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 Polandand 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.
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 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.
"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. Enrolled students and top 5 waitlist students who DO NOT attend the first class session risk losing their place on the class roster.