Professor of Film and Photography
Abraham Ravett holds a B.F.A and M.F.A in filmmaking and photography and has been an independent filmmaker for the past thirty-five years. He was born in Poland and raised in Israel and the U.S.A. Mr. Ravett received grants for his work from the Massachusetts Cultural Council; National Foundation for Jewish Culture: Fund for Documentary Filmmaking; National Endowment for the Arts; The Massachusetts Council on the Arts and Humanities; The Japan Foundation; The LEF Foundation; The Marion and Jasper Whiting Foundation; and a 1994 filmmaking fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. His films have been screened internationally, including at several one-person shows at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. His work has won “Top Prize” at the Viennale 2000, Ann Arbor Film Festival, and Onion City Film/Video Festival. In 1999, he collaborated with dancer/choreographer Bill T. Jones on his solo performance "The Breathing Show." A retrospective of Ravett's films was shown at the 2014 Festival Film Dokumenter Yogyakarta, Indonesia.
"Certain people start with a documentary and arrive at fiction...others start with fiction and arrive at the documentary." --Jean Luc Godard. This is an introductory course for students who would like to explore their interest in documentary practice. Through a combination of screenings, lectures, readings and technical workshops, we will explore a critical/historical overview of this genre and incorporate our knowledge and experience to produce individual or collaborative projects in a variety of "modes of representation." Projects need not be restricted to a particular medium; in fact, students will be encouraged to explore the ways in which film, video, and/or animation can be utilized together.
This course will involve a detailed study of the Japanese cinema. It will highlight works in the dramatic narrative, documentary, and experimental traditions. The films screened will use the past to explore the meaning of the present, examine the relationships within families, investigate formal issues in cinematic construction, and attempt to articulate broader social issues within Japanese society. Class will meet once a week for two hours and fifty minutes plus additional time for second screenings. Participants will be asked to complete a series of papers plus a final project based on class discussions, film screenings, and assigned readings.
This course teaches the basic skills of 16mm film production, including camera work, editing, animation, optical printing and preparation for a finished work in film and video. Students will submit weekly written responses to theoretical and historical readings and to screenings of films and DVDs that represent a variety of aesthetic approaches to the moving image. There will be a series of filmmaking assignments culminating in a final project. The bulk of the work will be produced in 16mm format including animation, optical printing, plus a variety of ways to self process film or create cameraless moving images. Digital image processing and non-linear editing will also be supported.
This interdisciplinary course centers around a film adaptation of the original drama Mighty Real: A Tribute to Sylvester. The story chronicles the life and times of singer/songwriter Sylvester, a gender fluid black/gay man who rose to commercial success during the height of the 1970s disco era. Students will collaborate with faculty on every phase of the project from preproduction - including dramaturgy, directing, acting, production management and scenic, lighting, sound and video design - to post production. The goal of the course is creating a short multimedia narrative film through the integration of theatrical and cinematic conventions. Students with experience in film and theatre production are preferred. Instructor permission required.
With the ascendency of today's smartphone technologies, the quality and reliability of the photographed image and recorded sound is equal to if not superior to many DSLR cameras. This course will provide an opportunity for students to make a variety of films in the dramatic narrative, documentary, or experimental traditions primarily utilizing their smartphones or in combination with related analogue and digital technologies. In turn, we will also explore the interface between the still and moving image so readily available with these portable, in your pocket recorders as well as creating what some refer to as a "new notion of the cinematic." Geared for students with prior filmmaking experience.