The Walker’s Moving Image department is now engaged even more dynamically with cross-disciplinary projects—from the cinematic to virtual reality to artist-made works exhibited around the campus. Moving Image programming presents the history and inventive use of the medium, provides creative spaces for global filmmakers, and engages our audience with issues that are of importance today. Along with a firm commitment to the preservation, presentation, and digitization of the Ruben/Bentson Moving Image Collection, made possible with generous support from the Bentson Foundation, the Walker brings filmmakers from around the world to engage in conversations with our local audience and also, via online artist commissions on the Walker Channel, with national and international viewers. This has been a wonderful year of programming with prominent films in the Walker Cinema, the first full year of the Bentson Mediatheque, ongoing Walker Moving Image Commissions, and participation in new cross-department acquisitions of artworks installed in the exhibition Less Than One. We are deeply grateful to Walker trustee Elizabeth Redleaf for her strong support of the Moving Image program.
American director Todd Haynes joined Scott Foundas for a Walker Dialogue, along with a premiere of his highly awarded film Carol (2015). Haynes’s retrospective looked at the 20-year history of Killer Films, the iconic independent production house that linked Haynes with producer Christine Vachon. The ongoing series of Walker Dialogues was begun in 1990 and has hosted more than 60 of the most vital national and international filmmakers. We are grateful to Anita Kunin and the Kunin family for their generous support of the Walker Dialogue and Retrospective program.
After starting the season last July with nearly 1,000 people attending Summer Nights/Cool Cinema, a series of crowd-sourced titles chosen from highlights of past Walker Dialogues, weekly programs from fall to spring celebrated international films. Bringing world views from Senegal, Thailand, Morocco, and South Sudan along with Miguel Gomes’s contemporary Portuguese version of Arabian Nights (2015) and Chloé Zhao’s Native American hit Songs My Brother Taught Me (2015), the season ended with a memorial tribute to Belgian filmmaker Chantal Akerman (1950–2015), which included her final film, No Home Movie (2015).
A collaboration between Walker’s Moving Image and Performing Arts departments, the ever-popular Summer Music & Movies 2015: Bigger Than Life drew audiences to Loring Park to experience the Walker’s signature mix of bands and outdoor screenings. This year’s films were adaptations from comic books and stories of adventure inspired by the artists in the exhibition International Pop. A special closing event featured Lotte Reiniger’s a silent animated film The Adventures of Prince Achmed (1926), presented in the Walker Cinema with a live score by MAKR’s Coven. Summer Music & Movies was made possible with support from the Bentson Foundation and the McKnight Foundation, sponsorship from BoomChickaPop and Caribou Coffee, and media partners 89.3 The Current and City Pages.
Every four years, as we head into national elections, a series titled Cinema of Urgency highlights documentary filmmakers’ views of the pressing issues of our time. Kicking off in March 2016, this series was programmed in partnership with Full Frame Documentary Film Festival and in collaboration with Walker’s Education and Public Programs departments to combine in-depth discussions with each screening. Highlights included Robert Gordon and Morgan Neville’s Best of Enemies (2015), followed by a talk with Walter F. Mondale and University of Minnesota professor Larry Jacobs to discuss media coverage during the debate season. This sold-out show was followed by Dawn Porter’s documentary Trapped (2016), which played just weeks before the TRAP (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) laws were overturned by the US Supreme Court. The post-screening discussion included attorney Michael R. Drysdale and Angelica Perez of Whole Women’s Health EmpowerLine. While the program continues into the next fiscal year, the last film for this report was Zero Days (2016) by Alex Gibney, looking at the reality of modern cyber warfare and the power of the Internet in influencing politics. The discussion included Christopher Buse, chief information security officer for the State of Minnesota; Kathy Orner, VP and chief information security officer (CISO) for Carlson Wagonlit Travel; and Euan Kerr, arts reporter for MPR.
With continued support from the Bentson Foundation, the Mediatheque launched in May 2015 and really found its stride over the summer. This 65-seat cinema that allows audiences to self-select films is a revolutionary viewing concept that was featured at the Museums and the Web conference last spring in Los Angeles. It features digitized titles from the Ruben/Bentson Moving Image Collection, which can be selected from a touch screen and projected for the viewer in a cinema setting. Just months after opening in August 2015, the queue tallied 921 films screened—a new record for the program. Additionally, 75 titles were added to roster in the fall, in time for our annual Academic Open House at which professors and media arts teachers from area schools were introduced to this new resource for classes. Located just off the main lobby, this space is now undergoing renovation to enhance the viewing facility. It will open with even more film titles alongside our new Vineland Avenue entrance/lobby in December 2016.
This generous grant from the Bentson Foundation also supported Bentson scholar Isla Leaver-Yap, who oversaw three more online Walker Moving Image Commissions. Artists Uri Aran and Shahryar Nashat launched their new work on the Walker Channel in February and Leslie Thornton premiered her commission in April. The works by Shahryar Nashat and Uri Aran logged 278 hours of viewing online during their four-week broadcast, which was a 77 percent increase in views over the first round of commissions. The Walker Moving Image Commissions that streamed online from April 8 to May 31 logged 384 hours of viewing time.
Artist James Richards, funded during the first round of Moving Image Commissions, is exhibiting his commissioned work Radio at Night (2015), and a new Walker acquisition, Rosebud (2013), in the exhibition Less Than One. Another artist in this pioneering, joint-acquisition process with Visual Arts and the Ruben/Bentson Moving Image Collection is You The Better, Film Installation (1983/2015), by Ericka Beckman, which is a prominent video installation at the entrance to Less Than One in the Perlman Gallery.
British Arrows Awards Screenings
Showcasing the best in UK advertising, the 2015 British Arrows Awards had 85 public screenings at Walker this year, sponsored by Thomson Reuters with additional support from Dorsey & Whitney LLP and media partner Star Tribune, with attendance marking a new record of nearly 28,000 people. This ever-popular program provides free gallery entrance with each show ticket, resulting in increased art viewing experiences, visits to the Walker Shop, and audience members enjoying the Walker Café’s English pub-style food during the month of December.
Walker Film Club
We are grateful to the Walker Film Club, a membership group co-chaired by Elizabeth Redleaf and Bill Pohlad that has expressed a special affinity for film. Advance tickets, receptions, and backstage meetings with filmmakers provide this group with a closer connection to the Walker’s film program and curators.
We are always thankful to our many partners with whom we share programs, ideas, artists, and resources; together we shape our cultural community.