The Harvard Film Archive recently released its schedule for the upcoming winter season, inviting both award-winning filmmakers and independent artists to present.
Harvard’s Fine Arts Library manages the Harvard Film Archive, which was founded as a repository for film in 1979. The archive screens pictures from across film history a few evenings per week, and invites filmmakers to come present about their work.
Located in the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, course instructors also use the facility to screen films for their students.
Since its inception, this collection has grown to include more than 25,000 titles. Haden Guest, who directs the archive, said the archive has one of the largest university film collections in the world.
This year’s winter program includes a wide variety of filmmakers from around the world. The films encompass a diversity of genres, including a holiday show and other seasonal films, foreign dramas, and experimental documentaries.
One of these experimental documentaries is “Rat Film,” a production about the history of racism, redlining, and urban planning in Baltimore during the 20th century.
“Rat Film” director Theo Anthony said the documentary uses “a rat as an entry point into a conversation about Baltimore’s history and expands out there to larger questions of mapmaking and filmmaking.”
Anthony’s film is part of a recurring series at the film archive known as the “Cinema of Resistance.” This monthly series sets out to screen films that are relevant in today’s political climate and to create a setting for vibrant discussion.
“I don’t think this is your normal social issue documentary that poses a problem and offers a neat solution,” Anthony said about his film. “It’s really cool to see it in this context—it’s definitely a political film—but it goes a lot of places and I’m really excited about it.”
The archive will also screen a film by Jodie Mack, a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Her work, “Posthaste Perennial Pattern,” is a collection of short films dealing with fabric.
“These films are kind of in the tradition of what one might call ‘anti-animation,’” Mack said, “so they’re not necessarily using traditional sequencing modes of what one might consider animation.”
Guest said that while the Harvard Film Archive brings award-winning filmmakers to present their works, the archive also invites independent artists to showcase their cinema.
“I’m definitely working in the tradition of independent artist film, which the Harvard Film Archive is known to feature,” Mack said.
Guest said that the archive wants to engage and challenge its audience with the selected films this winter.
“Our challenge and our hope is that someone will come and watch all these different programs and realize all the possibilities of film as an art,” he added.
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