“At the center, a kind of care”: PJ Raval on intersectional storytelling

In November 2018 the Block Museum of Art welcomed documentarian PJ Raval for a conversation on his award-winning feature documentary Call Her Ganda.  The film following the 2014 murder of Jennifer Laude, a transgender Filipina woman killed by an American Marine, and the struggle for justice waged by her family, friends, lawyers, and investigative journalist […]

“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 […]

“They said you can’t make a film like this”: Lizzie Borden on revolution, race, and radical action in”Born in Flames” [Audio]

Set in an alternate-reality socialist democratic United States, Lizzie Borden’s speculative fiction Born in Flames (1983) finds the country still plagued by social injustice. This feminist classic is a low-budget, grassroots production, documentary-like in its reflection of a long-gone grungy yet vibrant downtown New York City. Made at the height of the Reagan years, it […]

“I invest in myself and I make my films”: Jessie Maple on breaking boundaries and filmmaking [Audio]

Director Jessie Maple is a true trailblazer: the first African-American woman to join the International Photographers of Motion Picture & Television union, she also established a long-running venue for independent Black filmmakers in her own home. New York Women in Film and Television called Maple’s work “a forerunner of the independent, minority filmmaking that would cultivate directors […]

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. […]

Trinh T. Minh-ha Lecture

On February 25, 2015, the Block Museum was lucky to host renowned filmmaker, writer, and composer Trinh T. Minh-ha. Minh-ha addressed the way that reality, in its social and historical dimension, is not a material for artistic reflection or political commitment. Rather, reality is what powerfully draws one to cinema and yet, it cannot be […]

Filmmaker Maryam Keshavarz on Circumstance

On May 25, 2011, filmmaker and Northwestern University graduate Maryam Keshavarz held a special advance screening of her award-winning feature film debut, Circumstance, at Block Cinema. Keshavarz spoke with Cinema director Mimi Brody after the film. Listen Now (audio, 29 MB, 32 minutes)