African/American Media Art

by Akosua Adoma Owusu and Wangechi Mutu

Two media artists working in America while retaining strong roots and connections to Africa, Ghanaian-American Akosua Adoma Owusu and Kenyan artist Wangechi Mutu, will have their exciting and important works on display during this year’s festival. Owusu will attend and screen her own work at The Brandon gallery and the Houston Museum of African-American Culture, and will also join MFAH Curator Alison Greene in responding to the MFAH Cullinan Hall installation of Mutu’s The End of carrying All.

Owusu’s BUS NUT (screening with Billy Woodberry’s BLESS THEIR LITTLE HEARTS)

Friday, November 11, 7:00p.m.
Houston Museum of African American Culture


Saturday, November 12, 4:00p.m.
The Brandon gallery – Cafe Brasil


November 10-17
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston Cullinan Hall


November 13, 3:00p.m.
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston Cullinan Hall



owusu_photoAkosua Adoma Owusu is a Ghanaian-American avant-garde filmmaker and producer. Named by Indiewire as one of the “6 Avant-Garde Female Filmmakers Who Redefined Cinema,” and one of The Huffington Post‘s “Black Artists: 30 Contemporary Art Makers Under 40 You Should Know,” Akosua Adoma Owusu is a MacDowell Colony Fellow and a Guggenheim Fellow. Founded in 2007, her company, Obibini Pictures, LLC has produced award-winning films including Reluctantly Queer and Kwaku Ananse, which received the 2013 African Movie Academy Award for Best Short Film. Her work is included in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Fowler Museum, Yale University Film Study Center, and Indiana University’s Black Film Center/Archive.

Through my film work, I hope to open audiences to a new dialogue between the continents of Africa and America; one that incorporates more than just stereotypes, but includes both conventionalized and un-conventionalized discourses of race in its service. By creating complex contradictions, I hope that new meaning can emerge and be deposited into the universal consciousness. If I can do this by creating an experience for the audience that enables them to experience what it is like to find oneself, while being foreign in a community, then perhaps I can help that new meaning come to light. – Akosua Adoma Owusu


endofcarryingallThe End of carrying All traces an African woman’s journey across an ever-expanding savanna landscape. As she progresses, twilight falls, and her basket becomes increasingly filled with consumer goods and structures: a bicycle wheel, a satellite dish, a tower, and an oil rig. Eventually, the burden becomes too much to bear, and the woman buckles and melts under the strain, becoming one with nature. A volcanic eruption ripples through the earth, all is quiet, and then the journey begins again.

Wangechi Mutu herself plays the protagonist of this Sisyphean drama. A social and environmental advocate, Mutu has explained that she aims to expose the “complexity of humanity and our place here and my own position as an artist and as a woman.” Facing the possibility of an environmental apocalypse, Mutu’s The End of carrying All pays homage to the strength of the individual and her power to affect change.

The End of carrying All
Video, 10-minute loop
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; museum purchase funded by contemporary@mfah, 2016


For the second year, ArCH (Architecture Center, Houston) joins forces with HCAF for its annual film festival, co-hosting six films in our program. The festival will launch on November 11 with The Architect, with guest director Jonathan Parker.

To Dwell: An Architectural Film Festival

From the earliest days of human civilization, dwelling has been an elemental condition of architectural design and construction. As spaces are inhabited to shelter our lives and everyday objects, residential design continues to evolve within contemporary architectural practices. Through a curated selection of films addressing our relationships with intimate spaces, we will explore the practice of dwelling-its poetry, theory, satire, romance, and experience.

The Architect 11/11, 6:15p.m., Sundance Cinemas

Amie Siegel Artist Talk and Presentation: Provenance 11/12, 7:00p.m., Menil Collection, free

Gray Matters 11/14, 6p.m., Architecture Center

The Land of Many Palaces/This Was Not My Dream 11/16, 6p.m., Architecture Center

The Infinite Happiness 11/17, 6p.m., Architecture Center

The Architect with guest director Jonathan Parker

architect_jonathanparkerJONATHAN PARKER (Guest Director, The Architect)
Jonathan Parker is a writer, director, producer, musician and composer based in San Rafael, CA. He received a BA degree in English from Stanford and began his career as a musician, performing in indie rock bands and the Marin Symphony.  He turned to filmmaking after he and fellow band members self-directed a music video that attracted attention from Hollywood.

His first feature film, BARTLEBY, which he also scored, was the Opening Night Selection at the New Directors/New Film Festival at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at Deauville. It was released theatrically in the U.S. and U.K. and was an official selection at numerous film festivals.

Amie Siegel Artist Talk and Presentation: Provenance

Gray Matters

(2014, D: Marco Antonio Orsini, 73 min.) This documentary explores the life and career of Eileen Gray, the iconic 20th century designer and architect. With never before seen footage from the French Villa E-1027, and two of her retrospectives – The Pompidou in Paris and the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) – the film unfolds the significance of the elusive woman who altered the way we live.

The Land of Many Palaces

(2014, D: Adam Smith and Song Ting, 61 min.) Over the next twenty years, under the National New-type Urbanization Plan, the Chinese government plans to relocate 250,000,000 farmers in order to modernize the region. The Land of Many Palaces follows a government official whose job is to convince farmers in Ordos, China to leave their current homes and relocate to the newly developed city. Shown with This Was Not My Dream (2014, D: Gabriel Kogan and Pedro Kok, 5 min. ), in which a disgruntled and jealous ex-husband narrates his ex-wife’s experience in their modern home, harping on the materiality that made the house her dream, and not his.

The Infinite Happiness

(2015, Ila Bêka and Louise Lemoine, 85 min.) In this visual diary, Ila Bêka and Louise Lemoine capture the spatial and personal relationships that occupy 8 House, a housing complex in Copenhagen, Denmark, designed by Bjarke Ingles. Elected as the World’s Best Residential Building of 2011, the suburban housing project stacks the traditional city block into a figure eight promenade while creating the largest private development in the country.



Centennial Tribute to Horton Foote: with Anne Rapp


Sunday, November 13, 4pm Sundance Cinemas

We are pleased to be honoring Texas’ most honored playwright and screenwriter, Horton Foote, on the centennial of his birth. Screenwriter Anne Rapp, who began her extensive career as a script supervisor working with Foote on the film Tender Mercies, will accompany a screening of the Academy Award-winning production. Rapp will also discuss and show clips from her documentary-in-progress, Horton Foote: The Man From Wharton.

920x920Horton Foote, who was born March 14, 1916, in Wharton, Texas, had his first play, Texas Town, produced Off-Broadway in 1941. He received Academy Awards for his screenplay adaptation of To Kill A Mockingbird and his original screenplay, Tender Mercies. His screenplay of The Trip to Bountiful was nominated for an Academy Award. He received the Pulitzer Prize for his play, The Young Man From Atlanta. In 1996 he was elected to the Theatre Hall of Fame and, in 1998, to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 2000 he received the National Medal of Arts Award by President Clinton. In 2006 his play, The Trip to Bountiful, won the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Revival and he was given the Drama Desk Lifetime Achievement Award for his body of work. In 2009 – 2010, his epic masterwork, The Orphans’ Home Cycle was co-produced by Hartford Stage Company and Signature Theatre Company and received the New York Drama Critics Circle Award, Drama Desk Award, The Outer Critics Circle Award and the Lucille Lortel Award. His memoirs, Farewell and Beginnings, are published by Scribners.

annerappAnne Rapp is a writer and ex-script supervisor in the movie industry who worked on more than 60 feature films, beginning with “Tender Mercies” in 1981 and ending with the HBO TV series “Westworld.” She has worked with many acclaimed directors including Jake Kasdan, Billy Bob Thornton, Judd Apatow, Harold Ramis, Ken Kwapis, Gavin Hood, Lawrence Kasdan, Sydney Pollack, Robert Benton, Bruce Beresford, Steven Spielberg, Robert Zemekis, David Mamet, Rob Reiner, Bill Forsythe, Ivan Reitman and Tom Hanks. She began writing short stories, which led to a job writing for Robert Altman who directed two of her original screenplays, “Cookie’s Fortune” and “Dr. T and the Women.” The screenplay for “Cookie’s Fortune” earned Anne an Independent Spirit Award nomination as well as an Edgar Allen Poe nomination. With Ray Benson, Ann co-wrote the musical “A Ride With Bob” a stage performance about the life and legacy of the western swing great Bob Wills. Anne is currently writing a western for Alison Eastwood and Lisa Brown at Malpaso. She is also producing and directing a documentary about the life and legacy of Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Horton Foote (“the little documentary that could.”)


The “False Crime” Film and Investigative Journalism

UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT: THE HANNAH OVERTON STORY with Jenna and Anthony Jackson and Hannah Overton
Tuesday, Nov. 15, 7p.m. Sundance

BOOGER RED with director Berndt Mader
Wednesday, Nov. 16, 7p.m. Sundance

Panel: “The ‘False Crime’ Film and Investigative Journalism”
Thursday, Nov. 17, 4p.m. Location University of Houston Downtown, Welcome Center, Tour Room

Nicole Casarez, Moderator
Jenna and Anthony Jackson, filmmakers
Berndt Mader, filmmaker
Al Reinert, filmmaker
John Raley, lawyer
Anthony Graves, exonerated prisoner
David Mann, Texas Monthly Senior Editor


While “True Crime” stories endure as a popular genre in magazines, books, films and television, an alternative genre is growing in visibility. We might label this the “False Crime” genre, where authors deconstruct the false narratives created by police and prosecutors and the wrongful imprisonments of innocent human beings that result. Writers often build on the work of “Innocence Project”  lawyers, and filmmakers often expand on the writings of investigative journalists.

In a panel discussion, investigative journalists and filmmakers, lawyers and survivors of wrongful imprisonment will discuss the different ways that lawyers, print journalists, and filmmakers tackle “false crime” stories, and the roles and perspectives of the falsely accused in the retelling of their stories.

jennaanthonyjacksontempJenna Jackson is an Emmy Award winning producer from Jacksonville, Texas. She studied journalism at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville. After graduation, she worked for CBS News and 48 Hours in New York, where she stayed for nearly 15 years. In 2011, she founded P+R Productions, a full service independent production company. Jackson made her feature directorial debut with the documentary, TOMATO REPUBLIC (2014), which she co-directed with Anthony Jackson. The film screened in the Texas Competition at the 2014 Dallas International Film Festival and won a Special Jury Prize.

Anthony Jackson grew up in a small East Texas town, but now resides in Austin. He began his film career in media production after working for a major technology company. He has worked in various aspects of the production cycle including shooting, lighting, editing, directing and producing. Along with other members of P+R Productions, he won Best Film at the 28 Hour Film Fest Austin in 2011 and 2012. He co-directed the documentary, TOMATO REPUBLIC (2014), which screened in the Texas Competition at the 2014 Dallas International Film Festival and won a Special Jury Prize.

img_3940Berndt Mader (Writer, Director) is an Emmy Award winning writer/director whose first feature, 5 Time Champion, premiered at the 2011 SXSW Film Festival. The film was distributed by Warner Bros in 2012. Booger Red is his second feature. Berndt holds an MFA degree from the University of Texas and is the co-owner of the production company, The Bear.