NVR Awards $715,000 to 22 U.S. Media Artists
Contact: Nancy Willen
New York, NY National Video Resources (NVR) is proud to announce the recipients of its Media Arts Fellowships. Awarded annually for 19 years, the Fellowships recognize the artistic excellence of 20 film, video and new media artists in the United States with cash awards of $35,000 each. For the third year, two additional Fellowships of $7,500 each acknowledge emerging artists working in film and video whose work shows exceptional promise.
Since its establishment by the Rockefeller Foundation in 1988, the Media Arts Fellowships program has awarded nearly $10 million to 300 gifted media artists working in a variety of genres in the U.S. and is known as one of the most prestigious grants in the media arts. Brian Newman, Executive Director of NVR, noted Those nominated for the 2006 Media Arts Fellowships represent some of the most important media artists working in the country today. From emerging artists to those more established in their careers, from documentarians to artists using software as their medium, they represent a wide array of artistic vision, and we congratulate them all.
This years group of 22 Fellows includes Oscar- and Emmy-nominated filmmaker Arthur Dong and his new documentary investigating the history of the Chinese in American feature films; Kelly Dobson and her project exploring communication between humans and robots; and Sterlin Harjo, whose narrative tells about a young Seminole man on a journey toward self-awareness in Oklahoma. Additionally, Fellowships were awarded to documentarians Keith Beauchamp, Liz Mermin, Mylène Moreno, Meena Nanji, Ian Olds, Anayansi Prado and Sheila Sofian; new media artists Ben Fry, Shih Chieh Huang, Paul Kaiser and Shelley Eshkar, Ruben Ochoa, and Julia Reodica; fiction filmmakers Nanobah Becker, Selena Burks and Debra Granik; and experimental makers Andrew Blubaugh, Ernie Gehr, Beatriz Santiago and Soon-Mi Yoo. (See below for brief descriptions of the Fellows funded projects and bios.)
Tania Blanich, Director of the Program for Media Artists, noted that among the 2006 Fellows is Ian Olds, who had been nominated for the Fellowship with his filmmaking partner Garrett Scott. Tragically, Mr. Scott died of a heart attack at age 37 in early March, shortly after the panel had recommended the team for funding, and merely two days prior to winning a 2006 Independent Spirit Truer than Fiction Award for Occupation Dreamland. Scott was considered a talented and promising filmmaker by both peers and audiences, said Blanich. We at NVR are pleased to support Ian in what would have been their next documentary together.
Past recipients of the Fellowships include 2005 Sundance winners Ira Sachs (Forty Shades of Blue) and Craig Brewer (Hustle and Flow); Charles Burnett (To Sleep with Anger); video installation pioneer Shigeko Kubota, widow of Nam June Paik; and documentarian Ross McElwee (Shermans March). The full list of Fellows can be found at www.MediaArtists.org.
NVR is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1990 by the Rockefeller Foundation. The organization fosters independent artistic expression by supporting the creation, dissemination and public awareness of independent media in all forms. The cornerstone of its support for artists is the Media Arts Fellowships, which support the creation of new work that brings innovation to the media arts. The Rockefeller Foundation and the Ford Foundation are key funders of the program. Further information about NVR can be found at www.nvr.org.
2006 MEDIA ARTS FELLOWS
The Media Arts Fellowships support artists working in narrative, documentary, experimental, installation or work that centers on dynamic, computer-mediated media, such as web art, robotics, virtual reality, and interactive installations. An asterisk * next to the individuals name indicates a recipient of an Emerging Artist Fellowship.
Whispering Winds explores the growing epidemic of hanging deaths of African-American men in the deep South. Previously, Beauchamp spent nine years researching the Emmett Till case. The resulting debut documentary, The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till, was cited by the US Department of Justice as a major factor in their 2004 decision to reopen the case. In 2005, he was awarded the National Board of Review and Motion Pictures Freedom of Expression Award.
Full is a fiction film about a 27-year-old gay (nadleeh) Navajo man forced to return home to the queer Native American nightlife culture of Albuquerque, New Mexico after failing as a disc jockey in New York City. Becker is a Navajo writer and director (Flat) who graduated from Brown and the Directing MFA program at Columbia University, and was a 2005 Sundance Fellow.
Scaredycat, a short experimental documentary exploring the role fear plays in our lives, takes as its point of departure the filmmakers response to an incident in which he was mugged and beaten. Blubaughs experimental documentaries have screened at Sundance and other notable festivals. He is an instructor at Northwest Film Center in Portland.
Fuse melds fiction and documentary to tell the story of a young womans erratic teenage years as a runaway, based on the life of the filmmakers foster sister. Burkss first film, Saving Jackie, a documentary portrait of her mothers spiral out of crack-cocaine dependence, premiered at Sundance 2005. She graduated from Wright State University.
Companion Projects is a collection of robots with complicated psychological states, such as anxiety or other neuroses, in an on-going exploration of how to facilitate empathic communication between machines and humans. Dobson, a doctoral student in the MIT Media Arts and Sciences program, has exhibited her work internationally, including at ISEA in Helsinki and Tallinn, The Kitchen in New York, and the Millennium Museum in Beijing.
The Chinese in Hollywood Project documents the visual and social history of the Chinese in American feature films since the early 1900s. Dong is a 1994 Fellow whose films have earned him a George Foster Peabody Award, three Sundance Film Festival awards (including the Directing Award for the Fellowship-funded documentary Licensed to Kill), an Oscar nomination and five Emmy nominations, among other honors. He serves on the National Film Preservation Board and the Board of Governors at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, representing the Documentary Branch.
Processing, an open source programming language that teaches the fundamentals of computer programming for images, animation and sound, supports and expands the artists own work while providing a wide community of artists with the tools to advance their own work. Fry is currently working on visualization of genetic data at the Broad Institute at MIT. His work has appeared at the Whitney Biennal, the Museum of Modern Art in New York and Ars Electronica, and in several Hollywood films.
On Location is an experimental video that traces the topography of New York City, playing with time as it investigates history and the continual metamorphosis of the urban landscape. Gehr teaches at the San Francisco Art Institute. His films have screened internationally, including retrospectives at the Museum of the Moving Image, New York; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; the Rotterdam International Film Festival; and the San Francisco Cinematheque.
Church Ave. is a fiction film that tells the story of a pivotal year in the life of a young streetwise Brooklyn man. Graniks debut feature, Down to the Bone, won the Dramatic Direction Award at Sundance in 2004 and has screened at festivals, including Deauville, Locarno and Pusan. She graduated from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts graduate film program.
Four Sheets to the Wind follows a young Seminole Indian man as he sets out on an offbeat journey of mourning for his father and learns about living life, one day at a time. Harjo, himself Seminole, was one of the first five Annenberg Film Fellows at the Sundance Institute. His short film Goodnight, Irene premiered at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival, and screened at the Berlin International Film Festival, among others.
SHIH CHIEH HUANG
POF-TTN06 is an interactive installation in which found and collected objects including toys, electrical devices and sensors are reassembled in a way that subverts their intended function and causes the viewer to look anew at the familiar materials that surround us. Huangs work has exhibited at museums and galleries worldwide, including the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music; the Museum of Contemporary Art in Burgos, Spain; and the New Museum in New York.
PAUL KAISER and SHELLEY ESHKAR
Playground is an interactive installation that explores childrens natural movements and the structured choreography and social patterns they create when at play. Using motion-capture and artificial intelligence, the installation will react in direct response to participants. Kaiser, a Guggenheim Fellow, has taught at several universities and been an artist-in-residence around the country. Eshkar, a multimedia artist and experimental animator, has explored three-dimensional figural drawing and animation, particularly using motion-capture technology. The two have worked together for eleven years, and are known for their digital dance works with choreographers such as Bill T. Jones and Merce Cunningham.
Believers looks at the nature of faith in the contemporary United States. Mermins recent documentary The Beauty Academy of Kabul played at numerous festivals internationally, was broadcast on BBC2 and across Europe, and is currently in theaters across the US. She is a graduate of both Harvard and New York University.
Home Team documents the fans of Chivas USA during the Major League Soccer clubs second season in 2006. Morenos recent documentary Recalling Orange County, which reflected on her experience growing up as the daughter of immigrants, has been screening at festivals and will be broadcast this fall on public television during the inaugural season of VOCES. She studied at both Harvard and Stanford.
Told through the eyes of three Afghan women a doctor, a teacher and a womens rights activist View from a Grain of Sand reveals how war, international interference and the rise of religious fundamentalism have stripped Afghan women of rights and freedom. Nanji, based in Los Angeles and New Delhi, has produced and directed a number of experimental and documentary works. She received a Media Arts Fellowship in 1995.
Class: Cs Vancade is a 2-D video game inspired by the evolving role of the artists van from street vending vehicle to a mobile artists space. The game combining a mid-1980s esthetic with todays multi-faceted gaming capabilities allows the player to sell tortillas and fund art exhibits as they navigate the streets of Los Angeles. Ruben Ochoa, an artist whose work often explores the interjection of art into unsuspecting environments, received his MFA from UC-Irvine.
Frontier studies 21st Century state intervention, glimpsed through the eyes of various agents working in and around a U.S. Special Forces camp in post-conflict Afghanistan. Olds was nominated for a fellowship along with his filmmaking partner Garrett Scott, who died in early March 2006. They had co-directed Occupation Dreamland, about American soldiers in Iraq, which won a 2006 Independent Spirit Award. Olds directed the fiction short Two Men, an official selection of the 2005 Clermont-Ferrand International Film Festival and Best Short winner at the 2005 Woodstock Film Festival.
Children In No-Mans Land uncovers the plight of the 100,000 unaccompanied minors crossing the U.S./Mexico border every year. Born in Panama, Prado moved to the United States as a teenager. Her debut documentary Maid in America, about Latina immigrant women working in Los Angeles, screened nationally on the PBS Independent Lens series in Fall 2005. Prado received her BA in Film from Boston University.
hymNext: The Living Sculptures Project is an installation that comments on modern sexuality, confronts the traditional roles of the female body and presents a collection of synthesized hymens. The unisex hymens are sculpted with living materials into a variety of designs for application on the human body. Along with laboratory imaging and informational kiosks, Reodica uses the intersection of art and science to expand public understanding of the possibilities for medical and scientific arts in a time of emerging technologies.
BEATRIZ SANTIAGO *
Glosario | Glossary is an experimental film about incomprehension, language and invention made with speakers of Nicaraguan Sign Language. This new, gestural language developed spontaneously when deaf children from different parts of Nicaragua were brought together in the first school for deaf children in the country. Santiago lives and works in Puerto Rico, creating absurdist improvised performances that comment on social relations. Her work has shown in the US and abroad, including the Outpost for Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, ApexArt and e-Flux in New York, and Museo de Arte Moderno de República Doimnicana and Ex-Teresa Arte Actual in Latin America.
SHEILA M. SOFIAN
Through animation and live action, Truth Has Fallen will follow the work of James McCloskey, whose mission is to free prisoners wrongfully convicted of murder. Sofian is an animator and documentary filmmaker whose award-winning films have shown at film festivals internationally. She is Department Chair of the Animation Program at College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita, CA.
SOON-MI YOO *
Jimmys Reward imagines the life of a Korean boy whose brief service as a Navy mascot during the Korean War is documented in seven photographs at the U.S. Navy archive. The search to find Jimmy invokes the historical landscape of the Korean War and addresses the complex issues of personal and national identity. Korean-born Yoos work has been exhibited at festivals and galleries internationally. She has been awarded several residencies and fellowships, including from the American Photography Institute.