Guest post from Meryl Goldstein, Student Arts Committee Member and organizer of the screening:
Tonight, the internationally acclaimed filmmaker Oliver Laxe lands in Charlottesville for a two-day artist residency program, marking one of many recent arts events that point to an ever-increasing arts presence at UVa. The residency kicks off tonight with a 6pm showing of his award-winning feature-length film, “You are all captains,” which has screened at 18 film festivals worldwide. “You are all captains” was written, directed and produced by Laxe. It was selected for the Director’s Fortnight (Quinzaine des Réalisateurs) and awarded the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) Prize at the 2010 Cannes Film Fesetival.
This residency is particularly exciting in that it truly bridges the gap between many different departments here at UVa, many of which seldom interact. Laxe’s documentary screening is open to the public tonight. Tomorrow he will visit with the Distinguished Majors in Studio Art; he will give a lunchtime talk to students in the French Department; he will speak to Kevin Everson’s Advanced Cinematography class; and he will join select members of the French, Arabic, and Studio Art Departments for an evening reception. As a student, I’m thrilled to be a part of an initiative that so beautifully integrates art (my path of study) with internationally-focused departments, helping to facilitate a social and intellectual dialogue about the role of creativity and creative pursuits in social change.
Laxe himself grew up in Paris and studied Cinema and Filmmaking at Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona. He then moved to London where he co-produced “And the Chimneys Decided to Escape,” a 16mm short which screened at the Gijon (HEHON) International Film Festival. This film received the Val del Omar Award at the Granada Experimental Film Festival, and the INJUVE Award from the Spanish Ministry of Culture. Then, making his way to Morocco, Mr. Laxe started Dao Byed, a 16mm film program for underprivileged youth. “You are all captains,” the film we are screening this weekend, is a pseudo-documentary about this experience.
It is neither fact nor fiction, but instead a creative commentary about the way we perceive ourselves, other cultures, and our own society. In Laxe’s own words, he “wanted You All Are Captains to be a romantic film without seeming to be one. There are times when we can see things better from afar…. In the first scene, when the boys are looking up at the plane, one of them suggests everyone close his eyes to see it better. You All Are Captains is a film about how we see things.”
Please join us for the screening in the Auditorium of the Special Collections Library at 6pm tonight.
This event was made possible by a great many supporters. First, the Office of the Vice Provost for the Arts, especially Vice Provost Beth Turner, Lindsey Turner Hepler, and Emma Terry, who helped us create a phenomenal poster for this event. We were also sponsored in part by the Office of the Vice Provost for International Programs, the UVa Department of French and College Council. Debra Guy and Sean McCord helped us greatly with the logistics of this event, from signage to seating to setting up the DVD player. Thanks also to Professor Kevin Everson in the Studio Art department and Professor Alison Levine in the French department. Student organizers were Elizabeth Webb, Anna Donovan, Kelsey Reynolds and Meryl Goldstein.