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, raised in Israel and the USA. 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 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 his films was shown at the 2014 Festival Film Dokumenter Yogyakarta, Indonesia.
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 dvd's 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 a variety of ways to self process film or create cameraless moving images. Digital image processing and non-linear editing will also be supported.
The Division II Projects class provides an opportunity for Division II students in film, photography, video, and related media who wish to pursue their own work to create at least one completed new project for inclusion in the Division II portfolio. Throughout the semester, each student is required to present his or her work in it's various stages of development to their small groups. The members of the class will provide critical, technical and production support for one another. Prior to joining the class, students must have some level of mastery over their medium. Readings, screenings, workshops and artist talks, which address conceptual approaches, working methods, and specific problems faced by class members in developing the works-in-progress will contribute to the participant's overall experience of the class. All of these activities, including active verbal contributions to all sessions, are required of each student under the guiding principle that tracking each other's intellectual and creative process will help each person develop their respective project. This course provides a structured context in which to do independent work at the Division II level.
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. The emphasis in our screenings will be geared towards films that profile musicians, composers, and the music making experience.
Recycled Images: "Through the disorderly fund which his knowledge places at his disposal, the allegorist rummages here and there for a particular piece, holds it next to some other piece, and tests to see if it fits together-that meaning with this image or this image with that meaning. The result can never be known before-hand, for there is no natural mediation between the two." (Walter Benjamin) From Esther Shub to Joseph Cornell, from Bruce Conner to Abigail Child, filmmakers have explored the use of recycled images and created "found footage films." The allegorical use of archival and discarded footage has provided both inspiration and raw material allowing image makers to "comment on the status of the image in society or to deconstruct cinematic language."(Jacob Proctor) Utilizing a combination of weekly screenings, assigned readings in film history, theory and cultural studies, the course will provide an opportunity to engage in a critical dialogue about this evolving genre and support a forum where students can actively develop their own found footage projects.
Starting with the pioneering work of Eadweard J. Muybridge and Etienne Jules Marey and continuing into the 20th century with Paul Strand and Charles Sheeler, photographers combined their interest in the single image presented sequentially with a tandem interest in making motion picture films. The tradition of working in both mediums continued with Man Ray, Weegee, Helen Levitt, Robert Frank, Danny Lyon, Gordon Parks, William Klein, Andy Warhol, and more recently with Shirin Neshat, among others. Adding to this list one would also consider the photographic work of such filmmakers as Rudy Burckhardt, Stanley Kubrick, Wim Wenders, Sharon Lockhart and Tacita Dean. Rather than thinking of mediums discreetly, the goal of this workshop is to have students engage in the evolving histories of both mediums, move effortlessly between analog and digital technologies, and develop a body of work that embraces the links between the still and moving image.