Block Cinema

Holding Binoculars, Pointing a Camera: Filmmakers Frédéric Moffet, Joelle Mercedes, and Deborah Stratman [Audio]

On February 25, 2022 filmmakers Frédéric Moffet, Joelle Mercedes, and Deborah Stratman joined Block Cinema for a conversation on their short films centered on birds and birdwatching practices. With works by Kevin Jerome Everson, Margaret Tait, Frédéric Moffet, Deborah Stratman, and additional artists, the program explored human-avian relationships from a variety of formal, emotional, and conceptual perspectives. I often […]

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Block Cinema

The Joy and Chaos of Collectivity: Penny Allen in Conversation [Video]

In November 2021, Block Cinema screened Property (1978) by filmmaker Penny Allen. In Property, Penny Allen turns her lens to the eccentric residents of a bohemian neighborhood in Portland, Oregon. The film, a critically under-seen gem of 1970s independent filmmaking, delivers an economic critique of urban renewal to warm, satirical effect. Property revels in the joy and […]

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Block Cinema

“How do we come to believe this is the way things have to be:” Filmmaker Brett Story on the politics of access and observation

In November 2019, The Block welcomed Toronto-based filmmaker Brett Story for two nights of her acclaimed documentary films and conversation on her groundbreaking practice. The Prison in Twelve Landscapes (2016) explores the criminal justice system and mass incarceration in the U.S. from a number of oblique vantage points, rather than focusing on prisons themselves. Story looks […]

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Block Cinema

“Art is between us”: Mania Akbari on capturing poetry, collaboration, and transformation on film [Audio]

At age 30, Iranian filmmaker Mania Akbari was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a double mastectomy. A Moon For My Father (2019), an essay film made in collaboration with her partner, the British sculptor Douglas White, positions Akbari’s illness within layers of personal and national history. Rich in texture and astonishingly intimate, Akbari’s film […]

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Block Cinema

Yvonne Welbon on the “Hidden Figures” of Cinema History [Audio]

On October 16, 2019, to inaugurate a year of programming around the One Book One Northwestern 2019-2020 selection, Hidden Figures: The Untold True Story of Four African-American Women who Helped Launch Our Nation Into Space, Block Cinema welcomed Chicago-based filmmaker (and Northwestern Film Studies PhD) Yvonne Welbon to present her 2003 documentary Sisters in Cinema. […]

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Block Cinema

Judith Arcana, Reproductive Rights Pioneer, in Conversation [Audio]

In the four years before the Roe v. Wade ruling made abortion legal in the United States, a clandestine organization of Chicago women offered low-cost, safe and confidential services to over 11,000 women—the Jane Collective. The film “Jane: An Abortion Service” offers an invaluable oral history, through the words of women who founded, operated, and […]

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