"There is nothing new under the sun,
but there are new suns."

 - Octavia Butler
Bulletin 002
Welcome to the February issue of the Sentient.Art.Film Bulletin, a community newsletter aimed at informing, engaging, and percolating the imaginations of its readers, and fostering discourse around film exhibition infrastructures, art and cinema cultures, social change, and beyond.

As we mentioned last month, each issue will have a theme from which to work from. The theme for this issue is speculation, as in: speculative futures, speculative fiction, or speculative design. This notion is something that is integral to Truth or Consequences, a film set in the city of the same name that we will be releasing from March 5th. As described by director Hannah Jayanti, the film is "a speculative documentary about time and how we weave the past into the present and our possible future", using the place and people in focus as a starting point from which to think about much more. Below, we spoke to Alexander Porter, who created VR worlds for the film using a technique called "volumetric filmmaking".

This month, we announce Sentient.Omnibus, a new short film project looking to build community amongst a diverse group of artists, and challenge and engage viewers. The project launches in April.

Also, we have an Instagram Live Q&A with Roddy Bogawa (Feb 18th, 7pm ET / 4pm ET), where he'll be talking about his short film currently available on our site, and a Facebook Live Q&A with Spencer Nakasako in partnership with Amherst Cinema as part of their Bellwether Film Series. Tune into both!

Thanks for reading (and for watching) and if you want to share something with us to circulate across our community, ask a distribution-related question, or contribute to a future edition, please do get in touch.

- Keisha, Matt, and Rahel
Notes from the Field: Alexander Porter
"There's this utopian sentiment - which I love - that when you're creating an entirely new environment where you don't need to be bound by the physical world, suddenly a whole new world is possible. Practically, what is more commonplace is that the same issues that we have in our current world just manifest and mirror in this new space." 

This month, we spoke with Alexander Porter about his work in VR and "volumetric filmmaking", touching upon topics including: tool-making, world-building, and the barriers and opportunities of the medium.
Read - Notes from the Field: Alexander Porter
Happenings: Feb - March 2021
  • Post-Underground Cinema: The Strange World of Nakamura Masanobu Vol 2., Art Saloon (online), 1st - 28th February. Online retrospective of works by the Japanese underground filmmaker. 
  • If You Know, You Know, Alchemy (online). 18th February. A free online screening of artists’ moving image made in Scotland between 1970 and 2020
  • New Suns Festival, Barbican Centre, London (online), 5th - 7th March. A feminist literary festival exploring the legacy of Sci-Fi author Octavia Butler.
  • Lucid Dreaming Anthology #3. New collection of curator and critic Pamela Cohn's conversations with international artists and filmmakers.
  • Light +. New podcast in which Jamila Prowse speaks to art workers about their experiences in the sector and their imaginings for the future of the arts.
  • Integral Whirls. A free-to-read dossier on artist-filmmaker Ephraim Asili.
  • Webs of Care. A self-directed workshop released free by Ingrid Raphael designed to name needs and help care.
  • Afrofuturism. Curated for Criterion Channel by Ashley Clark, a collection of films on afrofuturism first presented at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in 2015
  • Seen Journal. Now available to buy, Black Star Film Festival's new journal of visual culture "made for and about Black, Brown, Indigenous and other artists of color."
  • Hyper Functional, Ultra Healthy. Films, workshops, and conversations considering our individual health and collective wellbeing in relation to ecology.
  • Assembly of Images: On Histories of Race and RepresentationOnline series of films by Edward Owens, Garrett Bradley, Crystal Z Campbell, and Christopher Harris that explore and provide counterpoint to the history of race and the representation of Black Americans in cinema and photography.
Opportunities: Feb - March 2021
Productions from Asia, Africa, Latin America, and Eastern Europe should apply for the Visions Est Sud fund before February 25th. Up to "$50,000 in project funding, counsel, and career development services" is available for artists across the US through the Creative Capital award. Apply by March 1st. DocSociety have opened applications for their Climate Story Lab, supporting "6-8 projects with grants ranging between $20,000 to $100,000 per project." Applications due March 4th. The Catapult Film Fund provides development funding to "documentary filmmakers who have a compelling story to tell, have secured access to their story, and are ready to shoot and edit a piece for production fundraising purposes." Up to $20,000 available. Rolling deadline. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis for the Film Independent Sloan Distribution Grant, which offers $50,000 for films entering their distribution phase. (There is a fee to apply.) An unusual new opportunity, AiR Drop will deliver equipment to underrepresented voices. No deadline. Also new, Grey Moth have £5000 development funding for emerging (UK) filmmakers. Apply by March 15th. MPI are offering "workshops, labs, internship opportunities, and funding for emerging and existing filmmakers" through their Rising Filmmaker Program. Rolling deadline. Offering £3500 awards "for feature films, documentaries, web series, and short films with budgets of $500,000 or less", the Roy W. Dean Film Grants are open, with a  deadline of March 31st. Please email if you have an opportunity to share.
Our friends at No Evil Eye - a radical microcinema aiming to redefine the creative and social parameters of non-metropolitan film scenes - are hiring. They are looking for a Social Media Coordinator and Designer, and you can find details about the role here.

As part of our commitment to expanding the filmic imagination and fostering new voices, Sentient.Art.Film is excited to announce Sentient.Omnibus. Running from April 2021 to January 2022 this year, this new program will feature 9 short films organized around the theme "You Us Them", which will be available to view monthly on our website, then made into an omnibus film to be screened later this year.

Find some more details here - or stayed posted for more details about the project in our next newsletter.

Updates: Truth or Consequences
From March 5th, we'll be releasing Truth or Consequences in a (growing) number of cinemas in the US. Until then, you can interact with the VR worlds Alexander Porter created within the film here.

Set in the small desert town of Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, the film weaves together archival footage, experimental virtual reality worlds, an improvised score by Bill Frisell, and a speculative premise based on current events – a launch site for commercial space travel outside of town. These intertwine to create a lyrical meditation on progress, history, and how we navigate a sense of loss within ourselves and a changing world.

If you want to book the film for your venue, please get in touch with us to organise some screenings.
Updates: My Sight Is Lined With Visions 2021-22
Since Jan 26th, our online screening series My Sight is Lined with Visions 2021 has been live, available worldwide, receiving coverage in Hyperallergic, Filmmaker Magazine, and MUBI Notebook. To watch the films, you can purchase the full package, or rent individual titles. All proceeds support the filmmakers and help sustain our organisation, so thanks in advance for your support now and over the months to come.

As well as the films in the package, each month we will have a free-to-view short, presented alongside an essay. This month, we have Roddy Bogawa's Four or Five Accidents, One June, with an essay by Aiko Masubuchi. Visit the vault each month for a new rare, hard to watch, underground, and transgressive work.

Four or Five Accidents, One June
(Roddy Bogawa, 1989)
 ----> WATCH THE FILM <---

Cinematic Delivery
by Aiko Masubuchi

Watch - My Sight Is Lined With Visions 2021/2022
Spotlights: SAF Community
  • JOIN US for an Instagram Live with Roddy Bogawa on Thursday, February 18, 2021 @ 7PM ET / 4PM PT, talking about his short film that is currently live on the vault right now.
  • To compliment all the My Sight is Lined With Visions essays commissioned for the 2020 edition, we have new essays for the two new 2021 additions, Bontoc Eulogy and the Blindness Series, written by Aaron Hunt and by Emerson Goo. Read all of the essays on our website
  • On our instagram, we are sharing community archives from filmmakers in our network. First up,  we shared a postcard from Jon Moritsugu to Roddy Bogawa. Follow for more.
Do you have an opportunity or project you want to share, or a call or a question that you would like us to answer? Contact us.
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