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.

Denver Art Museum Presents Untitled: Creative Fusions

Evening programming features collaborations with local artists, pop-up art installations, performances and more

The Denver Art Museum (DAM) will kick off its new season of Untitled: Creative Fusions on January 31, 2020, with an unprecedented night of pop-up art installations, performances, interactive elements and more created by local artists Eileen Roscina Richardson and Joshua Ware in collaboration with 17 local creatives.

Untitled: Creative Fusions is a newly reimagined version of Untitled, presenting a bigger, bolder program at the Denver Art Museum in 2020. Taking place four times a year, Untitled: Creative Fusions will bring local creatives together to merge their artistic practices with the DAM’s exhibitions and artworks.

(Untitled is included in general museum admission, however, a special exhibition ticket is required for Claude Monet: The Truth of Nature.)

Creatives Eileen Roscina Richardson & Joshua Ware. Image courtesy of Denver Art Museum.

Inspired by Claude Monet: The Truth of Nature and The Light Show, Richardson and Ware join forces to investigate the wild and the constructed through the theme Entanglements. Visitors are invited to explore the space between the man-made and the natural, where humans and nature are irrevocably intertwined.

With can’t-miss moments including live ice sculpting by Jess Parris, pop-up installations by the lead creators, wheat pasting with We Were Wild, a complimentary liquid nitrogen popcorn station courtesy of The Inventing Room, beats by Dance the NightShift and more, visitors can expect a once-in-a-lifetime night at the DAM during Untitled.

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Walker Art Center Announces Extensive 2020–2021 Exhibition Schedule Highlights

The Walker Arts Center continues to flesh out what is considerably a very dynamic exhibition schedule for the next two years. Additions to the Walker Art Center’s 2020–2021 exhibition schedule include two new solo exhibitions by female artists, Faye Driscoll: Thank You for Coming (February 27–June 14, 2020) and Candice Lin (April 17–August 29, 2021) as well as a Walker collection show of women artists, Don’t let this be easy (July 16–March 14, 2021). For her first solo museum exhibition, Faye Driscoll incorporates a guided audio soundtrack, moving image works, and props to look back across the entirety of her trilogy of performances Thank You For ComingAttendance (2014), Play (2016), and Space (2019)—works that were presented and co-commissioned by the Walker and subsequently toured around the world over the past six years. Another newly added exhibition, Candice Lin, is the first US museum solo show by the artist, co-organized by the Walker Art Center and the Carpenter Center for Visual Arts (CCVA). Lin is creating a site-specific installation that responds to the space of the gallery at each institution, allowing the shape of the work to evolve over the course of its presentation.

The Walker-organized exhibition Don’t let this be easy highlights the diverse and experimental practices of women artists spanning some 50 years through a selection of paintings, sculptures, moving image works, artists’ books, and materials from the archives.

The initiative is presented in conjunction with the Feminist Art Coalition (FAC), a nationwide effort involving more than 60 museums committed to social justice and structural change.

Other upcoming exhibitions include An Art Of Changes: Jasper Johns Prints, 1960–2018 (February 16–September 20, 2020), a survey of six decades of Johns’ work in printmaking drawn from the Walker’s complete collection of the artists’ prints including intaglio, lithography, woodcut, linoleum cut, screenprinting, lead relief, and blind embossing; The Paradox of Stillness: Art, Object, and Performance (formerly titiled Still and Yet) (April 18–July 26, 2020), is an exhibition that rethinks the history of performance featuring artists whose works include performative elements but also embrace acts, objects, and gestures that refer more to the inert qualities of traditional painting or sculpture than to true staged action.

Additional exhibitions include Michaela Eichwald’s (June 13–November 8, 2020) first US solo museum presentation, bringing together painting, sculpture, and collage from across the past 10 years of her practice; Designs for Different Futures (September 12, 2020 – January 3, 2021)—a collaborative group show co-organized by the Walker Art Center, Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Art Institute of Chicago—brings together about 80 dynamic works that address the challenges and opportunities that humans may encounter in the years, decades, and centuries to come; Rayyane Tabet (December 10, 2020– April 18, 2021), a solo show by the Beirut-based multidisciplinary artist featuring a new installation for the Walker that begins with a time capsule discovered on the site of what was once an IBM manufacturing facility in Rochester, Minnesota.

OPENING EXHIBITIONS

CONTINUING EXHIBITIONS



Photo Credit: Flags I, 1973. Screenprint on paper, 27 3/8 x 35 ½ in. ed. 3/65. Collection Walker Art Center, Gift of Judy and Kenneth Dayton, 1988. © Jasper Johns/VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

An Art Of Changes: Jasper Johns Prints, 1960–2018, February 16–September 20, 2020. Gallery B/Target

When Jasper Johns’s paintings of flags and targets debuted in 1958, they brought him instant acclaim and established him as a critical link between Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art. In the ensuing 60 years, Johns (US, b. 1930) has continued to astonish viewers with the beauty and complexity of his paintings, drawings, sculpture, and prints. Today, he is considered one of the 20th century’s greatest American artists.

Artist: Jasper Johns Title: Figure 7 from the Color Numeral Series Date: 1969 Medium: lithograph on paper Accession number: 1985.319 Credit Line: Gift of Kenneth Tyler, 1985. Repro Rights: VAGA; Art copyright Jasper Johns / Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY.
Artist: Jasper Johns Title: Target Date: 1960 Medium: lithograph on paper Accession number: 1988.181 Credit Line: Gift of Judy and Kenneth Dayton, 1988. Repro Rights: VAGA; Art copyright Jasper Johns / Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY.

In celebration of the artist’s 90th birthday, An Art of Changes surveys six decades of Johns’s work in printmaking, highlighting his experiments with familiar, abstract, and personal imagery that play with memory and visual perception in endlessly original ways. The exhibition features some 90 works in intaglio, lithography, woodcut, linoleum cut, screenprinting, and lead relief—all drawn from the Walker’s comprehensive collection of the artist’s prints.

Target, 1974
Screenprint on paper
35 1/8 x 27 3/8 inches
Collection Walker Art Center, Gift of Judy and Kenneth Dayton, 1988
© Jasper Johns/VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY
Artist: Jasper Johns Title: Untitled Date: 2000 Medium: linocut on paper Accession number: 2001.197 Credit Line: Gift of the artist, 2001. Repro Rights: VAGA; Art copyright Jasper Johns / Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY.
Artist: Jasper Johns Title: Untitled Date: 2016 Medium: Linoleum-cut on paper Accession number: 2017.6 Credit Line: Collection Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Gift of the artist, 2017. Photo by Gene Pittman for Walker Art Center.
Artist: Jasper Johns Title: Fragment of a Letter Date: 2010 Medium: intaglio on paper Accession number: 2011.59.1-.2 Credit Line: Gift of the artist, 2011. Repro Rights: VAGA; Art copyright Jasper Johns / Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY.
Artist: Jasper Johns Title: Between the Clock and the Bed Date: 1989 Medium: Lithograph on paper Accession number: 1991.155 Credit Line: Collection Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Stacy Roback, 1991. Repro Rights: VAGA, Art © Jasper Johns/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY. Photo by Gene Pittman for Walker Art Center.

Organized in four thematic sections, the show follows Johns through the years as he revises and recycles key motifs over time, including the American flag, numerals, and the English alphabet, which he describes as “things the mind already knows.” Some works explore artists’ tools, materials, and techniques. Others explore signature aspects of the artist’s distinctive mark-making, including flagstones and hatch marks, while later pieces teem with autobiographical imagery. To underscore Johns’s fascination with the changes that occur when an image is reworked in another medium, the prints will be augmented by a small selection of paintings and sculptures.

Artist Jasper Johns at work in his studio
Artist: Jasper Johns Title: Savarin Date: 1977 Medium: Lithograph on paper Accession number: 1988.276 Credit Line: Collection Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Gift of Judy and Kenneth Dayton, 1988. Repro Rights: VAGA, Art © Jasper Johns/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY.

Curator: Joan Rothfuss, guest curator, Visual Arts.

  • Exhibition Tour
    Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh: October 12, 2019–January 20, 2020
    Walker Art Center, Minneapolis: February 16–September 20, 2020
    Grand Rapids Art Museum, Michigan: October 24, 2020–January 24, 20
    21
    Tampa Art Museum, Florida: April 28–September 6, 2021
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MFA Boston Hosts Third-Annual Boston Festival of Films from Japan, Made Possible by 10-Year Partnership with UNIQLO

Free Opening Night Celebration Features Screening of Madhouse’s “Okko’s Inn” and Music by DJ Yuzu Kosho

From a heartwarming anime ghost story to a neo-noir thriller, 10 of the best feature films recently produced in Japan are screening at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), from January 30 through February 23, 2020. The third-annual Boston Festival of Films from Japan, made possible through the MFA’s 10-year partnership with global apparel retailer UNIQLO, kicks off with a free screening of Okko’s Inn (2018), the latest feature film from famed anime studio Madhouse. The opening night celebration on January 30 will also feature a set by local DJ Yuzu Kosho (Marié Abe), whose musical selection runs the gamut from retro kitsch to contemporary experimental sounds from Japan; an art-making activity inspired by a koi kite-flying scene in the film; and a showcase of the latest line of UNIQLO T-shirts inspired by works from the MFA’s renowned Japanese art collection. In addition to Okko’s Inn, highlights of the 2020 Boston Festival of Films from Japan include the exciting neo-noir thriller First Love (2019) from prolific auteur Takashi Miike and Shinobu Yaguchi’s award-winning Dance with Me (2019), a musical road-trip adventure filled with dance, humor and heart.

Free tickets for opening night can be reserved online only starting at 10 am on January 30. Tickets for all additional BFFJ films are $10 for MFA members and $13 for nonmembers, available starting January 23.

BFFJ 2020 Films

Okko’s Inn, directed by Kitarō Kōsaka (Japan, 2018, 94 min.)

Okko’s Inn

Okko’s Inn is the latest feature from famed anime studio Madhouse and director Kitarō Kōsaka, a key animator on numerous classic films at the venerable Studio Ghibli. Seamlessly blending immersive, idyllic landscapes with storybook charm, Okko’s Inn delivers a rare ghost story that—despite several floating characters—is firmly grounded in the trials and joys of humanity.

Killing, directed by Shin’ya Tsukamoto (Japan, 2018, 80 min.)

Set during the tumultuous mid-19th century Edo period of Japan, Killing is the story of a master-less samurai or rōnin named Mokunoshin Tsuzuki. As the prevalent peace and tranquility are threatened by impending war, the swordsman feels restlessness creep upon him. The stark consideration of violence and honor is handled with masterful artistry by one of contemporary Japanese cinema’s most essential auteurs.

First Love, directed by Takashi Miike (Japan, 2019, 108 min.)

Hatsukoi (First Love)

Prolific auteur Takashi Miike’s First Love is an exciting neo-noir thriller that takes place over one night in Tokyo. After meeting a troubled young woman named Monica, Leo, a young boxer, finds himself unexpectedly caught up in the world of drug smuggling, police corruption, the yakuza, and a female assassin sent by the Chinese triads.

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Sundance ASCAP Music Café Presents 22nd Anniversary Lineup

Performances includes Renowned And Emerging Artists Including Matt Berninger, Derek Smalls, the bird and the bee, Barry Zito, Aaron Lee Tasjan, Matthew Koma, ZZ Ward And More

ASCAP (The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) announces an eclectic music lineup for its 22nd Annual Sundance ASCAP Music Café, taking place January 24 – 31, 2020 during the acclaimed Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. Beginning at 2 p.m. each day, the Café will feature a dynamic mix of both established and emerging songwriters and artists such as Matt Berninger (of The National), Derek Smalls (formerly of the band formerly known as Spinal Tap), the bird and the bee, Barry Zito, Aaron Lee Tasjan, Matthew Koma (of Winnetka Bowling League) and ZZ Ward.

ASCAP Logo (PRNewsfoto/ASCAP)

For 22 years, Sundance ASCAP Music Café has shined a spotlight on the exquisite alchemy of sound and vision embodied by the art of filmmaking,” said Loretta Muñoz, ASCAP Assistant Vice President, Membership. “We are continuing the tradition in 2020 with eight days of musical performances by extraordinary artists throughout the Festival. You will hear unique sets from artists you already know and love, and you’re guaranteed to find some new loves too.

Other featured performers at the 2020 Sundance ASCAP Music Café include: Alex Lilly, Colter Wall, Fox Wilde, James Bourne, Jamie Drake, Joe Robinson, Joseph Arthur, LÉON, Lizbeth Román, Rain Phoenix, Ron Artis II, Ruen Brothers, Samantha Sidley, Stephen Kellogg, Steven Dayvid McKellar (of Civil Twilight) and NewSong Music Competition winner Jobi Riccio.

The Sundance ASCAP Music Café takes place at 751 Main Street, Park City, UT and is open to all Festival credential holders (21 and older).

To view a complete schedule of performances and hear the music of Café artists, visit www.ascap.com/sundance2020. For the latest information on ASCAP events at the Sundance Film Festival, as well as on-site coverage, follow ASCAP on TwitterFacebook and Instagram, and through the event hashtag, #ASCAPMusicCafe.

The ASCAP Composer-Filmmaker Cocktail Party
On the evening of Monday, January 27, ASCAP hosts the ASCAP Composer-Filmmaker Cocktail Party. This is an invite-only, after-show celebration held at the Sundance ASCAP Music Café. The private event is for Festival filmmakers, ASCAP film composers, Sundance ASCAP Music Café artists and music supervisors. Festival filmmakers and film composers who are interested in attending may contact filmtv@ascap.com for further details.

Music in Film
The 2020 Sundance Film Festival includes many films and audio/visual projects that prominently feature the music of ASCAP’s composer and songwriter members. ASCAP composers and foreign affiliates who have scored Festival films and New Frontier projects this year include:

Hans Zimmer (Rebuilding Paradise), John Debney (Come Away), Pinar Toprak (McMillions), Bear McCreary (Crip Camp), John Paesano (Tesla), St. Vincent (The Nowhere Inn), Dan Romer (Wendy), Alex Somers (Miss AmericanaThe Charm City Kings), Ty Segall (Whirlybird), Richard Reed Parry (The Nest), Alex Weston (Wander Darkly), Hauschka (Downhill, The Perfect Candidate), Anne Nikitin (Lost Girls), Jay Wadley (I Carry You With Me), Nico Muhly (Worth), Garth Stevenson (Little Chief), Joseph Arthur (Okavango: River of Dreams), Amanda Jones (Baldwin Beauty), Benjamin Woodgates (Dream Horse), Katya Mihailova (Code for Bias), Antonio Pinto (Nine Days), Elegant Too (Scare Me), Peter Albrechtsen (The Killing of Two Lovers), Bob Allaire (Beast Beast – addtl music), Olivier Alary (Softie), Kristian Eidnes Andersen (The Charter), Roque Baños (His House), Amine Bouhafa (So what if the goats die), Courtney Bryan (The 40-Year Old Version), Robin Coudert (Run Sweetheart Run), Jason Martin Castillo (Place), Florencia Di Concilio (Influence), Nainita Desai (Reason I Jump), Karim Sebastian Elias (Saudi Runaway), Ludovico Einaudi (The Father), Fabrice Faltraue (Inès), Thomas Gallet (My Juke-Box), Adam Gunther (Three Deaths), Neil Haverty (Hot Flash), Jon Hegel (Leap of Faith: William Friedkin on the Exorcist), Uno Helmersson (The Painter and the Thief), Dickon Hinchliffe (Into the Deep), Martin Horntveth (Do Not Split, The Farce), Josh Kaufman (We Are Freestyle Love Supreme), Michael Krassner (The Evening Hour), Fabrice Lecomte (Sylvie’s Love), Lucas Lechowski (Benevolent Ba), Nascuy Linares (LuxorOnce Upon a Time in Venezuela), Juan Luqui (The Fight), Michelle Miles (how did we get here?), Jon Natchez (The Climb), James Newberry (Buck), Andrew Orkin (Save Yourselves!), Owen Pallett (Spaceship Earth), Adam Peters (The Dissident), Mark Phillips (Betye Saar: Taking Care of BusinessNathan Prillaman (Dirty), Coco Reilly (The Starr Sisters), Thomas Roussel (Jumbo), Colin Sigor (Broken Orchestra), Eddie Simonsen (Chemo Brain), Josiah Steinbrick (Horse Girl), Jeremy Turner (Natalie Wood: What Remains Behind), Vincent van Warmerdam (Mole Agent), Zsuzsanna Varkonyi (Epicentro), Fernando Velázquez (Sergio) and Jim Williams (Possessor).

The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) is a professional membership organization of songwriters, composers and music publishers of every kind of music. ASCAP’s mission is to license and promote the music of its members and foreign affiliates, obtain fair compensation for the public performance of their works and to distribute the royalties that it collects based upon those performances. ASCAP members write the world’s best-loved music and ASCAP has pioneered the efficient licensing of that music to hundreds of thousands of enterprises who use it to add value to their business – from bars, restaurants and retail, to radio, TV and cable, to Internet, mobile services and more. The ASCAP license offers an efficient solution for businesses to legally perform ASCAP music while respecting the right of songwriters and composers to be paid fairly. With more than 735,000 members representing more than 11.5 million copyrighted works, ASCAP is the worldwide leader in performance royalties, service and advocacy for songwriters and composers, and the only American performing rights organization (PRO) owned and governed by its writer and publisher members. Learn more and stay in touch at www.ascap.com Twitter and Instagram @ASCAP and on Facebook.

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.”

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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.

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