Screening: Symbiosychotaxiplasm, 4/21

Film Screening, Feb 17: 12 Angry Lebanese

Anne Lewis to discussion mountain top removal following screening, Nov. 2

Join KLRU and the Austin Public Library for free Community Cinema screenings on the first Tuesday of the month at the Windsor Park Branch Library (5833 Westminster Dr,). Screenings will start at 7 p.m. with a discussion to follow each of the films. November’s film is Deep Down on Tuesday, November 2.

As part of the event, RTF senior lecturer and Appalshop filmmaker web based trading platform in Malaysia Anne Lewis will take part in a discussion of the film and the top of mountain top removal.

Synopsis: Deep in the Appalachian mountains of eastern Kentucky, Beverly May and Terry Ratliff find themselves at the center of a contentious community battle over a proposed mountaintop removal coalmine.

Tuesday, Nov. 2
Windsor Park Branch Library
5833 Westminster Drive
7 p.m.

Indian cinematographer on hand for Q&A following doc, Nov. 10

Indian filmmaker Ranjan Palit will take part in a Q&A following a screening of IN CAMERA, an autobiographical documentary about his career as a cameraman. The Q&A will be moderated by RTF associate professor Lalitha Gopalan. The event, which is co-sponsored by the South Asia Institute, is set to take place on November 10 in Studio 4D.

Wednesday, November 10
6:00 to 9:00 p.m.
Studio 4D in CMB

Synopsis: In this meditative and strident overview of the career of Ranjan Palit, award-winning documentary cameraman, the filmmaker himself shows us the images and questions that have haunted him throughout his 25-year career. Celebrated for films that document the struggles of powerless people to save their homes and ancestral traditions, Palit still questions the good he has done for them and wonders if he’s merely turned their lives into images and then memories that are destined to be forgotten.

He reflects on his subjects and locations, from a sightless singer at village cremations to the fierce first lady of Indian cinema Kamlabai Gokhlae. He’s obsessed by the footage of an activist boy pointing him out in the crowd, accusing him of police surveillance. The children Palit captures on film — victimized and radicalized by the events around them, and not least of all his own daughter — most powerfully force him to confront his motives, as well as his suspicion that he has “used film as the ultimate alibi: frame first, act later.” Palit explores the connection between his professional and personal lives, inextricably entwined in his collaboration and marriage with filmmaker Vasudha Joshi, and eloquently answers his own question: “Isn’t being behind the camera better than looking away?” 
–Frako Loden

Ranjan Palit’s bio: Ranjan Palit has been working as a documentary filmmaker and cameraman for the last twenty-five years. His films include Voices for Baliapal (National award for the best film on social issues, 1989; Golden Conch, MIFF 1992); Follow the Rainbow (Valais award for Best Independent film, Geneva 1992) The Magic Mystic Marketplace (Golden Conch, MIFF, 1996;UNESCO prize, Munich 1997). His Forever Young(2008), an hour-long documentary for BBC Storyville focuses on Lou Majaw, a 62-year-old rocker from Shillong and his annual concert celebrations of Bob Dylan’s birthday over a period of five years.

As a cameraman Palit has shot close to a 100 documentaries for other filmmakers. Some of his recent documentaries include A Night of Prophecy (2002, dir. Amar Kanwar) How We Celebrate Freedom (2007, dir. Sanjay Kak) and Lightning Testimonies (2007, dir. Amar Kanwar). His awards include National Awards (India) for Best Documentary Cinematography for In the Forest Hangs a Bridge (1998, dir. Sanjay Kak) andConversations (2004, dir. Arvind Sinha); and the Indian documentary producer’s association Award for Best Documentary Cinematography in 2008 (Hope Dies Last In War dir. Supriyo Sen).

Palit has also worked as a DP on a number of feature films, Dreaming Lhasa (2005, dir. Ritu Sarin), In Othello(2003, dir. Roysten Abel) and so on. He recently finished shooting Bollywood director Vishal Bhardwaj’s Saat Khoon Maaf.

He has been teaching camera as a guest lecturer at Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute, Kolkata, for the last decade and conducted a Master Class on “Colour and Light” at the Talent Campus at Pusan International Film Festival 2007 and at the Osean Cinefan Festival in New Delhi.

At UT Austin, Ranjan Palit will screen his most recent film In Camera: Diaries of a Documentary Cameraman(2009) sponsored by PSBT Film Fellowship Programme. In Camera won the best long documentary at the International Documentary and short film festival of Kerala in June 2010 and National Awards for Best narration/voice-over and Best Editing for a non-feature film.


Schiesari to discuss Tattooed Under Fire as part of Difficult Dialogues Program, Oct. 27

As part of the Difficult Dialogues Program of the Humanities Institute at UT Austin, filmmaker Nancy Schiesari will participate in a public dialogue following a screening of her documentary Tattooed Under Fire. Schiesari will be joined by commentator Stephen Sonnenberg. This event is free and open to the public.

Synopsis: Filmed in a tattoo parlor in Killeen, Texas, just outside Fort Hood, Tattooed Under Fire records the experiences of soldiers both deploying to and returning from Iraq. The soldiers describe why they chose the tattoos that are inked onto their bodies.

Wednesday, October 27
7:00 to 9:00 p.m.
AVAYA Auditorium, ACES Building
UT Campus, 201 E. 24th Street
(Parking available in the San Jacinto Garage, 2401 San Jacinto Blvd.)

UT undergrad produces doc for Frontline season premiere, airs Oct. 19

A Frontline documentary produced by RTF undergraduate Joshua Riehl will air nationally Tuesday, October 19 on PBS. The documentary DEATH BY FIRE investigates whether the state of Texas executed an innocent man in 2004 - Cameron Todd Willingham who was convicted for the arson deaths of his three young children. The case is now at the center of national debate over capital punishment.

Tuesday, October 19
8 p.m. CST
on PBS

Click here for more information and the trailer.

Synopsis: Did Texas execute an innocent man? Several controversial death penalty cases are currently under examination in Texas and in other states, but it’s the 2004 execution of Cameron Todd Willingham — convicted for the arson deaths of his three young children — that’s now at the center of the national debate. With unique access to those closest to the case, FRONTLINE examines the Willingham conviction in light of new science that raises doubts about whether the fire at the center of the case was really arson at all. The film meticulously examines the evidence used to convict Willingham, provides an in-depth portrait of those most impacted by the case, and explores the explosive implications of the execution of a possibly innocent man.


Russian doc “Virginity” to screen at UT w/ Q&A, Oct. 25

The Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies, the Austin Film Society, and the Russian Cultural Center “Our Texas” present:


A film by Vitaly Manskiy, followed by Q & A with the director

Monday, October 25
7 p.m.
Garrison Hall, Room 0.102

In this film, Manskiy explores extreme forms of Russian capitalism. Moscow is portrayed as a “megamarket” where everything is for sale and everyone must participate. New products flow into the city to be sold, and even human beings are, above all, comodities. At the center of the story are three young women who each have a sought-after commodity - their virginity. Kristina, Karina and Katya each try to make their way in a world ruled by fame, popularity and money. Kristina auditions for a reality TV show, Karina wants to take Madonna’s place, and Katya is simply looking for a fair price for her virginity on the internet. Through their stories, Manskiy paints a chilling picture of a society that is fuelled by human exploitation.

The screening of “Virginity” is part of the 4th Russian Documentary Showcase in Texas, “Images of Russia.” For details visit:

MFA documentary on Vimeo Awards shortlist

Western Brothers’ Adventure Story, a short documentary by MFA student Drew Xanthopoulos, was recently named to the Vimeo Awards shortlist. In the documentary category, Xanthopoulos is one of 20 finalists. The top 5 finalists for each category will be announces September 21 and winners will be honored at the Vimeo Awards Show on October 9. For more information on the Vimeo Awards, click here.

About the film: A young boy living in rural Texas constructs an adventure story incorporating family, friends, and the filmmaker. The boy is viewed through the lens of his imagined story as he both invents and enacts it. Blending elements of fiction and nonfiction, this short documentary is an unusual portrait of a 9 year old by way of his imagination.

Click here to watch the film.

Doc Center alum’s photo project to exhibit at Austin library, Sept 25

An exhibition featuring the photography of UT Doc Center 2007 scholarship recipient Mike Andrick is set to open at the Terrazas Branch Library in Austin. The exhibition entitled Left Alone: The Pride and Fear of Isolated Appalachia, is of Andrick’s project documenting the struggle of poor working class families in southern West Virginia. The exhibition will open with a reception on Saturday, September 25 from 2 to 4 p.m., and will remain up until October 29.

About the project: Southern McDowell County, West Virginia is a region historically dependent on coal mining, but because of changes in the industry that lead to a significant decrease in the number of jobs, the area is now one of the impoverished in the nation. In a place where education is second-rate and economic opportunity is scarce, residents remain proud of their home, their family and even their ignorance of what is outside their mountainous community. This project is intended to show the pride of people from an insular community and their fear of what may be beyond it.

Saturday, September 25
Opening reception: 2 to 4 p.m.
Terrazas Branch Library
1105 East Cesar Chavez
Austin, Texas

Ut Doc Center/Screen Door presents When I Rise, Sept. 9

KLRU, Screen Door Film and The UT Documentary Center are proud to present a special screening on Thursday, September 9 of the inspiring documentary ‘When I Rise’ in the palatial Austin City Limits Studio.

When I Rise
Thursday, September 9 7:30 p.m.
Free - RSVP Required
KLRU Austin City Limits Studio
2501 Whitis Ave

Screen Door is excited to be working with KLRU and the UT Documentary Center to present a one-night engagement of the feature documentary ‘When I Rise.’ The film was spearheaded by The Dolph Briscoe Center for American History at The University of Texas, and has only screened in Austin once during SXSW 2009. Screen Door fans are invited to RSVP for this amazing event, with appetizers and refreshments provided.

About the film: An inspirational journey toward finding forgiveness within oneself, When I Rise is a powerful documentary set in Texas. A gifted black music student at the University of Texas is thrust into a civil rights storm that changes her life forever. Barbara Smith Conrad is cast in an opera to co-star with a white male classmate, fueling a racist backlash from members of the Texas legislature. Conrad goes on to become an internationally celebrated mezzo-soprano and headlines on stages around the world.A panel discussion with the filmmakers will follow the screening.When I rise is co-hosted with: The Dolph Briscoe Center for American History.

View the film’s trailer.


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