In conjunction with McEvoy Arts’ and the Roxie Theater’s online presentation of New Labor Movements: Movement IV. Creation/Emergence, Rizvana Bradley, assistant professor of Film and Media at the University of California, Berkeley, moderates a free virtual discussion with curator Leila Weefur and filmmakers Elegance Bratton, Jovan James, and Jenn Nkiru, on resonant themes and topics in the program’s final chapter.
ABOUT THE PARTICIPANTS
Rizvana Bradley is assistant professor of Film and Media at the University of California, Berkeley whose research and teaching focuses on the study of film and media at the intersections of literature, poetry, contemporary art and performance. She has written articles for Women and Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory, TDR: The Drama Review, and Film Quarterly, among others, and serves on the editorial boards of boundary2: an international journal of literature and culture, Callaloo: A Journal of African Diaspora Arts and Letters, and Women & Performance: a journal of feminist theory. She has curated a number of academic arts symposia for the British Film Institute, London; the Serpentine Gallery, London; and most recently, the Stedelijk Museum of Art, Amsterdam. Previously, Bradley held professorial and fellowship positions at Yale University, Emory University, and the University College London. She is currently at work on a book project supported by a Creative Capital | Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant that offers a critical examination of the Black body across a range of experimental artistic practices. She holds a BA from Williams College and a PhD from Duke University.
Elegance Bratton is a filmmaker photographer, author, and television producer who was thrown out of his mother’s home at the age of 16 in New Jersey for being gay. After ten years spent homeless, he joined the U.S. Marine Corps where he became a combat documentarian. Bratton’s short films have played in almost 150 film festivals worldwide including Sundance, Outfest and the American Black Film Festival. He is the executive producer and creator of Viceland’s GLAAD-nominated series, My House. After finishing the Marines he earned an undergraduate degree from Columbia University and an MFA from NYU’s Tisch Graduate Film program.
Jovan James is a filmmaker and photographer from Baltimore, MD dedicated to showing the Black experience with compassion and unflinching honesty. His films The Jump Off (2014), Tadpole (2018), and Buck (2020), co-directed with Elegance Bratton, have screened at over twenty film festivals across North America, including the New Hampshire Film Festival and Sundance Film Festival. James earned his BFA at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and MFA from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts in 2019.
Jenn Nkiru is a Nigerian-British artist and filmmaker who has directed music videos and short films for Kamasi Washington, Neneh Cherry, Bradford Young and Arthur Jafa, and contributed to film projects with Beyoncé and Jay-Z, among others. Her second film REBIRTH IS NECESSARY (2017) was featured on Nowness and received the Canal + award at the Clermont Ferrand Film Festival and the Best Documentary Award at the London Independent Film Festival. Nkiru is the recipient of Voice of a Woman award at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival and the 2019 Aesthetic Art Prize. She received her MFA from Howard University.
Leila Weefur (She/They/He) is a trans-gender-nonconforming artist, writer, and curator whose work in video and installation brings together concepts of the sensorial memory, abject Blackness, hyper surveillance, and the erotic. Weefur has worked with local and national institutions including the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, Smack Mellon, New York, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and The Wattis Institute, San Francisco. Weefur is a recipient of the Hung Liu award, the Murphy & Cadogan award, and the Walter & Elise Haas Creative Work Fund. They are a lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley, and a member of The Black Aesthetic. Weefur received their MFA from Mills College and is based in Oakland, CA.
The Roxie Theater, a San Francisco landmark in the Mission District, brings people together to meet and connect through distinctive cinematic experiences. Guided by the passionate belief that engaging with a movie doesn’t end with the credits, the Roxie invites filmmakers, curators, entertainers, and educators to interact with its audiences. The Roxie provides inspiration and opportunity for the next generation and serves as a forum for the independent film community reflecting the spirit of the diverse Bay Area population.
This program is presented in conjunction with the West Coast premiere of Lessons of the Hour at McEvoy Foundation for the Arts. The immersive, ten-screen film installation by Isaac Julien offers a contemplative, poetic journey into the zeitgeist of Frederick Douglass. Online conversations with these artists and invited thinkers and scholars take place throughout the run of the exhibition. Admission to the exhibition and conversations is free.