Saturday, June 3: Noon – 5 pm

This workshop is free and open to young filmmakers ages 19 – 35 with priority given to traditionally media-marginalized populations. Write us at for more info and sign up.

The workshop will begin with an expanded version of a presentation that we have presented at numerous universities, art galleries, cinema spaces and the reservations and refugee camps themselves. The presentation will take into account questions concerning the themes of the project; that is to say an analysis of the refugee camps and native reservations as spaces of exception within the prevailing nation-states they are located in–as repositories of very particular histories of displacement, and as locations where the logic of modern nationalism is thoroughly excavated, scrutinized and deconstructed.

The presentation will also focus very heavily on questions of methodology, examinations of the film as a political document and tool and looking into questions of audience and contexts of exhibition. What does it mean to make a film with a non-Western audience in mind? What does it mean for a film to actually be a conduit of communication between peoples rather than an object for an imagined spectator? What is the liberatory value of treating film as an instrument of pedagogy rather than an end in and of itself?

The other subject we will turn our attention to is the political realities of space and their reflection in film and video. For example, we could ask what are the spatial qualities of rural poverty on a reservation that can be visually represented or intimated? Or how does the crowdedness of refugee camps speak to the paradigm of Palestinian refugeehood and how does one capture that on film?

This workshop is part of Action! Cinema as Sanctuary summer series.


Matt Peterson’s films and videos have screened at Anthology Film Archives, Eyebeam, the Film Society of Lincoln Center, International House Philadelphia, Millennium Film Workshop, MoMA PS1, and at scattered microcinemas and universities across North America and Europe. In 2014 he completed feature film on the Tunisian insurrection, Scenes from a Revolt Sustained, with a production grant from the Doha Film Institute. His writings on film have appeared in the Brooklyn Rail, Death+Taxes, Evergreen Review, Idiom, The L, and New York Press. He co-edited, with Barney Rosset & Ed Halter, From the Third Eye: The Evergreen Review Film Reader (Seven Stories Press, 2015). He was a member of the collectives Red Channels and the 16 Beaver Group, and is currently part of a commune in New York called Woodbine.

Malek Rasamny is a researcher and artist based in both New York and Beirut. He’s worked at the Maysles Documentary Center in Harlem, New York, and was a founding member of the Red Channels film collective, the Ground Floor Collective, and the LERFE space in Harlem, where he collaborated with New York based artists at the intersection of urban youth culture, transnational activism, and collective experimentation. His writings on film have been featured in the Daily Star, the largest English language daily newspaper in the Middle East, and he was interviewed by the Canadian arts magazine FUSE about his work in Red Channels.

ACTION! Cinema as Sanctuary

Political documentary films take on a renewed role amid a reinvigorated rage against immigrants, refugees, and people of color in many places around the world. Through politically engaged cinematic work, many filmmakers are confronting old and new forms of racism, the deepening ungrievability of Black and Brown lives, and precarious realities faced by minority communities including indigenous peoples, the elderly, refugees, women and children. ACTION! series: Cinema as Sanctuaryfeatures political documentary films that re-assert the images and stories that remind us that a compassionate world rooted upon solidarity, friendship, and collective action is possible.

Curated by Nerve Macaspac of the Echo Park Film Center (EPFC), with special support provided by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. 


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