Baba Hillman

Five College Professor Emerita of Film and Video
Hampshire College Professor Baba Hillman
Contact Baba

Mail Code PF
Baba Hillman
Jerome Liebling Center 104

Baba Hillman, Five College Professor Emerita of Film and Video, grew up in Japan, Venezuela, and Panama. She received a B.A. in French Literature from Duke University and an M.F.A. in Film and Performance from the University of California, San Diego.

Hillman’s films have screened at festivals and museums including the Edinburgh International Film Festival, Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles, Los Angeles Film Forum, the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Rencontres Paris/Berlin, Anthology Film Archives, Ann Arbor Film Festival, Africa World Documentary Film Festival, Athens Film Festival, and MIX Brazil, among others.

Hillman was director of Teatro Movimento, a multi-media performance group based in Italy. She has worked as a performer and choreographer with Etienne Decroux, Eleanor Antin, and Sledgehammer Theatre, and has taught film and performance in France, Italy, and Canada. She teaches the course, “Hampshire Super 8 Filmmaking in Paris: Geographies of Identity.

Her films include Jacumba Song, Decroux’s Garden, and Passage, a feature length experimental narrative shot on Super 8 and 16mm film in Paris and Madrid. She has recently completed Kitab al-Isfar: Book of the Journey, a film that explores near-death experience and modes of perception and learning in the work of Arab Andalusian poet and philosopher Ibn ‘Arabi.

Hillman has received awards and grants for her work from the French Ministry of Culture, the Whiting Foundation, the California Arts Council, and the Italian city governments of Florence, Lecce, and Certaldo. Her work is distributed by Canyon Cinema in San Francisco, Canadian Filmmakers’ Distribution Centre in Toronto, and Collectif Jeune Cinéma in Paris.

Read more on her personal website.

Recent and Upcoming Courses

  • This production/theory course will introduce students to scripts and texts by filmmakers working in essayistic, poetic, fiction, and non-fiction forms, and in hybrid combinations of these forms that do not follow traditional screenwriting paradigms. The course will include workshops in writing voice-over, dialogue, and visual text for the screen, as well as workshops in cinematography, lighting, and editing image to text. We will study works by filmmakers including Shirin Neshat, Pedro Costa, Mona Hatoum, Gaelle Rouard, John Akomfrah, and Pham Ngoc Lan. Students will write and shoot two short projects and one longer project. (Keywords: writing, film, image)

  • This is a production/theory course for video and film students interested in developing and strengthening the element of performance in their work. How does performance for the camera differ from performance for the stage? How do we find a physical language and a camera language that expand upon one another in a way that liberates the imagination? This course will explore performance and directing in their most diverse possibilities, in a context specific to film and video makers. The class will emphasize the development of individual approaches to relationships between performance, text, sound, and image. We will discuss visual and verbal gesture, dialogue and voice-over, variations of approach with actors and non-actors, camera movement and rhythm within the shot, and the structuring of performance in short and long form works. Screenings and readings will introduce students to a wide range of approaches to directing and performance. We will study works by Alice Rohrwacher, Pedro Costa, Nagisa Oshima, John Cassavetes, Mati Diop, Pietro Marcello, Wong Kar Wai, and Ousmane Sembene, among others. Students will complete two short projects and one longer project.