a wider audience.

Plaza will next be seen starring in Black Bear, a suspenseful meta-drama, opposite Christopher Abbott and Sarah Gadon. The film, which she also produced, will premiere at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. She is currently in production on Lina Roessler’s Best Sellers opposite Michael Caine which is based on an original screenplay that won a 2015 Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting award. Plaza’s other feature film credits include: Ingrid Goes West (which she produced and received a 2018 Film Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature), Jeff Baena’s The Little Hours (also producer), Hal Hartley’s Ned Rifle, Colin Trevorrow’s Safety Not Guaranteed, Edgar Wright’s Scott Pilgrim vs. The World and Judd Apatow’s Funny People, among others. On television, she most recently starred in Noah Hawley’s Legion on FX and is well known for her role on NBC’s Parks & Recreation.

This year marks the 35th edition of the awards show that celebrates the best of independent film. Past Spirit Awards hosts have included Nick Kroll and John Mulaney, Kate McKinnon and Kumail Nanjiani, Fred Armisen and Kristen Bell, Patton Oswalt, Andy Samberg, Joel McHale, Sarah Silverman, Samuel L. Jackson, Eddie Izzard, Queen Latifah and John Waters, to name a few. The show, which will be held on the beach in Santa Monica, will be executive produced and directed by Joel Gallen of Tenth Planet Productions for the sixth consecutive year. Shawn Davis returns as producer for his 18th year, Rick Austin returns as producer for his fifth year and Danielle Federico and Andrew Schaff also return as co-producers.

Winners, who are selected by Film Independent Members, will be announced at the Spirit Awards on Saturday, February 8, 2020. The awards ceremony will be held on the beach in Santa Monica, just north of the Santa Monica Pier.

Winners of the Spirit Awards Filmmaker Grants will be announced at the Film Independent Spirit Awards Filmmaker Grant and Nominee Brunch on Saturday, January 4, 2020, at BOA Steakhouse in West Hollywood.

Continue reading

Culture Watch: Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation Announces Short List for the 2020 Hugo Boss Prize

Six artists have been short-listed for the Hugo Boss Prize 2020, the biennial award for significant achievement in contemporary art. The short list is selected by a panel of international curators and critics in recognition of artists whose work is transforming the field. Since its inception in 1996, the prize has consistently functioned as a platform for the most relevant and influential art of the present, and has become a cornerstone of the Guggenheim’s contemporary programming.

On the occasion of the thirteenth Hugo Boss Prize, I’m delighted to announce the finalists for the 2020 cycle,” said Nancy Spector, Artistic Director and Jennifer and David Stockman Chief Curator, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation, and jury chair. “After a rigorous examination of today’s artistic landscape, the jury identified a group of artists whose practices are beacons of cultural impact. While diverse in their approaches and themes, they each exemplify the spirit of experimentation and innovation that the prize has always championed.

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York logo

The Hugo Boss Prize recognizes the achievements of both emerging and established artists, and sets no restrictions in terms of age, gender, nationality, or medium. The winner, who will receive a $100,000 honorarium, will be announced in the fall of 2020 and will present a solo exhibition at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in spring 2021.

Since its inception in 1996, the Hugo Boss Prize has been awarded to twelve influential contemporary artists: American artist Matthew Barney (1996); Scottish artist Douglas Gordon (1998); Slovenian artist Marjetica Potrč (2000); French artist Pierre Huyghe (2002); Thai artist Rirkrit Tiravanija (2004); English artist Tacita Dean (2006); Palestinian artist Emily Jacir (2008); German artist Hans-Peter Feldmann (2010); Danish artist Danh Vo (2012); American artist Paul Chan (2014); American artist Anicka Yi (2016); and American artist Simone Leigh (2018). The related exhibitions have constituted some of the most compelling presentations in the museum’s history.

Previous finalists include Laurie Anderson, Janine Antoni, Cai Guo-Qiang, Stan Douglas, and Yasumasa Morimura in 1996; Huang Yong Ping, William Kentridge, Lee Bul, Pipilotti Rist, and Lorna Simpson in 1998; Vito Acconci, Maurizio Cattelan, Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset, Tom Friedman, Barry Le Va, and Tunga in 2000; Francis Alÿs, Olafur Eliasson, Hachiya Kazuhiko, Koo Jeong-A, and Anri Sala in 2002; Franz Ackermann, Rivane Neuenschwander, Jeroen de Rijke and Willem de Rooij, Simon Starling, and Yang Fudong in 2004; Allora & Calzadilla, John Bock, Damián Ortega, Aïda Ruilova, and Tino Sehgal in 2006; Christoph Büchel, Patty Chang, Sam Durant, Joachim Koester, and Roman Signer in 2008; Cao Fei, Roman Ondák,Walid Raad, Natascha Sadr Haghighian, and Apichatpong Weerasethakul in 2010; Trisha Donnelly, Rashid Johnson, Qiu Zhijie, Monika Sosnowska, and Tris Vonna-Michell in 2012; Sheela Gowda, Camille Henrot, Hassan Khan, and Charline von Heyl in 2014; Tania Bruguera, Mark Leckey, Ralph Lemon, Laura Owens, and Wael Shawky in 2016; and Bouchra Khalili, Teresa Margolles, Emeka Ogboh, Frances Stark, and Wu Tsang in 2018.

The following artists are finalists for the Hugo Boss Prize 2020:

  • Nairy Baghramian (b. 1971, Isfahan, Iran)
  • Kevin Beasley (b. 1985, Lynchburg, Va.)
  • Deana Lawson (b. 1979, Rochester, N.Y.)
  • Elias Sime (b. 1968, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia)
  • Cecilia Vicuña (b. 1948, Santiago, Chile)
  • Adrián Villar Rojas (b. 1980, Rosario, Argentina)

The Hugo Boss Prize is our most prestigious engagement in the field of arts,” said Mark Langer, CEO and Chairman of HUGO BOSS AG. “We are excited about this diverse and distinguished short list for 2020 and looking forward to the announcement of the winner next fall.

HUGO BOSS PRIZE 2020 SHORT LIST

Nairy Baghramian (b. 1971, Isfahan, Iran) lives and works in Berlin. In an oeuvre that probes the boundaries between the decorative, the utilitarian, and the art object, Baghramian has illuminated new possibilities for sculpture. The artist’s disarming biomorphic forms, made with a range of materials including steel, silicon, resin, and leather, elicit various unexpected art-historical and sociopolitical references, reimagining the workings of the body, gender, and public and private space.

Nairy Baghramian, Stay Downers: Nerd, Fidgety Philip, Dripper, Truant, Backrower and Grubby Urchin, 2017. Various media, dimensions variable
Installation view: Déformation Professionnelle, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, 2017–18. Courtesy the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery. Photo: Timo Ohler

Baghramian’s work has been presented in solo exhibitions such as Privileged Points, Mudam Luxembourg—Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean (2019), Breathing Spell (Un respire), Palacio de Cristal del Retiro, Madrid (2018); Déformation Professionnelle, Museum der Moderne Salzburg, and Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2017); S.M.A.K. Museum of Contemporary Art, Ghent (2016); Nairy Baghramian: Scruff of the Neck (Supplements), Zurich Art Prize, Museum Haus Konstruktiv, Zurich (2016); Hand Me Down, Museo Tamayo, Mexico City (2015); Fluffing the Pillows, MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, Mass. (2013), and Kunsthalle Mannheim, Germany (2012); and Class Reunion, Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver (2012).

Kevin Beasley (b. 1985, Lynchburg, Va.) lives and works in New York. Working at the intersection of sculpture, installation, and performance, Beasley constructs revelatory formal and sonic experiences. In works that embed found objects in substances such as resin, foam, and tar, or incorporate unconventionally manipulated audio equipment, he amplifies the cultural resonances of his materials to excavate personal and shared histories of class, race, and institutional power.

Kevin Beasley, Your face is / is not enough, 2016. Performance view: Liverpool Biennial, July 14, 2018. © Kevin Beasley. Photo: Pete Carr, courtesy Casey Kaplan, New York

Beasley has presented and performed in solo exhibitions such as ASSEMBLY, The Kitchen, New York (2019); a view of a landscape, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2018); Kevin Beasley, The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (2018); Movement V: Ballroom, CounterCurrent Festival, Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts, Houston (2017); Hammer Projects: Kevin Beasley, Hammer Museum at Art + Practice, Los Angeles (2017); Rubbings, Kim? Contemporary Art Center, Riga, Latvia (2017); and inHarlem: Kevin Beasley, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (2016).

Deana Lawson (b. 1979, Rochester, N.Y.) lives and works in New York. Her large-format photographs channel vernacular, art-historical, and documentary traditions within the medium, in compositions that valorize black diasporic culture. Picturing individuals she encounters over the course of her everyday life within carefully staged domestic settings, Lawson choreographs every nuance of scenery, lighting, and pose to create tableaux that powerfully evoke the agency of her subjects.

Deana Lawson, Mama Goma, Gemena, DR Congo, 2014. Pigment print
35 x 44.125 inches (88.9 x 112.1 cm). © Deana Lawson, courtesy Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York, and Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago

Lawson’s work has been presented in solo exhibitions including Deana Lawson, Huis Marseille, Museum voor Fotografie, Amsterdam (2019); Deana Lawson: Planes, The Underground Museum, Los Angeles (2018); Deana Lawson, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh (2018); Deana Lawson, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (2017); Deana Lawson, The Art Institute of Chicago (2015); and Corporeal, Light Work, Syracuse, N.Y. (2009).

Continue reading