FilmNorth Cinema Lounge
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FilmNorth Cinema Lounge

Two rows of seated audience members watch a screen filled with television sets in a dark theater.
Bentson Mediatheque. Photo courtesy Walker Art Center.

Filmmakers and curators Valérie Déus, Merit Thursday, and Xiaolu Wang host a lineup of short video projects, including narrative, documentary, music video, web shows, animation, and experimental work, all made in our community. Presented by FilmNorth, the original short film showcase connects local indie filmmakers with new audiences in an intimate gathering and screening space.

August’s Cinema Lounge in the Walker’s 60-seat Bentson Mediatheque features new works by Sequoia Hauck (Anishinaabe/Hupa), Connor Lee O’Keefe, Kat Eng, Prakshi Malik, and Joua Lee Grande.

Resiliency is Inherited by Sequoia Hauck

Mni Sota Makoce is the ancestral land of the Dakota peoples. This land looks very different now than it once did. While walking down the streets of Gakaabikaang (Minneapolis), we see glimpses of what this land could have looked like before colonialism and capitalism overtook. Native peoples have been forced into assimilation, relocation, and genocide on the land we stand on right now. Today we find ourselves in the middle of a pandemic as well as a social uprising, but where do we go next? Maybe we need to look to our past generations to find out? 2020, US, digital, 6 min.

Imagine a Body by Connor Lee O’Keefe

Trans men reflect on taking testosterone. The body expands to new realms of possibility. This short film began as a series of remotely conducted interviews (due to the COVID-19 pandemic) with transgender men and transmasculine individuals who had taken testosterone. Conversations centered around the transformation of the body and soul during hormone replacement therapy. Through a blend of live-action footage and animation, taking T becomes a spiritual reimagining of the body and a process of growth rooted in nature rather than modern medical practices. 2021, US, digital, 8 min.

Leftovers by Kat Eng

Written, sculpted, and performed in a bedroom during the first wave of the pandemic, Leftovers is a papier-mâché tableau exploring a refugee family’s feelings about food. This piece was produced through Monkeybear’s New Puppetworks program. 2021, US, digital, 4 min.

Baahar by Prakshi Malik

Disaster brews when Seher gets accepted to a boarding school—a dream come true—on the evening of a big family dinner. Through the eyes of a young South Asian American teen who is coming of age, Baahar explores relationships among women in intergenerational families and opportunities for change. How can we begin to see each other as we would like to be seen? What possibilities lie outside the purview of patriarchy? How do a mother and daughter embark on a journey of healing? 2021, US, in English and Hindi with English subtitles, digital, 14 min.

On All Fronts by Joua Lee Grande

In 2020, anti-Asian hate multiplied quickly amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, and the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis sparked an international racial reckoning over police violence against Black Americans. The Moss family, a biracial Black Indonesian family in Minneapolis, shares how they moved through this chaos. Latifah has intimate family conversations with her parents and brother. Each family member reveals personal experiences never shared before with their loved ones, and they navigate difficult conversations about issues that have haunted them. 2022, US, digital, 11 min.

Kat Eng is a mixed 2nd-gen Khmer artist, organizer, and visual storyteller. Their narrative and documentary projects explore loss, belonging, and relationships with land.

Sequoia Hauck (they/them) is a Native (Anishinaabe/Hupa) queer multidisciplinary artist based in the Twin Cities on the unceded and ancestral Dakota lands of the Wahpekute peoples. Hauck creates film, poetry, and performance art that decolonizes the process of art-making, surrounding the narratives of continuation and resiliency among their communities.

Joua Lee Grande is a Minneapolis-based filmmaker and community educator whose goal is to uplift under-told stories and underrepresented communities drives her work. She works to empower marginalized storytellers, families, and youth and has designed and led various community art and media programs across the Twin Cities metro area.

Prakshi Malik is a filmmaker and dancer creating cinema about women of color from a global perspective. She grew up in Delhi, India, and is currently based in Minneapolis. Malik brings her background in dance and ensemble practices to her filmmaking and has edited award-winning films.

Connor Lee O’Keefe (he/him) is a nonfiction filmmaker, artist, and educator. O’Keefe uses his camera and microphone to explore queerness in cinema, people, and the world. His works break narrative in order to defamiliarize reality, telling stories through perspectives that forgo society’s preconceived notions on how to live.

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