Extra Curricular

by Holly Willis

  • In My Room

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    On Jul 7, 2020
    By on Jul 7, 2020Columns
  • Messing With the Medium: On the Textured Pleasures of the Handmade Film

    Last summer, filmmaker Jennifer West and I were invited to talk at Femmebit, an LA-based triennial celebration of media made by women. I had been thinking about materiality and mediamaking practices, and Jennifer is known for a stunning body of work centered on physically manipulating strips of film. We decided to call our event “Messing With the Medium: Radical Materiality in Feminist Media” and challenged each other on stage in a battle of clips, each of us presenting a visual example of some sort of feminist creative intervention, along with a two-minute argument for its contributions to an expanded history…  Read more

    On Mar 17, 2020
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  • The Inner Reaches Out of Space

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    On Dec 10, 2019
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  • Creating Community Through Cinema: The Echo Park Film Center and MONO NO AWARE

    I love the way Paolo Davanzo jazzes up his emails with exclamation points! He almost never uses just one; instead, he lines up two, three, sometimes four in a row, and if his ardor is not evident through prolific punctuation, he’ll apply all caps: “SO GLAD to reconnect!!!!” or “The kids created a BEAUTIFUL FILM!!!!” This cheery trait is pure Paolo, and it completely infuses the Echo Park Film Center, a small nonprofit space at the corner of Sunset and Alvarado in Los Angeles that he cofounded in 2001. EPFC packs a microcinema, filmmaking classroom and equipment rental house all…  Read more

    On Sep 4, 2019
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  • The Most Valuable Lessons: Filmmakers Remember Their Iconic Instructors

    Teaching is a complex act, but most of us standing in front of students in film classrooms have never been taught to teach. Instead, we recall the teachers who impressed us, then try to repeat some part of that practice and hope for the best, often never quite realizing the impact we are in turn having on our own students. Here, three current faculty members recall iconic instructors from their college experience, and the lasting effect of key ideas and behaviors. Cauleen Smith on Lynn Hershman Leeson and Trinh T. Minh-ha Interdisciplinary artist Cauleen Smith earned a BA in creative…  Read more

    On Jun 19, 2019
    By on Jun 19, 2019Columns
  • Breathe Deep

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    On Mar 14, 2019
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  • Expanding Horizons: How Film Schools Are Adjusting to a More Diverse Future

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    On Dec 17, 2018
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  • Reboot By The Sea

    It might be hot. There are several quarries for swimming. It might be cold and rainy, and we’ll be in a non-heated, non-air conditioned barn. There will be mosquitoes. So began a long list of somewhat unsettling particulars describing conditions for the six-day DesignInquiry residency that took place at the end of June 2018 on Vinalhaven, an island halfway up the coast of Maine. I had applied six months earlier, intrigued by the year’s theme, “Rewrite,” and was delighted when I was accepted. I was stepping down from a decade-long leadership stint, having cocreated and chaired a new department in…  Read more

    On Sep 17, 2018
    By on Sep 17, 2018Columns
  • Creative Critical Writing

    In 1993, I was a graduate student in a Critical Studies Ph.D. program studying independent, avant-garde and feminist film and video, figuring out how to write about them, and thinking about what it meant to write at all. I adored high theory—the thickness of it, the heady political ambition, the philosophical complexity. But I liked zines and the wild world of alternative publishing, too, along with the community of readers eager for experiments that these publications augured. My advisors discouraged involvement with Filmmaker—a career-killer, for sure—and when I was offered a short-term job at Variety one summer, they rolled their…  Read more

    On Jun 11, 2018
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  • A Necessary Rethink

    A few months ago, one of my students tried to kill himself. He took a handful of pills and got into bed. Luckily, he mentioned what he had done to someone else, and a little while later, the campus police showed up at his dorm door. They took him by force to the hospital, and then — a day later, again by force — from the hospital to a lockdown facility on the edge of Los Angeles. And so, late one Friday night, I found myself handing over my keys, cell phone and identification to a stern guard inside a…  Read more

    On Mar 8, 2018
    By on Mar 8, 2018Columns
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